Considering there are no official regulations surrounding recreational diving in the yachting industry, are the standards of operations and safety high enough across the board? In issue 72, Bryony McCabe investigates how the landscape of diving activity varies in the industry and whether anything should be done to improve standards. Here, we bring you a preview...

As one of the few superyacht-specific centres establishing scuba safety programmes and operations procedures on board, Yacht Scuba Safety, a division of OndineEscape based in Mallorca, is well placed in the industry to be one of the first points of contact for owners and captains wishing to engage in professional and safe diving. Co-director Nick Stael von Holstein, however, admits that the number of those wishing to do so may not be as high as some may think.

OndineEscape heads up scuba training. Credit: Jonathan Fox Bassett

“Let’s talk about the Monaco Yacht Show,” begins Stael von Holstein, using the example as a reflection of the wider industry. “I visited every yacht out of those some 100 yachts that were there and no more than 10 had serious scuba operations set up on board in terms of owners buying the yacht for the sole purpose of going diving. In these cases, they would usually have a very comprehensive set up of gear and a crewmember on board who is either a divemaster or instructor. But out of those 10, with the exception of one, none had operation procedures adequate to conduct the actual diving facility. This does, however, signify an upward trend in diving activities coming to the fore; the previous year’s show had as few as two or three yachts geared up to conduct diving.”

"They are intending on doing some form of diving and they are going to get an instructor to be part of the team but they are still not ticking all the boxes."

And these are not the only issues that Stael von Holstein has encountered as commonplace in the industry. “I am dealing with a lot of new builds now and they are putting 50,000 to 60,000 euros worth of dive gear on board," he recollects. "They are intending on doing some form of diving and they are going to get an instructor to be part of the team but they are still not ticking all the boxes. For example, I once found an 80m charter yacht that wanted to do diving with the owner and guests in the Caribbean. We checked all their diving gear and found they had 3mm short wetsuits and then regulators designed for diving in ice conditions, which are incredibly expensive. I asked if they were planning on going to the Arctic, Greenland or Norway but they weren’t doing any of it – the gear had just been put on board when they built the boat. So on a basic level, no one is advising the yachts from the perspective of how to gear up properly and then, once you are on board, having an operations procedure.”

Find the full article in issue 72 of The Crew Reportdownload now.

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