The experience of exploring the underwater world and swimming with the marine life is unparalleled. Despite the thrill that the sport gives, only a few women are seen taking it up as a profession. Of the professional scuba divers across the world, only a meagre 7 per cent are women. In an attempt to change that, a Puducherry-based dive school, Temple Adventures, has been hosting its ‘Scuba Girls Weekend’ on July 20 each year. The event not only allows experienced divers to bond with fellow scuba enthusiasts, but also introduces the sport to amateurs. Apart from viewing scuba diving only as a sport, the women’s gathering also introduces scuba diving as a means to be involved with marine conservation by cleaning up the ocean debris, and to learn about the coral reefs and marine species.
“In India, not many are aware of scuba diving and an even fewer number of people take it up full-time, particularly among women. As a team of divers, we are encouraging more women to take up scuba diving — as a recreational sport or a career. Through our team of women divers, we want to demonstrate that any woman can dive if she wants to,” 24-year-old Gail Goveas, a divemaster at the school, tells DT Next.
The centre also has women divers filling the scuba tanks, driving boats, and diving, to demonstrate that women can take the sport up not only as a rewarding hobby, but also as a potential career choice. “Many women assume that scuba diving is physically demanding and hence refrain from it thinking they are not strong enough. Even though a lot of women are forthcoming to give scuba diving a try, not many go ahead and pursue it as a career option. We want to show that there’s nothing in the dive industry that a woman cannot do, so that more women can cross the traditional stereotypes and gender barriers,” stresses the school’s COO Donarun Das.
Temple Adventures, which is a dive centre recognised by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the world’s largest diver training organisation, has been hosting the women divers’ weekends for the past three years. On July 20, dive centres across the world will be marking Women’s Diving Day.
The event will also allow women to help in clearing the ocean debris, including plastics and fishing nets left behind in the water, as they dive into the ocean, thereby contributing to conserving the waterbodies. “The collected trash will be identified and segregated to be updated on the website of a global platform named ‘Project Aware’, which is working for marine conservation,” elaborates Gail. Those keen on learning about the life inside the oceans can also take up an underwater naturalist course to learn about the coral reefs and marine species.
The dive centre is also aiming at bringing its events to Chennai in the coming months, adds Donarun.