Have you ever seen a mermaid? On 15th July 2017 you probably would have had the best chance to spot one, as all around the world, women were getting together on boats, shores, piers and lakesides for the 3rd annual PADI Women’s Dive Day. During my divemaster, the shop I was training at filled 2 of their boats with ladies only, plus 2 lucky captains and photographer Mario, and set out to our local sites here in Playa Del Cocos.
As the boat made it’s way across the bay from one site to another, Captain Jaime spotted some dolphins and soon they were swimming and playing at the front of the boat. Imagine how a boat full of ladies reacted to that! For the second dive we headed to “Las Corridas”, two underwater pinnacles which you usually explore in a figure- eight pattern. We saw many huge rays relaxing in the sand, and it was a great dive to end the day.
I heard a few disgruntled comments from a few of my fellow male DMT’s, who asked, “Why should you have a special day?”, followed by some mumbling about the modern world and equality. This got me thinking, should we even have a day dedicated to just women? A quick look on PADI’s website shows us that 36.1% of PADI divers are female, so men make up a significant amount of divers. I know from personal experience at different dive shops around the world, that male staff usually visibly outweigh the female staff. Incidently, at this shop we actually have more female staff and interns than male, but I know this isn’t usual at other dive shops, and for many young women, it could be intimidating, and perhaps deter them from learning to dive.
Having a day dedicated to Women Diver’s is likely to inspire and motivate more girls to give it a go. Seeing a boat full of ladies carrying tanks, setting up equipment and most importantly having fun, could be the motivation a girl needs to think “If they can do it, what’s stopping me?” Like many sports, the men are the dominant participants. By raising awareness, especially in our modern world through the internet and social media, we can close the gender gap. The statistics show that the number of female divers is not only rising, but rising by a higher percentage each year. So if it takes one day a year to gain exposure and help draw women into the world of diving, then surely that’s not a bad thing!