Divers can go back in water

DIVERS can get back in the water after it was confirmed the hyperbaric chamber is back in service.

Donkey Divers’ Steve Bougourd is pleased he can think again about offering courses now that diving is allowed with the hyperbaric chamber back in action. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29354219)
Donkey Divers’ Steve Bougourd is pleased he can think again about offering courses now that diving is allowed with the hyperbaric chamber back in action. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29354219)

Non-essential diving has not been allowed in recent months because the chamber was not available if a diver got into difficulty.

But Health & Social Care president Al Brouard has confirmed it was back in action from yesterday.

Donkey Divers owner Steve Bougourd said he was not restarting courses until mid-April, which would give him time to finish doing a full service of equipment and repairs. But he was aware there was a lot of pent-up demand.

‘We will be filling tanks,’ he said. ‘The weather is not looking brilliant this week. The biggest thing for us is the wind, which leads to rough conditions. But many people don’t care. They just want to get wet.’

He added that from a diving perspective, it was better to have had the lockdown at the end of winter rather than during spring, like it was last year, as fewer people went diving during the winter.

The company, which gives lessons, is still coping with a backlog of people from last year.

Mr Bougourd said last year had also revealed a much bigger diving community in the island.

Some Guernsey-based divers usually went off-island to do their qualifications and then choose to dive in warmer locations for their holidays rather than in local waters. But last year’s travel restrictions meant a lot of those divers had the chance to discover the joys of local diving.

Mr Bougourd said he was gearing up for another very busy season of staycations, with lessons for learners and more experienced divers.

‘Some people are really missing out on local waters,’ he said.

‘Our waters hold some real gems, especially around Sark. In places like Egypt, it is very much the same every time you dive, but over here, because of our conditions, it makes you a better diver, because you never know what you are going to see. It really is a magical way to learn to dive.’

Among the recreational divers likely to be back in the water this week will be teacher Dan Burgess, who will need to wait until the weekend to have the time to dive.

‘I’m totally looking forward to it,’ he said. ‘I will be going with a couple of friends.’

He expected to probably be doing a shore dive and he is likely to be at Rousse or Saints.

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