A huge part of the ocean’s beauty is the diversity of its marine life that coexists harmoniously. Each species and organism owns a specific role and function in this vast blue universe. You just need to dive in and simply observe to understand how each element of the underwater world works together to maintain the critical balance and order in which all life on earth depends on for survival.
Taking a nod from nature and embracing the diversity of the human race is just as necessary for achieving balance between humanity and nature. Saving the ocean requires all of us acting together in thousands of ways, standing up for both people and planet. As scuba divers, we are ambassadors of the ocean, and today it needs us more than ever.
Celebrating our differences while also respecting and cultivating our breadth of abilities as individuals, ambassadors and activists, the more powerful we will be as a global force for good, empowering ourselves to take the right steps forward in successfully protecting the ocean we love. A diverse and empowered international diving community inclusive of ocean lovers with varying genders, identities, ethnicities and backgrounds is indispensable and fixed to healthy, balanced life on this planet.
That is why on the third Saturday every July (17 July 2021, this year), on PADI Women’s Dive Day, we celebrate our growing community of female divers while also actively welcoming people of all genders, religions, languages and colors to join what has become the largest day of diving in the world. Through events like Women’s Dive Day, we aim to cultivate awareness and inclusivity and amplify the PADI ethos that our beauty and strength is in our diversity, just like that of the ocean.
To celebrate this upcoming day, we asked our PADI AmbassaDivers to share their thoughts on the importance of inclusion in diving. The PADI AmbassaDiver Program showcases the diversity of diving and inspires people around the world by providing a human connection to the sport and amplifying the stories of divers who inspire others to love and care for our ocean planet. Hear how these individuals are encouraging more people to pursue their passions or follow their dreams to seek adventure and save the ocean.
Tara Jain (India) – PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and Head of ReefWatch Marine Conservation
“As divers we are the guardians, the voices, the torchbearers for the ocean and it’s conservation. We need more and more people of different races, ethnicities and genders in the water, and a connection of care created between them and the sea. Diversity in divers means diversity in the kinds of efforts, the uniqueness of ideas and the places where conservation happens. It also breaks the divisive ideology that expat tourist divers are conservationists driving the economy while local fishermen are the extractors creating the problem. “
Adam Sellars (Australia) – PADI Master Freediver Instructor
“Women in the modern world seem to have more pressures surrounding them than ever before. They seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Through my work in the freediving industry and my company The Pressure Project, I have had the pleasure of watching women band together, empower each other and the community, and now inspire me each and every day all on one breath in our Beautiful Oceans.”
Xochitl Clare (United States) – Marine biologist and performing artist dedicated to climate change research and ocean science communication
“To tackle environmental challenges and protect our blue backyards, we must involve individuals of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Diving impassions individuals to find their place in protecting our planet. We, the PADI dive community, are well-positioned to engineer clear pathways and financial support for aquatic scholarship to diversify the next generation of ocean ambassadors to secure a brighter future.”
Taylor Walston (United States) – PADI Freediver and Shark Conservation Photographer
“I think diversity and inclusion is important in diving because the ocean sets a prime example for diversity in and of itself. There’s this weird romance and symbolic dance we play with marine life when we’re in their presence that creates room for respect, in fact they demand it. You see this beautiful balance in the way marine life interacts with each other that kind of sets the tone for us, too. I think with the ocean and specifically diving, there’s this respect we also have with each other and friendship. There’s kind of this bond that we have with other ocean lovers and it’s this place we can escape where the color of our skin, the texture of our hair, politics or the level of education we have- none of that matters (except maybe just some safety training). Just people coming together that love the ocean, who want to share that love for the ocean with each other and share that with other people who maybe can’t experience the ocean the way we get to. How sad would it be if this were an exclusive experience, the opportunities and friendships we would miss.”
Hassan Khayal (United Arab Emirates) – Course Director
“Diversity and inclusion are important in diving because we all share the planet and we should all be enjoying all aspects of its beauty. Moreover, divers who experience the beauty of the underwater world almost always become PADI Torchbearers, turning into advocates for the environment of this beautiful planet that we all share and that we all should be protecting. Together as one human race, enjoying and taking care of our Mother Earth.”
Szilvia Gogh (Hungary) – PADI Course Director and Founder of Miss-Scuba.com
“To me one of the most exciting parts of diving is diversity. Aside from being underwater swimming weightless with ocean creatures like octopus, sharks and rays… My favorite thing about scuba diving is that it opens doors to parts of the world that I would not have ventured through had it not been for diving. Scuba diving allows me to experience different cultures and make friends with people from every continent I visited. Diversity in diving is important because it is what keeps traveling exciting and intriguing. Learning about other cultures makes us emotionally invested and it is the key to caring, understanding and tolerance.”
Emily Callahan + Amber Sparks (United States) – Co-founders of The Blue Latitudes Foundation
“The Blue Latitudes Foundation (BLF) recognizes and understands the inequalities in diversity and equitable opportunities which exist within the diving community and are actively working to address these issues. Diversity and inclusion are important in the diving community because we believe that our efforts within the marine conservation space cannot be effective unless we engage with our local communities; specifically, those marginalized groups which are typically overlooked when it comes to key decision making and management of our offshore resources, but who share in our collective responsibility to be good stewards of the ocean. We strive to make our work and most importantly our goals as a foundation, more equitable, diverse, inclusive, and just, by participating in several ongoing efforts, including serving as AmbassaDivers with PADI. In partnership with PADI, the BLF has hosted PADI Women’s Dive Day events on California’s offshore oil platforms for the past three years. These events bring together women in the sport of diving and celebrate the contributions of women in diving. It also acts as an avenue to connect like-minded women in ocean science to discuss localized issues in ocean conservation. We are committed to continuously educating ourselves and the diving community about ways in which we can be activists in fighting for both our oceans and for all life on Earth.”
Weldon Wade (Bermuda) – Founder of Guardians of the Reef
“Diversity and inclusion are important in diving because they open numerous opportunities for people and provide important skills and awareness necessary for Islanders to manage their resources and make a decent living doing it as well.”
Rocio Gajon (Mexico) – PADI Rebreather and Scuba Diving Instructor
“Biodiversity is important because we are all torchbearers for the ocean’s health. We become guardians of the ocean in our local dive spots and role models for others who reflect themselves in our lives. The more diversity, the more inclusion, the more minds, the more culture, the more stories, the more we absorb and accept one another. The ocean is our legacy and it is our duty to protect it for many generations and cultures to come.”
Thomas Koch (United States) – PADI Course Director/Founder, Aqua Hands
“The ocean is for everyone, no matter what color, religion, or gender. The ocean has one culture for people who love diving and love our ocean.”
Please share this article, and why diversity and inclusion in diving is important to you. This is yet another pathway to inspire more people to join our community and to show that there are no barriers at sea.
At PADI we strive to create an environment of openness across diving with a shared understanding that ‘underwater we all speak the same language.’ We are committed to cultivating ever-present diversity, equality, and inclusion across the dive industry while continuing to seek out new pathways for all to enjoy access to the ocean and to the transformational power of diving.
We look forward to celebrating PADI Women’s Dive Day with you on 17 July 17 – we are definitely stronger together!
Written by @oceanomartina – Environmental journalist & PADI scuba diving instructor.