Vancouver’s First Major Artificial Reef

by Rick Wall – Director, Communications – The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia:
HMCS AnnapolisVancouver BC, 12 May 2015. The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia (ARSBC) successfully completed its latest project on 4 April, 2015 when the former Canadian warship ANNAPOLIS was finally sunk in the Halkett Bay Marine Provincial Park, creating the first major artificial reef in the Vancouver area.

Since 1989, the ARSBC has sunk more ships to create marine habitat than any other non-profit group in the world. The ANNAPOLIS Project which started in 2008 with the purchase of the former HMCS Annapolis (110 metre helicopter-carrying destroyer-escort) from the Canadian Government turned out, however, to be the most complicated and controversial project ever undertaken by the Reef Society. Financial issues, changing federal government regulations, emerging environmental concerns and legal challenges all forced the Project timelines and costs to be extended. In the end, the work to prepare ANNAPOLIS took almost seven years to complete, involving more than 1,000 volunteers from the local dive community and consuming almost 20,000 person-hours. Once all the federal permits had been issued and legal challenges put aside, a six-week window was identified to complete all the final preparations for the sinking. A dedicated team of specialists agreed to come onboard and complete this work, which included:

  • Detailed surveying of the ship to assess the stability of the ship;
  • Identifying locations for explosive charges;
  • Identifying requirements for venting arrangements;
  • Mapping diver access arrangements;
  • Preparing towing arrangements for moving the ship to the sink site;
  • Preparing anchoring arrangements at the sink site to ensure accurate positioning of the ship; and
  • Ensuring safety for all spectators.

annapolisThree days before the sink day, the ship was moved to Halkett Bay and positioned over the small shelf that had been designated as her new home and final preparations completed. With tide conditions deemed optimal, an air horn sounded and the bay echoed as fourteen charges were detonated in the ship. Two minutes later, all that could be seen was a cloud of smoke hanging over the water where ANNAPOLIS had been floating. Society President Howie Robins commented:

“This was by far the best executed sinking operation for the Reef Society. Divers are already enjoying the experience”.

Divers started visiting the ship on 6 April, after it had been inspected by the safety divers. To date it is estimated that 95% of the ship`s interior has been explored. Here are some common comments that have come back to us (courtesy of Sea Dragon Charters):

“The Annapolis sits perfectly upright on the bottom at about 105 feet. This is great as it allows for extra bottom time compared to some of the other artificial reefs in BC”

“The Annapolis has a multitude of swim-throughs – all at various deck levels. This is exciting, even if you are not wreck certified. You can safely see inside the wreck without entering”

From Deirdre Forbes McCracken, owner of Ocean Quest Dive Centre, who has made two dives to the ship:

“On our second trip back to the ship, the school shiner perch had grown to be several hundred! Tiny shrimp now hopped along the exterior decks of the ships in numbers far too great to count! On our first dive out, other teams of divers had reported seeing red rock crabs at the base of the stern, and now we find more crabs taking up residence [in the operations room]! In just a few weeks to see so many creatures already finding this new reef home was a very rewarding and emotional moment!”

ANNAPOLIS is the most comprehensively prepared naval ship in the ARSBC fleet of artificial reefs and has been designed for the enjoyment of divers of all skill levels. Equally importantly, though, is that after only one month ANNAPOLIS has already begun its transformation to a viable marine habitat.


This project was truly a team effort, involving a large number of people, without whom it would never had been completed. In addition to the long hours put in by the volunteers from the local dive community in preparing the ship for the various environmental inspections, additional thanks must go out to those specialists who contributed both their time and unique expertise in executing a text-book perfect conclusion to a long and complicated endeavor. Those companies include:

