30 September 2005

Divers Alert Network joins with World Communications Center to provide global satellite communication services to divers

World Communications Center (WCC), a provider of global satellite voice and data communications, announced today that Divers Alert Network (DAN) has signed an agreement to offer its member divers the ability to rent WCC's Iridium satellite phones when diving in remote locations.

Satellite communications provides the ideal solution for divers, who typically travel in areas where landlines and cellular service are not available. In emergency situations, this can be cause for concern.

WCC provides service and equipment for satellite telephones, mobile asset tracking devices and satellite broadband internet. The company offers the one truly global satellite system, Iridium, which provides complete global coverage including all oceans and seas with no long distance or roaming fees. The WCC rental program allows DAN members to rent satellite equipment at weekly rates and pay for minutes they use at a fraction of what most international phone calls cost. User-friendly added-value features can include waterproof phone bags, special one-button programming to contact the DAN and WCC's 24-hour customer care.

WCC President Sam Romey said that with Iridium's unique truly global network, WCC has always recognized the value of satellite communications in the diving industry. "Many divers already use WCC's services, but our new relationship with DAN will help to reach out to its members and ensure further safety via reliable communications," Romey said.

Tony Bacci, Vice President of Marketing and New Business Development at DAN, underscored the value of the relationship with WCC. "Thanks to our partnership with WCC, we can offer our divers and group leaders an effective way to communicate back to us in case of emergency," Bacci said. ³We encourage divers to take advantage of this program so they can travel and dive to remote and beautiful places with peace of mind."

To launch the new DAN/WCC partnership and encourage traveling divers to learn about the easy-to-use Iridium satellite system, introductory specials are available to DAN divers and professionals including discounts, custom programming and other incentives. Details of each offer will be available at the DEMA show in Las Vegas, on the DAN website (www.diversalertnetwork.org) and on WCC's website (www.wcclp.com).

About DAN
Divers Alert Network (DAN) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit members organization dedicated to recreational diving safety and emergency assistance. DAN is supported by the largest association of recreational divers in the world. Founded in 1980, DAN has served as a lifeline for the scuba industry by operating diving's only 24-hour emergency hotline, a lifesaving service for injured divers. DAN also operates a diving medical information line, conducts vital diving medical research and develops and provides educational programs for everyone from beginning divers to medical professionals.

About WCC
World Communication Center (WCC) is a leading provider of global satellite solutions, including Iridium telephones, pagers, data capabilities, satellite broadband and service. The company provides leased and for-purchase satellite communications systems for maritime, aviation, commercial trucking and other ground transportation. WCC serves government agencies, leisure travelers and corporate entities including the State of Alaska, NASA, The Peace Corps and Boeing. For information, visit www.wcclp.com or call 800-211-2575.

Source: www.sportdiver.com
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Divers Alert Network joins with World Communications Center to provide global satellite communication services to divers

New Zealand: Scuba diving worth crossing the world for

Booming Tutukaka diving business Dive! Tutukaka won the Qualmark Tourism Mark of Quality at the New Zealand Tourism Association annual awards, held in Auckland New Zealand this week. Dive! Tutukaka, owned by Aussie Malcolm and Jeroen Jongejans, is now New Zealand's largest dive charter operation.

The Centre offers the thrills of diving the Poor Knight Islands area off New Zealand's coast. Named by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top ten dive sites in the world, the area is separated from mainland New Zealand. The Poor Knights Islands are heavily influenced by a warm current that originates from the Coral Sea, north of Australia...

Poor Knights is rock face diving. With each meter the environments and variety of life changes significantly. Water temperature is higher and visibility is significantly greater than in nearby coastal waters. Tropical as well as sub-tropical marine life flourishes here in an unusual habitat with volcanic origins. Underwater caves, tunnels and archways are home to abundant sea life in all colors, shapes and sizes!

Diving at the Poor Knights is fabulous thorughout the year. Mid January to late April offers excellent all round diving. The water is warm, 20-23 Celsius (70F), and averages 20 meters visibility.

From May to early September the visibility is excellent with a temperature drop to a winter low of 15-16 Celsius. This time of year frequently offers calm weather with increasing water visibility to 30 meters.

From September through January the water warms and plankton can reduce visibility to as little as 10 to 15 meters at certain times. But this is countered by the increase in the number and species of fish coming to feed on the plankton, including predators.

Poor Knights Islands offers many exciting and unusual dive sites. The marine species at the Poor Knights is so abundant that there is plenty to see in the first 10 meters... but you can go much deeper if you choose making the area's diving fun for both the new and experienced diver.

What types of species do divers encounter? Blue mao mao and trevally along with the majestic kingfish. Pink mao mao and demoiselles swim at depths of 12 - 25 meters. Mado and porae can often be seen deeper and rare sightings of the long finned boar fish and splendid perch have been noted.

The Middle Arch is one of the most popular dives at the Poor Knights. Inside the archway the depth ranges from 10 to 16 meters and fish are everywhere! Wrasses and Lord Howe coralfish have been seen in this area lately as have certain other rare fish such as the yellow banded perch.

The award to Northland and Dive! Tutakaka ends a year of recognition for the Northland company. Northland recently became the first dive charter business in New Zealand to be awarded the elite National Geographic Dive Centre status, and was earlier named 2005 PADI Outstanding Dive Centre out of 900 in the Asia Pacific region.

To learn more about diving Poor Knights, book a trip or explore more about this amazing underwater habitat, visit: Dive Poor Knights Islands

Source: www.divenews.com
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New Zealand: Scuba diving worth crossing the world for

USA: Coast Guard rescues diver near Coronado Islands

An unconscious 70-year-old man was plucked from the water after a diving accident near the Coronado Islands.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the accident occurred during the victim's second dive Monday from the commercial diving boat "Ocean Express."

Coast Guard Lt. Rick Hipes said authorities were notified at 2 p.m. that the diver had been found unconscious. He had regained consciousness by the time a rescue helicopter reached the scene about 30 minutes later.

The victim was flown to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest and placed in a hyperbaric chamber. His name was not released.

Source: www.nbcsandiego.com
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USA: Coast Guard rescues diver near Coronado Islands

Great Barrier Reef may need shade cloth to prevent coral bleaching

Metrer of shade cloth could cover our precious Great Barrier Reef in future to protect it from coral bleaching.

The major tourist asset may need to be shaded as a last resort to save the living corals off Townsville, a CRC Reef scientist has said.

CRC Reef research director Dr David Williams said experiments were being conducted with shade cloth at Agincourt Reef off Port Douglas.

And it is a desperate practical measure being taken to sustain the reef while other research into coral bleaching is undertaken.

The popular coral reef is one of many which has been damaged due to long, hot summers which have left stunning corals laid bare and bleached.

Dr Williams said tourist operators and government bodies may work together to combat the phenomenon which has the potential to cripple Queensland's tourist trade.

Dr Williams said CRC Reef and tourist dive operator Quick Silver was conducting the research off Port Douglas.

High water temperatures and sunlight are the major cause of bleaching.

"It may be possible for tourist operators to temporarily protect coral in hot periods," he said.

"This is a pilot experiment which has had some success.

"Having shade out for part of last season is helping the problem.

"It is an early stage thing but we hope it will make a difference in the short term.

"It may be possible we will do something similar here."

Dr Williams said large numbers of corals had died on the Great Barrier Reef and it was time to look for a practical and immediate response to the problem.

"We can also maximise all other factors on the reef such as improving water quality and managing fisheries.

"The reef has shown it can respond well if it is not dealing with multiple stresses."

Researchers will pay particular attention to the research happening in the North this year and will determine whether Kelso and John Brewer reefs off Townsville would benefit.

James Cook University researchers have been leading the way in the area with new remote sensing technology.

The instrument is the brainchild of JCU physics Professor Mal Heron and will allow researchers to predict the ocean's movements.

Prof Heron said half a million dollars had been given to the research team to conduct studies into coral bleaching.

"The HF radar will help us predict in the short term, and help us understand the processes better, that is, the physical parameters which drive the coral bleaching," he said.

Source: townsvillebulletin.news.com.au
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Great Barrier Reef may need shade cloth to prevent coral bleaching

Japan: First-ever images of bus-sized giant squid - filmed underwater

Japan: First-ever images of bus-sized giant squid - filmed underwaterJapanese zoologists have made the first recording of a live giant squid, one of the strangest and most elusive creatures in the world.

The size of a bus, with vast eyes and a querulous beak, the giant squid has long nourished myth and literature, most memorably in Jules Vernes' 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in which a squid tried to engulf the submarine Nautilus with its suckered tentacles.

Until now, the only evidence of giant squid was extraordinarily rare, from dead squids that washed up on remote shores or got snagged on a long-line fish hook or from ships' crews who spotted the deep-sea denizen as it made a sortie near the surface.

But almost nothing was known about where and how the giant squid lives, feeds and reproduces. And, given the problems of getting down to its home in the ocean depths, no-one had ever obtained pictures of a live one.

First to film
Dr Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Science Museum in Tokyo and Dr Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association describe in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B how they found the squid, using sperm whales as a guide.

Sperm whales are the main predator of the giant squid.

Whale watchers on the Ogawara Islands, in the North Pacific, have long noted how sperm whales migrate.

In particular they have observed how the mammals would gather near a steep and canyoned continental shelf, about 10-15 kilometres southeast of Chichijima Island.

By attaching depth loggers to the whales, the watchers found the creatures made enormous dives of up to 1000 metres, just at the depths where the giant squid is believed to lurk.

They then set up a special rig, comprising a camera, stroboscope light, timer, depth sensor, data logger and a depth-activated switch attached to two mesh bags filled with a tempting bait of freshly mashed shrimps.

Suspended from floats, the rig was lowered into the water on a nylon line, with flash pictures taken every 30 seconds for the next four to five hours.

