I Got Certified to ___. What, There’s More?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 10:34 | Filled in Dive Training, NC diving

Going towards the light

Exploring a wreck in Statia

When I hear that someone is a certified diver, it is usually because they had a specific goal in mind.  A couple may get certified because they are going on vacation in Cozumel and they want to be able to do a little diving while they are there.  Some young adults get certified because they get college credit for it and the class is certainly more fun than doing exercises in a gym (I know that is debatable but I believe the majority of people will agree with me).  Personally, I got certified in 1985 because I knew I would be doing some diving in Australia for the national parks.


What do all these scenarios (including mine) have in common?  Once we got certified and did whatever task we had set before us, we stopped.  I did not dive for 23 years until my son picked up an interest.  I did a scuba tune-up for someone who has not done a dive in over 20 years.  I was in a recently in a meeting where I was doing a scuba presentation to mostly non-divers.  All of the people who mentioned that they were certified had not done any dives in many years.


I believe most people think of scuba diving as an event, not an activity.  There is a well defined goal where all this time and effort is being spent.  The certification class is just one of the necessary tasks towards this goal.  Whether it is a dive in the Caribbean while on vacation, or the training necessary to be able to swim with sharks or find shark teeth, people see scuba diving and the certification as a means towards that goal.  Once the goal is achieved, they set all that training aside and move on to their next activity.


Sometimes there are people still diving because they have not achieved their goal with the introductory certification class.  When my son and I got certified in 2008, we got our Advanced Open Water certification along with our Enriched Air specialty certification because we wanted to dive the Fossil Ledge for Megalodon teeth which reached depths of 105-110 feet.  One of my long-term goals is to dive the USS Oriskany aircraft carrier below the flight deck and through the hangers.  It is a recent wreck sunk off the Gulf coast of Florida and is supposed to be spectacular.  But, to do this dive, I need to complete my advanced technical diving training and become certified to use trimix (oxygen, nitrogen and helium) at depth with staged decompression stops.  I have quite a bit more training to go.


Then there are people like me and folks who you know that you consider to be ‘scuba nuts’ because they spend so much time diving.  When they are not diving, they are thinking about and preparing for their next dive.  We continue to take classes and get training because it makes us better divers.  Any reason to get in the water is a good reason.  We all know a better diver is a safer diver.  And we all know a safe diver is a more fun diver.


So, how can we make these temporary and interim divers see that there is more to this activity than seeing a sea turtle on a reef or experiencing a shark feeding on one of their vacations or cruises?  Hopefully, I am starting to convey some of those ideas through this website.  There are multiple destinations and goals that one can set for themselves through scuba diving.


Red-Tipped Sea Goddess

Red-Tipped Sea Goddess

History buffs can research the history of the North Carolina coast and dive all the shipwrecks.  Many of these wrecks are unidentified and a lucky diver may even be able to find an artifact that names one of them.  In the past few years, archaeologists have been excavating and doing work on Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s flagship that was lost in 1718.  The fishing is exceptional around the North Carolina coast.  Divers regularly spearfish at many of the dive sites.  Large hogfish, grouper, snapper, flounder and other fish can regularly be found.  Personally, I like to spend a lot of my time taking pictures of all the great wrecks and sea life that I see, whether large or small.  I admit a fascination with nudibranchs, colorful ‘sea slugs’.  Underwater photography and videography is becoming much more commonplace with the advent of digital cameras and inexpensive recreational photography equipment.


It is incumbent upon the current active scuba divers and instructors to show everyone how much more there is to this sport.  Scuba diving is not a one-trick pony.  This is an activity that can excite and challenge people beyond that initial exhilaration of breathing underwater for the first time.


Picnic After Safari Hunt 2011

Scuba Divers Enjoying the Day

There is a close knit community of scuba divers.  We tend to congregate and do things together.  Scuba diving is designed to be a social activity and to be shared with others.  You will meet new friends and discover that your old friends also dive.  Scuba diving can be a life-changing activity.  It empowers a person see another world both below and above the water.



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