For all of us life has changed so much. Covid 19 and the “new normal” has reached every part of our lives and diving is no different.
One Ocean closed all our centres in the middle of March. Since then we have researched a great deal and thought long and hard about how we can best take care of you; our customers through the epidemic and beyond. We realized that while we have to change a few things here and there, we have been keeping our customers breathing clean air and healthy as possible for the last 20 years and will continue to do so. There are however some changes or tougher protocols you can expect to see:
If sick or staying with someone with Covid 19 or similar symptoms – stay away.
Qualified divers know that to enjoy your dive you need to feel healthy and clear headed. None of us wants to dive with the flu or flu like symptoms. The rule has always been if you have a blocked nose/ cold/ cough etc. wait a few days and see if you feel better. New additions to this list include a loss of taste and smell. If you could not taste or smell your breakfast please stay away.
It is the same for our staff, they know a cold is bad news for their co-workers and our customers and will STAY AT HOME and be safe if feeling ill.
But Covid 19 means we will have to be even more strict. How will we do this?
- Appoint a member of staff as the Covid 19 Monitor to check that our team members and customers follow our guidelines and rules.
- Daily temperature checks for everybody.
- Staff to complete a new, daily health check list.
Students and divers have to complete a medical check form before they are allowed to dive. This has been revised to include Covid 19. Any diver who has been tested positive for Covid 19 will need a medical certificate from their doctor that they are fit to dive. There are other medical conditions that also require a medical certificate – this has not changed.
It’s all about air
But we never think about it until you become a diver and now in the age of Covid 19 clean air is everyone’s concern.
- Our compressors are regularly serviced by a BAUER technician. Filters are checked and changed as per manufacturers specifications.
- Cylinders are filled in a clean, air-conditioned space by one staff member who will follow the required rules of reporting feeling unwell, wearing a mask and washing hands.
- Buddy and air checks will change - each diver will check their own gear while their buddy watches on. Don't test breathe your alternate second stage rather have your buddy check yours and you theirs.
- Keep a safe distance from each other on the surface, when entering and when leaving the boat and at all other times.
- On the surface keep masks on and regulators in.
- Our groups are kept small and as much as possible kept to people within the same household/ those travelling together.
- The team will receive additional training for Covid 19 conditions as they relate to diving and snorkelling.
Social distancing and diving
Diving is fun – it’s about being together in a great, natural environment together with friends and family and indeed other like-minded strangers. We don’t want to lose this happy togetherness but need to keep you as safe as we possibly can. The Covid 19 regulations for staying safe outdoors and in fresh salty, air recommend a distance of 1 metre and indoors we should respect a distance of 2 metres.
How will we do this?
- Stagger times for divers to sign in and collect gear before their dive.
- Restrict access, movement and number of people within the centres themselves.
- Do as much as possible outdoors – dive briefs, lessons, dive logs etc.
- Online sign-up and payment options.
- Small groups (our current ratio is 4 divers to a DM or instructor)
- Dive courses limited to 2 students unless you are family/ friends travelling together.
- When possible keep dive/ snorkel groups to people travelling together.
- Our boats are large and given the reduced numbers we will cater for social distancing as much as possible.
- You have the option of a private boat at an additional charge.
Keeping ourselves clean
The One Ocean team will have undergone specific Covid 19 training. The team has always been careful with cleanliness but now even more so. We have all lived with this for a while now and know and understand the rules. But how will we help you and our team stay clean?
- All our dive centres have their own washrooms which are regularly cleaned and sanitised.
- Handwashing protocols for staff are in place.
- Outside wash stations will be installed for guests and staff.
- We will carry soap on all boats.
- Hand sanitizer*, soap and a refillable bottle for water for washing will become part of our suggested packing list for all our clients.
- Sanitizer* can also be used but we will use soap and water as the first option.
- Tissues and covered bins will be available in all dive centres and on the boats.
- A diver’s nose is "productive" during a dive. Your DM will chat about this during the dive brief - but please clean your nose under the water away from the other divers and into the current. If you forget and are on the surface move away from the others and make sure you clean into the direction of the current and not back onto the others.
- Please keep your gear and personal items to yourself and wash hands frequently and at obvious intervals. We will remind you as much as possible when to wash your hands.
Keeping our gear clean
Our standard procedure is to wash and clean all gear thoroughly after diving. But Covid requires more. We have consulted various scuba diving support networks and medical practitioners and decided to go with the advice we have received from doctors who have worked in supporting the diving community here in Zanzibar.
- We will keep gear out of circulation for 3 days between dives.
- DAN and the CDC in the USA recommends a weak bleach solution to clean dive gear and premises.
- Items required for breathing i.e. regulators will be cleaned in a hospital grade sanitizer/ disinfectant
- Mouthpieces will be carefully sponged during cleaning.
- Customers are welcome to clean and pack their own gear if they prefer. We will offer individual washing and drying stations.
- All gear is hung in the sun and open air to dry.
Masks and gloves
Nobody understands the importance of a good mask like a diver does.
Masks as divers know them – the old spit and polish way of cleaning masks is now of course unacceptable. There is soap and water on the boats and everyone will have the chance to clean their own mask for themselves.
During our slow opening we will decide how and when face masks are most effective in protecting our customers.
The masks we will use will not be disposable masks but lovely washable, made in Zanzibar, cloth ones. One Ocean will have them for sale too.
At present mask wearing will be mandatory for:
- Staff filling cylinders
- Staff or clients packing gear
- Staff or clients washing gear
- People travelling in a closed vehicle
Disposable masks and gloves will end up in our precious ocean and are a huge no no. We will keep our hands clean and we are sure you will too.
As the owner I trust you will feel safe and comfortable in the hands of our professional team. If you feel there is something we have not covered or you have any questions, feedback or suggestions we would all love to hear from you.
* Ocean lovers are very conscious of the amount of waste we generate and how much ends up in the oceans. As such we try and reduce our use of single use items as much as possible (including disposable mouthpieces) and respectfully ask you travel home with empty bottles of sun block, sanitizer etc where the waste can be treated much better than we can in Zanzibar. All the disinfectants and soaps we use are understood to be kind to the environment.