In a first in State, 10-year-old secures PADI Junior Scuba Diver certificate – The New Indian Express

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Dheeraj underwent extensive training, involving learning of swimming, finswimming and survival skills.(Photo | Special arrangement)

VISAKHAPATNAM: Ten-year-old Dheeraj Padala’s fascination with the underwater world led him on a remarkable journey of exploration.

Under the guidance of his father, Yatish, a seasoned professional scuba diver, Dheeraj’s dream of delving into the depths of the ocean has become a tangible reality.

Whilst celebrating his 10th birthday on January 24, Dheeraj, a native of Vijayawada, dived to a depth of 12 metres (40 feet) in the Bay of Bengal off the Rushikonda coast, earning him the certification as one of the youngest PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Junior Scuba Divers. The achievement is significant as he is the first individual from Andhra Pradesh to attain this certification.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is the largest global organisation dedicated to ocean exploration and diving, operating in 186 countries and territories. To qualify for the PADI junior scuba diver course, candidates must be at least 10 years old, possess adequate swimming skills, and be in good physical health.

Highlighting his son’s genuine passion for exploring the underwater world, Yatish said, “More than the certificate, Dheeraj looked forward to seeing what is underneath the waves. For any child, exploring the underwater realm holds more excitement than mere victory. The oceans remain one of the few ecosystems that are relatively untouched by human exploitation. I wasn’t expecting him to do it, but he pursued it with immense interest.”

Under the guidance of Balaram Naidu, an experienced and professional scuba diver-instructor and director of Live-in Adventures based in Visakhapatnam, Dheeraj underwent extensive training. The process included learning swimming, fin swimming, and survival skills.

Balaram Naidu explained the comprehensive training approach, involving a day of confined dives in a swimming pool to teach skills, followed by a shore dive into the sea on the second day to assess the candidate’s proficiency.

Expressing his interest in further exploring underwater life and learning, Dheeraj said, “I have always been interested in learning about aquatic life. I am keen on continuing scuba diving to explore life underwater.”

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