New Operating Procedures

New Operating Procedures

Created: 2020-06-07

We wanted to let you know that we have worked very hard to create a safer environment for you and for our staff.  We have strict cleaning processes, kit disinfecting processes and training processes in place.  All current staff have attended four training sessions to ensure that we are all aware of the new way of working.  Below are our new operating procedures, if you would like to read in more detail.



No business can guarantee zero risks, but by implementing a proactive policy to manage and reduce the threat of Covid-19, and by implementing its consistency, we aim to reduce the risk of spreading the disease, addressing respiration transmission and contact transmission.


Safety of Customers and Staff

  • Prevention Measures displayed on the door, no entry if symptoms, one customer only at a time, using the doorbell to alert presence.
  • PADI best practices displayed on door and prominently at the counter.
  • All forms to be completed online in advance, including additional DAN questions to be answered by email.
  • No cash payments accepted (currently no cards either, all by bank transfer)
  • Dive centre staff to wear masks at all times
  • 2m distance to be maintained at all times
  • If trying on, own clothes into a box (disinfected afterwards), items not purchased quarantine for 3 days
  • Handwashing facilities provided for all staff and customers, and hand sanitisers

Disinfection of Dive Centre

  • All regularly touched surfaces cleaned and disinfected regularly (checklist: doorbell, handles, light switches, keyboards, mouse, taps, till drawer, counter, card machine, filling board, compressor etc)
  • Dive centre common areas cleaned daily
  • Bleach safer than alcohol products because of oxygen.  Solution of 0.1% sodium hypochlorite.
  • Soap and water best for hands for the same reason.

Equipment Cleaning Instructions

  • Bleach best diluted at 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (1:50 if 5%, 100ml bleach, 4900ml cold water)
  • Wear gloves, mask and eye protection use only in a well-ventilated area
  • Submerge kit for 5 mins, fill BCD if has been orally inflated. Rinse kit well after use.
  • Do not touch the cylinder valve outlet or regulator inlet

Rental Equipment

  • OTD Customers will be provided with laminated instructions on how to clean their kit (incl those students who already have kit in their possession)
  • No rental of masks and snorkels (provided, disinfected to DSDs only)
  • No entry to compressor room as contains disinfected kit
  • Customers instructed not to touch cylinder valve outlet or regulator inlet
  • Rental returns kept separate to clean kit, disinfected in boxes (boxes too), BCDs inflated using LPI not orally, as per above instructions.

Customer/Instructor-owned Diving Equipment

  • Recommended not to use common tubs and non-dive centre equipment should be rinsed elsewhere.

 Gas Fills

  • Given operating temps of compressor, it is unlikely that a virus can remain active after passing through a compressor.
  • Operator must wash hands thoroughly before each fill (no sanitiser as oxygen) and should wear a face mask
  • Do not touch cylinder valve inlet or end of filling hoses
  • No customers inside the compressor room or in the vicinity of the filling station

First Aid

  • Safety first – rescuer, victim, and all others on site
  • Ensure all PPE is being worn / protective barriers being used
  • Evaluate consciousness by shaking / stimulating victim, without approaching face
  • Determine if they are breathing by watching chest, do not approach face
  • If they are not breathing, alert EMS and begin chest compressions without rescue breaths
  • Do not use bag valve mask to respirate as it can make the virus airborne
  • Use an AED if available
  • Continue until they begin breathing, until you are exhausted or until EMS arrive
  • Properly dispose of PPE


  • SARS Cov-1 (2003 predecessor) could survive on the surface of fresh water and that sea water does not neutralise the virus – as yet it is unknown if Coronavirus (SARS Cov-2 can) so assume it can.
  • In properly chlorinated pools, the Centre for Disease Control specifies that Coronavirus would be inactivated after a period of time.
  • Respect distancing rules in and out of the water and properly wash and disinfect equipment.


  • Only staff and students who are healthy should go diving or attend classes, temps taken every time.
  • We will continue to conduct classes via Zoom where it is practical to do so.
  • Whole section on how to teach EFR safely in person – which will be followed when needed.
  • For briefing, stay 2m apart.  Masks will be provided for all staff.
  • Pay attention to breathing patterns, direction and wind to reduce respiratory transmission concerns.  (snorkels / regs still expel air)
  • In water at the surface buoyant staff and buddies can stay distanced and still reachable within the 2 seconds guideline.  Use buoys / reduce ratios if necessary.
  • Underwater social distancing isn’t needed.
  • Wash / sanitise hands frequently (wipes and sanitisers will be provided), keep scuba masks on and don’t touch the face.
  • Use voice, gestures or signals for positive reinforcement – avoid handshakes.
  • Consider buddy pairs within households if possible, so distancing not an issue.
  • Stay prepared for emergencies.  All staff should have rescue breathing masks on them whenever teaching.  We all need to accept that responding to a real emergency may elevate disease transmission risk for both the victim and rescuer.
  • Use defog, not saliva.  Do not use rinse barrels for any kit.

