With all of the pressing discussions surrounding Earth’s rescue, what lies beneath is somewhat forgotten. Considering that three quarters of our world is made up of water, one may wonder why only 5% the world’s oceans have been mapped so far. With the increasing popularity of scuba diving over the past decades, the rare opportunity to safely and enjoyably dive in the vast ocean environment is much more accessible and affordable these days than one might imagine. .
As a diver myself for over five years, I recently received an additional advanced diving license in the Netherlands Antilles island of Bonaire. I first finished my open water training in Bonaire, after a summer course in New York City, where I live. There are several reasons why I love diving along Bonaire’s turquoise coast, one national marine park since the late 1970s.
Mainly, accessibility from shore as opposed to boat diving saves money and allows for gradual descent. The year-round warm temperature enhances the experience for novice divers, and the nearly 400 species of fish that inhabit the beautiful coral reef provide an exciting aquatic excursion and an extraordinary photo opportunity. These are just a few of the many reasons I love scuba diving and hope to encourage my peers to try the same.
Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to find that students in the state of North Carolina can get their Scuba Diving Certification from the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) right on campus and get started. their own lifelong passion. Students can choose from three different courses, spanning fifteen weeks and offered in both fall and spring semesters. All three courses count towards the GEP health and fitness requirement: HESA 226: Skin & Scuba Diving I, HESA 227: Skin & Scuba Diving II and HESA 229: Scuba Leadership (with optional certification).
Matthew Rever, a 21-year NC State dive instructor, said HESA 226 helps develop basic skills, even for students with little to no experience, or those who might be certified before taking the course. The entry class enables participants to become safer, more confident and more competent divers, providing them with a solid foundation for the skills needed in emergencies and “what if” situations.
On the other hand, HESA 227, which was originally structured as an intensive rescue class, has evolved to incorporate a more comprehensive and advanced approach to diving, including the simulation of situations under duress. According to Rever, the students are performing more intensive rescue sequences, post-crash care and oxygen administration. They also use equipment such as full face masks with wireless communication and night dives. Finally, the Underwater Leadership class provides students with Dive Master certifications, allowing its graduates to return to the class as community volunteer to aid in teaching and assembly of equipment.
One of those community volunteers, NC State alumnus Tal Sabas, fell in love with the dive program and its mission. Despite the inevitable challenges that arose when his diving course went live, Sabas completed his leadership journey and praised NC State’s diving program, which is known in the diving industry. for his thoroughness and expertise.
“Coach Rever instilled in you these traits that can be applied not only to diving, but to anything in your life,” Sabas said. “I was hooked from the start, not only did I love diving as a sport, but I especially enjoyed doing it at State, where they try to develop their mental toughness. The diving program motivated me to do things that I didn’t think I could.
Sabas now applies these critical problem-solving techniques in his current work with software, where things often don’t work the way they should and require improvisation, logistics, and patience.
Rever encourages its students to value the process rather than the product; the steps to the finish line are more important than the actual finish line.
Beyond life lessons and improving your environmental perspective, scuba diving remains one of the most fascinating experiences to be had.
With an ever-changing landscape and a personal window to the world’s most diverse ecosystem, scuba diving reigns as the most exciting adventure to consider on your next vacation. And did I forget to mention that scuba diving is the ultimate social distancing activity? The ocean is never too crowded. Now more than ever, dive in.