Kimlee Campher, 19
Nineteen-year-old Kimlee Campher stands to become the first woman in the small harbour sunken vessels programme in Hout Bay to be trained as a commercial diver.

The young woman from Portlands, Mitchells Plain, matriculated last year and found employment with Guerrini Marine Construction (GMC) diving and salvage, which was awarded a tender by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to remove sunken wrecks congesting parts of Hout Bay.

Campher said her duties comprised visiting sites, and seeing the salvage diving fascinated her.

“It looked so amazing and I pushed my bosses, who I must say were really supportive. For the past few weeks, I received training through Jack’s Dive Chest Commercial Diving Academy in Strand, and then joined the crew here to further my skills and work towards becoming a commercial salvage diver," she said.

The Hout Bay programme forms part of the department's Operation Phakisa initiative, and once the trainees are qualified, their first port of call is to help remove sunken wreckage.

Instructor Rudi Fourie said he had been impressed by the work ethic and determination shown by Campher, and that she had given them a run for their money.