Scholars Visit to the RNLI, Poole

Between 2011 and 2014 there were 50 fatal diving accidents in the UK, and almost all of them were preventable

This is the figure that stuck with me most after our trip to the RNLI. They are now running a campaign which is trying to prevent more diving accidents from occurring in UK waters, and we were lucky enough to be invited along to see the work they do for ourselves.

The charity was set up in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, with just a small group of sailors on the Isle of Man. It became a foundation that now has 238 lifeboat stations and raises £174 million each year. We started the day with a tour around the main college where all volunteers are trained. On the tour, we were taken to see the wave pool that is used for training. All different kinds of weather conditions can be simulated here, and boats can be used in the pool to practice capsizes, making the conditions as realistic as possible. We then had a go in the simulator. This is a room designed like one of the life boats, with screens instead of windows showing the sea. I was given the role of steering the boat first, and I soon learned I’m even worse at steering boats than cars! Different areas and weather conditions can be simulated, and the training crew have to respond to emergencies. Check out our Facebook page for a video!

Lifeboat Simulator

The next part of the day was seeing inside RNLI HQ. Here, we saw all the different departments that help keep the RNLI running, such as media, video editing, and fundraising. We were shown the accident prevention campaign aimed at different activities around UK coast: hiking, kayaking and especially scuba diving. We also learned about the work being done abroad in third world countries, such a Bangladesh, where a person drowns every 2 seconds. Here, programs have been set up to warn people of the risks surrounding water, and how to handle any situations when they do occur.

The last part of our tour was to see the all-weather lifeboat station, including where lifeboats are built and serviced. This was built in 2015 as a way for the RNLI to be able to build their own boats withthe standard of technology they needed, as well as saving the organisation £3 million a year. 3 new lifeboats are made here each year, as well as 398 other lifeboats in the fleet being tested and serviced.

Lifeboat Servicing

Overall I found the visit to the RNLI eye-opening, as it made me think about how taking the time to have a thorough buddy check, carrying the correct equipment and diving safely within PADI limits can allow me to prevent incidents that could potentially be fatal.

Scholarship Visit to HM Coastguard, Portland

Diving is one of the safest recreational activities, if the rules are followed properly. However, sometimes unexpected situations can occur, in which the emergency services are required. We were lucky enough to see the HM coastguard base in Portland on the 25th June, just a few days before it shut down.

We were warmly welcomed into the base, and shown around the communal areas where the staff can wait for emergency calls during their shift. After, we were taken into the back where the helicopters are kept, which were a lot larger than we thought. One of the pilots, Jerry Tribe kindly allowed us to sit in the cockpit and explained the extensive safety checks and the basics of how to fly a helicopter. He also explained the more details about the helicopter itself, including the physics behind it, fuel consumption and he pointed out where all of the external cameras were. Fraser Rowbotham sat with us in the main cab and showed us where all the medical equipment was, and the procedures followed when rescuing someone, including how they use the winch system. He showed us the equipment used to rescue someone at sea, and how he would attach them to it to safely elevate them into the helicopter.

To finish off this memorable day we took some photos, which you can see below, and we even managed to see the helicopter take off as they were off to do some practice using the winch offshore.

Lastly we’d like to thank Fraser, Jerry and to the rest of the staff at the HM coastguard for such a great day!

Andark Divemaster Scholars 2017

This year, we have three lucky scholars who will be with us for the summer to learn the ropes of the dive center and earn their PADI Divemaster qualification. Meet Lucy, Jake and Natasha:

Lucy Martin-Patrick

My name is Lucy Martin-Patrick and I’m 18 years old. I decided to do the Andark dive master scholarship as ever since I started diving a year ago after doing my open water course at Andark I have wanted to progress even further, and I felt doing the scholarship was a great opportunity for me to do this. Once I finish the scholarship I’m looking to do some volunteering overseas and travel for a couple years. Whilst travelling I hope to dive in as many different places as I can and experience the different cultures.

