Published On: Monday, 17 June 2019

Campbell River Home to Canada's Largest Commercial Diving School

Campbell River Home to Canada's Largest Commercial Diving School
DiveSafe’s industry connections and reputation for high-quality training helps students find jobs immediately after graduating

CAMPBELL RIVER - “DiveSafe International is Campbell River’s best kept secret.”

So says Kelly Korol, co-owner and Director of Training at DiveSafe International Ltd. Founded in 2005 by Kelly and his wife Catherine, DiveSafe International has grown to become the nation’s largest commercial diving school.

Kelly’s deep relationships with Canada’s dive industry and Island aquaculture companies (built over his over-35-year diving career), coupled with the institution’s reputation for top-tier training programs, helps students find job placement at an astonishingly high rate.

“Right now, we have two companies that are taking all the divers they can get from us,” says Kelly. “There will always be a few students who take our courses out of general interest, but every graduate who wants a job can get one almost immediately. We often have students graduate on a Friday and starting work at a well-paying job on Monday of the following week. For those interested in a career in commercial diving, we essentially have a 100 per cent employment rate.”

DiveSafe International offers two main programs. The five-week Commercial Scuba program trains students to work in scuba equipment down to a maximum depth of 130 feet. With this international certification, Commercial Scuba graduates have opportunities in a variety of industries, including aquaculture, seafood harvesting, environmental inspection diving, vessel maintenance, scientific diving, the film industry and more.

The 21-week Surface Supply program provides students with an internationally-recognized certification. Graduates acquire an Unrestricted Surface Supply Diver certification (50m) with Commercial SCUBA & NITROX endorsements. They can work in the industries above, but also have the certification to work in construction diving (dams, hydro projects, engineering inspections, infrastructure, etc.), confined area diving, offshore oildfield industry, geoduck industry, and underwater welding.

All DiveSafe International, instructors are fully certified commercial divers with years of experience and recognized teaching certificates. These instructors still work in the commercial diving industry to remain current in diving skills and knowledge. DiveSafe International is a fully certified trade training institution, governed by the Private Training Institute Board and the International EQA (Education Quality Assurance Organization).

“I’ve been a commercial diver since 1984, and I’ve worked extensively all over the west coast and Alberta, focussing heavily on the Vancouver Island area,” says Kelly. “I’ve worked in almost all aspects of commercial diving, including aquaculture, construction, hydro dams, seafood harvesting, and more.

“In 1997, I began working with North Island College as an instructor in their commercial diving program. In 2005, Cathy and I decided to start our own company, initially offering only the commercial scuba program.”

In the beginning, Kelly taught courses alongside Peter Budden, who began as a part-time instructor. As the company grew, Budden moved into a full-time position, and he remains an integral part of the company to this day. Cathy continues to co-lead the company with the official title of CFOO (Chief Financial and Operations Officer).

“It’s a marriage made in heaven,” says Kelly. “She is the administration whiz, and my business partner. She handles all of our administration, dealing with everything from student loans to liaising with government regulatory bodies. I’m the brawn - handling the operations, running the boats, and teaching.”

In 2007, the company added on its UnRestricted Surface Supply/Underwater Welder program. Since then, DiveSafe International has steadily grown, housing a staff of 10 administrators and instructors. Today, they train more students than any other diving school in the country and are competing on the world stage.

DiveSafe International has a growing international reputation, attracting students from all over the globe.

“We called the company DiveSafe International because we want to have an international reach,” says Kelly. “We’ve had a lot of students from countries like Russia, France, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, etc.”

The company is now large enough to look at expanding outside of Canada. Cathy and Kelly have already been making inroads to build their second location in Costa Rica, and are currently looking at an eventual overseas expansion.

“We are Canada’s largest diving school,” concludes Kelly. “We certify more divers than any other school in Canada, and we do it in an ocean environment, so our divers have world-class first-hand training with tides, current, weather and marine life.”

Find out more about DiveSafe International programs at