Could you, right now, swim 50 yards nonstop, complete a 50 ft. underwater swim in one breath, and perform a sustained 25 minute survival swim? We have ten seniors and one faculty member who can and did. These students completed this list of water skills as a prerequisite to joining our new scuba diving class. After backpacking the necessary equipment in on the Rubicon Trail, they started an adventure that will last a lifetime and will take them to the far reaches of the earth in a very cold natural pool complete with leeches.
Students are learning from an experienced instructor and SAA alumnus, Jon Salas, ’94. Salas was part of the Scuba Club during his days as an SAA student, and thinks it may be time to restart the club for the next generation. Salas and science teacher Zach Mason have big plans for the future of science at SAA. Scuba was actually an outgrowth of the Marine biology class which will be offered next semester. “My basic idea was that it would be great to give the kids a real life opportunity to create and implement an underwater research project,” says Mr. Mason. SAA decided to make an underwater research program a reality through this scuba certification course. “In terms of the science program, this is a very big step forward.This class combination gives the students an opportunity to do real science, which ultimately should be the goal of all our science classes.”
This class consists of 16+ academic hours and 25+ practical in-water training (confined and ocean). After passing their certification test in December, our students will receive an internationally recognized NAUI certification, good for the rest of their life, and will be armed with the ability to participate in underwater research projects in Marine Biology.