There’s no doubt that shared interests and experiences have the power to bring a family closer together. When the underwater world is that shared interest, and diving adventures are those shared experiences, family bonding is a natural outcome. The Lohmer family, of Sweden, is a prime example of a multi-generational diving family, showing that scuba diving really is for the whole family – an activity that grandparents, parents, and children can all enjoy together.
Hopefully the Lohmer family’s story, detailed below, inspires you turn your family into a multi-generational diving family too. If so, use our dive shop locator to contact your local PADI Dive Shop to get all your family members, young and old, certified as PADI divers – explore the underwater world together! Already a multi-generational diving family? Consider taking a family dive trip (like the Lohmer’s do) – visit PADI Travel to start planning.
Twelve year old Gabriel Lohmer (soon to be thirteen) first became a diver at the age of ten when he completed the PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver certification – making him a third generation diver in his family. Since then, he has gone on to also earn his PADI (Junior) Advanced Open Water Diver certification. As the youngest in a family of multi-generational divers, he has had the opportunity to dive with his parents and his grandparents in their home country of Sweden as well as several other dive locations around the world, including Bali and Egypt.
Question: What do you love most about scuba diving?
Gabriel: I love that I get to see something that most people only dream about. The felling of freedom when I gear up and then swim away.
Question: What do you enjoy about being able to go diving with your parents and your grandparents?
Gabriel: I had been waiting a long time to get to go diving. Seeing pictures from wonderful places, hearing stories from trips. Now I can join my parents and grandma and grandpa on their amazing trips and see everything they’ve told me about. I love it. I want to do this for the rest of my live. Maybe even become an instructor. For my 12th birthday my grandparents said they would take me on a trip wherever I wanted to go in Europe. When I said I wanted to go diving, they stretched it to Egypt.
Mikael and Diana Lohmer, Gabriel’s father and step-mother, both have deep connections with the world of diving. In 1986, at the age of nine, Mikael first became a scuba diver, inspired by his father. In 2002, at the age of twenty-seven, Diana first became a scuba diver. From there, she went on to earn her PADI Divemaster certification, and is now a PADI Instructor. Mikael and Diana also have a two year old son that they are sure will be diving with the rest of the family as soon as he’s old enough.
Question: What do you enjoy most about being part of a multi generational diving family?
Mikael: I love that we have something in common that gives us multiple opportunities to share feelings and experiences, not just tell each other or show pictures – we actually go on vacation together as a family. It is a timeless sport. I started when I was 9, and still enjoy it at 42. My son is now 12, started at 10. My father is 77, still going strong. It takes us to amazing places and we often go off the beaten track. We have seen Egypt, Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and more together.
Question: In what ways do you think diving has brought your family closer together?
Mikael: We enjoy the same thing, it gives us a mutual respect for each others knowledge. We often go on liveaboards, it makes us spend a lot of time together. We also get a greater feeling of trust. At 14, my father, my sister, and I got caught in a down current at Ras Mohamed while looking at a shoal of 1,000 barracudas. We ended up at 36 meters. It was an extreme situation, but we handled it together. In the Maldives, when I was 18 years old, my mother and I, and two other divers got separated from the rest of the group and came up 2 kilometers from the boat in the dark. The flash from a diver’s camera made it so that the boat could find us. These are a couple of the most extreme situations we have tackled as a family. We have of course also had countless fantastic experiences underwater together.
Question: What does it mean to you to be able to dive with Gabriel?
Diana: I love it. The sea inspires me, and to be able to dive and share that inspiration with a loved one is an amazing feeling. To see the joy in Gabriel’s face when he does somersaults underwater, or when he saw his first blue spotted sting ray. I get to guide him in to a world that I have come to love and respect – the ultimate open-eyed meditation, to dive is like going to space together. But also, one of the most important things is the opportunity to teach the next generation about the interaction between species, nature, the environment, and pollution – to show them the fragile balance and to teach them how to care for it in the best way.
Question: As a PADI Instructor, do you recommend that your students dive with their families as well?
Diana: 100% Yes! I do. I suggest to at least try it as an adventure together. Today its so easy for almost everyone with the Discover Scuba Diving experience. Just to experience the feeling of how easy you can breathe underwater, how calm you become by only hearing your own bubbles, or just the feeling of being weightless. Even if you just do it once, it’s something you’ll always have together. As an instructor, I have often heard things from my students after dives, like “nice fish, nice dive, fun, exciting, and so on”. No matter the age, I have never heard “we shouldn’t have done that!”. The thing that I have heard the most from students and all families that tried diving together is: “OMG!! Why haven’t we done this before?”.
Björn and Anita Lohmer, parents of Mikael, have clearly passed their love for scuba diving on to the following two generations in their family. In 1967, Björn first became a scuba diver in Greece. In 1986, Anita became a scuba diver in Israel. Together, the two have embraced the concept of being a multi-generational diving family.
Question: What does it mean to you to be able to dive with not only your son, but your grandson as well?
Björn and Anita: We have a common interest that brings us together, children and grandchildren. We are all fascinated by the sea and its inhabitants.
Question: How important do you think it is to pass a love for diving and a love for the ocean on to each new generation?
Björn and Anita: Very important. It creates a greater understanding for the sea’s ecology and biology. It gives the people that experience this a better knowledge for their own life.
Ready to get your whole family into diving? Everyone over the age of 10 can start the PADI Open Water Diver course right away.