Diving in 2020 during the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you are hoping to get some dives completed in Gran Canaria during the latter part of 2020, or want to understand how COVID-19 has effected diving on the Island, this will hopefully answer some of your questions.
At the moment (early May 2020) This is a 'work in progress' which we will keep updated with current information.
We are basing our plans and advise on the following assumptions, all of which are outside our control.
- COVID-19 is MUCH more dangerous than Scuba Diving, the likelihood of death is several hundred times higher than the risk of serious injury or death due to Decompression sickness or running out of air!. We know how to manage diving risks and can see them, but the virus is invisible and there are currently few good treatments.
- Unless either a vaccine or a highly effective treatment is found, elimination of the virus at a European level is highly unlikely within 2020.
- There are unlikely to be large volume tourist flights to the Islands until August at the very earliest.
- A serious infection by COVID-19 may need long term lung recover and healing before divers can return to their hobby.
- Asymptomatic carriers are impossible to spot and can infect anyone without either person realising.
You can understand that when we open for diving again there will be several key objectives
- We want to keep the dive centre, our staff and customers 100% free of risk of COVID-19 infection.
- We want to still offer excellent diving experiences
- COVID-19 protocols will dominate the pre and post-dive time in the centre!
- We will follow best-practice advice from around the world, particularly from DAN, PADI; BSAC and other industry leaders
- Keeping the virus out is a shared objective for everyone - so we will expect our customers to help by following the changed procedures and contributing to a safe environment for all
Fortunately, the best ways we can prevent the spread of the virus are by social distancing, regular hand cleaning, and the sort of care and preparation that as divers we carry out before a normal dive. To make these highly effective we will make many little changes to our normal protocols and procedures, around the areas of gating, diving protocols, disinfection, social distancing and cleaning.
We have completed a detailed risk assessment and the protocols we will follow will include several that are required or recommended by the national and local government, and best practice recommendations from PADI Europe, DAN, ANETA, and our equipment manufacturers.
However on the positive side we have a secure base to work from, as our dive centre has a large, enclosed private garden, with no general public access. This means that we will give you a safe place where each set of guests have a personal area and space to kit up and maintain social distancing with little 'third party' contact. No other dive centre in Gran Canaria has as much private space and by limiting our number of customers we will significantly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. We always spend most of the day outside in the garden and in future will do this even more.
One of our main protections is to reduce our number of daily clients and exclude any person who may be infected with the Virus. We are extremely lucky in that we are the only dive centre in Gran Canaria with a PRIVATE garden space where we are away from the general public, and in control of our facilities. our Gating protocols will include :
- No admission to the centre without a prior booking or appointment for customers, suppliers and the general public.
- Only divers should attend. Family and friends would normally be welcome as well, but reducing footfall will reduce infection risks
- NOBODY should come to the dive centre if they have ANY symptom of cold, flu or respitory problem or are with somebody with symptoms. With our Flexi-book policy you will not be charged if you cancel at the last minute.
- All divers must follow all best practices to stamp out the virus including distancing, hand-washing disinfection and cleaning.
- All divers must fully comply with Spanish Diving regulations
- We will have limits on the numbers of people who can be in confined spaces at the same time.
- We will focus on activities for qualified divers, and selected PADI courses, with a maximum number of guests of between six and eight.
- We are going to spend most of the day outside in the sun and garden and minimise 'indoor' time in the buildings.
We will be diving in smaller groups, and there will be more separation between groups, both physically and by having different start times for different groups. Buddy checks will be visual and personal without touching buddy equipment. You will need to clean your hands regularly and disinfect your equipment after the dive.
Underwater is one of the few places where very little changes! It is unlikely that virus particles on expired air can connect with other divers if they keep their regulator in the mouth. Air sharing skill practice will be modified during courses. Distancing underwater should follow diving protocols, not social distancing protocols!
Disinfection and Cleaning
In principle we will follow best practice as already issued by DAN. More detail will be provided nearer the opening of the centre.
We ask all customers to make a series of small changes to the way we normally operate, these may include :
- Not coming to the centre without an appointment, or if you have ANY symptom of cold, flu or respitory infection
- Making your own way to the dive centre (limited pick-up service)
- Registration on-line before arrival.
- Following social distancing in the dive centre and washing hands frequently
- Assume that you are an asymptomatic carrier - how will you stop spreading the invisible virus to other divers and the staff?
- More limited drink options in the centre
- Payment by contactless cards will be prefered
- Disinfect and store safely the equipment you used after each day of diving.