DAN Ambassadors

Whether underwater or on the surface, DAN Europe Ambassadors represent the Organisation's values of diving safety and ocean care.

Meet our special crew!

Andy Torbet

Country
I’m based in the UK and originally from the Highland of Scotland.

Diving Spec 
I do the full range of diving from technical and cave diving to freediving but I am most active recently in doing long, multi-day cave diving projects requiring underground camping between sumps and also a lot of adventure freediving (freediving in the less visited locations like mountain lakes and rivers).

Why you do it 
I love exploring. Whether it’s freediving in high altitude lakes, deep inside unexplored flooded caves or unknown shipwrecks on the ocean floor it's that that drives me rather than any specific discipline within our sport.

Why DAN
I am very interested in what the human body, and specifically my body, can do. Pushing the boundaries and discovering, safely, where those boundaries are is important on bigger, deeper, longer, technical dives. The investment and support DAN gives to investigating where the safe limits lie and how we can keep progressing our sport safely is important.

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Pascal Van Erp

Country
I live in The Netherlands but I spend a lot of my time travelling and diving all over Europe. I am the most active around the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea.

Diving Spec 
I am a CCR & Technical diver with a preference for ocean diving. My specialty is marine conservation in a broad sense. This includes cleaning up waste, identifying problems with the aim of making them visible to a wider public but also conducting (scientific) research.

Why you do it 
I have dived all over the world and my focus is always on underwater pollution and disturbances that need to be dealt with. Since 2007 I have been working on the removal of lost fishing gear in the North Sea and started my first formal project in 2009. With marine conservation running through my veins, in 2012, I decided to devote my diving exclusively to environmental protection and established the Ghost Diving Foundation with the aim of tackling the problem of lost gear on a global scale with volunteer divers.

Why DAN
I've been a DAN member since the first day I started diving simply because I believe in its mission. I hope that with our work we can also support DAN Europe with data and the experience we have gained in our specific field in recent years.

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Olga Martinelli

Country
Italy.

Diving Spec 
I am a scuba instructor, but my main passion is to shoot videos and pics and show the beauty of the UW part of the world!

Why you do it 
Diving has been my life since I have a memory. It's the only thing that NEVER ceases to bring me joy. The happiest moments of my whole existence were underwater!

Why DAN
I firstly knew about DAN at the beginning of my UW journey like everyone else, as just insurance. Later on I had to know about ALL the research and the incredible efforts it puts in finding out how our bodies react and behave while diving, which is extremely fascinating to me, and still it is not a clear thing. Plus, it also tries to help out our Oceans so... There is no reason to ask!

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Arkadiusz Srebnik

Country
I was born and raised in Poland, however 4 years ago I moved to Malta, where I had the opportunity to fully explore my interest in underwater photography.

Diving Spec 
I am a PADI and SSI instructor, cave and tech diver. I've engaged in the activities of an environmental NGO 'Zibel', which expanded my view on what diving can be. 

Why you do it 
I was always interested in history, nature and photography. Being born in Poland, which is an amazing place to experience history first hand while diving, hooked me on exploring the underwater world. I made a decision to use my passion for photography and allow others to enjoy the beauty of diving. After years of diving I realised that I can use my skills to spread awareness on environmental issues we face nowadays.

Why DAN
I feel that the main goal of DAN is providing divers with the most updated knowledge on very important matters - safety, health and environmental protection. Starting bachelor's studies 'Science in Diving Safety Management' made me realise how crucial the work of DAN is for the diving community. As a DAN Ambassador I am able to spread DAN's work and share my knowledge and passion with others.

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Sanne Volja

Country
Belgium. Travelling a lot!

Diving Spec 
Cave/mine and wreck diving. Normoxic 60 metre range and ccr diver.
Other passions: caving/speleology.

Why you do it 
The feeling it gives me. It is the closest feeling I can relate to pure happiness, most peaceful. It takes away all the stress out of my life and makes me a better person. I started diving out of fear of the oceans and turned into my biggest passion. The challenge and that you can train to make yourself a better/safer diver is as well something that motivates me.

