Duchess dives into family hobby with expert scuba badge

The Duchess of Cambridge has followed her in-laws’ love of underwater diving by gaining an advanced scuba qualification.

She has passed her Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) advanced open water test, thought to have taken place at a diving school off the Caribbean island of Mustique. It means that she can now explore to depths of 30m (100ft).

When he became president of the club, the duke said he hoped that Prince George would follow him by taking up snorkelling and scuba diving.

To gain the advanced qualification, the duchess had to complete five dives, including deep and underwater navigation tests. One exercise involves the planning of dives, and how to deal with the physiological effects and challenges of deeper scuba diving.

The underwater navigation elements aim to fine-tune compass skills and to use kicking techniques, visual landmarks and time. Photography, buoyancy control, fish identification and the exploration of wrecks are also part of the course.

Eugene Farrell, the BSAC chairman, told The Sunday Telegraph: “We are thrilled that the Duchess of Cambridge shares her husband’s interest in the underwater world and has further progressed her diver training.

“Last summer while diving with BSAC, the Duke of Cambridge suggested George may also one day follow in his footsteps, so we hope in the future the whole family may share the same passion for scuba diving.”

The PADI test completed by the duchess is the most advanced qualification taken by most recreational divers, as going deeper than 30m involves risks such as nitrogen narcosis, a sensation similar to drunkenness.

Divers with the qualification can stay at a depth of 30m for a maximum of 20 minutes if it is their first dive of the day, and for much shorter periods if they have done other dives.

Compulsory equipment required to pass the advanced test includes a dive knife and a compass.

The qualification has enabled the duchess to join her husband on deep dives to look for sharks in Mustique, a favoured destination for the Middleton family.

The duke and duchess have talked in the past about their competitive nature. The duke once said: “We are both very competitive. She beats me at tennis and ski-ing but I am better at the rest.”