One of BelizeÂs huge international attractions is the stunning Blue Hole. Â Thousands of divers from across the world flock to this sight every year to experience this incredible underwater realm. Â However, PADI has sent out a strongly-worded letter relating to bad diving practices in the area, and urging dive instructors to ensure peopleÂs safety above all else.
For those living in Belize, coming across many divers keen to explore the Blue Hole is not uncommon. Â In fact, much of the tourism being noted stems from diving enthusiasts visiting the country. Â However, PADI said that many new or novice divers are being taken down to a depth of 130 feet, despite not having any deep diving experience or training. Â They said that this violates the companyÂs code of practice and reminded tour operators and dive guides that the top priority on all dives was the safety of dive students and clients.
On Monday, October 28th, PADI representatives and various diving companies met on Ambergris Caye to discuss the letter and the important implications it has for Belize and the local area. Â PADIÂs Manager of Quality Management, Linda Van Velsan, said that it was vital for the organization to act upon complaints about bad conduct, particularly when the worries stemmed from other PADI representatives. Â In Belize, the Blue Hole is often a greatly anticipated spot for divers to head for.Â However, newly certified divers have only previously done four dives, making a trip into the Blue Hole completely irresponsible. Â It means that those who are qualifying in Belize must be given further dive experience and deep dive training before theyÂre allowed to enjoy one of the worldÂs most renowned diving spots.
The latest PADI letter has reminded all those living in Belize of the importance of Scuba Diving Standards. Â Belize Tourism BoardÂs (BTBÂs) Director of Quality Assurance, Armeid Thompson, said: ÂWe are working with various stakeholders including the Belize Bureau of Standards to create our own Belize Scuba Diving Standards. Â But we cannot create any standards without the enforcement and the legal framework to back up the legislation. Â We are completing the consultation for the dive policy and for the creation of scuba standards, and we are moving aggressively on it.Â