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1st AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Specialty Course in Malaysia

Community Spotlights

As part of the new focus on shark conservation, Project AWARE just launched a new distinctive specialty course: AWARE Shark Conservation Diver.

Many shark species are in danger of becoming extinct but PADI Instructors can help give sharks a fighting chance. By teaching the new AWARE Shark Conservation Diver course they are turning divers and others into informed and passionate shark defenders who take action to protect sharks. And this is just what PADI Course Director Richard Swann recently did at Dive Downbelow in Malaysia!

As a keen shark enthusiast, Richard applied to become a PADI AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Specialty Instructor as soon as the new course was announced.

Eager to share his experience and love for sharks through teaching the new specialty, Richard got straight down to the business of teaching as soon as the training materials were made available to download for free on the Project AWARE website a few days ago.

Richard Swann is the first PADI member to qualify as an Instructor and Instructor Trainer for the new Project AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Distinctive Specialty course.

“The Project AWARE Shark Conservation Diver  course is of particular interest for us here at Downbelow,” says Richard.

"We have a resident community of black tip reef sharks just minutes from our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya Island, which is located in the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park, 10 minutes offshore from KotaKinabalu”.

Richard has actively spotted these black tips since 2007 and saw at least 25 individuals over the years.

Recently he's been studying them intently and has documented evidence of 15 distinct individuals.

Until the end of Big Shark Shout Out week, which runs from 15 - 23 October, people diving with Downbelow during this time will be able to add the Project AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Specialty to their diving programme.

First to benefit from Richard's new qualification, PADIDivemaster Interns Joseph and Steve completed the course, satisfied the criteria of the specialty and became the first divers to be qualified in this distinctive specialty.

Richard is encouraging all divers to take the course and take action to protect sharks before it's too late.

From all of us at Project AWARE, congratulations Richard, Joseph and Steve! We hope you enjoyed the course.

For more information on how to apply and teach the new AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Distinctive Specialty Course contact your local PADI office or visit the Pros Area of

If you're interested in becoming a shark defender, contact your local PADI Instructor or Dive Centre or visit our Action Zone Map.

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