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Water way to get married: Couple get hitched in training tank at The Underwater Centre

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Adventurous couple tie the knot at special underwater ceremony

A self-confessed adrenaline junkie and her new husband made a splash recently when they had their recent nuptials blessed during a special underwater ceremony at The Underwater Centre in Fort William.

Around 100 guests watched Dorota Bankowska and new husband James Abbott tie the knot in The Underwater Centre‘s 1.5 million litre onshore seawater tank, which is normally used for subsea training and trialling new equipment.

The bride wore a traditional wedding dress and veil for the ceremony, weighed down for the occasion, while her husband wore a kilt.  They were joined in the tank by bridesmaid Ala Bankowska and best man, Charlie Cran-Crombie, all four of them diving in Kirby Morgan helmets, using surface supplied diving equipment. The rings were even presented to the couple using one of the Centre’s inspection class ROVs.

The Underwater Centre’s Air Diver Training Manager, Ali McLeod, officiated at the ceremony, which was attended by many of the couple’s friends and family, some of whom travelled from Poland.

The couple officially tied the knot in Dorota’s home town of Plock in October, but were keen to mark the occasion with friends from the Fort William area at the Centre, which is based on the shores of Loch Linnhe, a tidal sea loch, on Scotland’s west coast.

Dorota is a self-employed commercial diver in the oil and gas industry, who is also trained as a saturation diver – one of only a handful of female sat divers in the world.

She first trained at the Centre in 2007 as an ROV pilot technician and later as a mixed gas/ saturation diver.  She worked as an inshore diver for around three years in Scotland before she took her career to the next level and trained to be a saturation diver.

She completed the HSE Closed Bell training at The Underwater Centre in 2011, as well as the IMCA Diver Medic Technician training course, and has since worked as an air diver and a standby diver on North Sea vessels, as well as in Norway, the Yemen, Georgia and Russia.

Dorota, who spends her spare time ski-touring, surfing and climbing, also joined Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team and ski patrol.

“We’re both very happy to be able to complete our wedding celebrations in such a unique way; James and I don’t do things traditionally!

It’s great that my friends and family will be able to get a better idea of what my job is actually like, and the environment I work in.

UWC 2We’re grateful to everyone at The Underwater Centre for putting on such a special event for us; the Centre has been so supportive to me as I’ve advanced my career. I consider the people I’ve met at the Centre to be good friends now, and I really love coming back to Fort William to work, and play.”

Steve Ham, General Manager of The Underwater Centre, attended Dorota and James’ wedding in Poland in October.

“Dorota first came to The Underwater Centre in 2007 to help further her career, and has supported our dive and ROV instructional teams since too.  She is held in very high regard at the Centre and has many friends in the area who wanted to help her celebrate her marriage to James.

“The wedding in Poland was fantastic and we are really pleased that we were able to help her fulfil her dream of a blessing in the tank. It’s very typical of Dorota and we wish her and James every happiness for the future.”

The Underwater Centre is a purpose-built subsea training and trials facility and is based on the shore of a seawater loch, well sheltered by the surrounding mountains.  The Centre’s unique location allows it to provide year-round training and testing in an open-water environment, while still being centrally located in the largest town in the Scottish Highlands.

With access to depths of over 100 metres, it is the ideal location to perform realistic and industry-specific saturation and air diver and ROV pilot technician training, as well as providing a convenient location for subsea equipment trials.

The Underwater Centre, which also has a school in Tasmania, comprises an extensive pier complex including four dive stations, classrooms, workshops and decompression chambers.  With accommodation and additional classrooms based at the landward end of the pier, it is set up to provide its students with the skills and experience to succeed in their new careers, and continue providing the subsea industry with the workforce it needs.

Anyone interested in more information about The Underwater Centre should call +44 (0)1397 703 786 or email fortwilliam@theunderwatercentre.com.

Competitions

WIN a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!

This torch delivers 1200 lumens of light powered by an ion rechargeable battery. There are 4 levels of brightness with burn times between 2-20 hours. Battery charge level is indicated via coloured lights around the on/off button. The beam angle is 10°. The anodised aluminium alloy housing sealed by double ‘O’ rings with a max operating depth of 100m. SRP £125.00 which includes torch, charging cradle and battery.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported via the Marine Conservation Society that the UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act is the first legislation of its kind in nearly how many years?

Is it:

  • A) 60
  • B) 50
  • C) 40

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Liquid Sports Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch November 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Liquid Sports and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 06/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Northern Diver Christmas Sale starts TODAY!

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This year Northern Diver’s Christmas offers are starting on Black Friday and running until midnight on New Year’s Eve! 

There are some great deals to be had across the site – www.ndiver.com – from discounted Drysuits and Coltri compressors to 15% off their entire Lighting Section!

And if you can’t find the perfect present for the diver in your life, they have a choice of Gift Cards on offer. They are even giving you £25 extra when you purchase a £100 voucher!

The offers don’t stop there – there is FREE shipping on all orders over £100 and even a FREE gift with every online purchase.

Every purchase will get you entered into a great prize draw to win one of their new Electracore 3.0mm Rechargeable Heated Vests!

And should you find that you need to return any of your purchases, Northern Diver understand that Christmas may be a little different for everyone this year and you may not get to see every one over Christmas, so they have extended their Returns Period to the end of January 2021. (Valid for purchases made from Black Friday to end of December 2020).

Some unmissable offers to look out for are the Varilux Zoom, part of the Varilux Black & Gold Range, with its variable beam width; and Northern Diver’s 4mm compressed Neoprene Drysuit, the Voyager, which is on offer for an incredible £475!

For more information visit the Northern Diver website by clicking here.

Photo credit: Joe Duffy

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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