Value statement 

Why we would like you to freedive with us, and why you should learn to freedive with us. 

Lead Instructor

Our lead instructor, Steve Millard is a lifetime water sports and diving enthusiast. Having worked as a Kayak and Sailing instructor from leaving school at local authority water sports centres from 1991 to 1998 logging thousands of valuable teaching hours this is where he developed his relaxed and patient style of teaching.

Steve has worked in SCUBA diving education since qualifying as a BSAC Instructor in 1993. He has instructed at clubs and managed a PADI / BSAC / SSI / AIDA SCUBA and Freediving school for over 10 years before setting up his own business to go full time in the Freediving industry. He has qualified as a multi-agency Instructor as each agency has positives to offer, an overall understanding and experience of the Instructor are more important than the certification issued at the time.

He has competed Internationally in the 2006 AIDA world championships for the UK team, captained the UK team in 2008 and has coached numerous athletes to National records, International competition podium places and various International squads. Using the skills he learnt as an athlete, safety diver and AIDA Judge he went on to successfully organise the UK National pool championships from 2010 to 2017 and the UK depth championships in 2012. He is still involved in coaching athletes although more of his time is now spent teaching recreational Freediving.

Steve has worked constantly to develop his teaching skills and holds an enviable list of teaching qualifications. As a PGCE qualified teacher he has lectured at University level and regularly gives talks about freediving at informal dive club sessions for example, and the Manchester and Coventry diving shows. A qualified first aid trainer Steve has held continuous in date first aid qualifications since 1993. He gained his Instructor Trainer qualification for AIDA International in 2012 and PADI Instructor trainer qualification in 2017. He has certified over 1000 students through the various diving agencies he has been involved with.

He has been organising UK and abroad SCUBA and freediving trips all this time, so you are in safe hands when booking. We are always looking for the next place to visit but we love our regular trips to the Farnes, North Wales, Scotland and the Red Sea. We want to make sure you can use your freediving skills for exceptional adventures.

He has written many articles for online and print press outlets including Deeperblue, Scubaverse and Scuba Diver magazine and is currently the BFA Press officer. Marketing the sport is all part of the process of growing Freediving for the benefit of everyone rather than leeching off those who do.

A proactive member of the national and international freediving communities and one of the key personalities in the development of the UK Freediving scene Steve has done many volunteer roles including being Chair and the Training and Safety officer of the British Freediving Association and helped design courses on the AIDA (International freediving agency) Education commission.

Most recently he developed the Performance Mermaids, a school and club for instructing budding mermaids to gain in water confidence and competence and some of them have gone on to perform at shows and various aquariums around the UK. You can find his CV here: Curriculum Vitae

Apneists UK

Apneists UK Club and school

Apneists UK was established in 1999, formally known as ‘The Manchester Freediving Group’ for Cheshire & North Wales. It has been called ‘Blue Ocean Freedivers’ and ‘Freedivers’. Originally it had a small hardcore of dedicated deep freedivers mainly training in Dorothea quarry in North Wales and had a competitive feel but more recently has really embraced the other aspects of the sport as well as maintaining a good standing as a club that produces exceptional athletes. It was renamed Apneists UK by Steve Millard deliberately using a generic name wanting to demonstrate our commitment to developing the sport far and wide rather than just a local / regional club.

We pride ourselves on maintaining good contact with divers throughout the UK and further afield as this give us a larger network of established pockets and the freedive community throughout the world. Students can benefit from joining a large network of qualified and experienced divers throughout Northern England, Scotland and North Wales. We set up permissions with several of the current open water sites that people enjoy today and currently have pool 14 sessions a week with access to others when needed.

We currently have groups in Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Crewe, York, Leeds, Harrogate, Carnforth, Sheffield, Liverpool, North Wales, Tamworth, South Lake District, Glasgow and Bo’ness amongst others. We follow all standards set out by AIDA International and UK Health and Safety recommendations.

These go some way in demonstrating, not just listing on a website, our core values which are part of our philosophy.

We are passionate at what we do

We believe you should be able to have reached a high level of competence over a period before attempting to teach others

We go above and beyond standards for safety and quality

We never stop learning, freediving is a developing sport and safety skills must be improved and kept up to date

We develop new ideas in the industry

We try and promote the overall Industry for the benefit of everyone involved in the sport whether it be the schools we teach for, manufacturers, pools, aquariums, printed press, online websites

Safety must be in place before learning

We work with the key industry professionals across the board

We use the correct equipment for the job