Getting your SCUBA certification at ASU

Students at ASU can get certified with the university’s very own SCUBA club. Just to sum up what the club is like, they do not meet on a regular basis. The club offers PADI certifications on many levels, including Open Water, Advanced, Rescue and Divemaster.

The costs are relatively cheap, especially when you factor in that gear rental is included in the price. This also allows you to meet people at ASU if you’re a student so that you can dive with them later on.

If you’re interested in getting certified and you are an ASU student I highly recommend the SCUBA club. Visit their website at the link above or email Michael Thomas, the club’s advisor, for more information. Who knows? Maybe I’ll see you when I get my rescue diver certification this semester.

Michael Thomas: mdthomas@asu.edu

Stop shark finning

California’s Assembly Bill 376 has the support of tens of thousands of people, including movie star Leonardo DiCaprio. At the moment, the bill is awaiting a decision by the governor of California.

Shark fins are valuable because of the Asian delicacy of Shark Fin soup and millions of sharks die each year because of the process. The bill would make it illegal for shark fins to be transported in or to the U.S. But sharks are still being finned all over the world.

For most people, seeing a shark in the water would terrify them and send them swimming away. But for many SCUBA divers, seeing a shark while in their environment is a dream. It is a thrill, but it puts you in a league with an amazing predator.

Shark finning is a process that forces the shark to die slowly, because it is returned back into the ocean without its fin. That means these majestic creatures are becoming finless corpses at the bottom of the ocean, which isn’t something a diver like me would want to see.

Sharks may have a bad reputation, but they are oceanic predators that do not deserve such an inhumane death. I ask you to make yourself aware of the problem. If you’re like me, you’re a SCUBA diver who wouldn’t mind seeing a fin come out of the water while waiting to descend into the ocean. I’ve joined the cause to stop shark finning throughout the world. I want to dive with sharks in all of their glory, not in their graves at the bottom of the sea. If you want to stop shark finning throughout the world, join the cause now.

Breathe underwater with SNUBA

As someone who thoroughly enjoys diving I tend to recommend to friends on the daily that they should try it. On a rare, yet lately not so rare, occasion I get the responses “I’m scared” or “I’m a little claustrophobic.”

I can’t really understand the first response usually because I’m so passionate about diving but for those who don’t understand how safe it can actually be, it makes sense. Of course, with all the gear that comes with SCUBA diving I understand why some people could be claustrophobic.  Until you get in the water, SCUBA is a pain in the neck.  You’re carrying at least ten percent of your body weight plus about seven pounds more if you’re doing a salt water dive.

So I had an epiphany: If you’re wary about diving because of safety concerns or the gear, why not try SNUBA?

The basic concept is that instead of a Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) you are hooked up to a Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SNUBA). This lets you go diving without all the gear, certification and danger, because you are only going about 20 feet at the deepest and you are in a controlled environment. (The true dangers of diving come with a depth of over 20 feet and your ability to navigate back to your starting point.)

I have never tried SNUBA personally but I know a few people who have and they say it is wonderful.  I would love to try it at a shallow reef, diving without gear has to be very freeing and relaxing.  However, I would not let it replace diving altogether.  I thoroughly recommend it if you are wary about diving; if you’re one of those people who thinks they would love diving but may be too scared to get certified, try SNUBA first and see how you like it.  If you don’t like it, diving probably isn’t for you.  If you do happen to like it, however, I highly recommend it as a stepping stone between snorkeling and your open water certification.

A guide to PADI worldwide SCUBA certification

PADI, the main SCUBA organization, offers certifications for those who wish to pursue diving as a recreational hobby and those who want to become  professional divers. This guide should help you decide which certification will best fit your diving goals.

Open Water
If you aren’t pursuing SCUBA as a serious hobby, Open Water Certification is perfect. It allows you to dive with a dive buddy above a depth of 60 feet. If you’re only looking for something to make vacations more interesting, I would go ahead and stop with your open water certification.

Advanced Open Water
The next step for a diver is to get an Advanced Open Water Certification. This is mainly for divers who want to feel more comfortable in the water and go diving more than just on vacation. This certification will help you dive streamlined and allow you to make the most out of your dives as well as give you the ability to dive as deep as 130 feet.

Specialty Courses
For divers who want to become specialized in certain areas, PADI offers specialty courses in areas such as wreck diving, deep diving, enriched air diving, night diving, underwater photography and more. If you’re looking to dive in different places with different things to see, getting a specialty in something you are interested in will help you feel safe and effective in your dives.

Rescue Diver
If you want to feel completely at ease and comfortable with a dive if something were to go wrong, I recommend getting your Rescue Diver certification. This course will give you the ability to respond to emergency situations that may occur on a dive.

Divemaster
If you’re looking to pursue SCUBA diving as a career, the Divemaster course is the first step. It will allow you to work with instructors in a class, work on a boat as a dive guide and open an array of career opportunities with resorts and dive shops.

If you’re looking for the same prestige you will get from becoming a Divemaster without the responsibility of a professional certification, you may want to consider becoming a Master SCUBA Diver, the last step in recreational certification.  PADI also offers more professional courses up to the level of course director.

You may decide to become a Divemaster or stop at your Open Water Certification. It all depends on what you want to get out of diving. As always, safety is first, so be sure to think about the physical conditions required for diving.