Dive Pirates opens the door to scuba diving to people with different abilities.
It all started when three women sitting around the table after a great day of diving started talking about their new certifications as adaptive scuba instructors. Who can we teach? Who would be interested? As the news filled the airways of the conflict in the middle east almost daily, the answer came easily; let’s give back to those who defend us and others in need with something we can do; give them back some fun and freedom the water gives all of us.
For the past 15 years, the Dive Pirates Foundation continues to share the accessibility of the underwater world with men and women who by accident, disease, or military conflict experienced a life-altering change in their mobility through adaptive scuba diving.
It started with a T-Shirt….
The group started with a simple concept, provide a complete system of equipment and training for a recipient, and provide a great first open water experience. Providing all the necessary tools for success, the hope was that the recipient would continue to dive and enjoy the recreational sport for years to come. They printed t-shirts to raise money, which has now grown into the Foundation’s annual membership drive which has provided more than 134 adaptive divers and another 128 adaptive dive buddies the gear on their backs and started them on their journey as adaptive divers.
“100 percent time of my life….
I thought this was impossible, the dive pirates made it possible,” said Charles Davis who has incomplete quadriplegia. “Everyone was absolutely awesome, the crew was, before you asked they were helping, and knew exactly what to do and was happy to do it, unbelievable, couldn’t ask for anything more, a life-changing experience.”
It’s not just an adaptive thing….
“One of the best comments we received by one of our very athletic recipients said ‘I love this because it’s something I can do with able-bodied people too, it’s not exclusive like wheelchair basketball or other adaptive sports,’ ” said Dive Pirates Co-Founder and President Sophie Wimberley. “On our last trip we had a number of young couples who were just excited to have something they could enjoy together; it truly levels the playing field and we’re all just divers.”
We’re all in this together…
Though the focus is on injured military and first responders, the Dive Pirates welcomes civilians too, with an almost 50/50 ratio of veteran to civilian recipients during its 15-year history. Military recipients commented after completing the program they appreciated the diversity, helping them re-enter civilian life, network with other people with similar abilities, and just enjoy that esprit de corps they missed from their days in the military.
Find out more by visiting us at the Houston Abilities Expo August 2-3, 2019 at the NRG Center. Admission is FREE.
To become a supporting member, go to https://divepirates.org/product/auto-pirate/
For more information about the Foundation go to www.DivePirates.org