In September 2004, 900 metres below sea level, an 8 metre specimen lunged at the lower bait bag, succeeding only in getting impaled on the hook.

For the next four hours, the squid tried to get off the hook as the camera snapped away every 30 seconds, gaining not only pictures but also information about how the squid propels itself.

After a monstrous battle, the squid eventually freed itself, but left behind a giant tentacle on the hook.

When the severed limb was brought up to the surface, its huge suckers could still grip the boat deck and any fingers that touched them, testimony to the myths of yore, that spoke of monstrous arms that grabbed ships and hauled them to their doom.

The researchers have tested DNA from the tentacle, and the result concurs with that of other samples taken from washed-up squid.

Their deep-sea pictures suggest that the squid is far from being the "sluggish, neutrally buoyant" creature that people think.

Quite the opposite, say the Japanese duo. It is an active predator that attacks its prey horizontally, and its two long tentacles coil up into a ball after the strike, rather like pythons that rapidly envelop their prey in their sinuous curves.

Elusive squid
Scientists have gone to extreme lengths, backed by TV companies, to be the first to film giant squid.

In 1997 the US National Geographic Society attached video cameras by a temporary cord to sperm whales in the hope that this would get pictures of a whale dining on one of the giant cephalopods.

In 2003, New Zealand marine biologists laid a sex trap.

They ground up some squid gonads, believing that the scent would drive male giant squids wild as the creatures migrated through New Zealand waters.

The hope was that a camera would squirt out the pureed genitals and a passing squid, driven into a sexual frenzy, would then mate with the lens.

This was a project that, some may be relieved to hear, never came to fruition.

(Related video: Giant squid caught on film)

Source: abc.net.au and www.usatoday.com
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Japan: First-ever images of bus-sized giant squid - filmed underwater

Deep diving whale shark secret revealed

Hi-tech electronic tags on whale sharks, the world's largest fish, have revealed how and where they find food.

Researchers in Belize have tracked the sharks as they dive almost a kilometre in search of food, and find shoals of spawning fish in order to eat the eggs.

The sharks grow to 20m in length, and are listed as vulnerable to extinction.

The researchers believe their findings will help to plan tourism operations around whale sharks in a way that does not harm the creatures themselves.

These new, unprecedented insights into the whale sharks' world come from the Belize Barrier Reef, the world's second largest barrier reef system and a site given UN World Heritage status.

"Our study showed that sharks dive much deeper than previously believed, reaching depths of over 1,000m in search of food," said Rachel Graham, of the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

"Water this deep is only a few degrees above freezing; and this explains why tropical whale sharks have an insulating fat layer just below their skins, something which has perplexed scientists for years."

Day or night
During the night, the sharks generally remain in shallow water, feeding off plankton, and reserving deep dives for the heat of the day.

Deep dives often end with a high-speed ascent, perhaps to deliver a burst of oxygen to their bodies after a period in deeper, less oxygenated water.

Around the time of the full moon, Cubera snappers come together near the shore to spawn, forming huge masses of writhing bodies in a "soup" of freshly-released eggs.

For the whale sharks, this is a feast, and they swim through the egg soup time and time again, filling their giant mouths with snapper caviar.

This habit of surfacing during spawning allowed the scientists to attach electronic tags to the whale sharks.

The tags make regular recordings of temperature, water pressure and light level. After a pre-programmed period, they automatically detach from the shark, float to the surface and beam their data back as an e-mail via satellite.

Slow and easy
The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is found globally, both in open water and near shore.

Despite its huge size, it eats plankton rather than people, and its slow movements make it easy to catch by harpoon or net.

IUCN, the World Conservation Union, lists the whale shark as "vulnerable" in its Red List of threatened species.

Owing to a demand for fins, trade in its parts is now regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

However, a different industry is now growing in some parts of the world, including Belize, using the creature as a tourist attraction.

"Knowledge of the whale shark's dive behaviour can help us tailor conservation policies in a way which minimises impact on them," Dr Graham told the BBC News website.

"We now know that the spawnings, the predictable pulses of food, are important enough to the shark that they change their regular behaviour to make use of them.

"So protection of the critical habitat that these feeding sites represent, and of the sharks when they're visiting, is key to sustaining the sharks."

The WCS and University of York scientists publish their findings in the Royal Society's journal Interface.

Source: news.bbc.co.uk
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Deep diving whale shark secret revealed

26 September 2005

South Africa: Air search for missing scuba diver is called off

An air search for missing diver Charles Heyns was called off but two boats continued to look for him late on Friday afternoon.

Heyns, an experienced diver from Sunset Beach, disappeared during a night dive near Vulcan Rock off Hout Bay on Thursday.

During the search, rescuers found the decomposed body of another man, believed to be that of a fisherman who went missing two weeks ago when his boat capsized.

There was no sign of a second fisherman who disappeared at the same time.

Brad Geyser, NSRI Hout Bay station commander, said the area between Duiker Island and Vulcan Rock was referred to as a washing machine because the water "boiled".

Source: www.iol.co.za
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South Africa: Air search for missing scuba diver is called off

Shed new light on a familiar dive site and get a free GLO-TOOB tank light from PADI

If you ask a group of divers about their favorite type of diving, chances are they'll tell you they love to go night diving. This might seem strange to a new diver, who might imagine the underwater world at night is dark and scary. But as experienced divers know, night diving can be very relaxing, and people are often surprised at how much there is to see.

During a night dive, even the most familiar dive site becomes a completely different place. While some fish sleep, creatures such as lobsters, octopi and coral put on an amazing show. Night dives can also be very colorful experiences. On daytime dives, you experience color loss as you go deeper, but at night, your dive light reveals beautiful oranges, vibrant reds and bright yellows. In some areas, the water itself is illuminated as plankton, jellyfish and other luminescent animals make the underwater environment seem otherworldly.

In the PADI Night Diver Specialty course, you'll learn night-dive planning, procedures and techniques as well as how to avoid and overcome potential problems. You'll also learn how to navigate and communicate at night. In addition, the course includes an introduction to the local nocturnal aquatic life.

You can complete your PADI Night Diver Specialty course in as little as one night and, if you've completed a Night Adventure Dive during your Adventures in Diving program, you may be able to count this dive toward your Night Diver Specialty certification*.

During the month of October, you can earn a free GLO-TOOB LCD tank light when you complete a PADI Night Diver Specialty course. The GLO-TOOB tank light (a $24.95 value) is waterproof to any depth and comes with a 30-hour battery. This environmentally friendly little light is packed with power and will last through many dives and adventures. For more information on this promotion visit The Specialty of the Month section of www.padi.com.

Whether you've dreamed of seeing a lobster wrestling match or a manta gliding by in the moonlight, a PADI Night Diver Specialty certification can help make your dreams a reality. Visit a PADI dive center or resort near you to sign up today.

*Credit is given at the instructor's discretion.

Source: www.sportdiver.com
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Shed new light on a familiar dive site and get a free GLO-TOOB tank light from PADI

Australia: Surfer fights off great white shark on birthday

Australians marvelled on Monday at the valour of a surfer who fought a four-metre Great White shark and survived with only a few gashes to his legs.

Josh Berris, 26, had his death-defying moment on Sunday at Kangaroo Island near Adelaide.

"He's very lucky to come out unscathed," paramedic Dean George told national broadcaster ABC. "With the conditions over there and the water he was in and the number of sharks that I'm sure were around, he was a very lucky man."

George was in the helicopter that whisked birthday-boy Berris to an Adelaide hospital after four friends had pulled him ashore and bound his wounds.

Source: www.iol.co.za
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Australia: Surfer fights off great white shark on birthday

Japanese woman has died while scuba diving in Australia

A Japanese woman died while scuba diving off Australia's east coast, police said Saturday.

The woman, aged about 30, was not breathing when she surfaced from a dive off Lady Elliot Island in Queensland state, police said in a statement.

Efforts to revive her were unsuccessful. The woman, whose identity was not immediately released, was diving with four other people.

Further details were not immediately available.

Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay at the southern tip of Australia's Great Barrier Reef that is popular as a dive and snorkeling spot.

Source: mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp
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Japanese woman has died while scuba diving in Australia

23 September 2005

South Africa: Scuba diver goes missing in Hout Bay

An intensive search was launched on Thursday night for a diver who had gone missing in Hout Bay during a night diving course, the National Sea Rescue Institute said.

Spokesperson Graig Lambinon said on Friday morning at least three boats and a helicopter were taking part in the search.

He said the NSRI in Hout Bay received a call Thursday night around 07:30 after Cape Town Port Control had seen red distress flares.

The NSRI in Hout Bay launched its two boats and the Kommetjie branch, as well as the Table Bay branch also launched boats to help in the search. Police and Metro Rescue divers were also deployed to assist with the search while two private boats joined.

"On arrival on-scene a search commenced for a missing diver who was reported to be in full dive gear including a buoyancy vest and wet-suit," Lambinon said.

"Sea conditions were one to two metre short choppy swells and 10 knot South Westerly winds.

"The search grid was plotted by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and included a search along the coast taking into account natural drift currents, wind speed and wind direction."

Lambinon said ten people were taking part in an advanced night dive course at Vulcan Rock, off the Hout Bay coast.

Seven divers went into the water, but two decided to abort the dive due to the choppy seas. When they tried to board the boat again, one drifted away and was soon missing. The missing diver's identity has not yet been released.

During the night rescue teams were rotated and the search continued early on Friday morning with the helicopter joining around 06:00.

Source: www.news24.com
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South Africa: Scuba diver goes missing in Hout Bay

Commercial diver sues firm for injuries received; air supply turned off

A commercial deep-sea diver sued on Wednesday two boat companies over injuries he sustained while performing underwater work off the Apra Harbor on Guam.

John Brady Barrineau claimed that someone aboard the M/V Cajun turned off the air supply to which he was hooked to while he was cleaning the hull of another boat underwater.

Defendant Cabras Marine Corp. owns M/V Cajun, while co-defendant Promarine Technology operates it. Barrineau's attorneys, William M. Fitzgerald and Bruce Berline, said that PMT was contracted to clean the hull of the M/V Cpl. Louis J. Hauge, Jr. earlier this year.

The attorneys said the M/V Cajun's mission was to transport Barrineau, a Saipan resident, and others to and from the M/V Hauge each day while the maintenance work was being completed. The Cajun served as Barrineau's and other divers' dive station.

They said the Cajun took Barrineau to the Hauge, after which he began his work underwater, cleaning the Hauge's hull.

"Barrineau's air initiated from the dive compressor aboard the M/V Cajun and was delivered to [him] via a flexible umbilical assembly," they said. "While in the midst of scrubbing the hull, Barrineau's air supply was, suddenly and without warning, turned off completely by someone aboard the M/V Cajun."

Barrineau's complaint stated that he then began sinking below the hull until he managed to free himself from his equipment such as weight belt, diving apparatus and hydraulic scrubber. The diver began to ascend rapidly.

"During the ascent, Barrineau lost consciousness and hit his head on the hull of the ship, causing it to bleed," the complaint stated.

The incident resulted in "permanent and painful injuries of body and mind," Barrineau's attorneys said.

Besides incurring medical and related expenses, Barrineau has been prevented from enjoying the normal pleasures of life to which he was formerly accustomed, they added.

Citing several causes of action, the attorneys said the defendants breached their duty to ensure Barrineau's safety.

They asked the court to award the diver unspecified monetary damages and demanded for a jury trial.

Source: www.saipantribune.com
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Commercial diver sues firm for injuries received; air supply turned off

Hurricane Rita Misses The Bahamas: All Scuba Diving Operations up and running at 100%

Thankfully, Hurricane Rita skirted the southern Bahamas, and actually was a tropical storm as it passed just below the island of Andros. All Scuba Diving operations are fully operational, and accepting divers.

Thankfully, Hurricane Rita skirted the southern Bahamas, and actually was a tropical storm as it passed just below the island of Andros.

According to Neal Watson, President of the Bahamas Diving Association; "all our dive operators are up and running at 100%, thankfully, it was just a minor storm when it passed here." Mr. Watson continues "The Islands of The Bahamas has been fortunate this year, as all the major systems have passed by, or were just tropical storms as they entered the country. The months of September and October are actually some of the best diving months; water is very warm (as high as 88f), usually winds are calm, often creating pool-like diving conditions."

More storm updates and current information can be found on the official website for the Bahamas Diving Association: http://www.bahamasdiving.com.

The Bahamas Diving Association is the official association of dive operators for the country, comprised of 35 resorts, dive operators and dive liveabaords within the Islands of The Bahamas.

Source: www.pr.com
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Hurricane Rita Misses The Bahamas: All Scuba Diving Operations up and running at 100%

Australian Government may licence scuba diving

THE NSW government is considering establishing an annual licence for scuba divers similar to that required by recreational fishers.

Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald today said the scheme would involve the creation of an independent scuba diving trust, made up of industry members, who would allocate licence costs to programs to improve amenities for divers.

Mr Macdonald said the trust also could invest funds towards programs to protect the habitat areas of the critically endangered grey nurse shark.

"The state government was previously considering introducing a fee to dive in these areas but the licence system will be simpler and fairer – instead of paying a fee for each dive in the habitat sites, divers will now have an annual fee," Mr Macdonald said.

He said he had recently met senior diving industry representatives, who expressed support for the proposal.

Source: www.thecouriermail.news.com.au
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Australian Government may licence scuba diving

Scuba Diving Gear: RG300 - AltAir Octopus

An innovative product designed for out-of-air emergencies.

So where is your octopus during the dive? Is it trailing along in the water behind you? Can you find it in an emergency? Can you find it at all?

XS Scuba has addressed that problem by developing the AltAir.

The AltAir utilizes the same patented quick-release buckles used on most of today's modern weight-integrated BC's.

Snap the AltAir in place to the BC and forget about it. If you need it, it will be there...every time. Even after a giant stride from a 20' tuna tower...it's still there.

Yet, just grab and pull the AltAir; that's all that is needed to release the patented X-Lock™ buckle.

* Exclusive X-Lock™ attachment
* Intelligent, inline mouthpiece orientation
* Reliable, free flow resistant design
* Female BC attachment clip included
* Hi-Viz neon yellow
* Patent #6,487,761
* 36" hose (92 cm)

Source: www.xsscuba.com
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Scuba Diving Gear: RG300 - AltAir Octopus

Australia: Dive firm confident of crew's response to missing tourists

A north Queensland diving company says it is confident proper safety procedures were followed when two British tourists went missing at the weekend.

A 31-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman spent five hours in waters, about 50 nautical miles north-east of Townsville before being found by police on Saturday.

Dive boat organisers reported them missing after a head count.

The manager of Pro Dive, Paul Crocombe, says the crew would have conducted their own search.

"I haven't had the chance to speak to the crew yet, the vessel's not due back in until Monday night," he said.

"So it depends on the conditions on the day as to what search methods were used, whether it be snorkel divers in the water having a look in the area, whether it be taking the tender - we have a small dive tender out and checking.

"There are a number of different methods they could've used to do the search."

Source: www.abc.net.au
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Australia: Dive firm confident of crew's response to missing tourists

Italian divers break underwater record after living at the bottom of the sea for 10 days

Two Italian divers have broken the world record for living underwater thanks to a 10-day stint in a 'house' on the seabed off the island of Ponza.

Stefano Barbaresi, 37, and Stefania Mensa, 29, surfaced on Saturday afternoon, looking tired and dazed after abandoning the watery home where they endured cold, fatigue and even, ironically, dehydration.

The pair's first requests were for "a real bed and some dry clothes." While living at a depth of eight metres, the two professional diving instructors had to sleep underneath bed frames which had been turned upside down. This was to stop the sleeper floating upwards.

Within the 18-square-metre patch of seabed there was a small bell-shaped structure where Barbaresi and Mensa ate, used the toilet and carried out daily medical tests.

But over 90% of their time was spent in their 'house', which contained two sofas, some chairs, a waterproofed television, some books and an exercise bike. All around was the clear blue sea with its fauna and flora. "I would have like to spend more time down there observing the marine life. I saw so many fish, even prettier than I expected," said Mensa after finishing her six-hour decompression session. "But I want to forget the cold. I suffered a lot from the low water temperature and that's why I spent so much time on the exercise bike." The previous record for living under water was set by an American who managed to last six days in Lake Michigan before giving up.

The record-breaking Italian initiative, which cost some 380,000 euros to organise, was partly an experiment designed to gauge the effects of prolonged immersion on the human body.

The aim was to provide scientific data for researchers at Rome's San Gallicano hospital. A medical team monitored the 'aquanauts' via closed circuit TV and carried out regular tests.

On the seventh day the team had to step in to deal with a minor emergency when Barbaresi collapsed due to tiredness and incipient dehydration. He was put on a drip in the dry area and soon recovered his strength.

Despite the difficulties, Barbaresi insisted the experience had been worth it and expressed the hope that his achievement might help counter a "widespread fear of the sea".

"It isn't full of danger, as some people think. It is in fact incredibly beautiful."

Source: www.ansa.it
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Italian divers break underwater record after living at the bottom of the sea for 10 days

China: Diver sues aquarium after shark bites ear

A 24-year-old man is suing Shanghai Changfeng Park after a shark in its aquarium bit his ear and head while he was scuba diving.

The Putuo District People's Court held an evidentiary hearing in the case yesterday.

Zhang Liang is seeking 415,000 yuan (US$51,235) in compensation, including 400,000 yuan for mental anguish. Zhang said he went to the park with two friends to dive with sharks in the aquarium on the afternoon of July 17.

Zhang, who is a certified scuba diver, and his friends were accompanied by two diving coaches. After their 15-minute dive was up, the coaches gestured to the three men to swim to the surface of the aquarium.Zhang said at that point a 3.5-meter-long shark swam up to him from behind and bit the right side of his head and his ear.

The bite needed three stitches to close and doctors pulled a shark's tooth from his head.

"I was very lucky. If the shark had bitten my head strongly, I would have died," said Zhang. "Now I suffer from a serious mental disease as I often have visions of sharks."

He claims the park should have had one dive coach for each diver and should have provided protection equipment such as a helmet. He also said the sharks were being fed at the time of the attack.

"The feeding will stimulate the sharks to attack people," said Zhang. "The park runners, who should know sharks are a fierce animal, have the obligation to protect visitors' security."

Park managers said Zhang didn't follow instructions from his coach and he made his ascent too quickly, running into the shark. It has agreed to pay his medical bills, but not compensation for mental anguish.

Source: news.xinhuanet.com
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China: Diver sues aquarium after shark bites ear

Beneath the Sea to convene its 30th Annual Expo and Travel Show

BENEATH THE SEA's 30th annual Ocean Adventure Exposition and Travel Show will convene at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, on the weekend of March 24, 25 and 26, 2006.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, America's largest consumer ocean adventure-scuba diving-and travel exposition, Beneath the Sea, brings together more than 300 exhibitors from all corners of the world for a weekend of excitement, special events, parties and underwater arts.

Throughout the weekend Beneath the Sea features information about the sea changes of our times as an update for the ocean community. Education is the most important part of Beneath the Sea's charter.

In order to fulfill that obligation to the ocean's community Beneath the Sea will sponsor over 60 seminars and workshops examining life in, on and around the oceans of the world. These seminars and workshops are organized and conducted by subject specialists and industry experts. Add to that, equipment demonstrations, visual presentations of exotic destinations, and always the rattle, buzz and hum of social events and parties that celebrate the coming together of old friends and the making of new friends.

