If you love the weightless feeling you get when swimming, then scuba diving may be a great hobby for you. The Handicapped Scuba Association promotes scuba diving around the world. Each year they also plan scuba trips to exotic locations led by specially trained scuba divers and individuals who are wheelchair users so that you are ensured a safe and comfortable scuba experience.
"The HSA was founded in 1981 by Jim Gatacre and is now the world's leading authority on recreational diving for people with disabilities. Headquartered in California, HSA INTERNATIONAL extends its underwater educational programs worldwide.
Scuba Diving is a very popular recreational activity for disabled & able people all across the world, not to mention in our beautiful waters & climate of South Africa.
Scuba Diving for the Disabled in South Africa is run by The Handicapped Scuba Association S.A (HSASA).
Handicapped Scuba Association S.A (HSASA)
This Association exists to give the disabled in South Africa, the opportunity to take part in a recreational sport like scuba diving, they work with people with a variety of disabilities including:
- Spinal cord injuries,
- cerebral palsy
- spina bifida
- muscular dystrophy
- cardiac conditions
- cystic fibrosis
- polio/post polio
- vision impairments, including totally blind.
- brain injuries
- deaf divers.
HSASA support, & are passionate about people living with disabilities, they believe that disabled people:
- Have equal status to able-bodies & are no different to any other person, as they too have the same desires and aspirations that able-bodies have.
- Are normal people who get the same things done as able-bodies do, but who just use different means to get it the job done.
- Have the right to existence, to live a normal life and to enjoy their lives to the full.
- Have the right to participate in the same normal activities, as what able-bodies do.
- Specifically have the right to participate in a recreational sport, such as scuba diving.
If you can breathe, you can dive. We do not see the limitations of disabled people, but rather see their capabilities and believe in developing these, so that they can live a more meaningful life.
Through these beliefs, HSASA is dedicated to improve the physical and social well-being of people living with disabilities, thus changing their lives completely through offering them courses in the recreational sport of scuba diving.
They are committed to making sure that disabled people are given the same opportunity to receive excellent quality training, certification and dive adventures, as the able-bodied population does.
Through the assistance of specially trained instructors and dive buddies, they give disabled people the opportunity to experience the underwater world and see the nature. The disabled people are taught the skills, that are required to scuba dive.
Through the financial assistance of their sponsors and by holding fundraising events, they are able to train less fortunate disabled people and take them on scuba diving trips, to dive in the sea.
Dive sites such as The Miracle Waters scuba diving site have become much more wheelchair accessible making wheelchair accessible paths, a wheelchair accessible toilet, sink & shower. used by Handicapped Scuba Association visually impaired diver Francois Neeting diving with sighted diver Braam Le Roux assisting South Africans with disabilities in participating in scuba diving, through training them, partnering them with dive buddies and providing opportunities to do open water diving.