Dive With Disabilities: How The Deep Blue Is More Accessible Than Ever

Written by
an AbleThrive community member
Content via Community Submission
Community Submission
Written by
an AbleThrive community member

If the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games can teach the world anything, it is that having a disability cannot stop you from being active. Everywhere you look, you will find that even the most adventurous activities are made available for those with disabling conditions. It is common knowledge that swimming is beneficial in toning muscles, improving joint mobility, and strengthening the cardiovascular system. But what about scuba diving? In addition to getting exercise, divers can provide a variety of benefits, such as:

  • A feeling of confidence in control
  • A sense of freedom that they do not experience on land
  • Relief from stress and anxiety
  • Enhanced movements
man underwater

What sort of challenges does that mean for divers with disabilities and how can they overcome them? Physical immobility is the most obvious, while vision and hearing impairments follow the lead. Thus, the needs of scuba divers must be customized as the obstacles that each diver faces are unique.

Building Scuba Communities Over Boundaries

One of the best things about scuba diving for individuals with disabilities is the weightless environment that gives divers the freedom from restraints they face on land. Divers with disabilities can move freely underwater - and those with Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, along with other visual and hearing impairments have also enjoyed scuba diving in regions across the globe. In fact, locations like Cozumel, Mexico offers easy transportation as scuba enthusiasts with disabilities can enjoy the beachfront views without having to travel far in a wheelchair.

Scuba diving has proven effective as both a group and solo treatment as physical therapists have long known about the benefits of water. Not to mention, plenty of communities offer scuba diving to wounded war veterans. So, whether you live in the United States or the UK, the International Associated of handicapped Divers is set to teach dive instructors the proper methods of training, certification, and supervising divers with disabilities.

Modern Equipment For Divers With Disabilities

Unlike most sports for divers with disabilities, there are no such special gear requirements as they enter a world of weightlessness. While no scuba dive is complete without its basic kit, there are useful adaptations that offer a new experience and benefit for each user. While diving is possible for disabilities including amputees, quadriplegic, and paraplegics, those with mental challenges are the only exceptions. However, there are basic health requirements as those with conditions in their heart, respiratory tract, nasal sinuses, and ears must be approved by their physician.

Taking The Dive

After proper training, scuba divers are categorized based on their capabilities. Level “A” divers must dive with at least one partner, while level “B” divers are required two. Whereas, level “C” divers must have at least one trained and certified CPR provider. While all levels offer the same opportunity, having the right guidance will help keep each member safe in the water.

There are plenty of destinations like Aruba, Hawaii, and Mexican, where divers with disabilities can go on vacation and become diver certified. Not only will your certificate be accepted in most locations, but it will also help you become a part of the exciting scuba community. So what are you waiting for? Explore the deep blue seas and gift yourself the opportunity of scuba diving. 


Thanks to Jen Jones for submitting this original post to AbleThrive.com! Jen gives this resource for those wanting to know more about scuba diving. 

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