 

Jake Keys

I am excited to be on the Andark Scholarship throughout the summer. I began the process a qualified Rescue Diver, having done all of my training through Andark already. I grew up in Southampton and I have just completed my three A-Levels (Maths, Physics and Geography) at Peter Symonds. The scholarship is an opportunity for me to develop my skills further and to pass them on to new divers. I hope to carry on after the scholarship and become an instructor, with the aim of travelling somewhere tropical and enjoying a gap year before University.

Natasha Busjeet

Hey I’m Natasha and I’m 22. I have just completed a masters in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton, and have always had a keen interest in marine life and diving. I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the scholars this year, in which this divemaster qualification will help me to pursue a career in marine conservation.

 

 

 

We’re lucky to have Lucy, Jake and Natasha here for the summer, and hope this process is as rewarding for them as it has been in previous years. Follow their progress here on our blog, and see what they get up to this summer!

PADI Women’s Dive Day 2017

For the past two years, divers from every corner of the globe have come together for PADI Women’s Dive Day to bond over their love of the ocean and a passion for diving. This growing tradition will continue this year, further strengthening and supporting the female dive community through a day of fun, adventure and camaraderie.

Here at Andark, we have decided to make a weekend of it – because is one day really enough for us girls?

It’s set to be a fun-packed weekend, with visitors from PADI, Red Bull, representatives from scuba manufacturers to showcase their equipment, including Suunto, Cressi and Aqualung. Last year’s Fourth Element Treasure Hunt was such a success that it will be returning to the Andark Lake as well! Finally, our pool will be packed all weekend, with 2 for 1 try dive sessions for new divers, and for those seeking a little more excitement: a chance to test themselves in our Helicopter Underwater Escape Trainer!

Plus, special guest speaker: Maritime Archaeologist, Jane Maddocks!

If you have any questions about the event, please contact katb@andark.co.uk or call 01489 581 755

****WANTED SEASONAL LAKE MANAGER****

Seasonal Lake Manager to run our Scuba Diving and Watersport’s Lake

We are looking for an organised computer literate person capable of running our Scuba Diving and Watersport’s Lake. We are looking for an individual who can help develop new business, whether it’s Scuba Diving, Open Water Lake Swimming, Paddle Boarding, Kayaking or other water based activities.

This position means working weekends, it is a 4/5 day working week. The job involves booking customers in, help creating new business for the Lake,  preparing and selling basic food and drink in our small Lake Café. Over seeing the safety operation of the lake and keeping the building clean and tidy to a very high standard.
Requirements:

  • Qualified scuba diver or water sports instructor with lifeguarding qualification
  • Able to work on their own and with a small team
  • Friendly, self motivated and enthusiastic person
  • A basic first aid and CPR qualification would be an advantage
  • You must also be able to prepare simple food
  • Well organised and tidy individual

Please email your CV to Stephanie Goddard – andark@brontestud.freeserve.co.uk to apply.

andark-lakeDiving in the Andark Lake

 

PADI Instructor Exam

We had a great weekend at the PADI IE with all 3 candidates passing with flying colours maintaining our 100% pass rate.

Looking forward to the next IDC especially now that Government sponsored Student Loans are available to assist with the IDC and IE costs along with a Level 3 NVQ in Dive Business Management.

PADI instructor ExamPADI instructor Exam

Michael Ambrose last week of his scholarship

The last few weeks of the scholarship were a lot of fun, with lots to do.

In the last few weeks of the scholarship we were as busy as ever. I completed the Full Face Mask speciality, which included using a full face mask in the Andark pool first, followed by Andark Lake. This was quite an experience, and it was strange being able to breathe through your nose and communicate with the surface underwater! I also completed the PADI Deep speciality, which involved planning and diving three dives at the National Diving & Activity Centre in Chepstow. I really enjoyed this, it is eerie and breathtaking at such depth and it’s great to now be able to dive to 40m as it opens up more dive sites and new adventures.It was sad to say goodbye to many great new friends as the scholarship drew to a close. We had a ‘goodbye’ meal which was lovely. This won’t, however, be a final goodbye, I’ll continue to go back to Andark to take advantage of the great facilities, great shop and most importantly see the great people! I’m extremely thankful to everyone at Andark for such a brilliant summer, I learnt a lot and had an excellent time!