The Blog

Disabled Diving Instructor course held at Diveline Ipswich

Having attended this course last year and achieving DDI Instructor status, I was lucky enough to be able to assist on this course run again at Diveline Ipswich.


In order to attend this DDI course, Pro Training candidates should be PADI Divemaster or above (or equivalent rating from aa major dive training organization)

Upon graduation from the course you will receive the equivalent rating from DDI but if you are a Divemaster this can be upgraded the moment you become an Instructor!

The Trainer

The training is conducted by DDI Instructor Trainer Mark Slingo who is himself a wheelchair user after an accident in 2005 left him a T10 paraplegic. He though is the world’s first ever wheelchair user to reach the rating of PADI Course Director.

Mark teaches the course trying to get the candidates to look at things from the disabled person’s point of view and really makes the course a much more hands-on experience. Mark will really tell you what diving can do for a disabled person. He is a living example!


Knowledge Development

After the necessary coffee to start the day, the course began with first a discussion where you are introduced to the problems faced by disabled people, and ways to combat those problems.

We were then introduced to various examples of success stories of how disabled diving has helped people like Mark.

Following this we examined the wide variety of disabilities we might come across and discussed considerations for enabling people with these various conditions to dive.

This included looking at the various ways to adapt standards, using DDI standards and the different DDI programs available for people with disabilities.

The knowledge development session really focused a great deal on the adaptvie techniques you can use to help get more people in the water and is really interesting and informative.

With a short break for lunch, this took the whole of Day 1! So humbling seeing how disabled people take to the water and do so very well.


After the obligatory coffee to start the day off, we headed to the pool!

Practical Training

For the practical side in confined water training we simulated being an instructor for a paraplegic diver, a quadriplegic diver and a sight-impaired diver! Not only did we simulate being the instructor, we also did the dive simulating having each of these conditions so that we would know what barriers are faced by handicapped students. We carried out entries, exits, lifts and logistics to show the various options for running a course successfully.

The course also allowed us to take in considerations for various diving venues and what to look for be it boats, and accommodations that have to be made to beaches and how to deal with the obvious problem of soft sand for a wheelchair.


It was then back to the classroom to look at standards. The manual is laid out in a way making is easy to find the information that you want, but it is a good idea to have a general idea of where to find things.

Final Exam

It was then time to sit the final exam – aargghh! An open book exam so not that bad really.

And Finally….

This course teaches you so much and gives you something that will be useful for you in a diving career, both as a way to help disabled people to discover scuba diving and as something that you can offer a dive centre, which is a little bit different.

If you are interested to find out more, contact Mark at: or visit the website at:


Go on, you know you want to – you could make a huge difference to someone, giving them to opportunity to visit the underwater world and experience what you do every time you scuba dive!