Dive Systems was established in 1978 and is now one of Malta’s largest dive centres, with excellent facilities and a clean safety record. The dive centre, located on the water’s edge at Exiles in Sliema, offers divers – both local and foreign – a wide range of diving courses and guided diving at all levels.
During the event to mark the 40th anniversary, Paul Sciberras – founder and president of the company – spoke about the origins of Dive Systems and how it had evolved over the years. He spoke about the major milestones in the company’s history and also the evolution of the diving industry: “I still recall the first time I tried to apply for a Police Licence to operate as a Dive School. After a one-and-a-half-year wait, I was presented with a licence which required us to report each day how many divers we took diving and how many returned, that each diver had to be tied up with a one-inch manilla rope, and we had to have a boat in attendance on each and every dive. Obviously, we refused to work with these conditions.”
Mr Sciberras said that from then they had started working with the Health Department to draft proper regulations for the diving industry. He said: “Today, Malta has a very robust regulatory framework for the diving industry and the Professional Diving Schools Association – PDSA – works very well with the authorities and the diving industry to continuously move forward.”
Also addressing the audience, which was made up of clients, collaborators, staff members and suppliers, was Simon Sciberras, the current Managing Director of the company. Mr Sciberras spoke about the quality leap that the company had embarked upon in the last ten years. “In the second part of the last decade we decided to focus on quality. Through feedback given from our clients we identified several areas where we wanted to upgrade our facilities and service, and these included: equipment, facilities, vehicles, employment conditions and image.”
He explained how the company was now focusing its energy on making Dive Systems a greener company. “We are the only dive centre on the island who completely separates its compressor oil waste at source. This year we have completely eliminated plastic bottles from our centre and we are supplying our clients with re-usable aluminum bottles and free water. We have also set-up dedicated recycling stations at the centre.
“While we were always involved in underwater clean-ups, this year we are also the main sponsor of Malta’s largest NGO against waste – Zibel – and we are making it a point to collect debris whenever we go diving and teaching our clients. We believe that even in this sector we can lead by example in the hope that others in our sector and in similar sectors will join us in making Malta and especially our waters better than they already are.
“Through the PDSA we are working with the Ministry for the Environment and the MTA to designate areas as Marine Reserves. We believe that this is the only sustainable way forward for our industry. We note with satisfaction various initiatives being taken in this regard, however we must point out that the weak link remains enforcement, or the lack of it.”
In his concluding remarks, Simon Sciberras said that he hoped that the company will continue to grow and evolve and thanked all those involved in making Dive Systems what it was today. He said: “First to the family that support us, secondly to you, our clients, who have supported us and believed in us. To all our peers – dive centres that share our vision of a better diving industry. To our suppliers and collaborators. To our staff past and present who work tirelessly and put up with our demands. We thank you all for being with us here tonight and share in an important milestone for the company and for us on a personal level. To another 40 years of diving excellence!”