On 4th January 2004, Charles Jessop (12) became the youngest ever diver in the English speaking world to qualify as a Master Scuba Diver.
On his 12th birthday in January 2004, he started a rescue skills course with Jack’s Diving Locker, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. This programme equips him to assist another diver in difficulty. By completing it, he fulfilled the final requirement to become a Master Scuba Diver – the highest level of qualification awarded by PADI, the world’s leading scuba certification agency, to non-professional divers.
He started snorkelling at the age of seven and soon progressed to scuba diving, though restricted by his age to swimming pools and shallow bays. He spent the morning of his tenth birthday learning scuba diving skills in a swimming pool and the afternoon taking theory exams. Two days later, after four training dives from a boat off the Kona Coast of Hawaii, he was certified as a diver. Though restricted to depths of 40 feet, he was tested to the same high standards as an adult.
After completing the course, Charles said:
“I’ve seen loads in two years – sharks in a feeding frenzy, wrecked boats, a massive whale shark, turtles and millions of fish both large and small. I’ve had 12 foot wide manta rays swim inches over my head. Scuba diving is a lot of fun – though the PADI Rescue Diver course was hard work. I’m looking forward to lots more diving now.”