Crosby Marine Services, Gibsons, BC
Reliant Marine Services, Gibsons, BC
Mountain Towing and Recovery, Maple Ridge, BC
Pacific Blasting and Demolition Ltd, Burnaby, BC
Damet Services Ltd, DeWinton, AB
Accurate Energetic Systems, LLC, McEwen, TN
Dyno Nobel Industrial and Mining Explosives Manufacturing
Artificial Reefs International, Key West, FL
Derek W. Davis, Inc. Naval Architect, Victoria, BC
Seaspan Marine Corp, North Vancouver, BC
Sea Dragon Charters, West Vancouver, BC

See photo and video footage here:
Article & aerial pictures
CTV Newscast – 4 Apr 15

Rick Wall – Director, Communications
The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia
c/o Vancouver Maritime Museum
1905 Ogden Avenue
Vancouver B.C. V6J 1A3
Web site:

Open Water Scuba Diver eLearning Now Available in New Languages

open water translations
Over the last year, we have focused our attention on growing the SDI/TDI/ERDI global brand, increasing our translations to include Spanish, German, and Portuguese. We are proud to announce that our SDI Open Water Scuba Diver eLearning Program is now available in ALL three languages. You can follow the steps below to choose your preferred language, and proceed to your eLearning course. You can change your language at any time during an eLearning course. You can do one chapter in Spanish, and then switch back to English or German, if you prefer.

We have also included a tutorial video that walks you through how to change languages and then register a new user.

Step 1: Go to our website,

Step 2: Once at the site, locate the dropdown menu indicating the language.

top menu

Step 3: Click on the dropdown, choose the language you want to use.

language dropdown

Step 4: Enjoy!


Step 5:


Dear SDI/TDI/ERDI VIP Instructors

PSI Letter

Dear SDI/TDI/ERDI VIP Instructors,

As many of you know, this past year we re-wrote and re-designed our Visual Inspection Program for cylinders. This was done in large part because our old materials had become outdated and needed to be revised. The launch of the new program and materials has been one of the most successful we have ever had, mainly due to the use of a new media platform, eLearning, to supplement classroom training for the program.

Unfortunately another organization, PSI/PCI, who had a perceived monopoly on cylinder inspection training, does not like this competition. As a result, they are sending out the attached letter to any SDI/TDI/ERDI Member who has taken our course and is also a PSI/PCI Instructor, removing them from their organization. SDI/TDI/ERDI has never taken the position that if you train with another organization you can’t be a member of ours. As a matter of fact, we openly encourage members to be a part of many training organizations. This is because it keeps us honest and forces us to improve our materials and earn your business every day.

It is unfortunate that PSI/PCI has taken this position, as the organization has done a lot of great things for the industry over the years. Bill High is an innovator, and a person for whom I have a great deal of respect.

We will continue to openly encourage our members to look to other organizations, PSI/PCI included, to find the materials and support that they deserve. If another organization can do something better than us, it is our responsibility to improve so that we can earn your business back. That is the beauty of a competitive market place.

If you are interested in our programs, or have concerns about the letters you may be receiving, feel free to contact us directly and we will assist in any way we can. If you have not had a chance to see our new cylinder inspection manual or eLearning course, please contact us, we will be happy to send you a sample.

In the meantime, keep up the excellent training!


Brian Carney –



P.S. Our cylinder inspection programs are recognized by the USDOT, CGA, and cylinder manufacturers. In addition, the training course is fully insured, and the policy negotiated directly, with Lloyds of London.


Family Scrapbook

Over the course of the last 20 years SDI-TDI-ERDI has enjoyed success while being forerunners in the industry with ground breaking ideas while staying honest in our business tactics and ethical with our approaches to drive new business towards us. However, the number one attraction that our group of organizations has is NOT the lower prices or the modern up-to-date materials. It is the customer service level that takes care of our customers’ needs. It is the other person on the line listening to our members’ situation and trying to work with them, side by side in making it better. It is about the people running the business wishing the utmost success on their customers and dealers so we can, in turn, share that success as well. We are a family, and we want to invite you take a look at our Family Scrapbook..

