Deptherapy Chairman & PADI Master Instructor Richard Cullen passes on his wisdom to triple amputee Craig Wood.

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Our aim is for programme members to initially qualify as PADI Open Water divers.  Once qualified we look to develop programme members through the PADI Continuing Education programme so that programme members develop their diving skills and experience.

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Changing Views

Deptherapy Programme Member Application

How We Can Help

The Deptherapy expedition was not easy, or a holiday, by any stretch of the imagination. Diving 3/4 times a day was physically tiring. I came home feeling like I had just finished the Ride across America again, that is by no means a moan more of an example of a challenging programme that pushes blokes physically and mentally. Which in my opinion blokes need and should crave, being taken out of their comfort zone.
Josh Boggi [Formerly Royal Engineers, triple amputee]

Our Aim

Our aim is for programme members to initially qualify as PADI Open Water divers.  Once qualified we look to develop programme members through the PADI Continuing Education programme so that programme members develop their diving skills and experience.  We encourage all programme members to work towards becoming a PADI Professional as eith an instructor or a dive master.  Our experienced instructors will work with you to develop a mission in life and scuba diving.  We continue to work with programme members until they feel that our help is no longer required.

A developmental programme (based on the PADI Continuing Education programme). We do not provide diving holidays or trips.

Deptherapy provides a developmental programme and does not provide diving holidays or diving trips. There is no right to a place on the programme and the allocation of programme membership is a competitive process and determined by the Deptherapy Board. The decision of the Deptherapy Board is final.

Priority is given to those joining the programme as new divers (PADI Open Water Divers) and if funds are sufficient we will also take previously qualified Open Water Divers or BSAC Ocean Divers onto the PADI Advanced and Deep Diver programme. In each case the Board will determine the allocation of places on the basis of perceived need and benefits to the individual applicant.

You cannot access Deptherapy programmes beyond the certification levels set out above.

As a programme member you will be expected to commit to the PADI Continuing Education programme.

The Board reserves the right to deny individual programme members access to continuing education programmes.

At present Deptherapy has no requirement for instructors or dive masters (see the ‘Deptherapy working with us’ document on this website)

Through our programmes we seek to create Ambition and Adventure both leading to Achievement and the development of programme members as both divers and individuals.

The charity does not have the resources to offer diving holidays or trips to those who are not part of the programme.

Our expeditions such as Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon in 2018 and Red Sea liveaboards are restricted to those who have been part of the developmental process set out above.

Achieving Our Aim

Our aim initially is to qualify programme members as PADI Open Water Divers, to many with limb amputations this may sound unrealistic. All our team are qualified PADI instructors/dive masters who we have trained to teach those who have suffered life changing mental and or physical challenges or suffer from other disabilities.

We strictly apply PADI standards and therefore you need to be able to swim, unaided, 200 metres non stop and to complete a 10 minute float.  You will be required to complete academics before you come on the programme working through the PADI Open Water Manual and completing the five knowledge reviews.  When we arrive in Roots you will need to complete four quizzes and a 50 question exam all of which have an 80% pass mark.

Prior to selection you will be required to disclose details of your medical conditions and you will have to pass a 'fit to dive' medical with a HSE Approved Medical Examiner of Divers.

You then progress to a series of confined water divers where you have to complete a series of skills to PADI standards.  If you successfully complete this section you will move on to four dives in the ocean where you repeat a number of the skills.

Our team will work with you so you can achieve the required standards and you have great buoyancy and trim in the water.

If you, a relative or friend think you or they would benefit from our programme then please Contact Us us.  We work with programme members to introduce them to the aquatic realm, firstly in the pool and then in open water under the supervision of specially qualified instructional teams.  Our aim is for programme members to qualify as PADI Open Water Divers.

As one programme member stated:

I am now a PADI diver.  I've found a sport where my injuries don’t mean I wear a 'disabled tag', I can dive with a buddy anywhere in the world.  Do you understand how awesome that is?
Chris Middleton [Deptherapy Ambassador]
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Chris Middleton

Chris Middleton

Our work starts long before an individual comes on the programme and continues after they gain PADI certification.  We support individuals psychologically and practically for instance we recently re-wrote a programme member’s cv to which he commented “Amazing I would give myself a job, I didn’t recognise myself, thank you so much.” Close relationships develop between the team and programme members and many of our programme members go on to be Ambassadors for the charity.

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Medication & Scuba Diving

Medication & Scuba Diving

Deptherapy applicants need to understand the relationship between medication and scuba diving. Some medications mean that individuals cannot dive as the medication is dangerous

Other medications, depending on the daily dosage or the combination with other prescribed medications may mean they are contraindicated to scuba diving.

As we dive the atmospheric pressure increases and this increase in pressure enhances the effect of the drug. This may cause blackouts or irrational behaviour.

Many medications used to treat pain and PTSD affect transmissions to the brain and potentially the effect underwater could be fatal.

We take advice from the doctors at the London Diving Chamber who are extremely experienced and knowledgeable in dive medicine and the effect of various drugs.



Our decision as to whether we will take you on the programme if you’re taking medication will be based on their opinion. If from our initial enquiries you are on a drug that is dangerous or you are on a high dosage of the SSRI group of medications, or you are taking a combination of medications that are contraindicated to diving you will not be called forward for a 'fit to dive' medical with our medical team.

We do not accept the opinions of GPs or consultants as to whether they consider you fit to dive.

If you progress to a fit to dive medical you will be required to produce a letter from your GP/Consultant setting out your condition and your medication regime, including daily dosage.

Attending the dive medical does not automatically mean you will be certified as fit to dive.

Some programme members have managed to reduce medications and daily dosages to a level that is acceptable to our medical team. Michael Hawley did this over a two year period Danny Martin over a shorter period.

If you come off medication, we need evidence of that from your GP and you will need to show you have been clear of the medications that caused concern for 3 months or as determined by our medical team.

Many who apply and are on medications that are contraindicated to diving would make superb candidates for the programme and would benefit massively from our programme. However the risk of taking such people onto the programme is too high. Potentially the individual concerned puts their own life at risk, the lives of their diving buddies and the instructional team at risk.

The individual would not be covered by their insurance nor would we as Deptherapy. The cost of treatment abroad is massively high and without insurance there is NO treatment.

Are there exceptions? The answer is NO. If you want to come on the programme you need to work with your medical team to come off those medications that are considered 'dangerous' or if you are on a daily dosage of a drug or combination of drugs that are contraindicated to diving you need to reduce dosages etc to an acceptable level.

Deptherapy shows true interest in the people they help. They have treated us not as a charity case, but as family. 
Lisa Martin [Spouse of Programme Member]