A Beneath the Sea weekend entertains, informs and excites the experienced diver and new diver alike, while enticing nondivers to join this fraternity of friends beneath the sea.

Ocean Pals, Beneath the Sea's environmental education program for children, will, on Sunday, March 26th honor the winners of their 2006 poster contest and host a party for children. For more information on Ocean Pals take a look at their web site http://www.Beneaththesea.org/v2/ocean_pals.html.

Adding to the excitement, merriment and substance of this Beneath the Sea weekend, The Women Divers Hall of Fame http://www.wdhof.org. will present a series of events and their inductees for the new year.

Come, meet old friends, make new friends, and be a part of the present and the future in scuba diving, oceanography, exploration, environmentalism, adventure and underwater photography. Make yourself a part of BENEATH THE SEA when it convenes its 30th Ocean Adventure, Scuba Diving Exposition and Travel Show at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. the weekend of March 24, 25 and 26 - only 4 miles, just 10 minutes from midtown Manhattan.

For directions, visit the Meadowlands website: http://www.mecexpo.com/.

For more information call 1.914.664.4310, e-mail info@Beneaththesea.org.

Source: www.diversalertnetwork.org
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Beneath the Sea to convene its 30th Annual Expo and Travel Show

Australia: Police to interview dive boat crew

Police will today interview the crew of a dive boat after two British tourists survived a six-hour ordeal in shark infested waters on the Great Barrier Reef.

Louise Woodger, 29, and Gordon Pratley, 31, become separated from their dive boat Sea-Esta about 10am (AEST) on Saturday.

The couple, suffering exhaustion and mild hypothermia, were found clinging to emergency flotation devices about 3.50pm - nearly 10km from where they first entered the water at Wheeler Reef north-east of Townsville.

The dive boat crew had reported them missing after a head count.

New dive safety procedures introduced after the disappearance of American couple Tom and Eileen Lonergan in 1998 have been credited with helping to save the couple's lives.

Their disappearance was not reported to police until two days after the trip and they were never found.

The incident sparked a crisis of confidence in north Queensland's dive industry and the tightening of safety regulations for dive boats.

In the latest incident, police said there was no suggestion of any negligence by the crew.

Acting Inspector Greg Doyle said yesterday police would interview the rest of the dive group today.

"We haven't had the opportunity to talk to the crew or the other members on the dive ship itself, because they were actually out for the weekend," he said.

"So they don't actually come back until tomorrow, which is Monday, and we'll obviously get the chance to speak to the crew and the rest of the passengers on the boat at that stage."

Coast Guard skipper Jon Colless, who ferried the exhausted pair to safety, said they were at risk of "very large" sharks and in greater danger if they were not found before sunset.

"They were freakishly lucky that search was called early in the day, that the weather was going down, it had been a bit lumpy ... and the skipper of the dive boat was right on the ball, did everything right," he said.

Mr Colless said the area in which the pair went missing was between two reefs and a high tide "caused a much stronger current between the reefs than I think anybody realised".

Source: dailytelegraph.news.com.au
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Australia: Police to interview dive boat crew

Scientists document unusual gathering of whale sharks in the Gulf of Mexico

Scientists document unusual gathering of whale sharks in the Gulf of MexicoThe biggest shark in the sea comes here for an all-you-can eat buffet. Just off this remote speck of land three hours north of Cancun, whale sharks mass by the hundreds each summer in a spectacle only recently discovered by scientists.

This is where the fish that inspired the Georgia Aquarium — the world’s biggest fish — swims wild, stuffing itself with tons of olive-green plankton, which blooms profusely in the bathtub-warm waters between Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula.

"The numbers of animals that gather here could be astounding," said Robert Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory. "This could be the largest gathering of these sharks in the world."

Just last week, 53-year-old Hueter was swimming with the gentle filter-feeders as part of a research effort partially funded by the Georgia Aquarium, which opens November 23 in downtown Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium will be the only fish tank outside of Asia to display the huge fish, which feed by straining plankton through a mesh-like layer in the throat. They can grow to the size of a rail car. The two Atlanta whale sharks, which were imported from Taiwan and dubbed Ralph and Norton, are young and still growing, measuring about 16.5 and 15 feet, respectively.

The aquarium was specifically designed for whale sharks. Their football-field-size tank holds 6 million gallons of water and is the largest man-made fish tank on the planet. Marcus, as part of the aquarium's research mission, is funneling about $50,000 a year to Mote and Mexican conservation officials to study and protect the sharks in the wild off Holbox (pronounced hole-bosh) Island.

The aquarium is touting research and education as part of its mission. A piece of that research began before sunrise three days last week as Hueter, National Geographic explorer-in-residence Sylvia Earle and a few assistants loaded their gear into a boat and headed northeast to the vast plankton beds where the big sharks feed.

Scientists did not even know the sharks — usually solitary animals — massed off Holbox until a local fisherman casually mentioned it to Hueter three years ago. He described hundreds of giant fish that the locals call tiburon ballena, or domino sharks (because of their spots), that congregate in the waters off the island from May to September. They had come when the fisherman's father was a boy and when his father’s father was a boy. Hueter was speechless.

Before Holbox, researchers knew of a few other documented gathering spots in the world — western Australia, Belize, Honduras, the Indian Ocean. But these areas attract far fewer whale sharks than Holbox.

"And in all these other places around the world where they gather, it's almost all males," Hueter said. "Off Holbox, about 25 percent of the animals are females. Something very special is going on out here."

Source: www.indianexpress.com
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Scientists document unusual gathering of whale sharks in the Gulf of Mexico

Twenty shark facts - fact vs. fiction

The history of sharks dates back millions of years. Mankind's fascination with sharks is a mix of myth and reality, fact and superstition, and it is punctuated with fear of the unknown.

Divers appreciate sharks because sharks are intelligent yet primal predators. The excitement and drenaline rush of observing these creatures in their natural environment keeps divers coming back for more. A little knowledge goes a long way in making shark diving a wonderful experience. Here are twenty of my favorite shark facts.

1. Great White Sharks grow about 10 inches per year. Great Whites can grow to mature lengths of 12 to 14 feet.

2. New teeth are constantly being formed in rows in a shark's jaw. Shark's teeth are normally replaced every eight days.

3. Some species of sharks can shed as many as 30,000 teeth in their lifetime.

4. Whale Sharks have approximately 300 rows of teeth, with hundreds of tiny teeth in each row.

5. Dried shark skin (shagreen) was used in the past as sandpaper. In Germany and Japan, shark skin was used on sword handles for a non-slip grip.

6. In 1937, shark liver oil was discovered to be rich in vitamin A. Sharks were hunted for the vitamin until 1950, when a synthesizing method was developed for vitamin A.

7. The average life span of a shark is 25 years, but some sharks can live to be 100.

8. The dogfish sharks are named for their tendency to attack their prey as a pack of wild dogs would.

9. Great White Sharks can go as long as three months without eating.

10. Not all sharks have to be in continuous motion to breathe.

11. Bull Sharks can tolerate a wide range of salinity and are often found in freshwater rivers and lakes in Africa and South America.

12. More people are killed each year by dogs, pigs and deer than by sharks.

13. The Pygmy Shark has a maximum length of 11 inches.

14. Sharks have no bones. A shark's skeleton is made up of cartilage.

15. There are more than 340 known species of sharks.

16. Sharks first appeared in the fossil record over 400 million years ago.

17. A significant physical trait that separates a modern shark from an ancient shark is the protrusile jaw, which gives the modern shark more biting force.

18. Sharks can generate about six and a half tons per square inch of biting force.

19. A shark's skin is embedded with dermal denticles, which resemble teeth.

20. The Shortfin Mako shark is probably the fastest fish in the ocean, clocked at about 60 mph.

Source: scuba.about.com
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Twenty shark facts - fact vs. fiction

Australia: Test-tube sharks on the way?

Australian scientists are hoping to develop techniques that would allow them to produce 'test-tube' grey nurse sharks, in a bid to save the species from terminal decline.

The grey nurse, also known as the sand tiger shark, is a form of nurse shark unique to Australasia. Despite state protection that bans deliberate fishing of the shark, scientists at Melbourne Aquarium have warned that takes (accidental or otherwise) of the grey nurse are occurring at an unsustainable rate.

The shark has a lengthy reproduction cycle and produces just two pups. Numerous pups initially form in two wombs, but they turn on each other and go through a cannibalistic process. Just one survives in each womb, to be born after a year's gestation.

The scientists want to be able to save more embryos for development. They plan to catch females in the wild and scan them to check for the stage in pregnancy in which plenty of embryos are still alive.

When such a female is caught, its embryos will be removed either surgically or by flushing. They will be placed in artificial uterine solution and returned ashore for laboratory development.

Sounds simple! First, however, scientists need to develop the techniques necessary to carry out the removal of embryos, create workable artificial uterine conditions, and establish feeding patterns that will keep the embryos healthy as they grow.

Some 10 years have been earmarked for the developments, with a reported Aus $250,000 committed to the scheme by the Australian Government.

Source: www.divernet.com
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Australia: Test-tube sharks on the way?

USA: White Shark Project left empty handed

The project, directed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, has not caught any sharks this year for its research on the great white. One shark that was caught by a fisherman off Huntington Beach died after it was transferred to a holding pen off the shores of Malibu.

Maybe it's the unusually persistent red tides or the low surf this summer. Whatever the reason, Santa Monica Bay seems to be empty of the juvenile great white sharks that have been seen in the area in past summers.

And that absence of great whites has been bad news for the crew from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is stymied in its quest to capture a second live juvenile great white for temporary display and research at the aquarium, some 300 miles north of Malibu.

Aquarium crews plan to give up the shark quest for this year if they don't catch one this week. So far they haven't even seen a fin since mid-June.

