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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Scuba Diving

I am visually impaired and was wondering if anyone had any experience with scuba diving. I read about a guy who was totally blind who could do it so I know it is possible. I would mainly have problems reading the gauges and seeing hand signals. i'm not too worried about safety because I can see my partner well enough to signal for low air and get to their buddy breather and if they were in trouble they would be close enough to reach for mine anyway. If anyone has any experience with this, let me know.

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Re:Scuba Diving



Diving in zero visibility water (harbour environment and the like) has proved to be a rewarding challenge in the most extreme conditions, as commented some half a century ago in an article published in the «Reader's Digest» which I suggest should be tracked down and divulgated. The story as far as I remember it referred to the intriguing and most encouraging experience done by a professional helmet diver from Stockholm, Sweden, in the mid-XXth century when diving with lead boots and heavy bulky copper helmet into a municipal sewer in which he had to crawl , forcing his shoulders and equipments into the long dark pipe clogged by some unidentified mess. After some trials into the long narrow dark pipe, the diver admitted to himself he could simply NOT do it. He was thus stricken by an insight following his claustrophobic diving experience and contacted a local association related with blind athletes. He met young people who volunteered for the unusual challenge and was able to TEACH extreme zero-visibility diving to one of those young athletic volunteers who, at the first attempt, reached the very deepest area of the pipe and solved the problem the «non-blind» diver could not cope with. A short time after, as far as I remember from my reading of the said article, a Swedish «bandido» trying to escape from the local police, sent his pistol into the thick mud of the bottom of Stockholm harbour. Again the diver was contacted by authorities to search for the elusive clue. Again he asked his blind assistants to give it a try. And sure enough, the gun was found, by hand, in a diving environment were a «non-blind» diver has a clear disadvantage. I suggest this old article from the Reader's Digest (1950's/60's? ?) should be «salvaged» from the past litterature and its message fully exploited for the future activities of blind divers, including in a professional environment. I am an underwater archaeologist and fully realize the challenge we are facing when we dive in places, namely harbours, where only our fingers and our brain 3D perception of the underwater environment help us to bring «some» information to the surface. I wish we, archaeologists, knew such blind divers whom we could introduce,within a team approach, to such scientific zero-visibility underwater challenges.
Jean-Yves Blot


Re:Scuba Diving



I taught a blind WWII veteran how to scuba dive way back in 1970. I was 20 years old, and an active NAUI Instructor at the time. A year or two after that I taught a group of paraplegic teens to use scuba, although only for a short time during a summer camp for the physically impaired, and only in the camp pool. I did take the blind diver on an open water check out dive at Lover's Point, in Pacific grove Ca.


Re:Scuba Diving



A few years ago I was a volunteer diver at the Aquarium facility at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. There was a girl on the staff who was blind and got certified by an instructor who specialized in certifying people with disabilities. I believe her modification was that she had to have two dive buddies go with her when she dove. Contact PADI certification agency in California for more information and possibly a list of special instructors in your area. She even dove in the Carribean exhibit which had a lot of sand tiger sharks, the largest is 9 feet long. Hope this helps.


Re:Scuba Diving



Hi, I was doing some research for an article I´m writing about scuba diving with disabilities and stumbled upon your question.The answer is possibly yes,anyway if you want the best opinion around visit Divers Alert Network website and ask one of their docotors for your specific case.www.dan.org
I wouldn´t think that a partial loss of vision as an obstacle to your diving, but again it depends.If the loss is su ch that the only impediment is reading the gauges a divepartner/instructor can supervise that part for you, if you can´t see the handsigns at a distance of let´s say a couple of metres, you could stay close and communicate via touch(don´t know if there´s a standard way but you and your partner/instructor could develop your own). For a more severe loss (like only seeing a silhouette ) or blindness you should be diving only with the supervision of a professional.
Hope this helps, don´t hesitate to ask more questions,I forgot to say I´m a scuba diving instructor :)
take care


Re:Scuba Diving



Hi, I was doing some research for an article I´m writing about scuba diving with disabilities and stumbled upon your question.The answer is possibly yes,anyway if you want the best opinion around visit Divers Alert Network website and ask one of their docotors for your specific case.www.dan.org
I wouldn´t think that a partial loss of vision as an obstacle to your diving, but again it depends.If the loss is su ch that the only impediment is reading the gauges a divepartner/instructor can supervise that part for you, if you can´t see the handsigns at a distance of let´s say a couple of metres, you could stay close and communicate via touch(don´t know if there´s a standard way but you and your partner/instructor could develop your own). For a more severe loss (like only seeing a silhouette ) or blindness you should be diving only with the supervision of a professional.
Hope this helps, don´t hesitate to ask more questions,I forgot to say I´m a scuba diving instructor :)
take care


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