LCSA National Service Project: Handicap Scuba Crew

Handicapped Scuba Crew is a Nonprofit Organization (Registration No: NPO 240/281) which is based in Pretoria and has a mission to break down barriers with “Scubility” – “We Use SCUBA as a tool for rehabilitation back into normal society and to make sure that persons with disabilities are given the same opportunity to receive excellent quality training, certification and dive adventures, as the able-bodied divers do. We enhance the lives of all individuals with disabilities and their families through the sport of SCUBA Diving. – We raise funds for all of these activities

In 2019 the Handicapped Scuba Crew completed more than 400 Sea Dives (Veneus include: Sodwana Bay; Aliwal Shoal; Ponta do Ouro Mozambique and the Red Sea); more than 1000 Pool Sessions and more than 40 x courses up to and including:

  • Discover Scuba
  • Open Water
  • Advanced specialties such as deep/nitrox/night/rescue/emergency first aid /and dive master.

Handicapped Scuba Crew have worked with persons with various disabilities/conditions, including persons with mobility impairments/conditions, who have dived with us, they include:

  • Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries – paraplegics and quadriplegics
  • Persons with Cerebral Palsy or Multiple Sclerosis
  • Amputees and persons with Spina Bifida
  • Hemiplegics and Persons with Muscular Dystrophy
  • Persons who have had a Stroke and Persons with Cancer

Handicapped Scuba Crew also offer these services to persons with various other conditions/impairments, persons who are Deaf;  Autistic; Blind, or have Down Syndrome; PTSD and TBI, have all dived with us.

Adaptive techniques enable our organization to live our ethos of everyone is equal, giving people as above an equal opportunity to experience all parts of the dives, including sitting on the pontoon if viable! The benefits of Scuba Diving are vast and include both mental and physical benefits:

  • Mental advantages include increase serotonin, increased activation of different parts of the brain, improvements / miracles that should not happen. e.g. feeling goosebumps below injury on complete paralysis paraplegic.
  • Physical advantages include increase mobility and blood circulation; Mobility of joints in entire body; Free some from wheel chairs into weightless environment and be like everyone else.

New medical studies confirm the therapeutic benefits of Scuba Diving and the Handicapped Scuba Crew have been recognized for the work that they are doing and the benefits of Scuba Diving for persons with disabilities. Dr Wilson has used the Handicapped Scuba Crew rehabilitation methods in her International Presentations and Netcare has recognized HSC as a valuable contributor to their patients and staff, especially around the Sports Days held in November / December each year.

Lives We Have Changed

Handicapped Scuba Crew have changed various peoples lives over the years through Scuba Diving and have benefited them by building confidence and independence – “Through scuba therapy, HSC innovative and exciting methods also help temporarily decrease pain and help me with disabilities increase my self-esteem. My pain associated with Spinal Cord injury in a motor vehicle accident in  2013 left me as paraplegic and improved and nearly vanished while under water and for a brief amount of time after the dive.” – Sue Jordaan.

Photographer, Diver, Hemiplegic Stroke Survivor – Ursula “SCUBA diving was the most fearful thing I have ever done, but it taught me that I can overcome any obstacle put in my way! 3 sea dives later I am hooked and cant wait to go back”

Jillian Joan van der Merwe: I qualified as an Open Water Handicapped Scuba Diver on 22 October 2017 in Mozambique. It is difficult to describe in plain words what I experience 18 meters under water.

I am complete  quadriplegic. I am 59 years old. Recently in September 2017 I went diving in Umkomaas on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. On our last dive we saw some whales and all kind of other fishes around us. My buddy gave me some signals when we approached those fishes. Diving has a wonderful calming effect on me. I am looking forward to future dives. I recommend scuba diving to all that loves the outdoor sports.

Contact Details

If you are interested in Scuba Diving, or would like to find out more about Handicapped Scuba Crew, please feel free to contact Dean on: 083 6789 849 or via email: dean@scubacrew.co.za; Richard on: 082 579 3732 or via email: info@scubacrew.co.za or Sue on: 064 545 1671 or via email: sue@scubacrew.co.za. You can also visit the Handicapped Scuba Crew: Facebook Page or visit Handicapped Scuba Crew YouTube Channel (coming soon).