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It's a wrap... a van wrap!

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

We've all seen it, we've all been there (and some are very glad to no longer be there!). That dive centre that exploits its trainee Divemasters for all that they can. Free labour, hauling kit about, surface cover and, of course... their vans!


Trainee Divemasters with vans are the delight of the unscrupulous dive centre owner that wants to take advantage. The founders of InDepth, having all experienced this, wanted to ensure that we never treated any of our members or dive centre customers in such a disgraceful manner!


And so, one of the very first things we did was to go and buy our own van. Its primary use to haul kit around for confined water (swimming pool) training. Afterall, who wants to run a dive centre out of the back of a BMW!

Having invested in a suitable van, we then decided to ensure that it was safe and reliable. Subsequently it was extensively serviced and had various things replaced, including having a new gearbox and clutch fitted!


It was then ply lined and had shelving installed, as well as a new bulkhead and blanking panels fitted to it.

The finishing touches were then needed... a full vinyl wrap was planned and weeks in the designing and executing. PADI HQ came up with some concept ideas, which we didn't really like, so we went through a process of elimination as James developed and honed a new design concept himself.

Concept artwork by PADI HQ for a vinyl wrap on a VW Caddy.
PADI Concept art for VW Caddy vinyl wrap.

More concept art, by James, was put together as ideas developed:




James had seen a photograph of a whale shark emerging from a shoal of fish that he particularly liked, it was an award winning photo in multiple competitions, most notably placed in the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017, and taken by none other than Dan Charity, a Sun newspaper photographer and a friend of James's... And so he asked Dan the question, 'mate, can I use your cool photo and how much would you want?' The response can straight back, 'Of course you can fella. No charge, here you go, copy attached!' This cinched the design really... the wrap depicts a journey, as you walk around the van, starting from the driver's side with 'Learn how To Scuba Dive' emblazoned across it, you start with a shallow dive and the experience of a whale shark feeding near the surface, walking around towards the front the depth increases and with that the level of experience needed to undertake the dive, as you walk around to the passenger side the depth has increased further and the imagery is of a shipwreck, and with that, the level of training and skill needed is greater again. Emblazoned on this side is 'Develop your Skills' and refers to the need to continue your scuba training for the type of diving depicted. As you reach the back of the van the imagery turns dark and is in an overhead environment, within a flooded mine, and depicts an even greater level of training needed. Each level depicts a skillset that can be taught through InDepth.


We bet you never realised that was why the van looks the way it does!


There was a lot of work going back and forth with files, supplying fonts and high resolution images. The wrap itself took days to print and apply. But when the finished product emerged from Essential Gfx we were just stunned, what a transformation!



James Neal stood next to the image of himself on the back of the InDepth VW Caddy van.
The InDepth VW Caddy van.

And, of course, the jokes never cease about James being on the back doors!


But all joking aside, the van itself has proved to be an invaluable asset. It has meant that individuals do not have to use their own personal vehicles to haul kit around and it makes our DMs and DMTs feel valued and trusted.


It has also proved itself to be a useful asset for publicity and social media marketing purposes, we often get a photo taken at the end of a course, or the end of a pool session, next to the van.



The finished wrap on the InDepth van, at the NDAC - National Diving & Activity Centre.
InDepth at NDAC with the wrapped van.

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“OCEAN SEPARATES LANDS, NOT SOULS.”

— Munia Khan

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