Dive Saint Lu­cia takes Scuba to a New Level

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

ADee Lundy-Charles fter two years of pass­ing the for­mer grassy cor­ner of the high­way at Bonne Terre gap almost ev­ery day and watch­ing the two-storey frontage of Dive Saint Lu­cia (DSL) emerge from the build­ing site over the past few months, I was de­lighted to fi­nally at­tend the of­fi­cial open­ing on Fri­day, Novem­ber 7. And after meet­ing own­ers Mar­cel Buch­ler and Nick Mob­ley sev­eral months ago, I had a feel­ing the evening was go­ing to im­press, which in­deed it did, in more ways than just the glit­ter­ing party laid on by the DSL team.

Dive Saint Lu­cia is the first div­ing school on the is­land to have an on-site, pur­pose-built train­ing pool, and its state-of-the-art ameni­ties in­clude class­room fa­cil­i­ties, en­gi­neer­ing work­rooms, guest show­ers and se­cure lock­ers, as well as a spe­cial­ist re­tail store of­fer­ing equip­ment by Scuba Pro and Subgear, world class brands used by DSL in their train­ing pro­grammes.

DSL is also a PADI 5* In­struc­tor De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre (IDC), of­fer­ing all lev­els of PADI cour­ses from be­gin­ner to in­struc­tor, to­gether with guided dives on the plen­ti­ful sites around the is­land. The vi­sion of the own­ers is to of­fer ev­ery­one a dive ex­pe­ri­ence from the “try-it-once” tourist to the qual­i­fied dive master look­ing for a new coast­line to con­quer and they de­liver their sales pitch with a pas­sion that makes you want to leap into the cool blue train­ing pool and get started.

Be­tween them they have dived all over the world, and their joy­ful en­thu­si­asm about the un­der­wa­ter realm is, ex­cuse the pun, never far be­low the sur­face, even when the man­age­ment team of Buch­ler and Mob­ley are talk­ing se­ri­ous business. Nick is also a part­ner in the world-renowned London School of Div­ing which has pro­vided a guid­ing hand and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the new Dive Saint Lu­cia team, as well as a wealth of in­dus­try knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pro­mot­ing safe div­ing, the DSL stan­dards are based on UK health and safety reg­u­la­tions for the sport; that and run­ning a “green” fa­cil­ity are two of DSL’s top pri­or­i­ties. The company is al­ready LEED cer­ti­fied, mak­ing it the first dive school in the world to meet the cri­te­ria re­quired by the US Green Build­ing Coun­cil’s Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign, the in­ter­na­tional rat­ing sys­tem for the de­sign, con­struc­tion, op­er­a­tion, and main­te­nance of green build­ings.

The DSL business strat­egy is to gen­er­ate in­come on the is­land and keep it here, and that in­cludes sourc­ing as many lo­cal goods and ser­vice providers as pos­si­ble. DSL has also be­come ac­tively in­volved in com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties, re­cently spon­sor­ing the OECS Swim Cham­pi­onships and as a Sil­ver Spon­sor of the St. Lu­cia Mango Bowl Re­gatta at the end of Novem­ber.

But per­haps the high­est level of en­thu­si­asm comes from the DSL man­age­ment when they talk about their fledg­ling team which has been train­ing since Septem­ber. Dive in­struc­tors and boat cap­tains have been cherry-picked from the lo­cal dive scene, and a team of four deck hands was re­cently re­cruited straight out of the Jus’ Sail Youth Train­ing Pro­gramme.

Ac­cord­ing to Nick Mob­ley: “We want to give peo­ple em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially the youth that oth­er­wise would not get a chance, but the real strat­egy is pro­gres­sion. Per­haps a deck hand will want to be­come a dive in­struc­tor, or go into the re­tail side. We want to of­fer av­enues for young peo­ple to find their niche and a ca­reer for life, be it on the wa­ter or off.”

Al­ready the team has been ad­mired by vis­it­ing PADI rep­re­sen­ta­tive Si­mon Chance who ad­mit­ted he had never seen a dive cen­tre team gel so quickly. The next step is a men­tor­ing pro­gramme which will pair up se­nior and ju­nior mem­bers to pro­vide cross-train­ing and ex­po­sure to all as­pects of the DSL op­er­a­tion. Says Mob­ley: “You can build a fan­tas­tic fa­cil­ity but the team is what will make it a great dive cen­tre.”

The newly opened Dive Saint Lu­cia.

Man­age­ment and team mem­bers of Dive Saint Lu­cia at

last week’s open­ing.

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