Time for the Girls to Dive into History
When I visit my local dive site, like many others around the world, it is normal to notice more guys there than girls. This a reflection on the sport which I feel is fair to say is still largely male dominated. Things have changed a lot over the years with the numbers of women in recreational diving on the increase, along with areas that have in the past been exclusively male orientated like deep cave exploration. The playing field however is still not fairly balanced. Going back to my local dive site with this in mind, I find it exciting to imagine that next weekend it will play host to a record breaking attempt to have as many women as possible joined hand in hand while scuba diving. As if this bold Women’s Dive Day event isn’t enough, it also stands to raise thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.
The event that is being organised by Divetech on Grand Cayman is intended to draw attention to women in diving and to help recognise their place in the dive industry as being equal to that of their male counterparts. In addition to putting women divers in the spotlight, all proceeds from the $25 registration fee will be donated to the Breast Cancer Society.
It has to be agreed that the idea of having over 50 divers in the water at one point all holding hands is quite a logistical operation. How can it be coordinated in such a way that all the divers are able to be in one spot, without damaging any reef, in such a way that the record can be validated and with all aspects of dive safety in mind?
One person who has had to learn all about these logistical pitfalls is Julia Bradford who came up with the idea. According to Ms Bradford, “I had the idea shortly after joining Divetech. Women’s Dive Day was on the horizon and the idea of setting a world record for the most female divers in the water at one time just flashed into my mind. Of course what I didn’t realise at the time is the amount of planning and preparation it would take to make the vision a reality.”
With the idea still fresh in her mind, Ms Bradford sought approval from her boss who was only too happy to back the idea. Divetech owner Jo Mikutowicz recalls, “Having such an exciting project proposed by my newest member of the team is a real kick. The idea of making a truly memorable event for women in diving and at the same time raising money to fight cancer is a fantastic opportunity for Divetech to get behind.”
Following the initial excitement of establishing the parameters with the diving almanac, it was time to start the planning and preparations required to pull off such a monumental feat. So many things had to be thought through from publicising the event, to ensuring that they actually had enough female divers willing to take part to make it worthwhile to the nuts and bolts of how the dive itself would be carried out.
As it turned out, publicity soon proved to not be an issue. Divetech employee Tony Land used his artistic skills to put together a graphic showing the female member of the team in action with their respective tools of the trade. In amongst the girls as they posed was a rebreather, a set of doubles, freediving gear, sidemount tanks, a lionfish spear, a DPV and for some reason an oversized wrench.
According to Mr Land, “The idea was to show the women divers as having a diverse range of abilities, in particular within the tech arena as this is still a significantly male heavy area of the sport.”
Once the image went out on social media it snowballed. Instantly there was a tangible buzz from women in diving not just on Grand Cayman but from all over the world. Shortly after the event was announced, the news attracted various media outlets to ask for press releases and information for articles. In short, the public were on board so that was one less thing to worry about… or so you would think.
Ms Bradford recalls, “Overnight we went from being concerned about not having enough ladies to participate to worrying about having too many people. It became apparent that we needed to inventory our supplies and the logistics of the event so we could find out how many women we could safely put in the water at one time so we could cap the event.”
The plan has now evolved into a solid concept and all feels ready for the 21st, it even looks like the weather is set to cooperate. The event will have a substantial number of divers and plans have been put in place to make the post dive soiree at neighbouring café Vivo an afternoon/evening to remember.
Next weekend, not only will the history books be written with this truly memorable gathering of female camaraderie but also a very deserving charity will receive a little more funding for their cause.
Whether you want to take part in the underwater aspect or just be around for the festivities (for men or women) call by Lighthouse Point in West Bay on Saturday from 12.30. Further information on the event can be found by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author: Drew McArthur is a professional dive instructor and boat captain currently working at Divetech on Grand Cayman. Since his first dive over 20 years ago, he has found himself in all kinds of underwater environments from golf ponds on the side of a snowy Welsh mountain to the tropical paradise he has now become accustomed to. A fanatic of all things tech, one of the main things Drew loves about Grand Cayman is the accessibility of such premier dive sites. Check out Drew's blog here.