Ocean Organization Spotlight: Buceo Sin Barreras | Diving Without Borders
By Astrid Hsu
If you have a physical disability, diving may never cross your mind. After all, if you are reliant on a wheelchair, how will you swim?
I got the unique opportunity to sit down with David Castro who has a solution to such a problem. Castro is one of 8 certified disability dive instructors in Baja California and is a member of the Castro family who helped turn Cabo Pulmo, Mexico, into one of the most successful marine reserves in the world. David and his colleague Daniel Ramirez Valenzuela were approached by Chikara Yanome (founder) and Baja California Sur government officials who wanted to start a rehabilitation program for disabled students—through diving. As such, a new initiative was born: Diving Without Borders, a nonprofit that trains and certifies disabled people to dive.
Their students can have any disability—they’ve even trained blind people! (If you’re not familiar with diving, the general underwater experience and method of communication is usually visual). Each disability comes with its own unique challenges and requires different gear to accommodate their underwater experience. Depending on the disability, students have the opportunity to take their dive training all the way to Rescue certification.
Diving Without Borders has been quite successful with its students, who have claimed that diving has helped their mental health. The nonprofit aims to continue raising awareness and resources to make diving more accessible to disabled people, which will be complemented by a National Geographic video on the organization scheduled to release in December. Keep an eye out for it, and for new divers conquering their disabilities underwater!
Copyright © 2016 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.