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Holly Wakely becomes one of the world’s youngest Course Directors

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Holly Wakely
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Holly Wakely has already carved a name for herself in the diving industry and now, at the tender age of 21, she has just achieved what many regard as the pinnacle in professional diving, PADI Course Director – becoming one of the youngest female CDs in the world.

Holly's introduction to the underwater world started early – back in 2004, aged two, her ocean-loving parents David – a dive instructor and dive doctor – and Catherine took her to Bermuda Aquarium, where she was immediately enthralled by what she saw in the exhibits.

In 2006, aged four, she joined her parents on a family trip with Kids Sea Camp to Curacao, and enjoyed snorkelling and SASY over the next few years with the family-diving company in various locations around the Caribbean.

Holly Wakely
Holly on SASY in Bonaire during a Kids Sea Camp trip

In 2010, at the age of eight, Holly started on her PADI Seal Team journey with her dad in Bermuda, and she then continued her Seal adventures on subsequent Kids Sea Camp trips through until she was nearing ten.

Turning ten in 2012, she did her PADI Junior Open Water Diver course in the Cayman Islands with DiveTech, and soon after enjoyed a trip to the British Virgin Islands.

Holly Wakely
Holly on a trip to the BVIs shortly after doing her Junior Open Water Diver course

She continued building up her diving experience across multiple Kids Sea Camp trips, and in August 2020, at the age of 17, she became the world’s first PADI Junior Divemaster in St Lucia with Kids Sea Camp after beta testing the programme for PADI.

Back on St Lucia in November 2020, aged 18, she went on to become a full PADI Divemaster, and on her return to Bermuda, she started volunteering at Dive Bermuda as a Divemaster, before she successfully passed her PADI Instructor Exam to become a PADI dive instructor in Bonaire with Buddy Dive in February 2021.

Holly Wakely
Holly became a PADI dive instructor in Bonaire in 2021

In March 2021 she joined Blue Horizon Diving and started to lead video projects on their YouTube channel, in September 2021, she became a PADI IDC Staff Instructor in Bermuda while supporting the Dive Bermuda IDC programme, and in March 2022 she took to the Main Stage at the UK’s GO Diving Show to speak about Youth Diving.

From 2020 to 2022, she also started leading and running trips around the world for Kids Sea Camp.

In June 2022, aged 19, she moved to Australia to start university and work at Sunreef Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast. At the same time she became involved in running PADI Instructor Development Courses around Australia with partner Mark Wynne.

Holly Wakely
Holly joined partner Mark to run IDCs in Australia

In 2023, Mark and Holly launched the Blue Horizon Diving travel business to take divers around the world on epic dive trips. The first trip was a huge success, and took place in October 2023 on the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali, with divers from UK, USA, Cayman Islands and Australia.

In 2023 she spoke at the ADEX Dive Expo in Singapore on Youth Diving, and was part of the panel discussion Past, Present & Future of Underwater Photography, with Kirk Krack, Tom St George, Renee Capozilla, Mark Wynne, Berkley White, Scott Tuason and William Tan.

In 2024, she was recognised for the third year in a row by PADI as an Elite Instructor due to her dedication and professionalism in training divers, and then in March 2024, aged 21, she became the youngest female PADI Course Director – and one of the youngest PADI Course Directors full stop – in the World at the PADI CDTC in Malaysia.

Holly Wakely
Holly with her CD certificate

Holly said: “Becoming a dive instructor was a dream of mine since I was an eight year old in Seal Team. I have always loved passing on my knowledge to others – I even considered being a school teacher for a while!

“During my own IDC, I took in as much information as I possibly could and was completely in awe of the teaching style of my Course Director, Lars Bosman, who made everything easy to understand, fun and relevant. When I was teaching recreational divers, I always tried to channel this same energy into my own teaching.

“It was one evening in Bonaire a year after I had completed my IDC, that I found myself helping six girls doing their IDC with their assignments. I was teaching dive theory, giving tips for conducting open water and confined water teaching presentations and coming up with ways to make classroom presentations more interesting. At this moment, I realised that I wanted to teach how to teach, to become a PADI Course Director.

“To me, being a Course Director is more than just teaching instructor courses. It means I am able to inspire other divers, of both recreational and professional level, to go and and peruse what they love within the dive industry.

“I also think it is very important for those who are younger instructors to see that they should not feel limited by their age and that it is possible to reach top levels of professional diving even if you haven’t been teaching (or even diving) for 20-plus years.”

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Gert Nielsen
Gert Nielsen
18 days ago

How many dives has she got ?
Yours Gert from Denmark

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Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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