People in Dubai looking to practise their diving skills won’t have to venture far to take the plunge.
Dive Garage – the retail branch of Divers Down diving centre in Fujairah – has recently opened a flagship store in Al Quoz Industrial Area 4. Its main attraction is a bespoke training pool that has been built by welding two shipping containers together.
The pool is filled with 100,000 litres of fresh water and features Plexiglas windows. It is also being fitted with a temperature control system.
The key attraction is its dual level. The shallower area has a depth of 1.4 metres, while the other section goes down to 2.75 metres, which is far deeper than your average community swimming pool.
“Joining the two shipping containers to create those levels, that was the hard bit, because you had to work out the stress points,” says director Dave Griffiths.
The pool also had to be reinforced and the water filled in stages to ensure there were no leaks. “Those were the most stressful nights for me. I kept envisioning coming to the store and finding it filled with water,” he says with a laugh.
Despite the challenges, and the hefty price of putting it together – which ran up to almost Dh250,000 – he says he's happy with the final outcome.
“The shallow end is perfect for beginners because it’s possible for most people to just stand up and have their head above the water. Whereas if you are training, you need more depth to get that necessary experience, and it’s hard to find that in a pool here. That is why this is perfect for all levels.”
Diving is an activity that has boomed during the pandemic, as more people took to the seas when they weren't able to travel. Griffiths says 2020 has been their best year, as applications for certifications soared.
Besides the training pool, Dive Garage’s new flagship store sells diving equipment and has a servicing workshop for equipment maintenance and repair.
For those wanting to try the increasingly popular recreational activity, Dive Garage offers Padi recreational courses, Tec courses and Padi professional courses.
The price for a swimming pool experience is Dh290. A full Padi Open Water Diver certification costs Dh1,995, including the training material and four dives from the east coast of UAE.
More information is at www.divegarage.com