The 1st Shark Conservation Speciality Instructor & Instructor Trainer

It was a big weekend at Downbelow for conservation, for our resident Course Director and for sharks.

Steven and Joseph, freshly qualified under Richard (right), PADI's first Shark Conservation Speciality Instructor and Instructor TrainerProject AWARE recently launched a new speciality; the Project AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Distinctive Speciality.

Downbelow’s MD and resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann demonstrated the criteria required for qualification and became the first PADI member to be both an instructor and an instructor trainer for this speciality.

The plight of sharks, and this speciality in particular, is of great interest to Richard.

His passion for sharks dates back many years, and here in the TAR Park in particular – just a few minutes by boat away from our island dive centre – he has dived with a resident black tip reef shark community since 2007.

One of the black tip reef sharks in the TAR Park that Richard is studyingOver the last year or so he has made a detailed study of the sharks and has documented evidence of 15 individuals (the attached pic was taken by Richard in the park recently).

The Shark Conservation Diver Distinctive Speciality therefore is another great avenue for Richard through which to express his passion for sharks and educate others on sharks’ importance and why they should be protected.

To that effect Richard immediately sprung into action and taught the speciality course to Divemaster interns Joseph and Steve. They consequently became the first divers to qualify in this speciality.

One of Downbelow's Instructors, Alvin, prepared the board for the Shark Conservation SpecialityProject AWARE’s Big Shark Shout Out Week is coming up 15 – 23 October. It’s an opportunity for divers around the world to stand up and be counted in the fight to save sharks. You can add your voice to the Shark Alliance and Give Sharks a Chance petition.

In support of this week and to celebrate the new Project AWARE course, our customers have the opportunity to add the new speciality course to their diving day and pay only the qualification fees.

For only RM180 extra, you will get the required study materials. Your diving day will then include 2 dives at the site where our local black tips usually hang out (but we can’t guarantee sightings).

The offer is valid for Downbelow’s customers until the end of Big Shark Shout Out Week on 23 October 2011.  Email us for more information.

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