[real3dflipbook id=”1″]


3 Tips for Diving Nitrox Safely

by Cris Merz:
##Diving with Nitrox has brought divers many benefits over the years including longer bottom times, shorter surface intervals, longer repetitive dives, and much more. However, with the good, comes the bad… often followed by the ugly. Nitrox has depth limitations because it increases the risk of oxygen toxicity, among other issues. It is a common misconception that Nitrox benefits deep divers during the dive.

The best way to prepare and plan is to follow three core tips when diving Nitrox.

  • Analyze
  • Label
  • Set Computer

Once you have gone through these three steps, you can establish your maximum operating depth.

Analyze. Take the initiative and put the responsibility in your own hands. It is up to you, the diver, to confirm the mix you have in your tank. Since each “flavor” of Nitrox has a different MOD, you need to make sure yours is safe at your maximum depth and which partial pressure of oxygen is right for your conditions. Many experienced Nitrox divers use a PO2 of 1.6 in warm, calm water, but back the PO2 down to 1.4 in colder more challenging conditions.

Once your tank has been filled, the blender will either check the mixture in your cylinder for you – we advise you to watch – or have you check the mixture yourself. Either method is acceptable, provided you are satisfied that you have the correct gas mixture in your cylinder: because after all, it’s you that has to breathe it!

Label. To complete the process, mark the cylinder Contents label with date, FO2, MOD, Limiting PO2, dive operation name and the name or initials of the person conducting the analysis. Your signature indicates that you take responsibility for the Nitrox that has been delivered to you, and that you are satisfied that your cylinders have been filled properly.

It is important to analyze every cylinder and label the mix on each cylinder. While repeatedly stating this may seem redundant, we know that most Nitrox diving accidents occur when the diver grabs the wrong cylinder because it was not properly labeled, or fails to analyze the cylinder. You need to know what is in your cylinder prior to diving so that you can adequately plan your dive, set the mix in your dive computer and avoid an accident.

Set computer. Prior to every Nitrox dive, you must check your Nitrox dive computer to be sure that it is properly set for the mixture you are using. It is important to remember that there are two settings that you must take note of; the percentage of oxygen and the maximum PO2 to which you are willing to expose yourself. Remember, some dive computers, and their manuals use the term “FO2” (fraction of oxygen). In other words, 32% oxygen is the same thing as .32 FO2 in these cases.

While different dive computers have different default settings for both the oxygen percentage in the mix and the maximum PO2, most default settings tend to be conservative. In many cases, the default setting for the percentage of oxygen will be 21% while the default setting for PO2 is often 1.4. If you do not check these settings and adjust them to your dive plan you will not be getting the full benefit of the capabilities of your computer and Nitrox.

Excellent! You can now plan your maximum depth and bottom time. If you always remember to analyze, label, and set your dive computer to the settings according to your mix as well as your dive plan, you are good to go. And remember, when diving Nitrox; don’t dive below your MOD.

2015 Facility Renewal

Dear Facility Owner,

On behalf of everyone at SDI, TDI and ERDI, we thank you for your loyal support in 2014.

This year marks 20 years since TDI first appeared on the scene. Over the course of the last 20 years we have made it our mission to support the dive centers first – as they are the backbone of our industry. We still follow our business model of supporting the dive centers and understand that our success is borne out of your success.

While training organizations have experienced a loss of stability here and there, I will pledge to you that we are as rock solid as ever. Renew with us for 2015 and in return we offer you the following:

  • Stability in your training organization. We are a close family-type company with extensive experience in the many diverse fields of diving; we truly are a global company serving you at the local level.
  • Top customer service. Prompt, professional, pleasant service is what you can expect from us. Our American-based organization prides itself on listening to and assisting our dealers and members.
  • Profitability. Our competitive prices are backed by great products. And we have 24 eLearning programs that can make you money 24/7! As the first agency to adopt eLearning back in 2000, we have developed and combined learning techniques that allow you to produce high-quality divers.
  • Great facility support. Our aim is to support the dive centers and their business, we promote you first. Expect us as an agency to protect your business while we assist you in growing it. In the end, we want to ensure your success.
  • Cutting edge technology. We are a company of “firsts” in the dive industry; eLearning, Solo Diver, the fastest growing Public Safety agency, and the use of dive computers from the get-go are just a few things we instilled in the industry. And all these ideas came from listening to you!