"Fishing is fishing, and sometimes the fish just aren't there," said Aquarium spokesman Ken Peterson. "We don't know what the reason is, but there just doesn't seem to be any sharks in the bay this summer."

Last year, television news helicopters repeatedly broadcast images of juvenile great whites lounging in shallow, warm water between Will Rogers and Santa Monica state beaches.

"This year, for whatever reason, there just haven't been any sharks in the bay," Peterson said.

And no live great white shark has been offered to the aquarium by commercial fishermen other than the one caught in June, which died before after it was transferred to its large holding pen off Escondido Creek near Paradise Cove.

That shark, which suffered an eye injury as it was accidentally caught in a fisherman's net and brought ashore, is the only live great white shark to have been brought to the aquarium staff so far this year. One other shark had also been snagged in local waters, but it died before being brought aboard the fishing boat, Peterson said.

Last year, a juvenile great white that was captured alive off Malibu was held for more than six months in a pen at the Monterey Aquarium, the first time a great white was exhibited successfully. Proceeds from the extra admissions to the aquarium funded a $500,000 Stanford University research project into shark behavior, and raised awareness about the endangered species, Peterson said.

The shark pen off Escondido Beach has not been without controversy. The city of Malibu has expressed mild concerns about the temporary four million gallon, floating pen tethered within city limits one mile off the beach.

"After this summer, we plan to have a town meeting with the aquarium and anyone else who wants to talk about the issue, so nothing will be done behind closed doors," said city Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich in a telephone interview.

Meanwhile, at the aquarium, excitement centers on the arrival of two sea otters and 19 penguins-refugees from the storm-ravaged Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans that will be making Monterey their home.

Source: www.sharktrust.org
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USA: White Shark Project left empty handed

Australia: Killer whales spotted off Gold Coast

There was a rare sight for whale watchers on the Gold Coast yesterday, when they came across a group of killer whales.

Killer whales, also known as orcas, are usually seen only in cooler waters to the south, where they are known to hunt other species of whale.

Lloyd Bebe from a local whale watching charter boat company says the orcas were travelling close to a group of humpbacks.

"We stopped at a set of humpback whales, a pod, and they were acting, what's the word, edgy," he said.

"And then we stopped at another set and they were acting very edgy, and then we stopped at another set and they were edgy, and then I received a call from a boat called Grinner, he does the shark nets for the Gold Coast and he called us down and there was a group of about 15 whales."

Mr Bebe says the orcas probably strayed to the north while hunting prey, which could have included the nearby humpbacks.

"Normally they are in the colder waters, they can travel to any ocean they like, I've never seen one before, and there's no-one in the Gold Coast that I've spoke to today that has seen one in this area ever," he said.

Source: www.abc.net.au
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Australia: Killer whales spotted off Gold Coast

20 September 2005

2005 DAN On-Line Auction coming in November

Divers Alert Network will hold its fourth annual auction from Nov. 1 through Dec. 1. All proceeds from winning bids in the 2005 DAN On-Line Auction will support DAN programs.

The auction has been a success for DAN and its Auction Partners and has given DAN Members and others opportunities to bid on terrific trips, equipment, artwork and much more," said Eileen Sahlin, DAN Chief Development Officer. "We're working on our third year and are looking forward to an even bigger and better auction.

Last year's auction generated more than $135,000. More than $58,000 in cash was raised to support DAN research and safety programs, including The DAN Endowment; DAN Divers Days Program; Project Dive Exploration (PDE); Diver IDentification System Program; DAN Research Internship Program; Oxygen Grant Program; and the AED Matching Grant Program. Items valued at $90,000 were donated to DAN.

DAN Auction Partners include dive business operators, artists and others; in previous years they provided wetsuits, drysuits, tanks, dive accessories, vacations, books, cameras, clothing, jewelry and airline tickets. Auction items from DAN will also include first aid equipment.

For both DAN Members and non-members, online bidding occurs on the DAN website (www.DiversAlertNetwork.org). The auction starts on Nov. 1 at noon ET and closes Dec. 1 at noon ET. This year the preview of items will begin on Oct. 15 on the DAN website. No bids will be accepted during the preview.

Each item contains donor name and contact information, a description and picture of the item, its suggested retail price, its current bid price and whether the reserve has been met. During the auction, there is a live link to the donor's website.

Winning bidders will be notified by Dec. 3. All DAN Auction Partners will be notified by Dec. 5 of the highest bidder(s) on their item(s) so that they may contact the winners. Many items will be delivered to winning bidders through their local dive shop, with the items slated to arrive no later than Dec. 15. For more details about the 2005 DAN On-Line Auction, visit www.DiversAlertNetwork.org/development , call DAN Development at 1-800-446-2671 ext. 444 or email development@dan.duke.edu

Source: www.sportdiver.com
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2005 DAN On-Line Auction coming in November

Scuba Schools International responds to Hurricane Katrina

To help Hurricane Katrina victims Scuba Schools International is announcing how they will be helping to bring relief to affected SSI Dealers and Dive Leaders.

A Challenge - Donation Match.
Donate to the Red Cross or United Way - send a receipt to SSI Headquarters and Scuba Schools International will match donations up to $20,000. The match will come in the form of SSI products and services that will be given to affected SSI Dealers and Dive Leaders.


  1. Up to $500 product credit for each store damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
  2. Renewal dues will be waived for Dive Leaders who work for SSI Dealers shut down by the hurricane, and inactive Dive Leaders identified as affected by Hurricane Katrina.
  3. Dive Leaders in affected areas can apply for a replacement Instructor Manual (#2101), q-cards (#2127), and PEGs (#2134CD). For Dive Con's, a new DC slate (#3106), Update slate & manual (#4063 & 4061).

Deadline to match donations is October 15, 2005.

Now is the time for all of us to join together in our compassion for the hurricane victims and do whatever we can. Through your generous support we can help people during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

United Way website. http://www.uway.org. Make sure in the gift information, you put it in memory of Hurricane Katrina Fund.

Red Cross website. http://www.redcross.org Click on make a donation and choose the Hurricane Katrina fund.

For any questions about SSI's Challenge or offers contact SSI Headquarters 800.821.4319

Source: www.divenewswire.com
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Scuba Schools International responds to Hurricane Katrina

Scuba Diving Gear: New mask provides 5 times the field of vision

Scuba Diving Gear: New mask provides 5 times the field of visionIf you're dissatisfied with a limited underwater view when diving, then you might be interested to learn about Hydrooptix' Mega-4.5d mask.

After years of engineering, Jon Kranhouse – with the help of Hollywood computer gurus, who helped correct the once-fuzzy Hubble Space Telescope – has developed a mask that reportedly provides "a view almost five times wider than the view available through conventional flat masks, and the vision is completely distortion free." Sounds great! But there is one small drawback...

Because the "concave shape of water" creates an optical phenomenon, you must be nearsighted to use the mask. Many naturally nearsighted divers can use the Mega-4.5d with just their naked eyes. Apparently the view is so astonishing, however, that many divers with 20/20 vision have purchased contact lenses just to use the mask.

Voluntarily becoming temporarily nearsighted, the divers claim that wearing contacts is worth the hassle, because of the vast improvement in vision. I wouldn't've believed it if I hadn't looked at the testimonials. The Mega-4.5d ships for $200; contact lenses not included.

Would you wear contacts underwater if your experience improved so dramatically? Or do you think this is a scam?

Source: www.divester.com
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Scuba Diving Gear: New mask provides 5 times the field of vision

Japan: First whales killed in Japan hunt

Japanese whalers have killed the first of 60 whales in their 2005 coastal hunt off the north coast of Japan, which started early in September.

According to reports, three minke whales were harpooned off the coast of Kushiro on the first day of the hunt, which is scheduled to continue until October 31st.

This coastal hunt is just one of a number of whaling programmes undertaken by Japan, which together will target 1,180 whales in the 2005/2006 season, despite an international ban on commercial whaling.

Japan exploits a legal loophole in the international convention that regulates these activities (the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling) and every year, against the wishes of the international community, it issues permits for so called scientific research. Japan's lethal science programme is, however, a thin veil for commercial whaling. Meat from these hunts is sold in supermarkets and restaurants and whale meat has also recently been added to school menus.

Japan's Antarctic hunt, which is due to start later this year, will target double the number of minke whales than last year, and for the first time will also target fin whales.

Source: www.wdcs.org
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Japan: First whales killed in Japan hunt

UK: Lost nets prove death traps for rare sharks

A "GHOST" fishery in the deep waters off the west coast of Scotland and Ireland is causing incalculable damage to vulnerable species of shark, delegates at a key fisheries conference will be warned this week.

Hundreds of miles of lost and discarded nets, left to drift on the slopes of the Atlantic, are death traps for fragile stocks of deepwater sharks, according to a report to be presented at the conference in Aberdeen of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas.

Its authors are calling for action to be taken to manage the uncontrolled fishery to prevent an ecological disaster.

The report by scientists at the Marine Institute in Iceland, Britain's Sea Fish Industry Authority, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries and the Irish Marine Institute, reveals that since the mid 1990s a fleet of up to 50 vessels have been using "gill nets" to enmesh fish on the continental slopes to the west of the Scottish and Irish coasts and to the north of Shetland.

The vessels, though mostly based in Spain, are registered in the UK, Germany and countries outside the EU.

The boats, fishing at depths of between 200 and 1,200 metres, are targeting lucrative monkfish stocks and deepwater sharks, such as the Leafscale gulper shark and the siki shark, also called the Portuguese dogfish.

The report says the vessels together have up to 5,400 miles of gill nets at sea at any one time and leave them drifting for up to ten days. But gear is being lost and nets deliberately dumped, creating a deadly "ghost" fishery.

It says: "Essentially these fisheries remain totally unrestricted.

