Diving plays an integral role in the maritime industry. It is a multifaceted discipline that includes the maintenance of ships and underwater structures, scientific research and conservation, rescue operations, and even filming. The 2023 Dive MENA Expo adds great value to the marine show by giving a platform to experts in the field, as well as people who are passionate about the happenings beneath the ocean’s surface. Conservation and sustainability will be the core focus of this year’s event, with special guest appearances by several world record holders. The expo takes place over two days (from the 3rd to 4th of March), with each day featuring a distinct theme and speakers. In this article we will dive into both days, giving insight into each theme and providing a short biography for each speaker.
The expo kicks off with the theme of Diving Heroes, which is about celebrating the incredible achievements of some of the industry’s greatest figures. These are the people who have risked everything to descend into the depths, whether for a noble, practical, or adventurous purpose. The industry would have looked very different without these people taking the plunge and setting an example of what is possible with the right preparation and mindset.
Our first hero is Ahmed Gabr, a former Egyptian Army officer and two-time world record breaker. His records include World’s Deepest Scuba Dive (332.35m on open circuit scuba) and organising and taking part in the World’s Largest Underwater Cleanup. Ahmed participated in the US Army Combat Diver course and is the only certified US Combat Diver in the Middle East.
The second hero speaker for the day is Jarrod Jablonski. Jarrod is a renowned researcher and cave explorer and is known for setting the record of longest ever cave penetration in a deep cave. Jarrod and his dive buddy Casey McKinlay reached 7900m in the Wakulla Springs cave system and their exploration of this cave system eventually led to another record being set for the longest cave diving traversal at 11km, which took more than 7 hours. Jarrod is also known for launching and operating the world’s deepest diving pool, the Deep Dive Dubai.
Our third hero is Bárbara Lang-Lenton, Director of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP). This organisation is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation of sea turtles in the Middle East. DTRP has a collaborative partnership with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office and it is one of the first projects of its kind in the region t. Bárbara is a staunch environmentalist and enjoys sharing her passions with others.
The second day’s theme is Blue Ocean. This theme focuses on the topics of sustainability and the importance of raising awareness in the field of ocean conservation. The ocean plays a critical role in the lives and livelihoods of everyone on the planet, from serving as a source of food for billions to producing oxygen and regulating the climate. Protecting it and encouraging long-term sustainability is thus an essential component of the welfare of the human race.
The first speaker of the day is Yuriy Rakmuttlah. Yuriy is passionate about freediving and teaching the skill to others. He is a certified instructor for AIDA, PADI, EFR, Apnea Academy, and Molchanovs. Additionally, he also serves as a board member for AIDA UAE and as a B-level judge on the AIDA judging panel.
Faisal Jawad Hassan is the second Blue Ocean speaker, and perhaps one of the most inspirational speakers at the event. After being rendered paraplegic in a tragic accident at the age of 20, Faisal faced a period of severe depression. Learning to dive was part of his recovery process and he went on to break the record for fastest 10km scuba dive (at 5 hours and 24 minutes), which was previously held by an able-bodied diver.
The final set of speakers consists of Arabian Ocean Rowing Team members Fahim Al Qasimi, Toby Gregory, James Rale, and Rai Tamagnini. They were the first UAE team to row across the Atlantic Ocean completely unsupported, from La Gomera (off the coast of Africa) to the island of Antigua & Barduba, an island in the Caribbean. The team’s efforts, which were part of a grueling race across the Atlantic Ocean, raised a lot of awareness for the Clean Seas conservation campaign.
Dive With Us
Whether you are a seasoned diver or someone who has never even set foot in the water, there will be something for you to see and learn at the 2023 Dive MENA Expo. Join us at the event and discover the stories of men and women who serve as pioneers in the industry!