With the spooky night of Halloween lurking just around the corner, and a zombie, goblin and ghoul threat in our imminent future, it seems only fitting to spend October preparing ourselves accordingly.
It seems that zombies are everywhere these days… on TV, in board games and now underwater.
When I first heard of the PADI Zombie Apocalypse Diver Course, all I could do was shake my head with a knowing chuckle. Divers have such a knack for creating fun learning environments. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect when Joey signed us up for the certification, after all who has ever survived through a zombie apocalypse. The only thing I was sure of was that the PADI course would be a ton of fun, as our friends at COJO always make the most out of anything scuba diving related.
The Zombie Apocalypse Diver Course was brought to life by PADI instructor and zombie fanatic Woodrow Tinsley and the folks at Sharkiteuthis Diving Co. The course ran for the first time ever in the state of Maine six years ago.
As with any new scuba program; there was a lot of trial and error involved in determining what skills and challenges would work well with the certification. With much struggle and perseverance, Woody and his crew, simplified and refined the zombie course to what it is today.
After a slow first year, the Zombie Apocalypse Diver Course has rapidly made waves around the world becoming the first ever of its kind in America. Now the course has progressed to become an honoured PADI specialty certification.
The unique, challenging and fun PADI Zombie Apocalypse Diver course is offered in 12 different countries worldwide and I’m sure it won’t be long until more countries join in on this “killer” scuba specialty course. Joey and I did our course in New Brunswick, Canada with the scuba squad at COJO Diving.
Here are the other countries that offer the course:
I must admit, when Joey first signed us up for the Zombie Diver course, I wasn’t fully on board with his plan. To me the idea of taking a course is to; learn new skills, practice said skills under the supervision of an instructor, and leave an improved diver. Spending additional money just to dress up and dive like a zombie did not tickle my fancy.
After looking into the course a little more and speaking with COJO Diving, our choice of dive shop, I soon realized that there was a fair few new things we would be learning during our training.
Its mid-October and I couldn’t think of a better time of the year to get my Zombie Apocalypse Diver specialty certification. Our day started early in the morning and lasted about six hours. As per the PADI standard, the course was split into two part; the classroom session and the diving session.
We started our day with a classroom session, where the COJO instructors taught the students everything they could ever want to know about the the creepy brain eating monsters we have come to call zombies. The survival book touched on everything zombie related from the myths and legends to the real science surrounding the origin of the zombie. The course was presented in a creative and fun manner and paired perfectly with the PADI philosophy of conservation, buoyancy, rescue skills, and first aid skills.
In the open water section of the Zombie Apocalypse Diver Course we took to the Fredericton river. Our dive mission was split into part I and part II. Part I was to find 2 cylinders of zombie gas and bring them safely to shore using float bags. In addition to our gas recovery mission, we also had to clean up trash, avoid being bit by zombies, and sneakily take a zombie selfie. Part II involved searching for a missing diver, bringing them to the surface and towing them to shore.
After a short briefing we suited up in our drysuits and made our way to the water’s edge. Split into two teams of five, we entered the murky water of the Fredericton river. Following a line, setup to give us our first sneak peek at what it would be like to try cave diving, we swam out into the river. As the group progressed into the silty water, we passed different types of line markers which we had learned about in the classroom.
At the line junction the big group split into the preorganized teams. Each team followed the lines in opposing direction to cover more ground in our search for the zombie gas. Once at the end point of the line, our team navigator began unwinding his own reel to begin a circular search for the missing zombie gas.
As the team was performing the circular search, that was when we saw it; our first brain hungry, undead zombie. It seemed to slowly drift out of the haze and silt of the river, an imposing figure floating above us. Very carefully one of our team members swam nice and close for a kodak moment. Can you say BRAINS, uh I mean CHEESE!! After we had taken the picture, the ghastly looking monster disappeared into the river about as quickly as it came into sight.
Shortly after our zombie friend had left us we located and lifted the tank of dangerous gas from the bottom of the river bed. Slow but steadily we swam the neutrally buoyant tank to our research station onshore for further analysis.
Following a quick surface interval and some jelly donut eating we headed back into the water for the second part of our mission; searching and saving a missing diver. Just like our first dive we followed the lines and split off into our teams. Once we reached the end of the line we prepared ourselves for a body search. The search was done very quickly and the victim was found and towed to shore in a safe and controlled manner.
We had survived and saved the world from a zombie apocalypse!
As unfortunate as it may sound you cannot pay the Zombie Apocalypse Diver course fee’s in brain and body parts, although Joey and I did try.
The cost of getting this potentially lifesaving specialty certification is around 100.00$ – 150.00$. For us this course price included; a zombie apocalypse t-shirt with the rockin’ logo, a bracelet made out of real zombie skin, a 28 page survival manual, our PADI specialty certification card, a classroom presentation, 2 open water dives and some yummy doughnuts and hot chocolate once we’d saved the world.
If you’re a sci-fi lover, you can combine your passion for scuba diving with your love for the undead. The course is very thoughtfully put together but also leaves enough wiggle room that instructors can cater the course to the needs of their students.
Regardless of where you are or what time of year it is, try to make time for the Zombie Apocalypse Diver Course. Don’t discredit this certification just because it has a ridiculous sounding name. Though it may not be as practical or as useful as many of the other specialty courses PADI has to offer, the Zombie Apocalypse Diver Specialty can serve as a great teaser to many of the other PADI certifications. In this one course alone we go to dip our toes into cave diving techniques, rescue diving first aid and search skills, advanced open water navigation and underwater photography for zombie documentation.
Good luck future Zombie Apocalypse Divers! The fate of the human race rests in your hands, dive like your life depends on it!
A big thank you goes out to COJO Diving for running the spooky zombie course, specifically Instructor Joe George and Diver Ed for the creative way they put everything together, I was smiling ear to ear the entire day. And to Captain Evil Edna, thank you for documenting the days events and lending me some of your beautiful photography!
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