All barriers are in the mind… transforming scuba diving training for all abilities

Following a presentation at the GO Diving Show in Coventry, UK last weekend, Scuba Diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy has announced that it is working on a series of exciting new programmes with diver training agency partner RAID. These new programmes are destined to transform scuba diving training for all abilities.

Award-winning Deptherapy is the acknowledged world leader in Adaptive Teaching – training those with life changing mental and/or physical challenges through specially designed scuba
diving programmes that enable divers to achieve standard agency certifications. Many of Deptherapy’s programme members have suffered limb loss and other significant physical
injuries. 80% of members are suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder or other chronic mental illness.

Sadly, people with all kinds of disability are still actively discriminated against inside and outside the scuba diving industry. However, the work of Deptherapy has shown that even those with
massive injuries can still meet all the standards required to become main agency qualified divers without the stigma of ‘disability’ being shown on their certification card.
Successful Adaptive Teaching requires considerable additional effort from the instructional team, working very closely with the student, to think ‘out of the box’ so that the individual can achieve
the required standard.

Until now, the majority of Deptherapy programme members have been UK Armed Forces veterans but the charity has long been a champion of the cause to make scuba diving accessible
to all those with disabilities. Moving forwards with RAID, Deptherapy and its training arm Deptherapy Education are now working towards extending their programme to push the boundaries of Adaptive Teaching for a wider cohort, as well as offering an alternative for those with disabilities or medical conditions that mean standard certifications are unachievable.

Richard Cullen, Chair of Deptherapy explains:

“The Deptherapy Team is realistic, and we know from experience that some divers will not be able to achieve the standard certifications, even with Adaptive Teaching, due to the nature of their illness or injury. For instance, a quad amputee or a quadriplegic cannot complete all the skills required but they can still dive on a limited certification, providing they do so with the support of a qualified team trained to support a diver with extreme levels of disability.” 

“In partnership with RAID we are working on a new model of both Adaptive Teaching, but also we want to provide limited certifications similar to the old D1- D3 levels for those divers who are unable to meet required standards.” 

“Under the new model, specially trained dive professionals will carry out an exhaustive assessment of every potential diver to determine their possibility to achieve mainstream
certifications before continuing on either programme.” 

A new training programme for dive professionals is being finalised to facilitate the new teaching models. The new Deptherapy / RAID course for Instructors and Divemasters will prepare trainers
to teach adaptively, to understand disability, to make realistic assessments and, most importantly, to support their student through the challenges of becoming a diver. The diver
training programmes will then be available through RAID dive centres worldwide.

Paul Toomer, Director of Diver Training at RAID, says:

“Deptherapy is unique in its vast experience of working with divers with all types of challenges. The diving world does discriminate against those with disabilities and the easy way has been to
qualify them as ‘disabled divers’. We want to see a new approach, one that firstly looks at how a student could reach mainstream certification by adapting skills. If that is not achievable, then we
will work to qualify them under the D1-D3 system. We are bringing together professionals from the RAID community worldwide to work on this major project.”

Richard Cullen adds:

“It is humbling that Paul has asked Deptherapy to lead this project and for me, as an individual, to head the team. It is an endorsement of the years of hard work that Team Deptherapy have
put in to ensure we can better the lives of Veterans who have suffered life changing mental and/or physical challenges.”

“I know that together with RAID, Deptherapy can make that same impact on disabled individuals and communities worldwide. I want to thank Paul and RAID for having the confidence in us, as
a team, and me personally to deliver this major programme. This will change views and working practices globally.”

Deptherapy and RAID plan to run a pilot Dive Professionals course in Autumn 2020 with the remainder of the training courses rolling out from January 2021.

For more information about Deptherapy & Deptherapy Education visit

Notes for Editors

Deptherapy & Deptherapy Education is an English Charity registered with the Charity Commission. It seeks to rehabilitate UK Armed Service personnel and veterans who have
suffered life changing mental and/or physical challenges through specially designed Scuba Diving Programmes. It also provides 24/7 support to Programme Members. Deptherapy is widely
respected for changing the lives of those who come on the Programme. Many Programme Members have suffered limb loss and/or mental illness, with 80% suffering from PTSD or other
chronic mental illness. The charity also provides education in adaptive scuba diving techniques to Dive Professionals. Find out more at

RAID is the world’s fastest-growing diver training agency with both full service and satellite regional offices, dive stores and instructors waiting to provide diver services to you across the
globe. RAID is also the first diver training agency to offer a complete range of online diver academic programs from beginner to instructor examiner levels in snorkelling, scuba and
freediving. Find out more at

For further information and /or images, please contact: Jane Herbert – Associate Director
Media & Communications – Deptherapy – Tel: 07742 647800
Richard Cullen – Chairman – Deptherapy – Tel: 07786 361196

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