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Don Shark eager to share knowledge with those who wish to learn

by Barbados Today
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By Michron Robinson

Call him the godfather of the seas if you wish. However you choose to characterise him, it’s undeniable that Don O’Brian Layne or ‘Don Shark’ as he’s widely known is a man who has a solid connection to the sea.

The owner of rising blue-economy enterprise Don Shark Aquatics tells Barbados TODAY that his love for the deep, blue seas started many years ago when his grandmother gifted him a book of sharks and ocean life when he was just three years old. That was the birth of his obsession with sharks and the beach.

“I had a slight obsession with sharks but really I just admire the creatures,” he said with a broad smile.

He explained that Don Shark Aquatics is an aquatic, training and development agency.

“I know most people here in Barbados are surrounded by water but cannot swim. I not only focus on teaching people to swim but on water safety, first aid and scuba diving while also training persons to teach these aspects,” he said.

Many evenings Don can be found along the coast especially on Browne’s Beach and Pebbles Beach with many under his watchful eye taking part in the many classes that the company offers.

Owner of Don Shark Aquatics Don Layne is on a mission to help Barbadians not fear the sea.

This former musician and flute player enjoys his work immensely and loves to share what he knows.

Don admits that he simply loves being a blue-economy educator. Afterall, what’s the point of keeping knowledge to oneself? 

“I just love sharing knowledge. Soaking it up and sharing it. It means nothing if I have it but can’t share it. I love to give it to others and observe what they do with it,” he added.

While life in water means different things for many different folks, Don said that he absolutely loves that the beach has become the “happy place” for many in his growing clientele.

“They view it as their place for exercise and space for therapy. It’s lots of fun but there are a lot of health benefits and they often say they feel less stressed and stronger mentally,” he added.

A group of students enjoying their class with Don Shark Aquatics.

While speaking specifically to the challenges he has experienced Don, a former student of Christ Church Foundation and a full-time lifeguard, said that he finds too many Barbadians fear the beautiful waters surrounding this island.

“Bit by bit we are trying to make Barbados a water-friendly society,” he indicated.

With a team of over ten supporting his vision, Layne says that for him it’s all about leading by example.

Outside of work, one of his biggest challenges is knowing when to stop.

“That’s why I have the team but the lines are blurred a bit some days; I am there physically but mentally I’m just relaxing while keeping watch close by,” he added.

He also has a word for those who fear the water and for business owners as well

“Commit to it and enjoy it. Don’t overthink it. Just see the fun in it. Believe in your vision because if you don’t, no one else will,” he suggested.

With summer coming up this sea-lover is encouraging Barbadians to give swimming and scuba diving classes a try especially with many qualified teachers around. (MR) ]]>

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