View Full Version : DiveHeart

the gooch
08-25-2007, 08:16
A little while back I read an article in Scuba Diving magazine about a few different organizations that assisted with disabled persons in order to allow them to SCUBA dive. One in particular is the DiveHeart foundation and their website was listed in the magazine. I decided to e-mail them and let them know that I was more than willing to help out anytime they are in the South Florida area.

Fast forward to this week, I received an email from Jim Elliott with DiveHeart stating they would be in Key Largo this week and could use my help. I contacted Jim Thurs. night and made plans to meet up with them Friday (yesterday) morning and assist on the boat and in the water.

I met up with everyone at their hotel prior to leaving for the boat and was briefed on who would need assistance and with what. After which we caravaned on over to Capt. Slates Atlantis Dive Center. We loaded the boat and assisted everyone on board and were underway.

The weather was perfect, no wind, calm seas and 87 deg. water--ahhh the keys. We arrived at North Dry Rocks and I was instructed to get in the water and assist at the surface until everyone was ready to descend. The two more difficult cases were two gentlemen that were incomplete quadriplegics. They were both outfitted with full face commercial type masks and a buddy phone system that allowed communication with their main buddy whom was also wearing the same system. Once in the water they were both eager to get on down.

All went well at the first site and our biggest concern, (getting the quads. safely out of the water and on the boat), was no problem at all since the seas were flat. Everyone had an awesome time. Off to site 2.

A quick sprint on over to Dry Rocks best known for the Christ of the Deep Statue. Everyone got suited up and we dropped in. The current was a little more prevalent over our first dive. This combined with another person unable to equalize forced us to call this dive early. Again we were able to get everyone back on the boat safely and we all managed to see the main attraction anyway (Christ statue).

On the way back to the dock I noticed someone had the DiveHeart logo on a pair of shorts that said "Making Possibilities for Disabilities". That logo couldn't have summed up this trip better. Seeing the excitement on everyones face underwater was the best feeling and I was amazed at what everyone was able to accomplish:smiley20:.

Hats off to the DiveHeart organization and Jim Elliott, I truly salute you! Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my passion with your members.

Check them out at DiveHeart.org (http://www.diveheart.com/index.php)

08-25-2007, 08:21
My instructor runs a program like this and I got to help nav some dives for them. It is amazing! Anytime you can volunteer for this program do it you will always remember it and the smiles on their faces. I've seen kids afraid of the water the first day and then a week later we can't get them out of the water. I love it and I'm going to get more involved next season.

08-25-2007, 09:29
That must have been really wonderful, well done for helping out too!

08-25-2007, 11:12
It's great that you were able to help out and see the happiness diving brought to the disabled. Scuba Diving magazine had an article this month about organizations that help wounded and disabled veterans learn to dive. It would be rewarding to be a part of organizations like this.

08-25-2007, 13:00
I wonder if the instructors need special certifications to work with divers with physical challenges. I ask, because this might a program that ScubaToys may investigate. We dive at CSSP and Athens. Not a lot to see, but it can prepare these students for the ocean. I'm sure we could get other divers and dive clubs to help out.

Just a thought

08-25-2007, 13:09
Nothing special but I would take some special ed courses so you know what to look for to avoid panics. You can normally find a pretty big sponsor too.

the gooch
08-25-2007, 16:19
The ADA does offer special classes for dealing with disabled divers but I do not know all of what is required to become an instructor for this.

08-26-2007, 08:04
One of the ops on Maui that we dive with sometimes has handicapped accessable boats and everyone on their crews are HSA trained and certified. We've seen quite a few wheelchair folks dive with them and it's fabulous to watch how great the crew is and how graceful these folks really are underwater.

Kudos to Lahaina Divers for being the only HSA operation on Maui, and to every other operator and organization out there that makes diving accessable to the disabled.

scarlet&gray nut
08-27-2007, 15:48
HSA( Handicapped Scuba Association) has a courese for Instructior and Dive Buddy. It a great coures. From there web site www.hsascuba (http://www.hsascuba) Instructors have taken their time & resources to learn the most advanced methods for training people with disabilities. Their training includes 10 hours of Lectures covering 12 disability types and their relationship to diving, training and accessibility. Five hours of pool training with their legs tied, and with blacked-out masks, performing skills typically problematic for students with disabilities, and four hours of Open Water training learning the logistical aspects of training. I took the training for Dive Buddy back in June it was great. If any of you are a round Ohio
The Mid-Ohio Divers will sponsor its second annual club fundraiser for the HSA International (Handicap Scuba Association) the weekend of September 8 and 9. There will be raffles with entertainment for kids and adults alike. At Portage Quarry( www.portagequarry.com (http://www.portagequarry.com) )

08-27-2007, 16:52
I was reading that magazine last night and read the article about these organizations. Having a (so far, OK) nephew in Iraq, it really made my evening to learn about these groups. The work they are doing is phenominal.

Jay, kudos to you for helping out in a program like this.

08-29-2007, 18:45
This is another fantastic organization and I would love to help them out if they do any functions in the Texas area. I love seeing people take the phrase "You can't do that, you have ________" and blowing it out of the water. Well done Gooch for your work!!

The HSA training sound fascinating. Gonna have to check out the website and learn more.