Unlike many of my friends, I have never felt particularly drawn to the underwater world of Diving. The surface is where I belong and if I do find myself underwater, it usually means something has gone badly wrong. On a number of occasions, however, frustrated by the cost of a diver to scrub a race boat or clear a fouled prop, or the cost of a liftout to investigate some minor worry, I have begun to consider gaining a diving qualification in order to achieve that greater level of self-sufficiency I crave from my boating.
Unfortunately ‘considering’ a diving course is as far as I have ever got. To achieve a basic PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) qualification – or similar, there are a number of other organisations – it seemed I needed to take at least four separate days and pay something in the region of £350. The time and cost are not hugely prohibitive but, with little interest in the diving itself, I’d never quite been bothered to get round to it.
That was until a company running a new diving course, called MicroDiving and backed by the RYA, contacted Sailing Today. The course teaches diving down to 3m (10ft) – they have been running a slightly more complex 9m (30ft) course for some years. The whole thing can be completed in one of two locations – Andark, near Southampton or Stoney Cove near Leicester – and takes one day to complete at a cost of £150. This seemed to me a much more viable proposition for acquiring a skill I would use occasionally. I was excited by the idea that only one day out of my life could translate into the higher level of self sufficiency I was craving.