"The nets are left fishing unattended and hauled every three to ten days. The amount of fishing gear used, and the fact that the nets are unattended much of the time, make it very likely a large quantity of nets are lost, while there is also evidence of illegal dumping of netting.

Action is urgently needed to properly monitor and control these fisheries."

Source: news.scotsman.com
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UK: Lost nets prove death traps for rare sharks

19 September 2005

Gear Review: Mares Quattro Fins

It can be incredibly frustrating to dive with lousy fins. You kick and kick and get seem to glide through the water like a stone. Not just that, but working so hard to get somewhere can suck all the air out of your tank, leaving you with less precious time underwater.

The Mares Quattro Excel is a new fin out from the folks at Mares that offers a patented four-channel design to optimize water flow down the fins long, sleek blades. What you get is a sweet boosts in power and high efficiency. Nice. But the fins also feature soft plastic near the instep so that they're comfy as a slipper. A friend of mine recently mentioned these fins to me, and I'm eager to give them a try.

Here is a bullish review if you'd like to read further.

Source: www.divester.com
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Gear Review: Mares Quattro Fins

Sleeping beneath the sea?: Poseidon Resorts launches new hotel

Joining in the apparent trend to create cool underwater hotels and hotel boats, Poseidon Resorts is launching a hotel off the Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas that will offer unobstructed views of underwater world at 33-60 feet below the surface.

There will be cool access tunnels and (one would guess) some excellent sea food available aboard. They are calling the new hotel a "five-star destination" so you'll get all that wonderful pampering you're used to at land-based hotels.

Check out the "virtual tour" which looks a little cheesy, but also amazing...something right out of James Bond. You can almost imagine James snuggling up to a Russian spy in the candle-lit room as swarms of fish swim by. Of course, it's also the kind of place that only James Bond or Bill Gates is likely to afford, as the rooms will run a cool $1,500-a-night.

Source: www.divester.com
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Sleeping beneath the sea?: Poseidon Resorts launches new hotel

Asia Dive Expo returns to Singapore in 2006

At April Suntec Singapore, Asia's Dive Expo event will open its doors from April 21 - 23. Asia Dive Expo is Asia's largest and longest running exhibition for the dive industry and related businesses. ADEX brings 11 years of successful marketing for businesses that want to talk to the buyers and consumers that count.

Firmly established as 'THE' premier platform to do business if you are in the dive industry, Asia Dive Expo is the only true International dive show which brings together the very best in the dive industry...

With a Year-on-year increase of trade visitors to the show, exhibitors can capitalise on the prospect of networking and finding suitable distributors for their products and services. Special hosted buyer programmes ensure that your dive destination is marketed to real dive travel buyers.

Asia Dive Expo is supported by an ensemble of the all the key dive industry stakeholders, such as marine conservationists, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; training agencies; dive travel specialists; safety organizations; retailers; tourism bodies; liveaboard operators and more, all contributing to a unique business proposition for attendees.

Catering to a wide audience, Asia Dive Expo is complemented by an array of exciting and informative activities and special events such as the Asia Scuba Tour free dive try outs, a series of educational seminars that cover hot industry topics and product demonstrations to showcase the latest equipment. Everyone is provided with the opportunity to update themselves on what is new whilst getting to grips with new skills or touching up on old ones!

The benefits and advantages of exhibiting at Asia Dive Expo are vast, and with 11 years of experience, this exhibition has the expertise, the knowledge and the understanding of the dive industry to fully accommodate the needs of both the industry professional and the diving consumer.

To learn more visit: Asia Dive Expo 2006

Source: www.divenews.com
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Asia Dive Expo returns to Singapore in 2006

Australia: Tourists survive shark-infested waters

New dive safety procedures introduced after the disappearance of American couple Tom and Eileen Lonergan have been credited with helping to save the lives of two British tourists lost at sea.

Louise Woodger, 29, and Gordon Pratley, 31, survived nearly six hours in shark infested waters on the Great Barrier Reef after becoming separated from their dive boat Sea-Esta about 10am (AEST) on Saturday.

The couple, suffering exhaustion and mild hypothermia, were found clinging to emergency flotation devices about 3.50pm - nearly 10km from where they first entered the water at Wheeler Reef north-east of Townsville.

The ordeal revived memories of the disappearance of the Lonergans, who vanished without a trace after being left behind on a dive trip in Cairns on January 25, 1998.

Their disappearance was not reported to police until two days after the trip and they were never found.

The incident sparked a crisis of confidence in north Queensland's dive industry and the tightening of safety regulations for dive boats.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief Daniel Gschwind said those improved safety procedures would have helped save the Britons' lives.

"The fact that these people recovered safe and sound demonstrates that procedures work, a result of having implemented much more effective codes of practice amongst dive operators since that tragic incident some years ago," he said.

"I think the result is the one we want to see."

Mr Gschwind said the incident would not hurt the state's lucrative dive industry because tourists understood "things do go wrong".

The skipper of the dive boat immediately raised the alarm after a routine head count, sparking a widespread air and sea hunt.

Police said there was no suggestion of any negligence by the crew.

Dive Queensland spokesman Col McKenzie said that at the time of the Lonergans' disappearance, only one person was required to carry out a head count on a tour boat.

"Now the head count is actually done by two people, so two staff members have to count everybody on board," he said.

Coast Guard skipper Jon Colless, who ferried the exhausted pair to safety, said they were at risk of "very large" sharks and in greater danger if they weren't found before sunset.

"They were freakishly lucky that search was called early in the day, that the weather was going down, it had been a bit lumpy ... and the skipper of the dive boat was right on the ball, did everything right," he said.

Mr Colless said the area the pair went missing was between two reefs and a high tide "caused a much stronger current between the reefs than I think anybody realised".

Source: seven.com.au
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Australia: Tourists survive shark-infested waters

UK: Scuba Divers to dive the English Channel for charity

At the end of September, founder and President of men's cancer charity – the Orchid Cancer Appeal – Colin Osborne, and six other highly experienced scuba divers are aiming to be the first to relay dive the English Channel...

Colin Osborne stated, "Why do the event? For two reasons. Firstly it has never been done before, and whilst it will be cold and the logistics involved are immense, we are not just looking to achieve a World Record. We are looking to help the battle against male cancers, as it is far from won."

"Secondly, 2005 is my tenth year in remission. This is not a day I thought I'd see when I was told I had three months to live ten years ago". Colin nearly lost the fight in 1996 due to his delay in seeking medical attention for a lump. What had begun as testicular cancer (which has a cure rate of over 97% if caught early enough) ended up with his chances of survival being less than 20% and 18 months of debilitating and distressing treatment.

Due to the skill and research of his Oncologist – Professor Tim Oliver, and his fantastic team at Bart's Hospital, Colin's life was saved. He set up The Orchid Cancer Appeal with Professor Oliver in 1996 and we were the 1st registered charity dedicated to funding research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of male cancers and raising awareness of these potentially fatal diseases.

Colin observed, "the first ever fundraising event I ever undertook for The Orchid Cancer Appeal was a sponsored dive in the lake at Ilford Gold Club to see how many golf balls I could retrieve. This Cross Channel Scuba Challenge may be a bit more challenging than the lake at Ilford, but the reasons are the same, to make everyone more aware of male cancers, so that we can all fight the battle together. We are aiming to dive the week starting 24th September but this is dependent on weather conditions, however we have a six day window of Neap Tides".

Angus Somerville, Chief Executive of The Orchid Cancer Charity Appeal stated, "Colin's idea of a Cross Channel Scuba Challenge is characteristic of the approach he has taken to raising the visibility of male cancer, since he founded Orchid back in 1996. It's novel, exciting, dependent on team effort, and makes people stop and take notice. 10,000 Millimetres Under the Sea (with apologies to Jules Verne) seeks to increase awareness of male cancer and raise funds for the charity's work into prevention diagnosis and treatment of testicular, prostate and penile cancers.

A group of experienced BSAC, IANTD, PADI, TDI and Royal Navy qualified divers will swim at a depth of 10 meters all the way from England to France. This demands technical competence, physical stamina and of course the good old British weather to be kind to us. When they complete this, they will land a place in the record books!

Please take time to support these divers as they attempt the first ever relay dive of the Channel, by buying a raffle ticket, making a donation, or even turning up to wave them off – although, you could do all three!

What is great news for divers is that the raffle is a diving one, with a top prize of a week's holiday for two to the Red Sea. If you can dive, there's also a dive pack, and if you don't then you can learn on an Open Water Course courtesy of Longwood Holidays and the Red Sea Diving College. (Conditions apply).

The following are sponsors for this important event:

  • Vivaldi Potato by Naturally Best (main sponsor)
  • Active Scuba
  • Charterhouse
  • Datum Press
  • Goodman Baylis
  • IST Proline
  • Longwood Holidays
  • Mindon Tiling
  • Ocean Reef
  • PADI
  • Royal Navy Diver Training Schools
  • Sport Diver Magazine
  • Sea & Sea
  • St X Design
  • Suunto
  • Timunta Sea
  • Virgin United

    For details sbout great diving raffle prizes or the Orchid Cancer Charity, visit: Orchid Cancer Charity

    "We are hugely delighted that a number of dive shops, inland sites and diving clubs from all agencies have said they will support us by selling these diving raffle tickets. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone who is helping us with this event," stated Colin Osborne.

    Source: www.divenews.com
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    UK: Scuba Divers to dive the English Channel for charity

  • Australia: Shark attacks spark "kill or be killed" debate

    The attacks on surfer Jake Heron and marine biologist Jarrod Stehbens in the past few weeks, both in waters off South Australia state, have sparked an emotional debate in Australia over whether the great white, the ocean's fiercest predator, should be culled.

    In a life-and-death struggle, Australian surfer Jake Heron punched the great white shark as it bit his arm and thigh, turning the ocean into a bloody cauldron.