Why DAN
Safety is one of the most important things in diving: the safer you can dive, the more you will enjoy!
DAN is more than just insurance and provides us, as divers, information we would like to know for better/safer dives. To be able to share this information to my followers, dive buddies and students is an absolute honour and is necessary. Thanks to DAN I learn a lot of new things and isn't the possibility to keep learning an incredible thing in life?

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Joanna Wyrebek

Country
United Kingdom.

Diving Spec 
Rebreather diver loving caves, mines and wrecks. Passionate about our Oceans, sea life future and conservation.

Why you do it 
Diving has changed and shaped my life. I can't live without it. It's created me, made me who I am today. Together with Sara and Sanne we've created The Cavettes group to be able to share our passion.

Why DAN
Joining DAN's family will help me to share Oceans awareness wider. I truly believe we can help our Blue Planet and the best way to do it is to educate, spread the word and unite together because TOGETHER WE CAN.

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Ivana Orlovic

Country
Serbia and all around the world.

Diving Spec 
Scuba and freediving instructor, underwater model, photographer and videographer. 

Why you do it 
I have dived my whole life. Since my earliest childhood, I simply enjoyed being underwater, as well as introducing other people to the underwater world.

Why DAN
Because DAN is the widest network which cares about divers' safety.

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Janez Kranjc

Country
Serbia and all around the world.

Diving Spec 
Scuba instructor, photographer and videographer, drone operator. 

Why you do it 
I started diving for underwater photography. However, very soon it turned from a hobby to a profession. I often say that I have the best job in the world – because I love it.

Why DAN
I have always admired those who move forward without boundaries. DAN does exactly that throughout its operations and research. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something like that.

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Edd Stockdale

Country
Finland  (also Sweden) though I am Australian.

Diving Spec 
My main interest from a professional standpoint is in scientific diving methodology. This especially applies to advanced diving techniques applied to research work including rebreathers, overhead and developing techniques to meet research requirements. In this role I run the Finnish Scientific Diving Academy at the University of Helsinki.

Outside of work my main passion in diving is wreck and mine exploration, especially in the Nordic and Baltic regions in addition to teaching in these and other areas.

Why you do it 
It's hard to say why I dive. It started with a childhood fascination with marine life (later seeing me studying marine zoology) but that developed and changed. Part of it is the excitement of going to new places, seeing things that so few if any people have before and sharing that with the world which is the exploration side. I like the challenge in some cases, such as learning new skills or developing techniques to address a specific research question. Mainly though I feel a sense of peace when submerged whether relaxed diving on a tropical reef, collecting samples or data for a project or exploring new territory deep in a flooded mine or cave.

Pretty much diving is part of everything in my life; career, lifestyle, enjoyment, holidays, family pretty much everything.

Why DAN
DAN has always been a vital component of the diving world, especially in their research network. While many divers do not realise it, the work that DAN does affects their diving in a positive way with studies contributing understandings in diver health or purely covering them when taking a diving trip with insurance and a support line. As part of my goals in diving are to train divers to be safer, have more knowledge outside their basic dive programs and move through their diving career regardless of level without being scared of representing an organisation whose goals are the same makes sense. 

Being asked to be an Ambassador for DAN Europe is a great opportunity to work closer with the foundation and help raise awareness of the work it does in the general diving community, for which I feel honoured.

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Pol Ramos

País
España.

Especialidades de Buceo 
Desde pequeño tengo una conexión muy especial con el océano. Crecí viendo los documentales de Jacques Cousteau y siempre supe que quería dedicar mi vida al mar. Así que me gradué como biólogo y me convertí en instructor de buceo. Después de varios años viajando por el mundo, donde pude bucear en lugares increíbles y aprender de cada experiencia vivida, decidí emprender y crear Odicean un proyecto que tiene como objetivo conservar y proteger los océanos a través de expediciones y cursos de buceo.

Por qué lo haces 
No concibo otro estilo de vida que no sea bajo el agua. Necesito estar en contacto directo con la naturaleza y disfrutar cada día de las maravillas que nos regala el océano. Bucear me transmite paz, alegría, bienestar... y siento que tengo la responsabilidad y el deber de cuidar de nuestros océanos y las criaturas que habitan en ellos a través de la divulgación y la formación.