Diving / Skill Specific Guidance (Advice combined from DAN and PADI)

  • Gear set up – clean hands before and after.  Do not test breathe AAS. Do not touch cylinder valve opening and reg first stage openings.
  • Buddy checks should be carried out visually and verbally and own AAS test breathed the re-disinfected.  Do not touch other divers’ equipment, especially where it comes into contact with their face and mouth.
  • Donning gear – aim for exposure suits that don’t require buddy help (e.g. front zips), gear up seated, straight into seated entry, or if need help, staff member in full gear, including mask on and breathing from reg.
  • AAS – all AAS should have been disinfected prior to skills.  Where kit is in possession of students, OTD will provide bleach solution to submerge reg in, then rinse.  Ensure each AAS is only used by one student.  Can use own and assistant’s.   Disinfect again afterwards.  If unable to provide disinfected AAS for use (e.g. if on long hose) a simulated exchange is acceptable under PADI revised standards.
  • BCD oral inflation – distance others and have them breathing from reg.  Disinfect BCD bladder after.
  • Surface swims – use regs.  For snorkel skills, only one on a snorkel at a time and have it pointed away from buddy.
  • Exits – masks on until out.  Rinse kit over sink or running water that flows away from others.  Wash hands
  • 5-point descent – exchange snorkel for reg whilst socially distant, then come close for descent.
  • Surfacing -establish buoyancy, stay on regs, or spread out if going to snorkels.
  • Snorkel clearing – ensure buoyant, practice socially distanced, point snorkel away from others, be aware of wind direction in OW.
  • Mask cleaning, removing and replacing – If a student panics and surfaces, staff keep mask on, reg in – assure buoyancy then back away to give verbal instructions.
  • Gas depletion – sanitise hands before and after contact with valve handle, or leave handle in contact with chlorinated water for 5 minutes after touching it.
  • Kit removal at surface – ensure ample buoyancy, regs in for weights on / off, distancing for kit on / off without reg.
  • Tows – sanitise hands before and after.  Both divers on regs
  • No mask swim – ensure students have cleaned hands, remind them to avoid touching face.
  • Tired / panicked diver – clean hands before and after, verbal exchanges from a distance, keep mask on.
  • Unresponsive diver at the surface – if you can’t pair divers from the same household, use rescue masks, one per student, all be aware of exhalation direction.  No lip contact with mask, demonstrate could blow into mask, but turn head and exhale away from victim.  For mouth to mouth, still use a mask, pinch nose over mask, and same breathing as before.
  • EFR & Emergency O2 – one mannequin per student – disinfected afterwards and lungs changed.  Students wear masks and distance.  No sanitiser for O2 course.
  • Rescue scenarios – allow a “time out” to put on medical masks, clean hands etc as needed. Emphasise more distancing then is normal is acceptable.  Substitute in mannequins.

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Where's your favourite warm water diving destination? Anna's sharing another of hers with us today.


Where is Saparua and what’s so special about it?
Saparua is such a tiny island that a google map search probably won’t leave you much the wiser as to its location. Where many avid divers have heard of Raja Ampat (an area, not a single location), a few of those now consider Raja to be dived out, and favour a longer but ultimately more rewarding trip further south to the Lease Islands. Saparua, a speck off Ambon well known for its incredible muck diving, is home to breathtaking wall diving, superb muck sites and gigantic plate and brain corals. Tourism here is virtually zero, I had a guide, a boat and a resort totally to myself for a week. It’s not for everyone, for sure, but as an experienced diver with all my own equipment, getting off the beaten path and having the option to laze around the top of a wall for an hour and a half following an oblivious ghost pipefish, watching a solar powered Nudibranch meander the reef or have a staring match with a scorpionfish was a real bonus.

Why should I dive there?
You’ll be diving where very few people have been, getting into local culture and enjoying the sunsets. As I mentioned above, the dive sites around the island are superb, from an underwater arch entered at 5meters and spews you out at the top of a 100m wall, to huge table corals as far as the eye can see, to fabulously coloured coral covered walls and white sandy valleys for superbly long dives. You can motor down to the uninhabited island of Molana where there are several dive sites.

