Duchess Kate’s feat: Duchess Kate Scuba
Published: August 3, 2015
Duchess Kate’s feat: Duchess Kate Scuba, They are famously competitive when it comes to sport, and now the Duchess of Cambridge has ensured that she will never be left behind when her husband goes diving by passing an advanced scuba course.
The Duke of Cambridge has been diving for much of his life, encouraged by his father the Prince of Wales, whom he succeeded last year as president of the British Sub-Aqua Club.
The Duchess’s pursuit of advanced diving qualifications, to enable her to dive to the same depth as the Duke, has until now remained a secret.
Kensington Palace confirmed to The Telegraph that the Duchess has passed a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Advanced Open Water Diver qualification, meaning she can dive to a depth of 30 metres (98ft).
It is the most advanced qualification taken by most recreational divers, as going any deeper involves inherent risks such as nitrogen narcosis, a sensation similar to drunkenness.
The qualification has enabled the Duchess to join her husband on deep dives to look for sharks during holidays in the Middleton family’s regular haunt of Mustique.
Kelly Fisher Katz, who met the Duke and Duchess when she was on holiday on the Caribbean island with her husband Martin, a Beverly Hills jeweller, said: “We went diving and they went very deep, more than 90ft. Our instructor said Martin and I weren’t qualified to go on the shark dives that they went on. They’re quite the sportsmen.”
To pass the PADI advanced qualification divers must complete a total of five dives, including a deep dive and an underwater navigation dive, during which they are taught how to cope with the physiological effects of deeper scuba diving.
The other three dives are chosen from a range of options including photography, buoyancy control, fish identification, night time diving and exploring wrecks.
Compulsory equipment includes a dive knife – used in emergencies such as becoming entangled in fishing nets – and a compass.
Divers can only stay at a depth of 30m for a maximum of 20 minutes if it is their first dive of the day, or for much shorter periods if they have done other dives. They have to stop for three minutes at a depth of 5m on the way back up, to allow for the body to expel nitrogen that has built up at depth.
A spokesman for the Duchess said: “Diving is something the Duchess very much enjoys, and the Duke of Cambridge, who is of course President of the BSAC, has said in the past that he is hopeful his children will become interested in the sport.”
The Duchess is thought to have gained the qualification from a diving school in Mustique, as the British Sub-Aqua Club has its own system of qualifications which the Duchess might have been expected to use if she had been in this country. PADI is an American organisation which charges for its qualifications, whereas the BSAC is run by volunteers through a network of local clubs.
Eugene Farrell, chairman of the British Sub-Aqua Club, said: “We are thrilled that The Duchess of Cambridge shares her husband’s interest in the underwater world and has further progressed her diver training.
“Last summer while diving with BSAC, The Duke of Cambridge suggested George may also one day follow in his footsteps, so we hope in the future the whole family may share the same passion for scuba diving.”
The Duke and Duchess have talked in the past about their competitive nature, which has also been on display when they have taken part in challenges during official engagements.
The Duke once said: “We are both very competitive. She beats me at tennis and skiing but I am better at the rest.”
The couple went head to head in a dragon boat race in Canada in 2011, which was won by the Duke’s team, but the Duchess got her revenge in New Zealand last year when she won a race in America’s Cup yachts.
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