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Can I DIVE With a Disability?

What exactly is a disability? Is it something that makes one person different from another? I am sure every day you see people different from yourself. Does that make them a person with a disability? Years ago, I learned that in every specific case of scuba training that may or may not involve a person with a disability, perception is essential, and it may be different with each course. I am sure that almost every instructor out there has had students who were unwilling to complete a swim test when they were physically able or had a student who could not overcome a basic fear associated with the use of scuba equipment. Were those people with disabilities because they could not complete a basic skill?

Unique circumstances don’t always call for unique courses.


Over the week Kevin attended some very unique training in Ottawa with one of the best instructors he have met to date. He trained in some of the most unusual ways to gain experience in what people with disabilities face every day.

According to Kevin: ‘I have to say having my feet hogtied and then going scuba diving to 30-40 feet was more than a challenge for me.’

He had a chance to simulate paraplegia, quadriplegia, amputee and blind divers, performing skills that are technically problematic for these disability types. And it opened his eyes. The training was extremely challenging but was also very rewarding. He is a proud instructor rating with the HSA I-4373 {Active} and now hoping to pass on the love he have of scuba to those that might have never thought it was possible. Kevin Ausman becomes HSA (Handicap Scuba Association) Instructor certified.

So, can a person dive with a disability?


YES!!! With proper instruction and safe planning, diving may be a real possibility. Students must still complete skill set proficiency and, in some cases, a buddy or two may also require training, but the Scubility program from Scuba Diving International allows an instructor to work with individuals who may have disabilities. The truth of the matter is that if a medical doctor who understands the situation and scuba diving approves, and if a student is mentally competent to understand teaching concepts, then the potential for diving is most likely there.

As a dive professional, I encourage many of you out there to expand your teaching abilities. If you are not a Scubility instructor, go become one!! Expand your student base and if nothing else, help put a little excitement back in someone’s life. Sometimes, giving a person a little outdoor adventure when others are not willing to help is the absolute definition of why we dive. We expand peoples’ worlds and we present a brand-new environment where gravity does not quite have the same effect on the human body.

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