Apaches can dive into cool crystal clear water this winter with a scuba certification or try a free dive from Tyler Junior College and Scuba Steve’s Aquatic Adven– tures.
“Locally [the winter] is absolutely the best time to dive due to water clarity,” said Billy Hunter, owner of Scuba Steve’s Aquatic Adventures.
TJC has partnered with Scuba Steve’s Aquatic Ad- ventures to offer scuba diving certifications to students. Any student who is curious can try a dive for free. Get- ting a scuba (self contained underwater breathing appa– ratus) certification can get students into a community of people even during the colder seasons.
Certifications are offered throughout the year and many divers like winter diving.
“I like diving during the winter because the water is very clear,” said NAUI (National Association of Under- water Instructors) scuba instructor John Branch. “There isn’t algae making it hard to see like it is during the sum-
mer.”Students who are worried about the cold don’t need to worry too much because there are ways to stay warm.
“Make sure you dress correctly so the cold isn’t too
bad,” said Jenny Helm a student who got certified last winter. “Its nice because there isn’t any crowds during the winter.”
Diving during the winter gives people the chance to get away for the weekend in search of warmer water. The open water skills test will be held at the Comal River in New Braunfels.
“It was fun getting out of town,” said Helm, ” and [the Comal River] was nice, slow moving, and had a con- stant temperature.”
After receiving a certification a new diver can join the scuba diving community of water lovers.
“Scuba diving brings people together into a commu– nity,” said Branch. ” It’s pretty close to a family.”
Hunter said there are people diving nearly every weekend even during the winter and there is always an open invitation to anybody who wants to dive.
Locals dive at the Athens Scuba Park, Tyler State Park, or Clear Springs Scuba Park in Terrell. There are people headed to one or the other throughout the entire season.
A certification takes about a month to complete, meeting twice a week for classroom and confined wa– ter (pool) lessons. The classroom lessons cover the basics and how diving affects the body finished with a multiple- choice test. The confined water lessons cover skills and safety in the water and take place in the TJC pool.
There is also an open water (The Comal River during the winter) skills test. This test consists of six dives. The first is the underwater skills test of what students learned in the pool ses- sions. The other five are just exploring what the river has to of-
fer. If a student wants to get certified he or she should contact Billy Hunter.The cost of the class is $279 plus the cost of the trip. All gear and air tanks are provided.
If any student is unsure if scuba diving is for them they can try scuba diving for free. The free discover scuba dive allows the