DIVING NEWS

Londoner Toby the youngest MSD

Toby Monteiro-Hourigan from London became the world’s youngest PADI Master Scuba Diver at least for a time when he recently completed his training the day after his 12th birthday.

Toby took his first step into the world of diving with the PADI Bubblemaker programme when he was eight, going on to become a PADI Seal.

He completed his Junior Open Water Diver course aged 10 years and five days, narrowly missing out on becoming the youngest diver in that category at the time. “So the quest to become the youngest Junior Master Scuba Diver was formulated,” said Mark Murphy, who runs Octopus Diving, the UK dive-school that trained Toby.

The young student took his first PADI speciality course at Dubai Mall Aquarium, where he succeeded in identifying the various species of shark it contains. Since then he has been “very privileged and lucky to have dived with mantas, tiger sharks, thresher sharks and hammerheads in the Maldives and has swum with whale sharks – gaining the unofficial title of Shark Boy!” said Murphy.

Other speciality courses, including Peak Performance Buoyancy, Navigation, Digital Photography and Boat Diver, were completed with Oyster instructor Tomas Holboro in the UK this summer, so on turning 12 in December Toby was ready to complete his required training while on holiday in Fuvahmulah Atoll in the southern Maldives.

30 December 2020

Though non-essential overseas travel is now barred from much of the UK the Maldives remains open to overseas visitors and is on the UK’s “travel corridor” list for re-entry without need for self-isolation.

The Pelagic Divers Fuvahmulah dive-centre supervised Toby as he passed his Junior Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver courses to gain his Junior Master Scuba certification at the minimum age for completion. He has now logged 80 dives.

“Toby loves and respects the sea and is in absolute awe of the aquatic realm,” said Murphy. “He knows that the oceans’ kryptonite is plastic pollution and intensive fishing practices, and aims to use the power of his learning together with his diving adventures to educate and join the battle to help save the world’s oceans!”