With school holidays fast approaching, it’s a good time to think about ways to introduce your kids to the underwater world. Several dive resorts and dive centres around Australia cater well to kids, with school holiday programs and additional activities either to enjoy together or to help them find dive buddies their own age.
Cairns: Divers Den Scuba Kids and Seal Team Programs
In Cairns, dive operator Divers Den is launching PADI Seal Team courses, a five-week scuba diving course for children. Seal Team is an internationally recognised PADI program for children 8 and over. It follows on from the skills learned at Divers Den’s Scuba Kids program, launched in June, which has proved to be extremely popular.
According to General Manager Sonjha Forbes, “It’s great to see local families getting their kids into scuba diving from a young age. Diving is a great way for families to spend time together and explore our natural environment, and Seal Team is a fun, safe progression towards open water diving,” she says.
The Seal Team program is split into five weekly sessions or “Aquamissions”, all held in the heated pool at Divers Den’s central Cairns training centre. Each Aquamission is run by trained PADI professionals and includes a short briefing and a knowledge session, followed by pool time where children can try out their new skills and play underwater games. Skills covered in the program include how to use snorkel and scuba equipment including BCD and regulator, controlling depth and buoyancy, equalising the ears and mask, monitoring air supply, hand signals and how to ascend safely.
After five sessions, children will officially be certified PADI Seal Team members and receive a certificate, a t-shirt and a logbook decal. The program also includes a graduation day trip to the Frankland Islands, where they will receive their certificates and enjoy a guided snorkel tour, island walk and picnic lunch. Special rates apply for accompanying family members. A Master Seal Team program is also available, consisting of a further 10 specialty Aquamissions, including a night dive, rescue skills and wreck diving.
Brisbane: Aquaventures Kids Scuba & Marine Education
Based at Dolphins Health Precinct, Redcliffe, Aquaventures is Australia’s only dive training centre exclusively for kids. Run by husband and wife team (both passionate ocean lovers) Melanie Meatheringham and David Griffiths, the centre offers a range of courses from PADI Bubblemaker to Seal Team Aquamissions, scuba parties, school holiday programs and Project Aware specialist courses. Melanie is a marine biologist and Open Water Dive Instructor, partner David an Open Water Dive Instructor and underwater photographer.
“As passionate as we are about scuba diving and the amazing creatures you can see whilst diving, we also believe everyone needs to understand how amazing and fragile this environment is. With a Marine Biologist within our team we are able to offer a variety of marine education programs to complement our scuba program.”
Dive resorts including Heron Island Resort and Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort also run marine-themed school holiday activities for kids, and it’s also worth checking your local dive centre for school holiday underwater courses and activities. Check our guide to diving with kids for more information.