New hope for divers with disabilities

Ingrid Rushfeldt Krüger (left), Anders Orpana (front) and Geir Arne Hageland (right). Photographer - Katarina Orpana
DDI Norway offers a complementary Assistant Diver Course
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New hope for divers with disabilities

Disabled Divers International

A new approach to teaching people with disabilities to scuba dive is promised with the formation of a new non-profit organisation, Disabled Divers International

Founders of the DDI are two men with a combined 30 years of working with disabled divers—Fraser Bathgate, its first president, and Vice-President Flemming Thyge of DDI. All the DDI’s board members are volunteers. 

“Our intention with DDI is to ensure that our students and their needs always have priority,” says Bathgate. “The new training programme we’re offering moves away from traditional methods of teaching divers with disabilities.” 

Scuba diving has been shown to offer numerous benefits in terms of the social and physical rehabilitation of people with disabilities. Many find that, given the correct equipment and appropriate training, the restrictions they experience on land disappear with the near-weightlessnes they experience under water. 

“Regular recreation involving physical exercise engenders better physical and mental health,” says Fraser Bathgate. “Scuba diving is also a social sport, and being able to interact with non-disabled divers can have a tremendous positive effect.”

The official launch of DDI took place on 27 March 2010 at the London International Dive Show, but Bathgate said he had already gathered extensive international support for its formation. 

“DDI programmes are designed to work in conjunction with those of existing diver training agencies,” said Fraser Bathgate. “Our new layer of courses allows people who would have difficulty fulfilling standard agency requirements and standards to experience diving safely. We achieve this through modifications and enhancements to standard procedures and equipment.” 

Another set of DDI courses is available for training instructors. “For the professionals, we provide the tools and knowledge required to train and certify disabled divers safely, within the various limits imposed by individual students’ ability. Work with disabled divers is very rewarding, because the students share the excitement and joy of their experiences with their instructors,” said Bathgate.

Bathgate hopes that individual diving professionals and dive centres will be quick to take up the opportunities offered by DDI courses. “These training programmes can help to differentiate them from their competitors, and provide added value to their businesses.”

For more information on Disabled Divers International, go to or contact [email protected].

Our intention is to run a DDI Instructors course here in Ireland to help bring up the numbers of trained Instructors as there is a greater demand for disabled Diver training world wide. So we wish to address this by running

and instructors course in Dublin at the end of July or beginning of August 2011. This course is aimed at any Diving Instructor, Divemaster  Club Dive Training Officer or Assistant Instructors from any Organization. We also wish to train assistants so any diver looking to learn can enroll. For further details please contact our Rep in Ireland Charlie Brehony @ ” [email protected] ” .  

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