BEN BARKER – Andark Divemaster Scholarship 2023

Why I Chose the programme…


Hi, I’m Ben and I am one of the new Andark Divemaster Scholars for 2023. I am extremely proud to have been chosen to take part in such a fantastic opportunity, and I am looking forward to expanding my diving skills and furthering my knowledge on all things scuba.

I began diving back in 2017 when I completed my Open Water whilst on holiday in Malta. I had grown up hearing my father talk extensively about his experience with the underwater world and when the opportunity presented itself to me by chance, I leapt at the prospect. I remember the first time I took breaths in the ocean, and as I stared out into the blue water, I struggled to take a second breath as my jaw was hanging open in amazement.

Upon returning to the UK, I signed up at Andark for some specialities to further my ability and allow me to continue a hobby I had fallen in love with…

The somewhat colder water and reduced visibility of UK diving didn’t stop my growing passion, and over the next few years I completed five specialities and my Advanced Open Water with Andark. Whilst at the University of Warwick, where I studied Mechanical Engineering, I was presented the chance to complete my Rescue Diver course. At the time, I was looking to get a greater range of diving under my belt, and then COVID hit and put a pause on the further plans I had.

I didn’t return to diving until 2022, during the final year of my degree. The group project dissertation I had chosen was to design and build a Human Powered Submarine, which was then raced at the European International Submarine Races 2022, hosted in QinetiQ’s Ocean Basin facility in Gosport. As the most experienced diver on the Warwick team, I was the pilot of the craft and after a brilliant two weeks racing against teams from all over the world, I managed to set a lap record for Warwick, slashing the previous best time. This lap is by far my favourite diving experience to date.

Having now graduated, I saw the Andark Divemaster Scholarship advertised online and couldn’t pass up on applying. Whilst becoming a Divemaster, and one day a PADI Instructor, is definitely something I wish to attain, the most important aspect of this programme for me is the exposure to the wealth of knowledge, skill, and experience that is offered at Andark. My ongoing aim in diving has always been to continue improving my own skills, and I hope that being an Andark Scholar gets me closer to becoming the very best diver I can possibly be.

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