WELLARD resident Ash Payne and his partner Kamila Opon are the only certified scuba diving instructors in WA trained to teach people with disabilities.
Mr Payne is an IT consultant and volunteers his time to explore the ocean beds with those who are less mobile on land.
He has taken people with quadriplegia, paraplegia, cerebral palsy and general muscle wastage on diving expeditions.
Mr Payne said people enjoyed the freedom and it was great for their confidence.
“They enjoy getting to move around without a wheelchair,” he said.
“They don’t have the dead weight – everyone floats in the water, so it doesn’t matter.”
In the past few years, Mr Payne has taught about 11 people from Wheelchair Sports WA to scuba dive.
He wants to encourage others with disabilities to give diving a go.
“We’ve got five more instructors being trained,” he said.
In an effort to raise the profile of scuba diving for people with disabilities, Mr Payne hopes to give a presentation at the Australian International Dive Expo in Sydney in August.
“Part of that presentation would be for my friend Jayde Seed to talk about his experience of diving as a quadriplegic,” he said.
“He is proof that anything is possible with the right attitude.
“My passion is for equality in diving – anyone should have the opportunity to dive.”
Mr Payne is fundraising to take Mr Seed to the expo.
To donate, visit his campaign at www.gofundme.com/me78a-to-present-at-aide-expo-sydney.