Ten persons from the island of Mayreau, St Vincent and the Grenadines were selected to take part in a full Open Water SCUBA Diving Certification course, which will begin on August 6th 2014.
In Late July, twenty three (23) young men and women from Mayreau were enrolled in an Introduction to SCUBA Diving Workshop offered by Union Island-based Grenadines Dive. Dive shop owner Glenroy Adams and his staff provided this workshop at no cost to Mayreau high school students and other young people on the island.
This initial workshop was the first step in a two-step process to train Mayreau residents as SCUBA divers. In this first step, instructors introduced the participants to diving physiology, safety gear, basic skills and diving in relatively shallow water. Throughout the workshop, the instructors were evaluating the participants’ performance and potential.
Following the introduction course, ten persons were selected to move on to the Open Water SCUBA Diving Certification course.
The two young women and eight young men who have been selected to experience this more in-depth training are: Akeem Alexander, Janelle Alexander, Tarik Alexander, Samuel Cupid, Tevin Cupid, Emmanual (Stephon) Forde, Keon Forde, Shandy John, Philman Ollivierre and Aundre Wilson. The United Nations’ Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme is covering the costs of this certification course so that it can be offered to the participants free of charge.
Adams, owner of Grenadines Dive commented that “These are our future marine biologists, dive masters and lionfish hunters. The fate of our marine resources, including the Tobago Cays Marine Park, is in their hands. Our local waters are vital to both the fisheries and tourism industries we all depend on here in the Southern Grenadines. We can’t expect the next generations to be as passionate as we are about them without knowing them as we do. And the best way to get to know them is to spend time SCUBA diving in and around the waters, reefs, fish and other marine life.”
The recent SCUBA workshop and the upcoming SCUBA Certification course are two of the 31 activities in a two-year project being undertaken by the Mayreau Regatta and Sporting Committee.
The project is designed to protect the biodiversity of Grenadine waters by building capacity to capture and consume invasive lionfish. “Some of our activities, like lionfish hunts, lionfish derbies and lionfish cooking competitions, have had an immediate impact in reducing the lionfish population here,” said Nancy Saul-Demers, a member of the Mayreau Regatta and Sporting Committee and the project leader. “Other activities, like this SCUBA training, are intended to have an impact in the longer-term.”
Some activities in the multi-faceted project use the local committee’s resources and expertise, several rely on the committee’s eight very generous project partners and sponsors like Grenadines Dive, and many are funded by the United Nations’ Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme.