On the 8th of April 2015, Oceans Unlimited, a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Dive Resort, became the first scuba diving center in Costa Rica to host a Deptherapy Instructor Course. Deptherapy is a unique branch of scuba training that enables people with a wide range of disabilities and impairments to learn to scuba dive. Oceans’ facilities were evaluated to ensure that it met the criteria required to be an all abilities adaptive dive training center (i.e. adequate wheelchair access). During this course, Oceans’ Course Director, Georgia King and Lead Instructor, James Timney (JT) received crossover training from DDI (Disable Divers International) to Deptherapy. In addition, three instructors and a divemaster were introduced to the world of instructing differently-abled divers.
This training is remarkable because it teaches instructors and divemasters how to work with divers with different abilities during training. Teaching divers with different abilities requires instructors to think outside of the usual parameters of scuba diving. This can be as simple as altering hand signals or, in more extreme circumstances, changing swimming patterns.
To be a proper scuba instructor you must have a can-do attitude that is passed on to your students. This attitude is even more important when diving with differently-abled people because they may face more difficulties in achieving the requirements to become a scuba diver. A thorough explanation of what you are going to teach them and what will be expected of them to meet training standards is also crucial to achieving their goals. As a team, we must figure out how to accomplish the goals set forth.
Within the Oceans team, there is a scuba diver who is rated by the United States Veterans Administration as being 40% disabled. James (JT) is in constant pain and has found comfort in scuba diving as it relieves his pains (and it doesn’t hurt that the sights underwater are so amazing!) The reprieve of pain and the enjoyment he finds in diving are things that together he, as the Lead Instructor, and Oceans Unlimited hope to pass onto those who are less fortunate and have challenges that together we can overcome through the world of diving. That is why he has become a DDI and Deptherapy scuba Diving Instructor.