It's also near accessible beaches and an aerial, rainforest walkway.
The feeling of weightlessness felt while scuba diving is one of the most freeing sensations in the world, but it hasn’t always been available to people with mobility challenges or special needs. In fact, it wasn’t until 2023 that the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the world's leading scuba diver training organization, launched its Adaptive Service Facilities designation, which recognizes dive centers that have adaptive provisions.
One Australian dive center on the Great Barrier Reef was quick to jump on board. In May 2023, Quicksilver Dive in Port Douglas, Australia became the first PADI Adaptive Service Facility in the state of Queensland and one of just four certified facilities in Australia. It is also the only facility of its kind to hold this accreditation on the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system and a longtime playground for divers.
“Our skilled dive instructors are focused on diver abilities and can apply adaptive teaching techniques when training and diving with people with special needs; people who may have previously thought diving was not accessible to them,” Chris Snel, the operations manager at Quicksilver Dive, said in a press release obtained by Travel + Leisure. He noted that “as with all diving, age and medical conditions apply.”
Beyond scuba diving’s ability to open up a new, underwater world, PADI said that “learning to dive has helped veterans with PTSD and other life-altering injuries, Paralympians, individuals with spinal paralysis, and countless others find healing.”
From the start, Quicksilver Dive was built and designed to accommodate people with varying ability levels. The facility has ramps and an elevator as well as a training pool that meets the PADI Adaptive Service Facility requirements. The company's dive instructors are well-versed in adapting their teaching techniques to accommodate different needs and abilities.
Quicksilver Dive is located in Port Douglas, a waterfront town on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef. Beyond diving, the town is known for its beaches (Palm Cove and Four Mile Beach both have beach wheelchairs available) and the nearby Daintree National Park, which has several wheelchair and mobility device-friendly walkways including an aerial walkway through the rainforest. The aerial walkway is also suitable for visitors with vision impairments and service dogs.
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