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RAID Releases New Deep 40 Course

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RAID

RAID International have announced the release of their RAID Deep 40 program. On making the announcement RAID International Recreational Training Director Mark McCrum said: “We believe this is the most advanced recreational Deep Diver program in the dive industry. Innovative ideas and real practical training make this a very saleable and desirable course for those divers wanting a little more out of a deep diver program than has been traditionally offered elsewhere. One of the key features is the program seeks to bridge the gap between traditional recreational deep courses and technical diving. The aim is to have a deep diving program with seamless integration into higher levels of training. No conflicting ideas or procedures, but a system that encourages consistency between the programs.”

RAID International Training Director Paul Toomer said: “The ultimate aim of the program is to create a diver that can properly plan and execute deep dives in accordance with all the rules contained in our program. This needs to be independent of the instructor by the end of the program with the instructor becoming an observing mentor by the last dive.”

The program is also designed to link in with the RAID Explorer 30 program, RAID Advanced 35 program and the RAID deco programs. There are some common dives between programs and considerable advanced academics not found in other recreational deep diver programs.

RAID International CEO Jim Holliday said: “What the RAID Team has produced with this course is ground breaking. For a long time I have been hearing that divers want more from a recreational deep diving courses than what is currently out there and here we deliver just that. The course covers general information about deep diving, but also goes into specific detail on equipment required and various gear configurations, physics and physiology, dive management and open water considerations when deep diving.

RAID International Director of Business and Marketing Terry Cummins added: “Many agencies advocate using traditional recreational procedures for deep diving. This program seeks to bridge the gap between recreational and technical without creating double standards in terms of planning and procedures. For example, it allows the use of nitrox and trimix in the deep course, but explains the planning and limitations in great detail. There is a robust planning section which aims to train divers on all the aspects of planning deep divers, including planning for NDL, Nitrox, gas limits, helium and other contingencies. The one thing that stands out for me is that RAID has not only bridged the gap between recreational and technical diving with this course, but has also provided clear guidelines for RAID Deep 40 Instructors accepting divers on the program, whether they were trained by RAID or another agency.”

Toomer added: “We conducted a Beta Test on the Deep 40 and the soon to be released RAID Wreck Diver programs in the UK and were super impressed with the input we received. For example, one of the RAID Beta Testers, Gary Grant from Diving Dreams, reported to me: “Great training materials and skills, mate this course is totally awesome, totally pushes the students,” and “Thank you for making a difference to the dive industry.” It does not get much better than that.”

McCrum concluded: “At RAID we are proud to have created a ‘REAL’ deep diver program that has cutting edge ideas, sensible practical training and seamless integration to our other programs. This is a unique program designed for quality, consistency and competency for divers conducting deep recreational dives. It will be an easy program to market and sell for RAID Dive Centres and Instructors. A great addition to the RAID list of courses.”

To learn more contact your local RAID Regional Office or find all the information you need on all RAID programs at www.diveraid.com and www.freedivingraid.com.

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Mares EOS LRZ Torch Range

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What does LRZ stand for I hear you ask? The answer is: LED lights, Rechargeable, Zoomable. Mares have created a versatile set of seven underwater lights in the new range to suit all needs and budgets.

I tested the most powerful of them – the EOS 32LRZ at Capernwray on a cold but bright spring day. I was diving with Alex Mustard, and so all the underwater images are by him, showing me trying out the torch in both the shallows and in some of the wrecks at this site.

All the torches in the new line have an LED visual battery charge indicator that allows you to keep the battery level under control.

Want to use it out of the water? No problem! The new EOS LRZ torches feature an innovative temperature control system that allows you to use them both underwater and on land. I can see myself using this on gloomy dog walks later in the year!

As you can see from the video I filmed just after getting back from a dive, the torch is easy to use, even with thick gloves in cold water. The zoomable light beam means that you can highlight a particular spot, or have a wide beam, which is great for both modeling for a photographer, and exploring different underwater environments.

The EOS 32LRZ has a powerful beam with 3200 lumens of power and 135 minutes of burn time. Perfect for some of the darker dives you can experience in the UK, but also for exploring overhead or enclosed environments. I easily got 2 long dives out of a single charge, and then was able to recharge it in my car using a USB cable on the way home, ready for the next day of diving.