Working together in 2015 will be crucial for the success of your business and ours. Whether you have been with us for the last 20 years or the last 20 minutes – we look forward to working with you and your facility in a partnership of educating more divers while growing the sport and business we all love.

Once again, thank you and we look forward to working with you in 2015. Please take this time to renew your facility membership. If you have already renewed, thank you, no further action is needed.

Brian Carney –


ONLINE Renewal Option:

  1. Go to
  2. Use your username and password to login as a “Facility Administrator”
  3. Click on the “Facility Tools” menu and choose “Renew Facility”
  4. Follow each step:
    • Accept the Facility Agreement
    • Update your facility member affiliations (the members that are affiliated with the selected facility)
    • Review your facility ratings
    • Finish your renewal

PAPER Renewal Option:

    1. Fill out the enclosed application and return to us by any of the following methods:
      • Mail to:

International Training
1321 SE Decker Ave,
Stuart, FL 34994


Important!! Members of your FACILITY must also renew their membership.

Please note: Facilities that are outside the Americas, please contact your Regional Office to renew your membership.

We are hiring!!!

We are hiring!!! Full time Multimedia / Graphic Artist position is available for immediate employment. Must be willing to work directly at the Jensen Beach office. Starting salary of $30,000 to $35,000 a year.

Title: Graphic Artist
Department: Technology & Development
Reports to: ITI Director, Technology & Development

Job Objective:

  • To graphically design, layout and make press and web ready education, marketing and corporate identity products consistent with established company image, priorities and budgets.
  • Responsible for proper naming, management and archiving of digital and hardcopy files.
  • Manage in-house printers and printing.
  • Work with the coordinated Technology and Development team and act in a manner consistent with the team directives and objectives.
  • Work with other departments and divisions as required in a professional and consistent manner.
  • To assist the office staff in daily procedures when needed.


  • Design covers, page layouts, record-keeping forms, sales flyers and other components for ITI training manuals, marketing and sales support materials.
  • Work with the technology and development team to brainstorm and produce products.
  • Design layout of print and digital forms in conjunction with other ITI departments/divisions.
  • Generate original illustrations, charts, drawings and clip art.
  • Prepare artwork for printing (digital prepress). Work with printers and other service providers to deliver products that meet their prepress expectations.
  • Design layout of products used in marketing campaigns. Develop look of posters, brochures, catalogs, web pages and other material to reflect the current marketing theme and branding.
  • Design layout of company image products. Develop look of letterhead, business cards, labels, envelopes and other “image” products, to reflect the current company image and branding.
  • Prepare web graphics, pages, and other elements.
  • Design animated graphics (GIF and FLA) for use in video and web productions.
  • Work with other development/graphics/marketing team members to design consistent materials.


  • Design layout of newsletters and other periodic ITI print and digital publications.
  • Prepare artwork for sales to international centers. Create artwork requested by international centers.
  • Scan photos and documents.
  • Design graphics, logos and other artwork for T-shirts, hats, posters, brochures, business cards, etc.
  • Assist with development and implementation of Marketing Plans. Provide input to implementation of marketing plans, and direction to development of marketing products.
  • Design logos and trademarks.
  • Assist department team members with software use and special functions.
  • Capture, edit and organize original photos for use in ITI print and digital materials.
  • Provide office support for the operations team on an as needed basis.


  • Maintain Art Files.
  • Maintain Disk Files and backups.
  • Design internal forms.

