July 21st marks PADI’s annual Women’s Dive Day. Inaugurated in 2015, the aim of the day is exactly as the name suggests; women from all over the world take to the oceans to celebrate female representation in a sport that has traditionally been a male-dominated one.

Why is there a Women’s Dive Day?

Did you know that only around 30% of the world’s licensed divers are female? For such a popular sport it’s hard to get our heads around why that is. Recreational scuba diving has typically been the domain of men since it’s inception in the mid-20th century, and once you head into the ranks of technical diving, female representation is even smaller still. Of course, this is not to say that there are no avid, experienced, professional, and highly-competent female recreational and technical divers, there certainly are. It’s just that there are far fewer of them than there are men.

Aiming to address the issue, or at least to reach a wider audience still, PADI (The Professional Association of Diving Instructors), started promoting the idea of PADI Women’s Dive Day in 2015.

What happens on PADI Women’s Dive Day?

The day is marked by a number of events which happen at dive centres from all over the world. Divers, or divers-to-be, can find events happening at a dive centre near them and join in the fun. Often, dive centres choose to run with an all-female staff on the day, or at least for the event dives.

If you’re thinking of getting involved in an event either this year or next year, please do! If nothing else you’ll get to go for a dive and you’ll meet a new bunch of women who love to dive as much as you do. You might even find a new dive buddy.

And don’t worry, it’s not normally a pink-fest and you won’t be forced to dive with a pink tank / BCD / reg / fins / lipstick or anything like that, we say let’s leave that kind of malarkey to the manufacturers of scuba gear who love to ram gender-coded colours down our regs in their advertisements. What we wouldn’t give for the option of a black wetsuit that is NOT highlighted with pink or purple!

All in all, the day is just a chance to connect with other women who scuba and have a bit of fun in the process.

PADI Women’s Dive Day and Ocean Conservation

Different dive centres celebrate the day in different ways. Some run special dives at discounted rates for female divers, others offer free introductory scuba dives to women, and others run all-female clean-up dives where teams of divers are assigned into groups or buddy teams and kitted out with mesh bags for trash collection.

If you’ve ever been on a ‘dive against debris’ you’ll be familiar with the clean-up process. PADI and their charity Project Aware, sponsor clean-up dives on a regular basis and hopefully, on this Women’s Dive Day we’ll be seeing a lot of this.

But even if you’re not attending a dive event you can do your bit for the ocean every single time you dive. Here’s how:

  • It sounds like a no-brainer, but make sure your buoyancy skills are on-point, always. If you’re aware that your buoyancy skills aren’t quite what they should be or need some fine tuning, reach out to an instructor or divemaster for tips and guidance. Or consider taking a Peak Performance Buoyancy course.
  • Use your BCD pockets to stash found pieces of trash every time you dive, picking stuff up shouldn’t be limited to just clean-up dives.
  • Dive streamlined and make sure that your gauges are tucked away.
  • Don’t touch anything. Do not touch the wildlife or stand on coral. Wear reef safe sunscreen. Take only pictures and leave only bubbles.

More tips on sustainable diving can be found here: https://sloactive.com/sustainable-diving-guide/

July 21, 2018 — Janaya Wilkins