Diving with a disability
Being disabled does not mean that you can not enjoy life or be active. Several activities are available to you and one of them is diving. This sport is now more accessible since the signing of an agreement, in 2011, between the French Federation of Studies and Underwater Sports FFESSM and the French Federation Handisport FFH, then, in 2012, between the FFESSM and the French Adapted Sport Federation FFSA.
Diving, in fact, is very beneficial to people with disabilities and helps them a lot especially for stress management, surpassing oneself, creating social connection, developing self-esteem among others things.
Above all, the Diver with a disability PESH must bring a medical certificate attesting that there is no contraindication, less than a year before the date of the dive initiation. The doctor’s profile is set by the federation.
There are two levels of diving:
to become familiar with the aquatic environment, diving, equipment and communication signs in complete safety. Swimming pool diving is an obligatory step before entering the natural environment.
Once the pool initiation is completed, the diver can move on to the incredible discovery of the seabed. The depth of the dive is, however, limited and varies according to the level of the diver. According to his performances he will have access to four patents:
• PESH1: evolution zone up to 6m deep
• PESH2: evolution zone up to 12m deep
• PESH3: evolution zone up to 20m deep
• PESH4: evolution zone up to 40m deep
Divers with a mental, cognitive or mental handicap can not, however, descend below six meters.
In addition to their initial training, diving instructors receive courses to train the PESH according to the degree of handicaps: moderate EH1 or major EH2. During this course, the supervisors do not necessarily have specific medical courses. The objective is to facilitate the reception of the PESH taking into account many parameters: communication, transfer, all this with a principle in mind “the handicap is soluble in water”.
The moderate profile EH1 or major EH2 is decided after validation of the tests of determination on the degree of handicap for the diving. If the test is successful, the diver will be considered a person with moderate disability and will be supervised by an EH1
And will use custom equipment.
There is no need for special equipment but it is strongly recommended to buy tailored suits tailored to the disability of each. Some tools may, however, be useful in some cases.
The underwater scooter facilitates especially for people with physical disabilities, moving in the water. The principle is simple, the device “palm” instead of the diver. The diver saves more energy. However, this device is not suitable for beginners. It is also important to be vigilant about its maintenance because a breakdown far from the safety zone, can be dangerous.
Palms for hands for heavily disabled divers: The fins improve the horizontal position of the diver when he moves and protect his feet which remain passive. The wearing of gloves and flippers also has a specific role of skin protection for people with sensory deficits.