Saudi diver turns her passion into full-time career

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Although the sea is unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, Yasminah Basha likes to ‘be adventurous while taking safety precautions, and to be close to predator fish without provoking them.’ (Supplied)
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Although the sea is unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, Yasminah Basha likes to ‘be adventurous while taking safety precautions, and to be close to predator fish without provoking them.’ (Supplied)
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Although the sea is unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, Yasminah Basha likes to ‘be adventurous while taking safety precautions, and to be close to predator fish without provoking them.’ (Supplied)
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Updated 23 January 2020

Saudi diver turns her passion into full-time career

  • The number of divers and trainers from both genders has increased significantly in the past five years, says Basha

JEDDAH: “I’ve probably lived undersea more than on earth,” said young Saudi diver Yasminah Basha, who has turned her favorite hobby into a full-time career.

Formerly an accountant, Basha is a certified professional trainer with two international diving licenses, from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and Scuba Schools International (SSI).

“Three years ago, I started training women of almost all nationalities — Arabs, Asians and Europeans as young as 10 and as old as 59. In fact, I trained many women in their 50s, provided that they didn’t have any health problems,” she said.

Basha attributes her passion for diving to her late father, who was a sailor. “We grew up around the sea all the time,” she said. “Eight years ago, I was intrigued to explore the wonders of the aquatic world, until one day I tried scuba diving — I was mesmerized and addicted since then. I took many courses and seized every opportunity.”

Although diving used to be rare among the conservative Saudi society, the number of divers and trainers from both genders has “increased significantly” in the past five years, said Basha.

Aside from the fact that women wearing diving suits was “socially frowned upon,” her parents were also against diving as they thought it was a “dangerous hobby.”




Yasminah Basha

However, “women nowadays practice all kinds of sports freely without facing past challenges,” she said.

Basha added that the cost of training courses ranges from SR600 ($160) to SR2,000, with a duration of three to seven days maximum depending on the trainer’s efficiency.

She said Jeddah’s private resort Bhadur is the most popular as it is fully equipped for shore diving.

Compared to other less-visited resorts, Bhadur offers safe access to the Red Sea’s biodiversity with unparalleled coral reefs.

To reach more colorful and secluded dive sites, Basha said, boat diving is ideal. But all safety procedures must be followed, such as “knowing divers’ health conditions, locating the closest health center, and having at least one health specialist on board,” she added.

Coastguards, she said, must also be informed about details of the trip in terms of duration and names of the staff and crew.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Formerly an accountant, Yasminah Basha is a certified professional trainer with two international diving licenses.

• Basha attributes her passion for diving to her late father, who was a sailor.

• Women nowadays practice all kinds of sports freely without facing past challenges, she says.

Although the sea is unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, Basha said: “I like to be adventurous while taking safety precautions, and to be close to predator fish without provoking them, because they’re defensive, not offensive creatures.”

She added: “I’m also very familiar with marine species that differ from winter to summer, and from day to night.”

As for the most suitable time for professional and beginner divers, “every day of the year is a great day to dive for those who like to dive all the time, like me,” she said. For recreational divers, “summer season and holidays are usually ideal.”

Basha has recently been taking technical diving courses that entail greater risk due to the involvement of more gas tanks, accelerated decompression stops and deeper dives of 60 meters for longer periods. “It’s totally different and more advanced than other courses, and soon I’ll be able to train it,” she said.

The ambitious trainer plans to dive deeper into the business by taking more courses in the future.

“I’m very passionate about diving and am planning to dive 100 meters deep. I wish to train international instructors soon and have a diving center of my own,” she said.


Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

Sultan Al-Zaidi (L) and Fahad Al-Jubeir.
Updated 21 September 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

  • Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents

JEDDAH: Alkhobar municipality, along with Europe’s largest industrial manufacturing company Siemens, has been hailed as a role model for management excellence and business continuity.
The municipality has been awarded international certification for its excellence in managing crises and risks under difficult circumstances, in recognition of its administrative achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quality Austria (QA) awarded Alkhobar Municipality and Siemens with ISO 22301 and ISO 9001 certificates, which are concerned with business continuity management, especially during the pandemic.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent and nongovernmental body. Its standards are internationally agreed by experts and are seen as the best way of doing something.
Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents.
Its mayor, Sultan bin Hamid Al-Zaidi, said that the municipality’s ISO achievement was in line with achieving the goals of the Eastern Province municipality. He added that the aim was to make Alkhobar a distinguished city, like other places in the province.
The Mayor of the Eastern Province, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Jubeir, said that municipalities were keen to implement the most advanced administrative systems and provide the best services to beneficiaries.
“This comes in line with the objectives of municipal transformation, part of the National Transformation Program 2020 of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan which states that the Kingdom, with its outputs and services, should provide an international role model of quality and mastery, and raise the level of services provided by services and economic development agencies and enterprises,” Al-Jubeir told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

Business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.

He added that the municipality had launched initiatives and programs seeking to make the Eastern Province and its governorates pioneers in administrative and service qualities, as well as improving public services.
According to QA’s regional manager, Dr. Mohamed Hassan, business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.
“These instructions are then transformed into applicable programs and strategies at the amana (provincial government) level,” he wrote in an article. “Since the Eastern Province is, in this respect, the leading province in the Kingdom, the guidelines are finalized in consultation with the EP’s mayor, Fahad Al-Jubeir.”
The article gave examples of Alkhobar’s strategic emergency plans and said it had made arrangements with companies such as Al-Yamama for the prevention of damage from flash floods or storms.
It added that other public contractors, such as Nabatat, ensured that green spaces and parks in the city remained relaxing destinations for people, even on exceptionally hot summer days.
“A successful example of service digitization is the Balady software, which makes all municipality services available to citizens online. Moreover, the Balagat software offers a service in which complaints and suggestions from citizens can be reported and followed up online,” the article said. “If a complaint is not solved within 24 hours, it is automatically forwarded to the mayor of the Eastern Province, Al-Jubeir.”
The ministry’s foresight in initiating plans and preparations, the online software systems used and the high-quality standards in the municipality all helped in increasing the effectiveness of the business continuity management system.