Hi. My name’s Jolie. I’m 17 years old, and I learnt to dive when I was 10. Diving has been a pretty big part of my life since completing my Open Water Diver course in 2015. Since then I’ve been on many recreational dives in several different places. 

junior open water diver course
Image courtesy of Jolie Hoffman-Little

The Beginning

Coming from a family of avid divers, being able to dive was sort of a requirement. Before becoming an Open Water Diver, I’d travelled around the UK with my mum, who conducted Instructor Examinations and promoted PADI at Scuba Shows. I met lots of people during these trips, with whom I’ve since dived, and the feeling of belonging to a family, made completing my Open Water Diver course a very easy decision. 

diving as a teenager
Image courtesy of Jolie Hoffman-Little

My Open Water Diver Course

I was very lucky to complete my course in the Red Sea in Egypt. It involved taking a boat out, setting up my own equipment and completing various exercises underwater, all of which I had practised in a pool in the UK

Before the practical elements of the course, I had to complete the eLearning component. The ability to learn in my own time was amazing, as I was at school most days, and was able to set time aside in the evenings to read up on the required knowledge. 

Once I had completed the course, I made use of the lovely weather and stunning waters in Egypt and completed more open water dives. Being my first time in open water, I had no idea what to expect, yet my expectations were still exceeded. We saw many different species of fish including butterfly fish and boxfish swimming amongst the corals. 

learning to dive as a teen
Image courtesy of Jolie Hoffman-Little

Recreational Diving

Since completing my Open Water Diver Course, I’ve tried to keep my skills up to date by taking part in recreational dives. I’ve done these around the UK where the water is definitely colder than Egypt, but the joy of diving is still very much there. I’ve been able to dive around wrecks and explore the fascinating creatures that live underwater. 

Recreational diving has given me a deeper insight into marine conservation. It’s allowed me to see the effect we as humans can have on underwater ecosystems and has led me to think more sustainably about my actions. As part of a current project at school, I have been designing a product centred around producing less waste on both a macro and micro scale. I can confidently say that it’s scuba diving that’s given me the inspiration to implement change into not only my life, but the lives of others. I hope one day more young people will see the need for a change in the way we live our lives in an effort to save the marine life that suffers so greatly from generations worth of exploitation.

If you’re a teenager or you have kids 10 and up, now is the time to get certified as an Open Water Diver. You’ll be amazed how scuba diving allows you to connect with the ocean, gives you the tools to help save the ocean and helps your mind disconnect from the stress of everyday life. Get your PADI and start to #LiveUnfiltered.

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This article was written by Jolie Hoffman-Little, a young diver who is passionate about marine conservation and making the most of every single day. Jolie has been involved with scuba diving from a young age, and it has become such a huge part of her life that she loves to share it with people in order to encourage them to try something new.

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