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Tributes paid to former BSAC Chairman and pioneering diving author, Kendall McDonald

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BSAC

Former BSAC Chairman and journalist Kendall McDonald has sadly passed away aged 87 following a long illness.

Kendall 3Kendall, a prolific and renowned author who penned several key diving and wreck books as well as writing for BSAC’s magazines, including Neptune and Diver, where he worked as their Wreck Consultant. It was thought that he was the famous Beachcomber in Diver Magazine but never proved.

A founding member of Bromley SAC, Kendall learnt to dive in the early 1950s and served as BSAC Chairman between 1975 and 1977 before being awarded honorary life vice presidency. He also played a key role in organising the second World Congress of Underwater Activities in London in 1963.

A former managing editor of the London Evening News, Kendall was a passionate exponent of branch promotion, working as BSAC’s Press Officer and encouraging BSAC clubs in their own promotion of UK diving. He regularly promoted diving in the national Press, writing and presenting Britain’s first TV series about diving and was one of the first journalists to dive on the wreck of the Mary Rose in Hampshire’s Solent.

Kendall McDonaldKendall also edited the first BSAC book – The Underwater Book – featuring BSAC divers’ stories, including accounts from Alexander McKee and his successful search for the Mary Rose and Derek Cockbill on the salvaging of the Maine.

In 2009 Kendall was awarded BSAC’s Colin McLeod Award for his significant contribution to diving publications. In the same year he was elected into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.

Over the years Kendall amassed a significant collection of diving books and publications, many of them now rare items. In 2013 he donated his collection to the British Sub-Aqua Club, where they have pride of place in BSAC HQ in the Kendall McDonald Library.

BSAC’s Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, paid tribute to the former BSAC Chairman.

“I worked with Kendall when we were on Diver Magazine together. He was an amazing storyteller and an awesome larger than life character and I would listen to him for hours. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to his family – Kendall was one of our pioneering divers and wreck authors and he will be sorely missed.”

Kendall McDonald’s funeral will be held at All Saints Church, Thurlestone on Friday 24 January at 3pm. Instead of flowers there will be a collection on behalf of Cancer Research, Devon Air Ambulance and the MS Society.

For more details please email maryt@bsac.com.

Dive Training Blogs

How Scuba Diving can help you overcome physical and mental challenges

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This International Disabilities Day (December 3 2022) PADI is reminding the world of the healing aspects that the ocean (or any body of water) can provide us all and how important of a modality it is for helping those with physical or mental challenges improve their wellbeing. From simply being within close proximity of it or diving beneath the salty surface for an underwater adventure, the ocean is also healing.

Regardless of your age, ability, or even limitations, the ocean can benefit us physically, emotionally and even spiritually. This is why PADI is on a mission to make those benefits accessible to all, launching their Adaptive Techniques Diving Course in the hopes that all of humanity can experience the full transformational power the ocean offers us.

While many are more familiar with traditional therapies, whether it be diving, mermaiding or freediving, people around the world have been forever changed by connecting with the water – conquering mental or physical perceived limitations.

There are an estimated one billion people on the planet that have a physical and/or mental disability – imagine the power that diving and immersion can have on this population if awarded the opportunity.

PADI’s history is replete with people whose lives have been transformed by connecting with the water because they were able to experience and explore the underwater world through PADI programme and certifications. PADI’s approach to diver education has always been inclusive and is a key pillar to their Pillars of Change.  Everyone who meets prerequisites is welcome to join the global community of 29 million+ certified PADI Divers.

PADI created two courses that focus on increasing awareness of varying diver abilities and exploring adaptive teaching techniques to apply when training and diving with physically and mentally challenged divers: the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty and the PADI Adaptive Support Diver course.

These courses further expand Instructors’ and Divemasters’ abilities to be student-centered and prescriptive in approach when adapting techniques to meet diver needs. Here are the various ways PADI helps those with disabilities overcome all their challenges by connecting them with water:

1. Improved Muscular Movement, Light Sensitivity and PTSD Symptoms

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found, “veterans with spinal cord injuries who underwent a four-day scuba diving certification saw significant improvement in muscle movement, increased sensitivity to light touch and pinprick on the legs, and large reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.”

2. Lifts Your Mental State and Mood

Did you know that the ocean air can literally lift your mood?  “The sound and vision of the ocean lift our mood,” says consultant psychiatrist Dr Arghya Sarkhel. “The touch of sand and the smell of a seaside breeze leads to relaxation. On a biological level, this audio-visual stimulus incites our parasympathetic nervous system—that activates ‘rest and digest’, as opposed to ‘fight or flight’,” he says. Now scientists are quantifying the positive cognitive and physical effects of water and the improved sense of physical health and well-being.

Equally diving into the therapeutic benefits that diving can provide is Jeffery Puncher, Director for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottowa. He is currently developing a virtual reality diving programme to help his patients find relief from stress and anxiety–using calming scenes of coral reefs and the swaying seas along with the soothing sounds of bubbles beneath the surface. This programme is currently being used with medical students, residents and faculty, with the goal of growing it to be adopted nationwide to help also support the psychological health of first responders.

3. Provides You with a Sense of Peace

Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, has done extensive research on the ocean’s unique ability to induce a state of what he calls the “Blue Mind” in human beings. Blue Mind is a mildly meditative state characterized by calmness, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. Nichols states that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and heal us on a deep level.

4. Enhanced Physical Movement

Being in the water allows you the opportunity to experience a feeling of flexibility and freedom that those with disabilities would rarely get to experience on land. This is because on land the muscles become restricted by the force of gravity. But in the water, that sensation drifts away and is replaced by the freedom to feel the freedom of movement.

5. Confidence and Control

The freedom of enhanced physical movement in the water also provides a sense of increased confidence and control. They can explore beneath the surface just like able-bodied people can do, which equally increases their own self-belief and feelings of empowerment.

6. Anxiety Relief

Those with disabilities who equally suffer from anxiety can find tranquility beneath the surface. By having to focus on your breath and being in the moment, all of the mental stress that can come with having a disability is no longer top of mind and instead allows for an escape in which you can truly enjoy the moment.

Find out more at www.padi.com

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Gear News

Scubapro Winter Promo: free gift!

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Buy an EVERDRY 4.0 dry suit and receive a K2 Light undersuit set for free!

Divers can look forward to the cold-water season this winter, as SCUBAPRO is offering a free K2 Light undersuit set (top & pants) to all scuba enthusiasts who purchase an EVERDRY 4.0 neoprene dry suit by 15 January.

The EVERDRY 4.0 is a high-quality dry suit made from compressed neoprene. It combines the slim fit, comfort and flexibility of a wetsuit with the warmth and tightness of a dry suit.

The K2 Light Set is the ideal undergarment for neoprene dry suits. Its light grid plush material reliably holds the warmth where you need it in cold waters. The Everdry’s elastic wrist loops and heel strap suspenders keep sleeves and pants in place under the suit. Available in men’s and women’s sizes.

A combination that turns your cold-water lake into a hotspot!

For more information visit the Scubapro website.

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