Aquanauts started back in 1986 as a BSAC Club founded by Douglas Allen a then Senior Diving Instructor at Fort Bovisand Underwater Centre. The club evolved into a PADI training centre run from Dougs home and his home became Plymouths’ most popular Dive Centre. It was a real community affair, students would quickly became part of the family and everyone would pitch in to make the days diving run smoothly. Everyone would help from sorting kit to launching the boats, and after an amazing days diving it was back to Dougs for tea, beers and tales of the days diving well into the night.
Dougs’ children Brian and Noeleen had both grown up amongst the divers at Bovi (both had their first jobs filling cylinders for the BAD lads) and they were taught to dive from a young age, so diving was in the blood! Brian returned to Plymouth after working as an PADI Instructor in Thailand and Noeleen returned soon after from living abroad. They saw that Doug had created a fantastic community of divers and he wanted to pass the management of the Dive Centre onto the next generation. Between them a plan to create the Dream Dive Centre with a dedicated waterside location while keeping that amazing community feeling was born.
They found the perfect location on the beautiful historic Barbican giving them a centre right in the heart of Plymouth, accessible by foot, bike, train or car. The shop had an old vaulted cellar right next door which became the ideal dive store, the site was also just meters from a secure pontoon for their boats, it couldn’t have been better! And on 27th March 2004 the day the Scylla was sunk the doors opened and Aquanauts as we now know it was launched.
From the new location Aquanauts was able to rapidly grow, offering retail with the brands they believed in. Brian was adamant they would only sell products they would use themselves and to this day that remains the focus of the brands and products they stock. It didn't take long before they started an online shop offering those same products to a wider audience, as a training centre and divers themselves they could advise customers on exactly the right product giving the local dive centre customer service with competitively priced products to boot!
Aquanauts started running weekly dive trips year round first from their vessel Sepia and now Outcast. Getting their customers out to the best sites comfortably with the luxury of a large boat with great facilities and a focus on safety was the only way to do it. Outcast is one of the largest dive vessels in Plymouth, it carries top notch safety kit and is one of the only UK boats to have its own defibrillator, Aquanauts certainly takes diver safety seriously.
They became Plymouth's only PADI Instructor Development Centre within months of opening as well as one of the UK's first National Geographic Dive Centre which began their journey promoting ocean conservation a mission which remains at the heart of the business to this day.
Keeping that community feel from the pre-shop days was a key part of the plan and so they created a unique dive club focused on ensuring diving remains accessible to all. The club membership has always offered free dives with free kit hire so once certified everyone can access diving year round no matter their financial situation. The club also keeps diving interesting with monthly clean up dives and trips throughout the UK and abroad. They've visited Gozo, Tenerife, Egypt and numerous UK sites, the most popular are the regular trips to Lundy and Porthkerris.
Check out how they're committed to making an environmental difference and their plans for the future so they can be part of the change our planet needs above and below the water.Our Aims