In what could give a big boost to Visakhapatnam as a scuba diving destination, Andhra Pradesh will soon have a scuba diving academy of international standards in Chintapalli of Vizianagaram district. The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department Corporation (APTDC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Livein Adventures, a city-based firm that conducts water sports activities, in Vijayawada on Tuesday.

Dive master course

“The academy will come up at the four acres property belonging to the APTDC at Chintapalli. A swimming pool will be constructed and a 10-member team will be spearheading the operations of imparting training. The academy will cater from basic to dive master courses,” Livein Adventures Balaram Naidu told
The Hindu.

Expected to be operational by September this year, the scuba diving academy will be located at a distance of about 12 km from the two shipwreck sites off Bay of Bengal, which were discovered earlier this year by a team of scuba divers in the city.

“The academy will provide world class training to divers and will draw adventure lovers from across the world to the city.

This will help catapult Visakhapatnam to one of the top scuba diving destinations of the region,” Mr. Naidu added. The academy will provide awareness about the rich marine life in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts.

Century-old shipwreck

This year, Mr. Naidu, along with a team of scuba divers, unearthed a century-old shipwreck in the middle of the sea off Bheemunipatnam — a fishermen’s village about 45 kilometres from Visakhapatnam. About 150 metres long, the shipwreck was spread over a radius of 500 metre, and had plenty of aqua marine life, some of them rare.

Shortly after this, a second shipwreck was discovered in the vicinity along with a critically endangered species of Goliath grouper. The two discoveries had created ripples across the scuba diving community in the country. Scuba divers and instructors from Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Andaman Islands and France came to the city to explore the waters near the shipwrecks.

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