PADI Rebreather Instructor Trainer Sarah Stoneham

The first PADI Rebreather Instructor Trainer in the Asia Pacific region, Sarah Stoneham from Perth, Australia took the time to talk about recreational rebreather diving and training after completing the recent PADI Rebreather Instructor Trainer programme in Sydney.  

What do you enjoy about diving rebreathers?

The main thing is the silence; it’s remarkable how much noise the reef really makes, so instead of the sound of your bubbles you can hear the marine life crackle and squeak. You definitely get closer to the marine life too. Another plus is the warm gas that you are breathing; I can spend way more time in the water without feeling cold when diving my rebreather. 

How did you get involved in recreational rebreather diving?

I became a semi-closed rebreather diver in the early 90s when I was trained on the Draeger Dolphin.  I didn’t pursue rebreather diving much after this until the Poseidon Discovery MKVI was launched. I was not interested in Technical rebreather diving and was hoping for a fully-closed but recreational unit to appear. 

Any tips for those who have never dived a rebreather before but want to get into it?

Just go for it. You will be amazed by how quiet it is and how your intersection with the underwater world is enhanced. 

What do you recommend PADI Instructors do who want to teach the PADI Rebreather courses?

The first step is to get qualified on your chosen unit and then dive it as much as you can.  It’s vitally important that you know your equipment well so that you can help your student divers get the best experience possible. 

What do you see as the key advantage for you using a rebreather as compared to open circuit scuba equipment?

The biggest advantage is the amount of time you can spend underwater. You aren’t as constrained by your gas consumption. How many times on open circuit can you remember having to go to the surface just as something memorable was happening because you were short of air. 

What is your most memorable rebreather diving experience?

Diving the Barrier Reef last year, my partner Callum and I were able to make a 2.5 hour dive on the Cod Hole. After 90 minutes or so we were the only divers left on the site which meant we had the whole thing to ourselves. It was so peaceful. 

What do you see as the future of rebreather diving?

With the new recreational units coming out now I believe in 3-5 yrs time we will see many, many more rebreather divers. Rebreather diving will not be the domain of technical diving anymore but will become more commonplace. 

If you want to talk to Sarah about how you can become a PADI Rebreather Diver or Instructor please contact her directly at dolphin@dolphinscuba.com.au 

PADI will be running additional PADI Rebreather and CCR Instructor courses, crossovers and Instructor Trainer programmes through 2012. Please contact the Training Department to inquire about the requirements, dates and venues or read the corresponding articles on this blog.

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