September 11, 2019
WHY SCUBA EVOLUTION INDIA?
People often ask why we set up Scuba Evolution India, at Goa, where there were already four dive centres before we set up. This post is to answer some of those questions.
Scuba Diving in India
Scuba Diving in India has been a non-mainstream sport for quite a few decades now. Some of the most experienced recreational scuba divers in India are at a few locations, Goa, Pondicherry, Lakshadweep, and Andaman Nicobar Islands. Scuba Diving in India or scuba as they popularly call it has grown in popularity and boasts of a strong following. Many adventure sport aficionados and travellers, utilize the opportunity of the winter in the North of India to visit warmer coastal locations to dive.
Scuba Diver Certifying Agencies in India
The early Scuba Diving Instructors in India were from the French agency CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques). PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), and SSI (Scuba Schools International) were soon to follow. CMAS now has very limited if any representation, with PADI now being the certifying agency with the most significant number of certified scuba divers in India.
My dive education
All I have ever wanted to do was become a diver. There was no other profession or goal that I had; of course, Rocket Scientist did cross my mind fleetingly. I joined the National Defence Academy when I was 17 years old, graduating into the Indian Navy at 21. I learnt to dive during my Ships Diving Officer’s Course at the Navy Diving School. The diving was hard and the only reward the satisfaction of being a diver. I resolved to become a recreational diving instructor someday and use the knowledge of dive safety ingrained during the course in teaching recreationally. I am now a PADI Technical and Public Safety Diving Instructor and a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer.
Scuba Diving in Goa
I went on to get my Open Water Certification whilst on holiday at Goa. I was by then an experienced diver, and the course was more of a cross over than a class. It was then that I learnt that Goa had some of the oldest recreational diving schools in India. Some of the most experienced scuba diving instructors called Goa their home and workplace. Goa is also home to a beautiful set of Islands, just off the coast near the Airport. The Islands have a fringing coral reef, and there are three shipwrecks in relatively shallow waters, that make for great diving sites. http:// www.scubaevolutionindia.com/dive-site/
Over the course of three years, I kept travelling to Goa, and gradually built up my experience as a recreational diver to understand the role of a recreational dive professional. A Navy Diver knows their diving. Not everyone who is a great professional can be a great educator. It is teaching diving recreationally in a resort environment that needs to be learnt. Dive education just like imparting any other education requires experience, knowledge, patience, passion, and ability.
On one such trip, in 2013, while at the home of my mentor, and dive instructors, we were joking about the state of dive professionals in the country, and it struck me that almost all dive centres in India were still just that dive centres, they haven’t evolved into diver education centres.
We were teaching people to be underwater tourists, and a minimal number took that education and used it for anything other than just tourism. Divers are the first and direct witnesses of underwater conditions and must play a key role in marine and aquatic environment protection, and revitalization. This will only come through passionate diver education, and not just creating or being underwater tourists.
Scuba Evolution India
The discussion went on late into the night and I had made up my mind then that I would set up a dive centre that would evolve into a centre of diver education. I was fortunate to be based at Goa during that time, where Skandan and I served together. Over many afternoons post lunch, and evenings, we discussed the future of diving in India, and decided to be partners in the business. We also had a friend who was interested; however, he had to back out due to health and personal issues. Scuba Evolution India was registered as a Pvt Ltd company at Goa in Sweepers inside the shipwreck off Grande Island Goa 2015, with my cousin and Skandan’s father as the initial directors. We were then one of five dive centres in Goa, and the only one where the owners didn’t dive full time.
The underwater realm cannot continue to be neglected, as all forms of aquatic pollution and exploitation, in turn, lead to Oceanic pollution and degradation of the planetary ecosystem. Every water body is connected by the water cycle, unique to Planet Earth.
At Scuba Evolution India, we participate in every conservation effort we can, including utilizing each dive as a cleanup, as we believe that even a single bottle, cup or piece of plastic brought out of the water is one piece of plastic less in the ocean. Goa being the location for the National Institute of Oceanography, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, National Institute of Watersports, makes it even more imperative for us as ocean professionals to make a difference.
Evolution of Scuba Evolution India
We take diver education and safety very seriously and believe that there can be no growth without effort and expense. In three years, we developed into a PADI Five Star Dive Resort, PADI Tec Rec Diver training facility and today are a Public Safety Diver Training and PADI Five Star Instructor Development Resort. We now offer dive education in the PADI system of scuba diver training, and will soon start an internship program for aspiring dive educators. We also aim to collaborate with schools and colleges, to introduce scuba diving into the curriculum and also offer it as a credit subject at the undergraduate and graduate levels.