Could you imagine yourself diving with penguins? Or puffins? Or sea ducks? If so, Living Coasts would like to hear from you. Torquay’s coastal zoo is looking for qualified volunteer divers to help staff clean the huge underwater viewings windows. The charity has tanks that hold 1,650 cubic metres of water and acrylic underwater viewing windows with a surface area of 64 square metres – that’s nearly 700 square feet.
Senior Keeper and Diver Libor Mach said: “We currently have four qualified divers on our staff, but with a little extra help from volunteers, we’d be able to clean more quickly. We want to build up a bank of keen volunteer divers who can help us all year round.
“We have had a team of up to ten volunteer divers for a number of years, and they have been a huge help. Due to the nature of volunteering, numbers have dropped off for different reasons, so we are now on the lookout for new volunteers to join us for this important role.”
The charity zoo is looking for competent divers who have logged over 50 dives, have a valid sports diver medical no more than two years old, and are up to or beyond rescue diver level.
Libor: “They must have their own dive kit which they maintain themselves but which will be checked by our own staff before each dive. Diving takes place early on Friday mornings – and in the summer we dive on Tuesdays, as well. We are looking for people who are able to commit to at least ten dives a year in all weathers. It’s mainly cleaning, but we might also need them to do a spot of seaweed cropping during the summer. We are also on the lookout for volunteers to help our dive team with top side support, supporting the dive team whilst they are in the water.”
In return, there are benefits for the divers. Living Coasts’ Curator Clare Rugg: “You get to help a local conservation charity and you get the unique experience of diving up close with some amazing marine birds that you would otherwise have to travel to the southern hemisphere to see.”
You can find out more about diver and topside support volunteering by visiting the volunteer webpages atwww.livingcoasts.org.uk/support-us/volunteer, where full information (and further volunteer roles) can be found. Living Coasts also offers a paid-for penguin dive experience for divers with the right qualifications, further informationhttps://www.livingcoasts.org.uk/support-us/gifts-experiences/dive-experience .
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