Poni Divers to hold first local PADI instructors course
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
PONI Divers will be the first local dive centre to run a PADI instructors course in the Sultanate, its general manager told The Brunei Times yesterday.
Wong Thye Sing said that two local candidates — Afiq Whalid and Suhaimi Hj Taha @ Hj Duraman — have been identified as the first Bruneians to be locally-certified instructors.
“This is a big step for the local diving community,” Wong said in a telephone interview yesterday.
“Aside from our two Brunei instructors-to-be, there is only one other Bruneian-Malay PADI instructor and he was certified outside of Brunei, and another lady Bruneian Chinese PADI instructor who was also certified outside of Brunei, so it is another great achievement for the local diving community.”
Afiq and Suhaimi are currently taking the 16-day PADI Instructor Development Course with another long-time employee of Poni Divers, Filipino Maclen Torres.
The three men will take a two-day examination on February 15 and 16, and will be assessed by a PADI Course Director from PADI Asia Pacific in Australia.
Wong said that scuba diving has skyrocketed in popularity in the past 10 years, with local dive centres cropping up to offer PADI open water courses to the local community.
“About 10 years ago there was only one dive centre at the Yacht Club, but all the divers had to get their certification overseas.”
There are now more than 200 certified divers registered with Poni Divers. Wong estimated that hundreds more are certified by other local diving schools or by centres overseas.
Poni Divers has also been involved in training search and rescue divers for government agencies.
It most recently trained staff from the Museums Department to retrieve historical artefacts from several shipwrecks that dot Brunei’s waters.
The Brunei Times