Indigenous | Diving

Certified dive instructor shares top safety tips for this summer

Christmas and summer is truly here with Rotorua-based dive instructor Renee Tapsell (Te Arawa) saying more and more whānau will be out on the water diving for kaimoana.

Renee is hoping to change the narrative around diving and water safety.

“I think we need to change the narrative from the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude because that’s not working out for us, especially with Māori men being way over-represented in the drowning statistics,” says Renee.

Renne’s top diving tips

- Never dive alone

- Stay within your diving limits and capability

- Get proper training

- Be physically fit (and hydrated) before the dive

- Have the right equipment for the job

- Check weather conditions before dive - “When in doubt stay out”

- “Plan your dive, dive your plan”

Renee opened Aotearoa Dive in September 2021 with her partner Adrian.

It’s a certified diamond training centre, where it provides training in free diving, recreational scuba, technical diving and professional-level training. Its store sells all the equipment needed for their courses, along with a service centre to service the equipment, from regulated PCs to tanks.

Renee says, “We have a lot of old souls, experienced divers who have picked up some really bad habits that they’ve learned over the years. Things like emptying the tank - That’s the quickest way to get an embolism. It’s not good for the diver and it’s also not good for the tank and the life expectancy that you can get from it too.”

Renee believes the increase in the cost of living has brought many people to her diving school, especially this year.

“Training has gone through the roof for us, especially in the free diving space. A lot of people are trying to feed their whānau and wanting to do it in a way that’s sustainable and diving is one of those ways.”

Renee wants to ensure people are safe.

“You can run a marathon in jandles, but it helps when you have the right trainers on… At our service centre we have seen a lot of things come through like duct tape and zip ties.”