With COVID-19 restrictions still in place worldwide, divers are taking to the internet for underwater inspiration and to develop new skills for when they can venture into the Big Blue again.
Team Deptherapy is no exception. With their May 2020 expedition to the Red Sea postponed and their July 2020 trip also in doubt, Deptherapy Programme Members are benefiting from the offer of free study materials from training agency partner RAID.
All current Deptherapy Programme Members are enrolled in the RAID Ecological Diver Academics Course. This course focuses on the goals and challenges of marine conservation and gives students a vital insight into the ecology of the oceans, which is so important to Deptherapy’s Protecting Our Oceans Project. Students learn proactive strategies and how systemic behavioural changes can really accelerate conservation efforts.
As well as a valuable learning tool, the chance to engage in this online programme as a group is a lifeline for those Programme Members who are struggling with their mental health during the isolation of lockdown. The charity has eight Programme Members, who were about to start their Open Water journey and continuing education courses within the next month, all of whom are experiencing differing levels of disappointment and need additional support.
Divemaster and Deptherapy Team Member Jon Beever says:
“I’ve really enjoyed the Ecological Diver Academics Course. It’s given me a much better understanding of conservation issues and it’s a great way to keep up my interest in diving while we have to stay dry. Although I’ve been working from home during the lockdown, many of the guys are at a loose end and the course has been pivotal in keeping them focussed and looking forward to the future. We all can’t wait to put into practice what we’ve learnt on expedition.”
Director of RAID (UK and Malta) James Rogers says:
“RAID’s FREe-Learning is proving incredibly popular with new and established divers and instructors alike. I get a real buzz from hearing about people using this to prepare well for future diving adventures. It’s brilliant to hear that it’s also helping individuals get through this difficult and worrying time. Having seen first-hand how beneficial these programmes are, RAID has pledged to keep our e-Learning programmes FREE once the current restrictions are lifted.”
Having learnt about the academics of ocean ecology online, Team Deptherapy will develop their practical skills underwater with a two-week Eco Course, run by Dr Deborah McNeill from the University of Glasgow, and a later liveaboard expedition, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. More details on this project will be shared soon.