Por qué DAN
DAN existe para ayudar y proteger a los buceadores, así como nosotros existimos para conservar y proteger los océanos. Compartir los mismos valores y filosofía no solo hace que nuestros caminos se hayan cruzado en esta aventura, sinó que juntos podemos extender este amor por el océano y tratar de concienciar a todo el mundo. Somos la última generación capaz de revertir la situación actual que sacude el equilibrio natural.

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Gador Muntaner

País
Soy de Barcelona, España, y el Mediterraneo siempre será mi favorito… Pero ahora vivo más de la mitad del año en el paraíso al que Cousteau llamó el acuario del mundo: el Mar de Cortés.

Especialidades de Buceo 
Soy instructora de buceo PADI y SSI,  apneista de nivel Aida 4* y oceanógrafa. Actualmente uso el buceo y la apnea para mi trabajo, con fines científicos y de conservación marina. Intento hacer que la gente pueda sentir lo mismo que yo siento por el océano: no sólo la fascinación por sus maravillas, sino también la necesidad de protegerlo como nuestro mayor tesoro.

Por qué lo haces 
Porque el océano nos dio la vida y quiero agradecérselo. Cuando estoy lejos del mar, siento que me falta algo. Además, se trata por desgracia de un gran desconocido, a pesar de que curiosamente vivamos en un planeta con más superficie de agua que de tierra. Mi misión es darlo a conocer, y hacer entender la importancia de su supervivencia para la nuestra propia. 

Por qué DAN
Para seguir cumpliendo mi misión, es imprescindible la seguridad en todas mis actividades subacuáticas. Cada año viajo a distintos países y continentes, dónde hay diferentes sistemas sanitarios, protocolos, etc. Con DAN, se rompen las barreras: esté dónde esté, estoy cubierta si tengo cualquier problema. Además, la gente tiende a pensar que los seguros sirven sólo para accidentes muy graves, y no es así. Yo, por ejemplo, he tenido muchas veces problemas de oído debidos a constantes cambios de mares, temperaturas, etc, y he podido solucionarlos rápidamente gracias a la atención de DAN. Más allá de los seguros, DAN avanza continuamente en el conocimiento y ciencia relacionada con el buceo y la salud, y pone a mi alcance cualquier actualización. Además, otro de los objetivos de DAN es la conservación Marina, así que me gusta poder avanzar en la misma dirección.

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Rafa Fernandez

País
Nacido en Madrid, España. Desde pequeño he tenido la suerte de conocer muchos mares del mundo, pero el Mediterráneo y en concreto la Herradura ha sido la zona donde más buceos he hecho. Actualmente paso una buena parte del año junto a Gador en el Mar de Cortés, Baja California.

Especialidades de Buceo 
A pesar de ser ingenieriero, mi pasión y trabajo es la imagen submarina y divulgación. Soy instructor FEDAS-CMAS 2 Estrellas y Buzo profesional de Pequeña Profundidad por el CBB, llevo toda mi vida buceando en el mar y mi objetivo principal es concienciar por medio de mis imágenes de la importancia de proteger los océanos.

Por qué lo haces 
Siempre he visto el mar como el lugar más impresionate y misterioso del planeta.
Por un lado, la propia curiosidad animal de descubrir y explorar algo tan salvaje es una de las cosas que me mueve.
Allá fuera vives momentos que te hacen sentir las mayores emociones de tu vida. Te cambia la forma de pensar y de ver el mundo y te vuelves de alguna manera adicto a ello, es como estar enamorado.
Pero lo más importante, es sin duda lo que después te mueve a seguir haciéndolo. Una vez que sientes ese gran amor, pues el siguiente paso es inevitablemente preocuparte por el bienestar de aquello que amas.
Y aquí ya sabemos lo que ocurre. Uno ve lo rápido que estamos acabando con la vida en los mares y todavía eso te empuja a luchar con más fuerza por evitarlo.

Por qué DAN
Tenemos la suerte de hacer aquello que amamos. El buceo es un deporte seguro. Pero cuando viajas a lugares tan remotos como los que viajamos, a cientos de kilómetros de cualquier hospital y sin esa seguridad a la que estamos acostumbrados, necesitas algo detrás que te haga sentir seguro. Eso es DAN para mí.

