Most people equate scuba diving with exploring warm tropical seas, surrounded by colourful fish. So ask them to picture a war zone and scuba diving is hardly the first activity that springs to mind. However, thanks to some innovative thinking from a captain in the Royal Engineers, a unique scuba diving project in Afghanistan has become an exciting reality.
Camp Bastion in Afghanistan now has a huge 70,000 litre tank in the middle, which is being used as a scuba diving training pool for members of 26 Engineer Regiment. Ok, so the intrepid scuba diving personnel of the Engineer Regiment aren’t able to see any pretty fish and picturesque coral reefs during their scuba diving sessions, but at least they can enjoy some water-based exercise and work towards a British Sub-Aqua Club Ocean Diver qualification at the same time.
The man behind the project, Captain Stewart, is a keen member of the BSAC and a military scuba diver instructor to boot. He has over fifteen years diving experience and when he combined this with his skills as an engineer, he certainly managed to come up with an extraordinary way of helping stressed out soldiers in a combat zone chill out while gaining a useful qualification.
Well, scuba diving in Camp Bastion, even if it is in a glorified tin can, sure beats jogging around the camp perimeter in the midday sun or lifting weights for fun! And since the men and women on active service in Afghanistan have to work fourteen-hour days, seven days per week, any respite from the horrors of military life on the front line has to be a good thing!
How To Gain An Ocean Diver Qualification The Regular Way…
You could of course sign up for a stint in Afghanistan, but that isn’t recommended unless you like living life on the edge, so an easier way of working towards your BSAC Ocean Diver qualification is to find out where your nearest (BSAC) training centre is and sign up for a course.
The BSAC Ocean Diver course is the first step on the path to becoming an experienced scuba diver. The course aims to introduce beginners to the joys of swimming (and being able to breathe!) underwater, safely and competently. Anyone can have a go, although you must be aged 12 or older, able to swim at least 200 meters, and be reasonably confident in the water.
So what are you waiting for? If the guys and girls stationed at Camp Bastion—right in the middle of a war zone—can give it a go, so can you!
Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.