Scuba diving is a $ 46 billion industry worldwide. Tremendous opportunities await trained scuba professionals today in India and in many other countries.

It has been only around 66 years since the aqualung was invented by the famous French oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau. It enabled man to stay underwater for an extended period. Also called SCUBA (self contained underwater breathing apparatus), it was initially used only by marine biologists and other oceanographers to explore the undersea world.

However, soon others were quick to realise its potential as a device to attract tourists who could be trained to use it and explore and enjoy the thrill of diving deep into the ocean and see the spectacular sights of the ocean like corals and aquatic life.

Today, 50 years on, Scuba diving training and facilities are a $ 46 billion (annual) industry world wide.

This correspondent, who has a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification as an International Open Water Diver, acquired in California USA, dived recently off the Netrani Island near the Karnataka coast on the invitation of Mr.Madhava Reddy, Director, PlanetScubaIndia, headquatered in Bangalore.

Planet Scuba India offers courses leading from 'Open water diver' level through various stages right up to Instructor level.

Starting with basic lessons in a swimming pool, the aspirants are guided through various stages including on trips to places such as Goa, Netrani and the Andamans until they are certified.

Mr. Reddy has top-flight instructors working for him including Mr. Dave Perry, ex British Royal Navy who is a Master Scuba Instructor, which means that he is qualified to train instructors who in turn will train scuba enthusiasts through various stages.

There are tremendous opportunities for trained scuba professionals (all levels of expertise) today in India and in many other countries especially in the tropics.

Incorporated in Bangalore in January 2007, Planet Scuba India is India's first inland scuba diving training institute. Planet Scuba India offers theory lessons in the comfort of classrooms and then the students train in a pool to get familiarised before heading to the ocean.

The lack of availability of equipment is one of the factors limiting diving from spreading in India. To fill the void, Planet Scuba India also offers scuba equipment of international standard for sale at a competitive pricing.

Planet Scuba India was founded to help scuba enthusiasts to discover the underwater world in a safe and educational manner. India's first and only 5 Star PADI dive center, Planet Scuba India encompasses the best diving skills and knowledge, a deeper understanding of the importance of the underwater world to our ecosystem and networking with people who share similar interests. Mr. Madhava Reddy, who owns and runs Planet Scuba India, is a former journalist with over 16 years of experience. He has also been a diving enthusiast for 12 years.