Q&A with Jamie Hull, Plane Crash Survivor & PADI Course Director

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All of us come to scuba diving via totally different means. For a few of us, the journey to turning into a licensed diver and dealing our approach up the PADI certification ladder is straightforward and straight ahead. For others, the journey is filled with challenges. We just lately had the pleasure of interviewing Jamie Hull, a former British serviceman and one probably the most inspirational human beings, who has overcome big challenges to succeed in his aim of turning into a PADI Course Director.

Whereas Jamie Hull has been a PADI diver for 25 years and has all the time been terribly brave, pushed and passionate, he was pressured to attract on these attributes after a life-changing plane crash left him with third-degree burns on over half of his physique. Jamie Hull rebuilt his life after a number of years of hospital remedy, pores and skin grafts and numerous operations.

5 years after his aircraft crash, Jamie Hull was capable of get again within the water. He has now earned the PADI Course Director score and is dedicated to educating divers who're additionally experiencing challenges. He hopes to assist these divers overcome their bodily and psychological hurdles to develop into PADI Instructors, identical to he did.

We requested Jamie Hull a number of questions on his scuba diving journey each earlier than and after his accident. You'll be able to learn his solutions under.

Jamie Hull, plane crash survivor and PADI diver

You’ve written about studying to dive earlier than your accident on a visit to Australia and your prompt reference to the underwater world. What motivated you to make the leap and get licensed on that journey?

Again in 1996, I used to be a younger backpacker working my approach around the globe.  Scuba diving was frankly a type of should attempt experiences on my bucket record.  The Nice Barrier Reef was the go-to place for aspiring divers, so I signed up for a PADI Open Water course in Bundaberg – the gateway to the Barrier Reef in Southern Queensland.  Submerging into the crystal clear water for my first open water qualifying dives was just like the dream.  Dozens of Bat fish have been cruising round as I kneeled within the superb white sand to reveal my expertise with the Teacher.  I couldn’t consider the sound of my very own breath by way of the regulator, underpinning the information that I used to be truly a human being beneath water.  Finally, I used to be hooked from that second on – the game made me really feel so alive!  


You additionally describe scuba diving as your “refuge” and your “escape.” How did this make it easier to throughout your time at college and within the army?

By the point I received to college and the Cambridge College Officer Coaching Corps, I used to be a PADI Open Water Teacher myself and I used to be taking each alternative to get away on dive journeys.  I've nice reminiscences of educating my fellow officer cadets on an Military’ sponsored expedition to the Purple Sea.  It was an absolute privilege to be guiding members of the staff on the notorious WWII wreck of the ‘SS Thistlegorm’.  I already had information of the sunken ship, having beforehand labored for Emperor Divers in Egypt.  Throughout my second yr of research, I used to be dwelling in Norway and studying the language.  Diving turned an incredible supply of journey and escapism within the native fjords.  I even did Ice diving beneath the frozen fjord throughout Winter months and once more, I even discovered myself educating a number of the curious locals within the Spring!   


As you wrote in your e-book, restoration out of your accident was sluggish, together with years of hospital stays and surgical procedures. When and the way did you determine it was time to return to scuba diving?

This was a difficult dream for me to understand as soon as once more.  Fact be advised, I wanted loads of time to heal each bodily and mentally following my burns damage – 5 lengthy years to be exact.  I’d merely misplaced all confidence and, moreover I used to be particularly anxious concerning the danger of salt water and scuba gear damaging the multitude of surgical skin-grafts which I’d now acquired.  Being laid up within the hospital for so long as I used to be, I had a whole lot of time to consider the longer term and day dream.  I had an extended rehabilitation, which included studying to stroll once more in addition to hydrotherapy on the hospital.  Once I acquired again within the heat pool to train the muscle tissue I dreamed of diving in a tropical setting as soon as once more.   

Jamie Hull, PADI Course Director, on a liveaboard
Photograph courtesy of Niall Edworthy

You’ve talked about that scuba diving helped in your restoration, each bodily and mentally. Might you speak a bit of bit extra about that?

After a number of gruelling years of surgical procedure and rehabilitation, I needed to dive once more regardless of my considerations.  However I needn't have fearful, for it was the correct time in my therapeutic and, donning a recent neoprene wet-suit, I managed a giant-stride again into the Purple Sea 5 years after my burns damage.  To my sheer pleasure and astonishment, I quickly realised the ocean turned my pal once more – my therapeutic salvation.  The salt water was like remedy for my pores and skin and quickly promoted my therapeutic in methods I might by no means have imagined.  Any marine biologist will attest, there's a very wholesome mineral stability inside our ocean which is intently aligned with our pores and skin’s pure PH stability – it was simply the setting I wanted.  This notion additionally spurred on my vanity and, maybe crucially, it additionally helped me to return to phrases with the life-changing nature of my damage. 