    Miraculously, Heron, 40, lived to tell the tale.

    Very few people survive an attack by a great white, which can grow to 20 feet, weigh 2.5 tonnes, and with enough power in its jaws to lift a car.

    Two weeks earlier, marine biologist Jarrod Stehbens, 23, also fought a great white as it pulled him underwater as he tried to climb into a boat. Sadly, Stehbens lost his fight for life.

    These two attacks in the past few weeks, both in waters off South Australia state, have sparked an emotional debate in Australia over whether the great white, the ocean's fiercest predator, should be culled.

    Displaying his savaged surfboard, bitten in half by the shark, Heron is adamant that Australia should end its protection of the great white and start culling.

    "They're top of the food chain and nothing affects it," Heron told reporters after his attack.

    "It's time they started controlling the numbers. Controlled culling -- they kill our national emblem, the kangaroo, they kill elephants in Africa," he said.

    "The numbers have gone up and there's too many of them," he said, adding that sharks were swimming closer to shore threatening children swimming off beaches.

    But the parents of Stehbens, who fought in vain to free his leg from the shark's jaws after being attacked while diving for cuttlefish, reject calls to kill the shark.

    "He was a marine biologist, he wouldn't want anything killed," said his father, David Stehbens. "Jarrod was doing exactly what he wanted to do. He loved the sea..."

    Australia has a global reputation for sharks, with its cold southern waters the ideal breeding ground for great white pointers. But the chances of an attack are slim, in fact, swimmers are more likely to drown than be bitten by a shark.

    By September 2005, there had been 652 shark attacks, 191 of them fatal, in Australian waters in the past 200 years, according to the Australian Shark Attack File at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.

    In the past 50 years, 60 people have died after being attacked by a shark, 1.2 fatal attacks a year. This compares with two to three deaths each year from bee stings and hundreds of drownings by beach swimmers and fishermen.

    "Shark attacks are very prominent in the media when they occur, but they are rare events," said Barry Bruce, a government marine scientist who has studied great whites since 1987.

    Great whites are "hot-spot hunters," which target oceanic biological activity, like big schools of fish, seal colonies and dead whales. The sharks do not intentionally hunt humans.

    "We are not seeing a trend of increasing shark attacks against a trend of increasing population," said John West, who runs The Australian Shark Attack File.

    The odds of a shark attack are 15-20 million to one, he said.

    "Unfortunately, they test to see if you are edible, but they can only use their teeth or nose and in doing so they do a lot of damage to soft, squishy humans," said West.

    Humans are not sharks' ideal prey because we are bony and have less flesh than seals or dolphins but unfortunately one exploratory bite by a great white, which has poor eyesight, is enough to kill most humans.

    According to reports of attacks, very few great whites return for another bite.

    Australia regards the great white as an endangered species and has protected it for the past 10 years. Great whites are also protected by South Africa, Namibia, the Maldives and by the U.S. states of Florida and California.

    Scientists say there is no evidence that shark numbers have risen dramatically as a result of protection, as counting is impossible, and sharks have slow reproductive cycles.

    Female great whites do not start reproducing until they grow to about five meters (16 feet), which takes about 15 to 20 years, and then only produce five to 10 pups every three years.

    "Their reproductive potential is quite low and because of that the time it takes to increase their numbers significantly is a long time, likely to be much more than 10 years," said Bruce.

    Scientists say culling would have little impact on attacks and would unbalance the food chain by removing an apex predator.

    Those calling for culling also claim that shark tourism and tuna farming has attracted sharks closer to shore and swimmers.

    Again, scientists discount such an argument, saying shark tourism occurs well offshore. It involves operators dumping bloody berley or fish bait into the ocean to attract sharks and then lower tourists in cages into the water.

    And there are also only a handful of operators in the ocean off the state of South Australia.

    "Sometimes they put berley in water and find nothing because sharks are traveling in and out of these areas," Bruce said.

    Scientists say that tuna farms, which are found only off southern Australia, are not a big attraction for sharks. The fish are in big enclosures and, unlike seals or swimmers, do not offer sharks an opportunistic feed.

    Culling sharks would be very difficult and costly, scientists say, particularly as great whites travel thousands of kilometers (miles) each year along "hunting highways."

    Great whites patrol an area that extends from Australia's cold southern waters to its tropical northern waters on both its east and west coasts. Usually they move north during autumn and winter and south in spring and summer.

    Sharks tagged by the Australian government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have been recaptured up to 1,400 km (870 miles) from the point of tagging.

    Scientists say that 24 to 48 hours after an attack the chances are a great white would be hundreds of kilometers away.

    Sharks also have erratic movement patterns, with electronic transmitters showing some swimming near the seabed and close to shore by day and near the surface and offshore at night.

    Scientists believe that, if there is any increasing risk of shark attack in Australia, it will be caused by people, not sharks, as more leisure time means more people are entering the ocean.

    "The more people in the water, and the more diverse their activities, the more chances somebody will be in the path of a hunting shark," said Bruce.

    Source: today.reuters.co.uk/news
    Read the full article:
    Australia: Shark attacks spark "kill or be killed" debate

    New Zealand: Labour wants to protect great white shark

    Labour wants to add the great white shark to the list of endangered species, which would protect them against big game fishermen.

    Conservation Minister Chris Carter, announcing Labour's conservation policy yesterday, said the great white was an endangered species.

    Canada, the United States, South Africa and Australia protected the great white, but New Zealand was lagging behind and they needed protecting in this country's waters as well.

    The great white has been blamed for a string of fatal attacks on people in Australian waters in recent years.

    But Mr Carter said they were "very endangered" and extending the Wildlife Act's protection to them as a vulnerable species would mean big game fishermen could not hunt them.

    "I know people are very averse to large sharks that could eat people, but then we protect tigers which could do the same.

    "I think every species on earth has an intrinsic value as something that is unique, and it would be a shame to see them become extinct."

    Mr Carter said great whites were very migratory, had great range and even travelled into tropical waters.

    In early April a team of international and New Zealand scientists at the Chatham Islands tagged a 4m adult female named Tessa.

    She then travelled more than 1000km north - when the team fully expected her to travel south or southwest. Great whites are considered cold-water sharks, so her route towards the tropics was surprising, the Department of Conservation said in July.

    Mr Carter said the Government also wanted to set up a new network of parks and reserves in the South Island high country.

    Source: www.sharktrust.org
    Read the full article:
    New Zealand: Labour wants to protect great white shark

    South Africa: Divers 'even the score' after Mnandi stranded whale tragedy

    Just a day after they had to put down a stranded whale, police divers "evened the score" with a dramatic rescue of a young Southern Right whale entangled in rock lobster traps at the entrance to False Bay.

    On Wednesday police had to use an explosive charge to humanely kill the young Southern Right whale stranded at Mnandi beach, also in False Bay.

    Then after a struggle of several hours yesterday, divers and marine officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism freed the second whale in the Rocky Banks area outside the mouth of False Bay

    The whale - about eight or nine metres long and described as "a real youngster" - had the ropes of seven rock lobster trap buoys wrapped around it, with five of the traps still attached.

    Most of the rope had wound around the tail stock, making it almost impossible for the animal to move.

    Mike Meyer of the department's marine mammal section said they had been alerted to the whale's plight by their rock lobster research vessel Pelagus, which had in turn been told about the whale by rock lobster fishermen.

    The police diving unit, which had been working at Philadelphia, had rushed back to the city to help.

    The rescue team went out from the Miller's Point slipway and reached the whale at about 1pm, Meyer said.

    "We managed to cut off all the traps except two.

    "We have a policy of no diving if we can help it, because it's so dangerous, but in this case we simply had to put the guys down into the water."

    One of them was Eben Lourens, who on Wednesday had the job of mercy-killing the stranded whale.

    Just weeks ago, Lourens was part of a team that rescued a young humpback whale that also had rock lobster traps wrapped around its tail.

    Lourens and colleague Gert Voigt dived under the trapped whale, which was all but stationary in the water because of the weight of the traps.

    They eventually managed to remove the remaining two traps.

    "The first three traps were easy to cut and we managed to do those from the boat, but because of the way the whale was floating, we had to go into the water to get at the other two," Lourens said early today.

    This rescue had not been as difficult as the operation to free the humpback whale at Gordon's Bay, he added.

    "Fortunately, I think this whale was really exhausted, so there was no real movement from it - it was calm and still all the time, so it wasn't that tricky.

    "But it took us much longer to do, so it was harder work."

    The rescue had taken more than two hours, Meyer explained.

    "The first cutting session took us about two hours, and then the second (in the water) was about 20 minutes.

    "We finally got all the ropes off, and there didn't appear to be much damage to the animal, just a couple of indentations."

    Lourens said the whale had at first not appeared to realise it had been freed.

    "I don't think it realised it was loose, because it just lay there. And then it just swam off slowly - I think it was very tired."

    Lourens described the experience as particularly rewarding, coming just two days after having to put down the Mnandi beach whale.

    "In the past year or two I've had to put two down and now I've helped rescue two, so I'm even."

    All members of the police's dive unit are volunteers, with some - like Lourens - being full-time police personnel with other duties, and others police reservists.

    Dave Lehr, co-ordinator of the reservists, said they were extremely happy about the rescue.

    "We were all on such a low after Mnandi beach, now we're on a high - I think we're all on a whale emotional roller-coaster!" he joked.

    Source: www.allafrica.com
    Read the full article:
    South Africa: Divers 'even the score' after Mnandi stranded whale tragedy

    Scotland: Sharks bask in climate change

    Climate change and warmer coastal waters are thought to have caused a massive increase in the number of basking sharks feeding in Scottish waters.

    The latest survey results from the Wildlife Trusts (TWT) show that out of 180 sharks spotted over a ten-week period around the UK coast, 172 were seen in Scottish waters.

