Scuba diving is the best way to experience the underwater world. Someone who is a paraplegic or uses a wheelchair can now feel the sense of weightlessness and complete freedom of movement under water. Scuba diving gives people with disabilities an opportunity to experience something new, participate in an active sport, meet people, and find out what it’s like to breathe underwater. It is an adventure, a challenging experience that unlocks inner strength and outer confidence.
Barakuda Diving Centers are located right along the Red Sea in Hurghada, Egypt. The two wheelchair accessible centers are at the Intercontinental Abu Soma Resort and Amwaj Abu Soma Resort & Spa. *Both hotels are barrier free and luxurious. The Diving Centers can be accessed from the hotels and are fully wheelchair friendly. The course is based on SDI Standards. The academic part of the course will take place in a classroom setting, which has air-conditioning.
Four handicapped certified scuba instructors will assist as needed on the dives. No matter the physical disability level, anyone can dive, even if you have little or no arm strength. There are basically three levels throughout all Handicapped Diving Federations, which are: SB 1 is to be treated as every “normal” diver as he is able to help himself/herself and others under water. SB 2 is able to help himself/herself but not others and SB 3 is not able to help himself/herself nor others. Those who are classified as SB 2 or SB 3 would need to be accompanied by two or three additional divers, one of which is a certified Handicapped Instructor/Dive Buddy. SB 1 can dive with any other diver. However, equipment is modified as far as possible to ensure the most freedom.
*It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the hotels from the Hurghada Airport. Diving boat Sahar is equipped with a ramp onto it and a hoist to lift the divers in and out of the water. Barriers on the Sahar were removed, as far as possible. Salon, diving deck and toilet are wheelchair accessible. Eight to ten wheelchairs can fit on board but an additional ship may be modified to accommodate more. A power chair is not recommended due to space but the crew is working to improve this. Some power chairs may be light and small enough but is determined on a case by case basis. The hotel has a standard wheelchair that can be used if needed as well.