To not give the whole lot away, however your guide ends with you again within the water, chasing happiness. What occurred after your dive journey to Egypt? Did you proceed to scuba dive?

Sure, completely.  Upon realising the direct well being and well-being advantages I acquired from being again in open water, my ardour for diving was basically reignited – the improved therapeutic was all of the proof and therefore motivation I wanted to proceed my diving actions.  I needed to have the ability to cross on that information additional to others – albeit on this new pores and skin and within the new physique, so to talk.  The apparent development for me was additionally to problem myself additional by climbing the PADI Instructor ladder, with a purpose to develop my expertise additional and to have the ability to supply a wider vary of PADI programs to my college students.  I labored on lots of diving expeditions, educating in Malta with the charity Assist for Heroes, earlier than heading out to South-East Asia to embark on my ambition to turn into a PADI Grasp Teacher.

Jamie Hull working with adaptive divers
Photograph courtesy of Lieutenant Colonel Andy Reid – ‘Diving with the Injured‘ charity, on expedition to Djibouti, Horn of Africa, January 2020.

We’ve heard about your work with adaptive methods. How has your damage and your subsequent work as a PADI Course Director enabled you to encourage and assist others of various talents to get into scuba diving?

I’ve had the honour of working with fellow army veterans in numerous places all over the world.  Having educated with PADI Adaptive Techniques as an Teacher and had the privilege of engaged on numerous army expeditions with all method of injured veterans, I’ve learnt to assume outdoors the field, so as to assist adapt their diving expertise and coaching, and to actually contemplate the tempo of coaching, gear configurations and above all, the security and supervision inside the diving surroundings.  I consider that having survived my damage and having retrained as a number one PADI Teacher, I’ve been capable of encourage fellow injured veterans to understand their goals of studying to dive, and even turning into future PADI professionals themselves.  Finally, the place there’s a will, there’s a method – I can show that!   


You’ve been on so many superb dives all over the world. What’s your greatest dive story?

That’s all too true in my case.  I’ve truly had the great fortune of working within the business as each a PADI Divemaster and an Teacher, in so many places from temperate to tropical water environments.  I’ve all the time had a stronger choice for the tropics and, in a by gone period, I've a treasured reminiscence of a drift dive in a really distant a part of the Philippines.  It was shortly after dawn on a deep wall dive, the present was operating easily and my diving buddy and I drifted effortlessly downstream.  I keep in mind the huge array of pelagic shark life gently meandering in the direction of us towards the present, heading upstream on their early morning commute.  We then ascended shallower and drifted round and excessive of probably the most vibrant and vibrant reef I’ve witnessed anyplace on the planet.  At our security cease, there should have been 50 turtles or so to greet us in attendance.  That’s the magic of diving and what motivates me to go all the time a bit additional – you by no means actually know what’s across the nook!       

Jamie Hull, PADI Course Director

You're undoubtedly a person with a endless drive for journey. So, what’s subsequent? Do you might have any scuba diving expeditions or different adventures deliberate?

There'll undoubtedly all the time be scuba diving adventures.  My most up-to-date journeys have included diving across the Horn of Africa and the Maldives, the place I used to be lucky sufficient to identify the majestic Whaleshark in each places, respectively.  As I look forward, I’ve acquired a private ambition to pattern diving within the Bahamas, along with witnessing the huge US Navy shipwrecks across the Florida peninsula.  Proper now, I’m delighted to be selling my Penguin Guide, Life on a Thread.  The story digs particularly deep and actually epitomises the mantra of ‘the place there’s life, there’s hope’, and in addition touches on the significance of my journey with PADI scuba diving.  As I now look optimistically to the longer term, one factor is for sure on this life: It doesn't matter what’s happening, I’m not out of the water for lengthy!


Thinking about studying extra about Jamie Hull? Take a look at his new e-book Life on a Thread from Penguin Books (out there within the UK solely).

Jamie Hull Life on a Thread

Additionally, make sure you learn concerning the PADI Adaptive Support Diver Specialty course, in an effort to improve your consciousness of divers’ various talents, and discover adaptive methods to use whereas diving or freediving with a buddy with a incapacity.

And, when you’re fascinated by turning into a PADI Teacher, like Jamie, you will get extra information about turning your scuba diving passion into a career here.

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