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Thoughts On Emerging From The Coronavirus Lockdown

Coronavirus JOtte COMMENTS 28 Apr, 2020

My fellow divers,

Several years ago, I was conducting a beginning scuba class at Pearl Lake in South Beloit, Illinois, for some university students. During the mask removal skill, one student spit out her regulator while trying to clear her mask. I immediately grabbed the regulator and put it up to her mouth. She calmly put the regulator back into her mouth and finished the skill.

During the debriefing later that day, I made a comment to the class about how calm she remained during what should have been a very stressful situation. She responded by saying, “I wasn’t worried. I knew you would take care of me.”

I never forgot that comment. Scuba students and divers place an incredible amount of trust into Divemasters and Instructors. They trust us to have the equipment they will need to dive. They trust us to know how to safely enter and exit the water. They trust us get them to the best dive spots and safely return them to the boat or shore. They trust us to have the skills to take care of them when something goes wrong on the dive.

As a young instructor, hearing that student say, “I knew you would take care of me” forced me to think about how much responsibility the role of Divemaster or Instructor has. We are the lifeguards for scuba divers, and those divers trust us with their lives.

I am telling you this story because as we ease into our 2020 dive season, Divemasters and Instructors will need to assume responsibility for diver safety above water more so than ever before. COVID-19 has changed the way we work, the way we live and the way we will play. Presidents and governors can tell us when we can open for business, but Divemasters and Instructors will need to apply new rules and new procedures to ensure that divers do not spread or catch this virus while in class or on a dive.

For the last few weeks, we at Aquatic Adventures have been looking for ways to make our return to diving safe. Currently the Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) and others are recommending against in person training. Our lakes and pools are still closed, and our business is still in limited lockdown.

As a result, we have been running virtual classes on Zoom to keep everyone engaged and moving forward. We have begun looking for alternative pool locations and discussing ways to accomplish skills without violating social distancing requirements or common-sense practices for living in a pandemic.

In the coming weeks, we will be working with PADI, DAN, RSTC and our insurance companies to find the best ways for us to teach you to dive and keep you safe when you dive with us. I know everyone is eager to get wet, but we need to do this responsibly. Failing to do so could mean someone who loves to dive will get sick and may never dive again. For our staff, it could mean their diving career is over.

For now, Aquatic Adventures is currently open by appointment for curbside drop-off and pick up of gear servicing, equipment rental and tank fills. We are fulfilling all online orders at https://diveaai.com/shop/diving/en. We are teaching virtual classes to keep us all in great diving form. All in-person classes, however, are being rescheduled until it is safe to resume them and facilities are available to conduct them.

If you need anything, call us at (262) 938-6827. Unfortunately, we do not have more than one phone line, so if you get voicemail, leave a message and we will call you back. We appreciate your patience and support. Stay home. Stay healthy. Live to dive another day.

Jerry Otte
Executive Director
Aquatic Adventures, Inc.

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