Wednesday, May 6, 2009

NAUI Scuba Certification

This week two of our courses, Leadership and Tri-Country, are in Panama getting SCUBA certified by our very own Executive Director, Jim Rowe, PhD.

So what does it take to get SCUBA certified, you might ask (especially if you're a parent, wondering what your child must go through in order to get such a gold stamp)?

First of all, all of our students' certifications are backed by NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) Worldwide, the world's most respected, largest non-profit diver training organization in the world. It was established in 1959 as a membership association and organized solely to support and promote Dive Safety Through Education.

The course lasts 3-5 days, and it looks like this:

* Contained Dive: This usually happens in a pool or very shallow water to practice standard rhythmic breathing and buddy breathing.
* Open Dive #1: Students descend in water approximately 10-20 feet for 45+ minutes or more, always with an instructor. They must apply a few practical emergency skills, such as mask clear and retrieval of regulator. Hand signals are also practiced.
* Open Dive #2: Students again descend in water with their instructor about 10-20 feet for 45+ minutes. Practical challenges consist of Dive #1 tests in addition to a few more.
* Open Dive #3: Students descend for another 45+ minutes with their instructor, this time about 20-30 feet. Practical challenges include those of Dive #1 and #2, and the instructor will add a few more, such as equipment removal and reapplication.
* Open Dive #4: This is the final 45-minute dive with their instructor, and students must quickly be able complete all practical challenges as well as troubleshoot fake emergency situations.
* Free Dive: Students are allowed to explore always within sight of instructor.

And lastly, SCUBA - for your trivia lesson of the day - means Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

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