David Parker of AP Valves

We regret to announce that David Parker, Company Chairman and co-founder of AP has died.

He helped shape British diving over four decades, initially inventing and then manufacturing the AP Valve (the Angela Parker Valve).  This very simple and reliable breathing valve allowed divers to breathe the emergency air carried in the small ABLJ bottles fitted to the Fenzy and later the Buddy jackets.  Whilst it seems impossible to imagine now because almost every diver carries an alternative air source, ie an Octopus, this wasn't always the case. When the AP Valve was invented alternative air sources were just a pipe dream, hence this valve was much valued because it was an effective way of getting air to breathe in those first critical moments of an "out of air situation".

In 1972 David created the first Buddy buoyancy jacket and it was one of the first manufactured with a direct feed low pressure inflator.  Two years later in 1974 David again was an innovator producing polyurethane HF welded buoyancy jackets - the only sensible production technique that is used today for all BCs and Counterlungs.

He also invented the self-sealing surface marker buoy and was running the company when the Buddy Pacific, Arctic, Sea King, and Commando jackets were developed and first sold.

David Parker was a founding member of the North Warwicks Sub Aqua Club and was BSAC Instructor No.177.

In 2007, he was awarded a much deserved Lifetime Achievement Award by Diver Magazine for his lasting contribution to the diving industry. As of today's date, the only lifetime achievement award they have made.

He leaves behind an incredible legacy in the shape of AP Valves and Ambient Pressure Diving.

DiveLife, Manchester’s premier Scuba Centre has moved and expanded

It’s the sport that so many of you have always wanted to do, but have just never got around to it.  Perhaps you tried it on holiday and loved it, but never thought you could do a course and get qualified. Or you’ve learnt overseas but never considered you could happily do it in theUK.  “It” of course is Scuba Diving.

Interest in scuba diving continues to grow and you can understand why when watching incredible marine life courtesy of the BBC’s Blue Planet.  With the Red Sea Riviera now a leading economical sunshine destination, more and more holiday makers are having their own ‘Blue Planet moment’ snorkelling the beautiful Egyptian waters. A fact that has impacted in a positive way on Whitefield based DiveLife (www.divelife.co.uk).

Less than four years ago DiveLife was a brand new dive centre. Today the shop on Bury New Road has been outgrown, hence the relocation to bigger premises just a 100 yards away around the corner behind the Beehive Pub. 

“At DiveLife we all have a passion for diving, and this is what DiveLife is all about”, explained Owner Brett Thorpe. “I guess this is probably why we’ve grown so quickly. Although we’re a young company, we do have a lot of ‘real diving’ experience. If you take the shop staff for instance, we’ve got 62 years of diving knowledge between the 6 of us, so we really do know about scuba diving and understand it’s such a cool sport.  Learning to dive can really change your life and we’ve had people who’ve tried it on holiday come to us to do to their PADI Open Water Course.  Because they love the sports so much, they’ve now swapped their pin-striped suit for a rubber one and become professional instructors, which means they can teach diving anywhere in the World”.

It’s a less well known fact that you don’t have to travel far to experience good diving. We’re lucky in the UK that our diving can be pretty awesome because of our rich and varied marine life. We’re also a maritime nation which means we’ve got unique opportunities to dive with mischievous seals, majestic basking sharks, and historical wrecks such as the German High Seas Fleet. Overtime these wrecks evolve into artificial reefs and get covered in a myriad of life including all sorts of anemones. The sheer opulence and richness of Jewel Anemones are completely unexpected and beautiful to look at and enjoy. Vibrant oranges, gaudy pinks and brilliant Forget-me-not blues that turn purple when a torch beam hits them, which is why so many British divers think that UK diving is some of the very best in the World.

Learning to dive isn’t difficult, but as with anything worth being serious about, you’ll need to invest some time and effort. Compared with other adventure sports it’s also relatively inexpensive. To take part you don’t need to be able to swim that well, just need to be in good health and be reasonably comfortable in the water. When it comes to courses, in Britain there are half a dozen dive training agencies, and one of the most popular is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and their Open Water Course.  This is an internationally recognised diving qualification so it’s no surprise that many people begin their exciting journey into the Underwater World by visiting their local PADI Dive Centre. 

“We’re a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre”, grinned Brett Thorpe.   “This is awarded to a dive centre that consistently achieves the highest standard of instruction.  Since we opened in Spring 2006, we’ve proudly trained and issued over 1,500 diving qualifications.  So if this is something that you’ve always wanted to do, why not come along and have a go. Twice a week we have a Scuba Experience night, and this is where complete beginners have the opportunity of doing a pool dive with one of our instructors. At £25 we’ve found this to be a very popular present for Christmas, Birthdays, or as a special treat, because it’s exciting, different and a unique experience. It’s really great to see each person surface after their dive with a big grin on their face saying “it’s the best thing I’ve ever done”.

You’ll be in safe hands at DiveLife because we have a strong and diverse professional instructional team with our male and female instructors ranging in age from 20 to 55.  Every one of us believes in developing their own personal diving knowledge since it provides the very best services to our customers. This means that if at any time someone needs some extra tuition for instance, we are able to help and support them.

This ethos is also carried over into our premises, because we know that divers want a fully inventoried shop containing only the very best brands.  It’s one of the reasons we grew out of Bury New Road because we can now stock all kinds and sizes of kit that enables us to give good quality equipment counselling. We’re very near to Junction 17 on the M60, so why not drop by for a cup of tea and see what DiveLife and our new shop is all about. At this time of year we often get requests for help from friends and family of divers popping in to buy them something, so please ask if you want some advice. We’ve got loads of free car parking, which makes looking for your first mask, fins and snorkel easy. And for those divers who have not discovered us yet, it doesn’t matter if you enjoy single cylinder diving, prefer a twinset, dive a Rebreather or just want to know more about snorkelling and diving, we would be delighted to help you get more out of scuba diving. It can be your passport to changing your life”.

Custom Divers debut their latest arrivals – the Pocket Ratchet Reel and Bravo Wing System – shown for the first time at the NEC Dive 2005 Show

Custom Divers are celebrating a decade of manufacturing quality diving equipment on Stand 1358 at Dive 2005 with the launch of a diminutive new reel and the innovative Bravo sealed wing system. 

Our ratchet reels have proved to be extremely popular over the years.  Now we are proud to announce we’ve augmented our Reel Collection with the launch of a new Pocket Ratchet Reel.  Like it’s cousins, this reel benefits from being designed to offer the diver both ratchet and free run functions, making it ideal for D-SMB work.  As the name suggests this is a dinky reel, and because of its well thought out design, is snag free and the tension of the spool can be adjusted to suit individual needs. 

Likewise we will be unveiling our latest wing system – the Bravo.  This unique innovation will be shown for the first time at Birmingham, having been launched in Las Vegas at DEMA two weeks prior. 

The Megalodon Rebreather will also be on the stand.  It is currently undergoing CE certification and we look forward to making an announcement in the diving press soon.

For divers looking for solutions to technical or more adventurous diving, an ideal place to get your questions answered is on the Custom Divers stand number 1358. We would be delighted to help you get more from your diving and will offer good sound advice from experienced divers. We will also have a limited range of stock for sale at the show.  For further information check out www.customdivers.com