The look and feel of these torches are great. In your hand you can feel the quality of the torches. They are solid and well built. They also look great. Each torch in the range comes with a padded case to keep them safe during transport.

For more, visit the Mares website by clicking here.

All underwater images by Alex Mustard

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Marine Life & Conservation

Reef-World launches Green Fins Japan!

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The Reef-World Foundation, the Onna Village Diving Association, the local government, and Oceana are delighted to announce that Japan is now the 14th country globally to implement the Green Fins initiative – a UN Environment Programme initiative. Onna Village in Okinawa is the first Japanese tourist destination to adopt Green Fins environmental standards to reduce the threats associated with diving and snorkelling on the marine environment.

Green Fins is piloted in Onna Village, Okinawa prefecture, an area renowned for its marine sports and has been working to protect its reefs for many years. Green Fins is implemented as part of the national Sustainable Development Goals project, which aims to manage and illustrate to the local industry how sustainable tourism can play a role in reef conservation. The economic benefits of the reefs benefit not only the fisheries industry but also the tourism industry as it has rocketed in recent decades.

If the project is successful – proving the value of sustainable tourism – the model has the potential to be escalated to a national level. A wide rollout would allow Reef-World to focus on uptake and expansion into other marine tourism and biodiversity hotspots across Japan. Green Fins implementation in Japan would provide practical solutions to many of the common problems faced in the area. It would also help to promote high standards for diving in the country. Improving the quality of the diving industry through Green Fins would demonstrate the added value of Onna Village’s tourism product. This, in turn, will encourage tourists to spend more time and money diving in the region.

Following a week of training by Reef-World (23 to 28 May 2022), Japan now has a national Green Fins team comprised of four fully certified Green Fins Assessors and two Green Fins Coordinators from Oceana and the local government. They will be responsible for recruiting, assessing, training and certifying dive and snorkel operators to become Green Fins members in the country. This involves providing training about the ecology and threats to coral reefs, simple and local everyday solutions to these threats and Green Fins’ environmental standards to dive and snorkel operators. Green Fins membership will help marine tourism operators improve their sustainability and prove they are working hard to follow environmental best practices as a way of attracting eco-minded tourists.

James Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We are really excited to finally introduce Green Fins in Japan. We have been planning this for almost three years, but the travel restrictions related to the pandemic hindered progress. The diving industry in Okinawa and the marine life upon which it has been built is so unique, it must be preserved for generations to come. The Okinawa diving community is very passionate about protecting their marine environment, and Green Fins has given them an opportunity to collectively work to reduce their environmental impact and pursue exemplary environmental standards.”

Diving and snorkelling related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or plastic debris and the effects of climate change. Based on robust individual assessments, the Green Fins initiative helps identify and mitigate these risks by providing environmental consultation and support to dive and snorkel operators. Through Green Fins implementation in Japan, Reef-World aims to reduce negative environmental impacts in the region by reaching 10 marine tourism operators, training 50 dive guides and raising awareness of sustainability best practices among 10,000 tourists in the first year.

Yuta Kawamoto, CEO of Oceana, said: “Green Fins will help to unify all the conservation efforts in Okinawa by applying the guidelines in many areas and raising tourists awareness. We hope this will increase the sustainable value in the diving industry and in turn increase the diving standards in the country.”

Green Fins is a UN Environment Programme initiative, internationally coordinated by The Reef-World Foundation, which aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry. Green Fins provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance.

To date, four dive operators in Onna Village have joined the global network of 600+ trained and assessed Green Fins members. These are: Benthos Divers, Okinawa Diving Center, Arch Angel and Pink Marlin Club. There has also been significant interest from other operators, even those that are not located in Onna Village, for Green Fins training and assessment.

Suika Tsumita from Oceana said: “Green Fins serve as an important tool for local diving communities to move towards a more sustainable use of their dive sites; so that they can maintain their scenic beauty and biological richness to provide livelihoods for many generations to come.”

For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org or  www.greenfins.net/countries/japan. Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up for Green Fins can find the membership application form at: www.greenfins.net/how-to-join.

Dive and snorkel operators in Japan interested in signing up to be Green Fins members can contact the Green Fins Japan team at japan@greenfins.net.

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