Welcome To HSA (Handicapped Scuba Association)
The HSA Mission Statement
Founded in 1981, The Handicapped Scuba Association, a non-profit organization, has dedicated itself to improving the physical and social well being of people with disabilities through the exhilarating sport of scuba diving and in doing so has become the worldwide authority in the field.
Who Are We and What Do We Do?
WHO ARE WE? The HSA was founded in 1981 by Jim Gatacre and is now the world's leading authority on recreational diving for people with disabilities. Headquartered in California, HSA INTERNATIONAL extends its underwater educational programs worldwide. The HSA is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation and donations made to us are gratefully accepted and tax deductible.
WHAT DO WE DO? We operate as a diver training center. Our prestigious diver education programs and Instructor Training Course (ITC) are internationally recognized and unequaled by any other programs in the industry. These programs were developed in conjunction with two major certifying agencies, PADI and NAUI.
The Dive Buddy Program
Many of us know someone, a friend or family member, we'd like to involve in scuba diving. Or, we'd welcome the challenge of learning about disabilities, accessibility issues and how to dive with people who have disabilities. The HSA "Dive Buddy Program" offers able-bodied divers this opportunity to expand their underwater world to include sharing it with a handicapped partner. An HSA certified Dive Buddy receives nearly as much information and skill training as an instructor , except the training focuses on recreation, not instruction.
Open Water Certification
Either from accident or disease about 15% of the population is statistically classified as "handicapped". In the United States alone this percentage translates into MILLIONS of people, many of whom are fully capable of becoming scuba divers.
Our open water training programs for people with disabilities are taught with a high margin of safety because we use teaching techniques developed with over 20 years of continuous research and feedback. Handicapped students are trained and certified according to HSA Physical Performance Standards and a multilevel Certification system so exacting and sensitive it enables us to train people with a wide range of disabilities, including paraplegia, quadriplegia, even the blind of those with high-functioning brain injuries or mild retardation. We base our students diving proficiency on their ability to assist another diver in the water. For instance, if you're a Level A diver, you're certified to dive with one other person; a Level B diver must dive with two other able-bodied divers and a Level C diver not only requires two dive buddies, but one must be trained in diver rescue. After meeting the requirements for Basic "Open Water", some of our A, B, and C divers go on to obtain an "Advanced" level of certification.
ADVANCED OPEN WATER SCUBA DIVER REQUIREMENTS:a. Certification prerequisites:
1) Certified as a LEVEL A, LEVEL B, or LEVEL C Open Water Scuba Diverb. Successfully complete the H.S.A. academic lectures and dive planning for each of the five required Scuba dives. (See the H.S.A. Advanced Course, Page 30 Standards & Procedures.)
2) Have a minimum of 10 (ten) logged open water scuba dives, not including training dives, within 24 (twenty-four) months prior to the starting date of Advanced Course
c. Under H.S.A. Instructor supervision, perform a total of five (5) SCUBA dives to include:
1) Deep dive of 85 to 100 feet (26 to 30 meters), math problem, tie knots, work puzzles.d. Certifivation Registration
2) Night dive
3) Wall dive (this can be simulated)
4) Navigation dive (a blind diver: topographic navigation) and mid-water buddy breathing with one regulator second stage. Begin buddy-breathing while neutrally buoyant in mid-water. Buddy breathe 3 times stationary in mid-water, ascend to the surface and orally inflate the receiver's BCD.
5) Marine life identification dive (identify at least 4 species of marine animals, fish, crustaceans, worms, etc., and 1 specie of marine plant life). List with dive entry on certification form. (Blind diver's marine life identification: use sea stars, crabs, plants and animals that can be safely handled.)
1) Use the Certification Request Form, page 45 of the Standards & Procedures; Check the Advanced SCUBA Diver box, list the Training dives, and any comments.
2) Completely fill in all of the Certification Request Form, including the student's registration number in the upper right hand corner. Fil in, copy and send the first page of the H.S.A. Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver Course, and the completed Advanced Marin Life Identification Forms.
3) Send the Certification Requst Form, two photographs and $15.00 to H.S.A. headquarters.
4) H.S.A. will return to the Instructor, or student, the student's C-Card and diploma.
Rehabilitation Hospital Program
Because scuba diving is an active, adventurous sport, it offers meaningful rehabilitation for the mind and spirit as well as for the body. Recognizing this, several leading rehabilitation hospitals in the United States, such as St. David's of Austin Texas, have pioneered the inclusion of HSA scuba diving classes as part of their out patient program. These progressive rehabilitation specialists have bridged the gap between an institutional setting and the outside world, using scuba diving and dive travel to help ease their patients into successful social and community re-integration.
Accessible Travel and Resort Evaluation
Our HSA International Dive Vacations provide excellent opportunities to socialize with new or existing friends. Whether your diving with another HSA member or interacting with guests or visitors from elsewhere, we offer you a healthy, happy way to see the world.
Each year we plan, coordinate and conduct several dive vacations to exotic locations. All our destinations are researched and evaluated for wheelchair accessibility through our resort evaluation program. Most importantly, an HSA trained and certified instructor will be present on all trips to insure a safe, enjoyable yet independent experience for everyone. Our travel program is operated by highly qualified travel agents who are not only world travelers but are also wheelchair users. Additionally, they are trained and certified HSA scuba divers, knowledgeable in helping you make arrangements either for joining us on our group trips or for your individual travel plans.