Cuando además cada vez aumentas más la distancia y la complejidad de los viajes, o el trabajo según vas aprendiendo te empujar a ir más allá, los riesgos son innegablemente mayores. Pequeños fallos que en otros contextos podrían ser fáciles de solucionar se pueden complicar mucho.

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Claudia Schmitt and Hendrik S.Schmitt (The Jetlagged)

Country
Our home country is Germany, but we’re regularly travelling all around the world and we dive mostly outside of Germany. After more than 10 years going back and forth, we consider Indonesia our second home, but we also know other places really well, for example Iceland, Gozo (Malta) or Elba. But the Coral Triangle in SouthEast Asia, specifically in Indonesia, is definitely our favourite place to dive. The underwater world there is just mind-blowing!

Diving Spec 
We’re both certified as Divemasters. Hendrik is diving in sidemount configuration and is very happy with it. The comfort and additional air, and also the safety of being able to control his tanks, makes sidemount the perfect set-up for him. Claudia continues to dive in backmount configuration, she already has the large underwater camera with her. Besides exploring the ocean and discovering amazing underwater worlds, our biggest passion is filming underwater and telling stories about protecting the ocean. 


Why you do it 
Both of us have always felt a strong connection to the ocean. When we were kids, each of our parents always took us on beach holidays, where we spent most of the time in the ocean, swimming, snorkelling and so on. Many years later, we were on a holiday together, and decided that we wanted to learn scuba diving. That was when our world was completed. Being underwater feels so natural to us. Diving allows us to explore a world that is hidden to most people. It’s both adventure and meditation. 

We were overwhelmed by the immeasurable beauty of the underwater world, but soon also confronted with the vulnerability of the ocean and its unique ecosystems. With our own eyes, we saw the problems our ocean is facing, for example pollution, climate crisis, coral bleaching, overfishing and species extinctions. We decided to become ambassadors of the underwater world and use our cameras and skills to focus on documentary films about environmental issues and on the conservation of marine habitats. After all, the ocean is our planet’s fundamental life support system, and we want to raise awareness that protecting the ocean is not just about the beauty of the ocean, it is about our very own survival on this planet.

Why DAN
DAN shares the same views about scuba diving and the role of scuba divers in the ocean. We work on a highly professional level, so it was obvious for us to work together with professionals as well. DAN is the perfect partner for us, regarding the long time we are underwater and on travels. For us, DAN is not just an insurance. The fact that they are doing research on diving physics is very important to us too: Scuba diving in the ocean is a bit like being an astronaut, floating in outer space, relying on technical equipment for survival. We appreciate that DAN is constantly striving to make diving safer for everyone. We are extremely happy to be part of the DAN family, this big family of explorers, adventurers and ambassadors of the ocean. Being a part of DAN makes us feel at home in the same way that being in the ocean does. 

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Ellen Cuylaerts

Country
I was born in Belgium and now live in United Kingdom, West Sussex.

Diving Spec 
Full Cave Diver RAID, Underwater & Wildlife Photographer, Ocean Ambassador. 

Why you do it 
Out of passion! The ocean is our source of life, helps us heal, I want to give back by helping to bring awareness about the challenges faced!

Why DAN
DAN Europe helped me out after an undeserved case of DCI at the beginning of my diving, which made me very appreciative of dive insurance and I believe it should be required for every diver in  every country. An accident can happen for many reasons out of our control and when it happens professional support and assistance is a huge relief. DAN Europe’s Dive safety campaigns, checklists, education and research are valuable for every diver, every level. To know your own limits is very important in dive safety and continuous education too. We have to take responsibility to be the best we can be in what we do and DAN Europe delivers a lot of the tools. I’m very honoured to be an ambassador for DAN!

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Boaz Samorai

Country
Israel, Eilat - on the red sea.

Diving Spec 
I'm a PADI examiner, Tec trainer & freediver but most of all I love my snorkel mask and fins.