When to go?
February – April & September - November is good. Ambon, which is the muck diving heaven to the west, can be dived year-round as it’s sheltered, but Saparua lies to the eastern edge of the island cluster. The liveaboards that cruise the Banda sea avoid the in-between months due to those wet and windy seasons. Water temp is around the 28C, air temp up to 30C.

What to take?
Take your own gear – have it serviced beforehand. Take spares / redundancy if you can. Definitely take your own entertainment! And your camera.

Preparation, preparation, preparation !

Consider the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy for holding your position whilst photographing. Definitely look at investing in a good underwater camera with housing and light for both night and wall dives and get to know your way around your rig with the PADI Underwater Digital Photography specialty. I’ve mentioned before… my favourite mid range rig is the Olympus TG6, though I’m itching to get out with one of the new Sealife iPhone housings for (much) lighter travel. (Disclaimer, sadly none of the photos below were taken with either of the above, so don’t judge the quality of the cameras on my photos!). Do consider the PADI Equipment Specialist to get to know your way round your equipment and how to fix any niggly problems that may arise.

Where to stay
I stayed at the most amazing Mahu Lodge. Built and owned by local Paul, it’s now managed by his wonderful son Johann – both of whom speak great English. Mahu lodge is no-frills simple, and the grounds are stunning: huge mature trees including Clove, Nutmeg and giant palm; hibiscus, fruit trees and expansive green lawns give you ample space to relax after diving. The rooms are basic, clean and some have a/c (which, due to the number of trees around, isn’t strictly necessary to be honest). Meals are included and you can ask cook to prepare the local “Papeda” – a seafood stew made from the local sago palm. (Be warned. It’s a texture thing, but it’s cooked right in front of you and it’s an … interesting process).

Splurge. There is no splurge accommodation on Saparua. There are no restaurants in Spararua to spurge on either. And you don’t have to splurge to get pretty much a private dive experience here, that’s just par for the course! You can rent a scooter to see the sights, though you can also hire a driver to do just that. I did splurge (£15) on getting back to Ambon for my flight, as it was Sunday and I’d forgotten the ferry (£7) doesn’t run. See the photo of my private speedboat below! Of course, you could do a liveaboard in the Banda sea which is most definitely a splurge!

Do visit the old Dutch fort Benteng Duurstede in the town, and do not miss the detailed, superb but slightly dusty dioramas at the museum next door. You’ll have to hunt around for the keyholder but definitely worth it to learn about how these islands were once the very centre of the nutmeg trade and fiercely fought over. A few metres away is the market – see the sago I mentioned earlier, and a plethora of different fruits and vegetables. It’s incredible to read the history of these once fiercely fought over islands at the centre of the spice trade and realise that they have reclaimed their culture and way of life.

How to get there?
Fly to Ambon via Doha/Singapore and Jakarta, then take a ferry.
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Please join me in congratulating Ocean Turtle Instructor @alunsalt on the amazing achievement of #masterscubadivertrainer

To earn this accolade he has studied to become an instructor in five PADI Specialties and certified 25 divers in various courses. No mean feat!

#diving #scubadiving #padi #oceanturtlediving #sea #ocean #ukdiving #adventure #underwater #livingthedream
#coursedirector #padiinstructor
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If you own an EON Steel, please contact us for upgrade information.
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One of our Ocean Turtle Diving Hatchlings, Maisie, has written this great blog that we wanted to share.

My name is Maisie, I am now eleven years old and earlier in the year I passed my Junior PADI open water and dry suit diver qualification in February 2020 when I was ten years old. I saved all my money I got from my family for Christmas to be able to pay for the course. The course was tough and being in February very cold; but the Ocean Turtle Team were incredibly supportive.

I got inspiration for diving when I went to Greece in 2019. I did a pool dive followed by scuba diving in the sea. I started then to realise I loved scuba diving.

I love going scuba diving to see all the sea creatures and I would like to start helping the underwater environment. I am planning to go diving in the Red Sea next year (2021) and to hopefully get my photographer diver course, to examine the different types of sea creatures from Egypt (Marsa Alam) and the UK (Cornwall or Porthkerris). I have done multiple dives in different places, for example: Porthkerris, Vobster, Wraysbury and Greece. I also practice and keep up to date with my diving by practising my skills in the swimming pool.

In the future I hope to become more skilled and one day get my Master Qualification and learn more about the underwater world.


To book your Hatchling onto a PADI Junior Open Water Course click the link below. They can begin their self-study over lockdown.
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