    Despite their association with the oceans' fiercest predators, basking sharks are filter feeders, and it is thought that the slight increase in sea temperatures has caused a related surge in the plankton content of the water.

    Colin Speedy, the skipper of TWT's survey boat, said: "Despite the devastating year for seabirds and other marine creatures in Scotland, basking sharks seem to have benefited from the abundance and quality of their main food source, plankton, and are following this supply. Although there are a number of reasons that could have caused this availability, climate change does factor here as the warmer currents south of the Border are pushing it northwards."

    Although sea conditions have proved extremely favourable for the fish, other species have suffered in recent years.

    Source: news.scotsman.com
    Read the full article:
    Scotland: Sharks bask in climate change

    Role of sponges in the sea greater than previously believed

    Marine organisms hidden in caves, such as sponges, play an key role in the nutrient cycle of coral reefs. Dutch biologist Sander Scheffers believes their role is very significant. Her findings may identify valuable information that ecologists can use to protect coral reef habitats...

    In order to protect coral reefs it is important to understand how both the reefs and their environment function. Researchers often concentrate on subjects such as physical damage to reefs, the bleaching of coral and coral diseases. Sander Scheffers investigated a lesser-studied subject: the nutrient cycle on the coral reef and the role that organisms living in cavities, such as sponges, play in this.

    To determine the nature and size of this role, Scheffers first of all examined the precise appearance and quantity of these virtually inaccessible caves and their living communities. He did that on the Caribbean island of Curaçao using a special underwater camera. The films shot revealed that sponges were the most important inhabitants, followed by animals such as tube worms, tunicates and bivalves. Together they fill more than 60 percent of the cavities. Further the cavities were found to have a surface area eight times greater than that of the coral reef, as seen from above by divers.

    And according to Scheffers a larger living surface also means a larger filtering surface. Sponges filter the water. They take up planktonic particles such as bacteria and excrete inorganic nutrients. In turn, these nutrients can facilitate the growth of marine plants and other organisms.

    Sponges filter at a phenomenal rate: if the seawater were to remain stationary, the sponges would have completely pumped it away within five minutes, i.e. they would have removed all of the small plankton from it. This is of course not the case, as there is a continuous supply of fresh water into the sea. According to Scheffers, these hidden organisms play a key role in the marine nutrient cycle due to their incredible capacity to convert enormous quantities of organic plankton into inorganic material.

    The results from Scheffers’ research have been made available to the personnel from the marine underwater park of Curaçao and have been presented to the local government.

    Source: www.divenews.com
    Read the full article:
    Role of sponges in the sea greater than previously believed

    16 September 2005

    PADI versus SDI: Differences, benefits and drawbacks

    We asked Fatimah Renfro, a previous PADI instructor and current SDI instructor, about the differences between the two organisations.

    Her views are below. (We have slightly edited her article: you can download the unedited version here.) Please comment on this article at the Diving Board forum.

  • What are the differences between SCUBA Diving International (SDI) and Professional Association of Dive instructors (PADI), and the benefits and drawbacks of each agency?

    One difference is that SDI was developed from dive professionals in the technical diving field. PADI has deep roots in recreational diving and has stayed true to these roots. Also the recreational diver must understand that each certification organization is simply a marketing model with the goals of producing a safe product, YOU THE DIVER! So in truth the different dive certification organizations have the ability to travel different roads, but all roads must lead to the same goal.

    Founded by Technical Diving International (TDI, the largest technical dive agency in the world) SDI has the unique advantage of seeing the recreational diving community through the experienced eyes of technical diving. SDI was created with the philosophy that past practices should re-evaluated in the light of new technology and that recreational scuba instruction should reflect the actual needs of open water divers.

    Standards that ensure genuine diver safety while maximizing the pleasures of learning to dive are the foundation of SDI's diver training programs. SDI has re-examined limits that are arbitrary or based solely on tradition and developed new guidelines using scientific data and common sense. SDI believes divers should be trained from the beginning to take advantage of new technologies and the freedom to dive deeper or longer or both - with greater safety. Divers can progress through SDI's recreational levels, than transition smoothly into technical diving with TDI.

    PADI Mission Statement: PADI exists to develop programs that encourage and fulfil the public interest in recreational scuba and snorkel diving worldwide (PADI Instructor Manual, version 2.7pdf [12/02]).

  • The McPADI concept of marketing:

    This comparison came to me by virtue of a discussion on a scuba board forum. The discussion was started by a NAUI instructor, not me. PADI, is arguably the largest recreational dive organization and has sought to provide the dive community with a safe predictable dive experience for this class of diver. It is a large corporation and to that end limits corporation liability. PADI lives and breathes liability containment, and here lies it s flaw in providing innovation to the dive community.

    The NAUI Instructor's position was:

    "PADI to me is like McDonald's Hamburgers, you can t deny the ability for McDonald's to provide a specific average quality of burger world wide. The same is true of PADI anywhere in the world you can find a PADI facility that will provide you a predictable type of dive experience."

    My position on this is that this is not an insult, only the acceptance, that, if you teach towards a certain range, your divers and instructors are for the most part going to lie within that range. This could open the perception that the problem with the PADI motto, To teach the world to Dive" is clearly not everyone in the world is capable of diving, nor should they. Do you by attempting to teach the world to dive actually prevent the sport from developing to a form were it remains fun and challenging? Does teaching the world to dive means you focus on the average person, which leaves you to dropping the poor diver and limiting the experience of the above average student? Does focusing on the average person lead to a higher profit return?

    Yes, focusing your money making efforts on the average will reward you with higher short end return.

  • Paperwork and liability reduction

    I found the difference in paperwork requirement is much greater in PADI than in SDI. The demand for paperwork does little to improve an instructor's teaching ability or a student's retention ability. Outside of the need to exclude undo legal liability all organizations are paperwork heavy.

    My SDI instructor manual is half the size of the PADI manual and it doesn't teach anything less than the PADI manual. I actually had a PADI student give up and leave my shop when faced with the paperwork trail PADI required.

  • PADI and its changing marketing image

    I remember clearly the days when PADI was pro hunting. The organisation has moved away from underwater hunting training and never officially embraced solo diving. Why the change? Does not training diver to hunt actually decrease hunting? You certainly don't decrease hunting, but you loose the opportunity to have a positive influence over educating divers how to hunt with sustainable methods.

    The same is said for Solo Diving. Not offering instruction is not going to limit the number of solo divers. But what you then get is divers untrained, diving solo. SDI clearly fosters diving for divers and encourages diver to press forward with the proper training.

    PADI feels its profit margin or liability reduction will be better served by ignoring solo diving, but than they teach towards the average.

    But apparently teaching toward the average is very profitable for PADI. So outside of Solo diving and Underwater Hunter there are no major differences in course offerings.

    The ability for SDI to teach to a higher comprehension with greater opportunity at skill development is something PADI course of instruction can't meet. To understand this go back to paperwork requirement and liability reduction strategy used by PADI.

    Also as an SDI instructor I feel no pressure to provide a specific number of certification per month unlike when I was a PADI instructor. I definitely felt pressure to certify to a given level when I was a PADI instructor. I found by experience that the successful PADI instructor is not so much the best instructor at teaching divers, but the instructor who produces the most certifications.

  • The Goals of Certification Organizations

    Have no confusion, modern recreational diving is a for-profit business. It is in direct competition with all other recreational sports. The recreational dive business is competing with skiing, boating, climbing, hiking, bicycling etc. Certification organizations by nature and concept engage in a degree of selling to the customer of what they assume diving is all about. The reality of standardized training followed by most organizations produce a standard product, you the recreational diver.

    Did you stop to consider that most of the top certification organizations meet specific requirements specified from a regulatory organization outside of the concerned dive certification organizations?

    The regulatory organization that provides the standards that SDI and PADI operate under is the Recreational Scuba Training Council (http://www.wrstc.com/). So if everyone is being directed by RSTC, then what, in fact, is available to the organization to actually differ from one another.

    In truth after five years as a dive professional I see little teaching latitude within recreational diving and even less latitude available for technical diving. To be a safe competent diver you must learn, practice and test out to a specific standard. To remain a safe competent diver you must then dive as you were trained and seek retraining when you have periods of prolonged absences from the water.

  • No particular dive organization is better or worst than another

    The differences lie in the marketing model used and most importantly the abilities of the individual instructors, and of course the dedication the new diver uses to uphold the standard of training they receive.

    All the infighting between instructional organizations boils down to this: some instructors can work with PADI and foster PADI's ideal of diving and some instructor work better fostering the concept of diving professed by SDI and other dive certification organizations.

    Would the recreational world of diving exist if there were no dive organizations? Of course it would!. Dive training would be provided by individual instructors who followed the standards of regulatory organization like RSTC. Dive training could also be obtained from the equipment supplier, who would in turn train divers based on RSTC standards or the standards by its sister organization in different countries.

    I asked Steve Riddle of PADI America for a summation of what PADI does for the dive community. This is his position.

      "PADI strongly supports and puts programs in place to bring new and old divers back into the sport. Of course many of our marketing efforts are geared to direct the consumer to a PADI Dive Facility but it also helps everyone who is connect in the Dive Industry in general."

    PADI is arguably the largest dive organization in the world producing more certifications than other organization. But are these certifications, producing divers who actually remain divers? Why does PADI need to put such a effort in bring back divers to diving? Why is there this need to bring divers back to diving? A simple explanation is that many people certified to dive have no real interest in the sport outside of a single experience and mistakenly sought or were marketed for certification instead of say a one time dive experience, which both SDI and PADI offer to the public. However the best way to address this is changing the current use of lifetime certification cards, but that my friends is a separate article.

    Source: www.scubatravel.co.uk
    Read the full article:
    PADI versus SDI: Differences, benefits and drawbacks