Why you do it 
My biggest passion is underwater photography and being in the presence of the wild animals of the underwater world. Diving is just a means for me to be down there as close as possible to the moment and I don't really care whether It's a snorkel, regulator or rebreather in my mouth.

Why DAN
There are many dive insurance companies. I choose DAN because of the knowledge and passion for the ocean that the people in the Organisation have. When I started diving professionally I was amazed how little do we know about the effects of scuba on us humans and I really liked the information DAN EU is studying and sharing with the community on a regular basis. I am proud to be a part of the team.

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Andrea Zuccari

Country
Egypt: where I live and run a freediving center.
Italy: country of origin and where I spend a couple of months a year.
Europe/World: where I teach equalization workshops.

Diving Spec 
Freediving, recreational diving, technical diving, underwater photography.

Why you do it 
I started scuba diving out of passion, which became my job. Later, while I was a diving instructor, during a day off I tried freediving and I fell in love with it completely. I started freediving every day of my free time. A year later I participated in my first World Championship and then became a freediving instructor. This passion also became my job.

Why DAN
Since the beginning of my diving activities I became a member of DAN. A few years ago we created a series of courses together on Equalization: EqualEasy. I became a DAN Ambassador because we share the same mission: To make diving and freediving safer and more accessible for everyone.

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Tomasz Michura

Country
I reside in both Poland and Italy where I carry out sidemount courses all year round.

Diving Spec 
I specialise mainly in sidemount diving and my passion is using this equipment in a diverse underwater environment. I believe that, contrary to some biassed opinions, SM diving can easily be utilised not only in caves but  is also a very user-friendly system for open water, sea and quarry diving. Obviously, on condition it is wisely and accurately trained. 

Why you do it 
I have fallen in love with sidemount and its overall beauty, its simplicity and its holistic characteristics. I take delight in analysing its potentials and have committed myself  to mastering this way of diving and develop my personal skills using it. It is a type of diving that  is really rewarding, offering you the feeling of lightness, security and liberty of movement.

Why DAN
Ever since I started diving DAN has been the synonym of a reliable, respectable and solid Organisation that aims not only at providing people with insurance coverage but also an association that does its best to do research into the safety of diving to the best of its ability. DAN’s reputation and treatment of its customers speak for themselves. DAN never lets you down.

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Óscar de Borja

País
España e Islas Azores.

Especialidades de Buceo 
Soy un Biólogo Marino con ganas de descubrir las maravillas del mundo oceánico, enfocado en concienciar a la gente de la belleza y fragilidad del mundo en el que vivimos.

Trabajo como Divemaster y Discover Scuba Diving Leader en Ponta Delgada, Islas Azores en Portugal y ahora estoy estudiando el Master en Biotecnología Azul Aplicada en la Universidad Católica de Valencia.

También soy educador ambiental en The Gravity Wave S.L, una empresa social que trabaja muy duro para limpiar el océano de plástico y transformar todo ese material en nuevos productos de diseño basados en un modelo de economía circular, con la misión de amueblar el futuro.

Por qué lo haces 
Mi familia y mis amigos siempre han contado historias en las que me atraía el océano. Incluso sin saber andar, cada vez que lo veía, me metía directamente en él, como si me llamara. Cuando tenía 13 años me saqué el Open Water Diver Junior. Recuerdo la paz que se respiraba bajo el agua. Sentí que era mi lugar y supe que tenía que dedicar mi vida al océano. Desde ese momento lo tuve claro, tenía que dar lo mejor de mí y convertirme en el mejor biólogo marino que pudiera ser.

Por qué DAN
Cuando empecé a bucear recuerdo haber mirado la bandera roja y blanca del barco y pensar: "Vaya, estos equipos de oxígeno pueden salvar tu vida". Una vez que me uní a DAN, empecé a investigar más sobre lo que hacían, y me pareció increíble ver que también trabajaban para promover la conservación de los océanos, el desarrollo sostenible y la investigación en medicina del buceo. Unos años después empecé a coleccionar pegatinas de DAN pensando en las infinitas posibilidades que tendría si un día pudiera trabajar con ellos. Por fin este sueño se ha hecho realidad y estoy deseando empezar a colaborar y seguir promoviendo nuestros valores juntos.

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