Pirates Down Under – Dive Pirates welcome four new chapters as it expands to Australia
A collaboration between RAID International, RAID US, the Dive Pirates Foundation, and Sargood on Collaroy expanded adaptive diving in Australia to four dive facilities and six instructors; with four people with disabilities now certified and enjoying the ocean around them.
“I have been diving for 28 years, have more than 1200 logged dives, and I realized that the benefits of diving for someone with a disability is not only physical but also emotional, and the changing attitude, and that is what we’ve done over the past three and a half years putting what is happening here today together here in the aquatic center,” said Bob Staddon, honorary advisor on adaptive diving for RAID International. “These guys are having the time of their lives.”
Staddon joined the Royal Australian Navy after high school and later suffered a waterslide accident that caused quadriplegia. His intense rehabilitation included swimming and he became the first person with quadriplegia certified as an open water scuba diver in Australia. (Sounds like a Dive Pirate, doesn’t he?) An internationally recognized athlete, he works tirelessly expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. With the support of Mark McCrum, RAID International Training Director, and Sebastian “Seb’ van Veenendaal, Sargood’s Adaptive Sport and Recreational Specialist, adaptive diving is now a reality down under.
Representing RAID US as a RAIDaptive Instructor Trainer, Barbara Thompson took the opportunity to introduce the group to the Dive Pirates Foundation, inviting the dive facilities to become chapters and help sponsor local Australians with disabilities to take part in adaptive diving. The Dive Pirates Foundation welcomes the following dive centers to the crew:
Beyond Depths in Kirrawee, NSW
Bay City Scuba in East Geelong VIC
Snorkels and Dive Safari in Swansea, NSW
Sargood on Collaroy, NSW
“This was a unique opportunity to train instructors with the RAIDaptive program and as facilities with adaptive dive instructors on board they qualify to be chapters of the Dive Pirates Foundation; so they will be able to fundraise and support injured veterans and others with disabilities to learn to dive right here in Australia,” said Thompson, who is also a co-founder of Dive Pirates. “This is the beginning of a great relationship for the foundation as it branches us out internationally and we are so excited to be a part of the growing adaptive diving community in Australia.”
“These are great teachers, really experienced, really giving me the confidence to do this, I’ve always loved going into the water, going into the ocean and to be able to do that again is awesome, it’s a complete feeling of freedom and weightlessness, I am absolutely loving it, thank you!” Expounded Lee Ferrier who lost the use of his legs after a motorcycle accident.
“I participated in this program because I had heard from other paraplegic divers I could get neuropathic pain relief from scuba, and taking part in this has been very enlightening, I have learned a lot, it’s a very thorough program that focuses on safety, which makes me feel very comfortable going into the ocean for the first time,” said John Ayoub who lives with an upper-body spinal cord injury that affects fine motor skills. “I’m really excited, I haven’t slept, that’s how excited I am!”
The pool training took place at Warringah Aquatic Center through cooperation with Sargood on Collaroy, a resort designed for people with spinal cord injuries to go on holiday and enjoy a large array of adaptive activities in a fully accessible setting. As part of the special training, event divers received new diving accessories from Sharkskin Watersports and Neptune Wetsuits.
Catch some of the fun at https://www.facebook.com/BeyonDepthsDiving/videos/290166331594501/
Caption information: L-R Front Row Bob Staddon, Xavier Monsaignan, Lee Ferrier, John Marshall, Tassie Horvat, Shannon Carlson, Mark Leslie
Back Row Mark McCrum, John Wilson, Lyndi Leggett, Seb Van Veenendaal, Joh Ayoub, Steve Bates, Barbara Thompson
RAID is a culmination of worldwide SCUBA diving, training experience, and skill development combined and presented with today’s latest technology; considered one of the most comprehensive e-learning programs in the world.
RAID’s mission is to be the benchmark brand for quality dive training globally through improved technology, training techniques, a proactive quality control system, and ensuring the highest standard of dive instructors. Learn more at www.diveraid.com.
The Dive Pirates Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing scuba diving to persons with disabilities and joining them with the mainstream of divers. Its vision is to create a community of adaptive divers that will dive and travel in the mainstream world of scuba diving through education and overcoming obstacles. For more information about the Foundation go to www.divepirates.org.