August 18, 2019 | 74° F

Rutgers students developing new scuba diving club

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The goal of the scuba club will be to connect divers with each other for social activities and group-encouragement. 

Students and faculty in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University are planning to develop a scuba diving club for those who wish to explore and view the aquatic life of the local lakes and rivers. 

Deborah Miller is the coordinator of the Rutgers Recreation Scuba Program, and has been recently acting as an advisor to the students who want to start the scuba club. 

“This is an opportunity for certified divers here at the school to be able to get together, to link with one another, get new diving buddies or engage in any sort of diving activity,” Miller said. “It’s a great way to keep the community of divers here at Rutgers together and keep them engaged and encourage them to keep going.”

Students behind the club want to create more opportunities at Rutgers through the recreation department to train inspiring students and help them to become certified, Miller said. The club will also consist of certified divers who can share some of their advice and tips for success.

This past Monday, the students trying to develop the scuba club held an open dive night at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center on Busch campus. Miller said the certified students came in and spent hours working on buoyancy, technique and holding relay races in the Olympic-size swimming pool. The pool has a 17-foot diving well where students have been practicing diving methods.

Presently, Miller said the students are not doing any local dives due to the winter. Once the season opens up in May, students will travel to different places for diving. 

One example is in Buffalo, New York as students go to a freshwater lake called Dutch Springs. Other times they do dives off boats on the coast of New Jersey. Other locations the scuba students have been visiting include the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and Jamaica.

There are approximately five or six students operating as the development board for the club, Miller said. They are able to host open dives once a month at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center, but the students have been working to develop different ideas and trips as selling points for the club.   

Ideas that have been floated include a beach and water clean-up, guest speakers from professional divers, lectures on environmental preservation and so on, Miller said.

The school already provides some scuba lessons through its recreational department, but the focus of the club will not be entirely on training and technique. It is a place where people who work in this field can go and have fun, Miller said.

Miller is confident that the scuba club will take off at Rutgers. She said the recreational department already certifies more than 300 students a year and the University is the perfect environment for a club like this.

“We just want to provide students and professional divers a space to interact and to practice,” she said. “Hopefully, we can get all of these divers to expand on their skills, expand on their experiences and build a diver community within the Rutgers community.” 

Jacob Turchi

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