Expert Level Proficiency:

  • Macintosh Computer with Mac OS10.xx
  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Hgher
  • Adobe InDesign CS3 And Higher
  • Adobe Illustrator/Four Color, Vector Output Design
  • Adobe Bridge
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional
  • Microsoft Office 2007 and higher
  • Microsoft Power Point
  • Knowledge of printing requirements (prepress)
  • Knowledge of printing systems (Laser, Color Laser, Large Format)

General Proficiency:

  • Email (MS Outlook/Entourage)
  • Skype
  • Apple RDC
  • Filezilla
  • Adobe Flash and AS 2.0-3.0
  • Digital Capture Devices and Software (Scanners, Digital Cameras)
  • HTML and CSS (General understanding of their mechanics.)

Personal Attributes:

  • Self-Starter
  • Outstanding Time Management Skills
  • Ability to Read Between the Lines
  • Thinks Outside the Box while Remaining within it
  • Strong Understanding of Time vs. Quality
  • Always Looking to Improve (Personally and Professionally)

Team Attributes:

  • Ability to work with REMOTE team members on a consistent basis.
  • Assist other team members with design and layout.
  • Provide design and graphics input on a variety of project styles and outputs.

Internal / External Cooperation:

  • Insure that projects, tasks and objectives meet or exceed requirements and timelines.
  • Sets examples in areas of personal character, commitment, organizational and work habits.
  • Demonstrate ability to interact and cooperate with all company employees.

Job Specifications:

  • 1-3 Years Professional (Digital) Graphic Design.
  • Full time hourly at the office M-F 9am-6pm hour lunch.
  • Experience with the recreation industry and/or dive agencies a plus.

Benefit and compensation

  • 1 week PTO (Paid Time Off) First Year

If you meet the above requirements, please fill out this form and submit your resume to be considered.

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Amazing Underwater Encounters

amazing underwater encounterThere are many reasons to love scuba diving. Some people just love being in the water, or experiencing the thrill and adventure that diving is. Some find it to be a relaxing escape, but almost everyone agrees that exploring our oceans and coming face-to-face with some of the world’s most interesting marine life imaginable – straight from the depths of the mystifying seas tops the list of scuba diving benefits. Whether it’s a rare species of coral, the elusive frog fish or a massive great white shark, we all have had an amazing underwater encounter. At SDI/TDI/ERDI World Headquarters, we want to know… What was your first AMAZING underwater encounter? Share your first-hand account and pictures/videos with us, and we will publish right here for all to enjoy. Just fill out the form below.


Recent Submissions




1. Sea-Horse giving birth!

Back when I was guiding dives in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, I had an experience that blew my mind! Talk about being at the right place at the most perfect time to witness this wonder of nature in the birth of new life. I was leading my group along the wall of Cousin’s Rock looking for neat things among the black coral. Some of the main attractions were the sea-horses, but I never expected to see one that was about to give birth! Luckily, my video camera recorded the whole thing.
– Cris Merz

2. AMAZING encounter (while teaching)

whale shark encounter

The most amazing encounter I experienced while teaching was during the SDI Scuba Discovery course with two participants. The students took to the water quickly and easily during our pool session in the morning but naturally, they were antsy to get in the open water environment to experience diving in the ocean. Little did we all know our open water dives were going to be one of my most memorable experiences in the water! After our first descent, we enjoyed a leisurely dive across a beautiful reef in the Caribbean around 10 metres/30 feet. With limitless visibility in crystal clear water; we saw a green moray eel, a turtle, and an assortment of colorful reef fish but we did not anticipate what was coming next… A massive shadow came over us and we looked up to find an enormous whale shark swimming near the surface! We couldn’t believe our eyes as we remained still in the water, hovering, while watching this incredible creature swim away… To make this experience even better, we were greeted by two manta rays swimming around the boat upon our return! They put on a fantastic show as we conducted our safety stop prior to ascending. Now keep in mind, this was the first diving experience the SDI Scuba Discovery divers experienced and the first time I saw a whale shark! It was an amazing encounter while teaching I will never forget.
– Lauren Kieren


To participate, fill out this form, and tell us about your Amazing Underwater Encounter!

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)



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