Stéphan Senécal is a Divesoft CCR instructor and world-renowned wreck diver who first grew interested in the sport in his twenties after watching several intriguing shipwreck documentaries. Stéphan became a certified diver in 2000, and from then on, it was clear his ultimate goal was to pursue shipwreck diving.
Since 2006, he has been a Tech Diving Instructor and after numerous shipwreck deep dives, decided he wanted to share his passion and teach Tech Diving. He also possesses great knowledge about the inner workings of CCR diving.
What (or who) persuaded you to become a professional diver?
By nature, I love to give to others so when I became a Tech diver (which was the goal in the first place), many other divers wanted to follow my path. And who better placed than me to transfer and share my knowledge so more tech divers could safely enjoy that kind of diving. So, I became a tech diving instructor.
Describe your biggest challenge when diving.
One of the biggest challenges is making sure that you bring the right people on the right expedition or dive site. Making sure that all participants have an equivalent level of training is crucial. The one with the least experience will be the weakest link in the group, so if something were to go badly, you don't want that person to be a victim; and you don't want to slow down the rest of the group either. It’s important to keep a balanced group as much as possible...
Which diving achievement are you most proud of?
Guiding and organizing dive expeditions in remote locations. For example, bringing newly certified tech divers on one of my Great Lake expeditions for the first time and seeing their faces after their first few dives, and discovering our maritime heritage in those new dive sites that were inaccessible with their previous level of training. It’s then they know it was worth every penny and every effort they made to get to that level. They're discovering a whole new playground...
What was your first diving experience like?
It was in a cold lake right after my open water certification. I forgot about the cold and thought I was in another world, another dimension. I could see with my own eyes what I'd seen only in books for a long time. I like to imagine that it's probably the same as an astronaut going to space for the first time...
Why do you prefer rebreather?
Rebreather is a tool that can be used in so many types of dives that would require many more logistics if done with open circuit configuration. It makes my life so much easier when going on remote, deep, decompression dive expeditions. And it offers so many more underwater options if a gear problem were to occur. But like all tools, you need to choose which ones will give you the best advantage for the objectives you have in mind. There's nothing like having the perfect tool for the job when needed.
What's your favorite diving gear?
It has to be my rebreather. Now that I have this tool, I can't see myself doing deep, long, decompression dives with anything else. I love technologies and redundancies, and with a rebreather, you have it all...
What's your favorite diving spot?
I have to say the St.Lawrence river for sure, closely followed by our Great Lakes. Those bodies of water all together offer the best diving experience by far in comparison to any ocean in the world. For a shipwreck explorer like me, it's paradise. I am privileged to live in the heart of the Thousand Islands in Ontario and have all of those as my backyard!
14. 4. 2020 THE SCUBA NEWSLearn more >
Livestream Interview with Wreck Diver and CCR Specialist, Stéphan Senécal.