Page 3 Profile: Charlotte Burns, world's youngest scuba diver


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The Independent Online

A water baby!

Well not quite, she has just turned 12-years-old, but she could certainly give the mermaids a run for their money. This is Charlotte Burns, who celebrated her birthday on November 18 by becoming the youngest Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Junior Master Scuba Diver in the world.

That’s quite a feat, but wasn’t it a bit cold?

The champ and her family travelled from their home in Biggin Hill, Kent to the warmer climes of Cyprus, where the ambitious and talented youngster visited Alpha Divers in Larnaca to gain the highest qualification she could.

Holding your breath for as long as possible?

There’s rather more to it than that. Charlotte had to carry out deep sea dives on the Zenobia wreck as well as completing rescue scenarios, amongst other tests of her scuba diving knowledge and skill. In the process, she also cinched the title of the youngest person ever to qualify as a British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) diver by taking a cross-over exam.

Shouldn’t she be at school?

Ever heard of multi-tasking? Charlotte, who attends Newstead Wood School in Orpington, started diving as soon as she was legally allowed to, at the tender age of ten. She has completed more than 70 dives, often in the icy depths of Oban, Scotland or the murky lakes of the UK.

That’s what you call dedication.

Actually, she’s not the first member of the Burns family to make waves; Charlotte takes the title from brother Will, 26, who won it aged 14. Sibling rivalry at its best.

I’ll leave the diving to the kids.

Not so fast. During her time in Cyprus, Charlotte also manged to squeeze in meeting 90-year-old Ray Woolley, who is thought to be among the world’s oldest scuba divers. He celebrated his landmark birthday with a 90ft dive off the Cyrpus coast. Age, as they say, is but a number.