Family-owned business Poole Diving officially opened their new on-site training pool the second week in January. PADI scuba diving instructors Kevin Craddock and his son Ian said it took six months of planning and nine months to build, with costs reaching close to six figures.
Kevin said: “I believe to succeed as a dive centre you need to offer an on-site pool.” For many years, Poole Diving rented local swimming pools. Kevin explained: “It’s difficult and expensive to hire pools and it’s not easy to get times during the day. Having our own pool makes logistics so much easier. There’s no equipment loading/unloading to worry about or travelling time to consider.”
Poole Diving regularly run instructor training courses, which require a substantial amount of pool time. Ian said: “Having our own pool solves this problem. Flexibility is the key. Training small groups is now financially viable. There are no time constraints. If we need to spend more time working on a particular skill-set, we don’t have to rush. We can offer our students a much more personalized experience.”
The dive centre specializes in youth diving, running courses for schools, universities and cub/scout groups active in the locale.
As and when required, Kevin and Ian become the pool maintenance crew, ensuring the water temperature in the 3m deep pool never drops below 28 degrees C, which is comfortable for swimsuits. The new custom-built facility also offers separate male/female changing rooms and toilets.
Safety is another key issue. There are no less than four First Aid instructors working at the dive centre just in case of emergencies.
The local diving community are also keen to support the new pool. It’s the perfect solution for qualified divers needing a quick refresher before a diving holiday, pre-season practice and new kit try-outs.
Poole Diving is a PADI five-star Instructor Development Centre, who began trading in 2002 and are the only dive centre in Dorset that offer an on-site training pool. Kevin and Ian have more than 55 years combined experience in the diving industry. Ian is the resident PADI Course Director and a Technical Instructor Trainer. They offer the full range of PADI courses from Bubblemaker up to Trimix Instructor.
Poole Diving run regular trips throughout the season on their training boat, a 7.7-metre Cobra RIB with a 250hp Honda outboard. They also offer on-site cylinder testing, regulator servicing, battery changing and a well-stocked retail shop. Normal opening hours are between 9am and 5pm six days a week. Call Poole Diving on 01202 66618 for more information regards pool opening times, training courses, club trips, etc.
Photographs by Stuart Philpott