Recently I completed the PADI Rescue Diver Certification. I’ve been wanting to take this course for quite some time. In taking the Scouts to the Florida Sea Base I had really wanted to have this certification before the trip. While I ended up taking the certification after the trip, at least I was motivated to make it happen.
I found the course to be very physically demanding. We had to learn how to control a panic diver on the surface and under water. How to prevent a diver from having an out of control ascent. We had to learn how to bring an unconscious diver up from the bottom and provide rescue breaths.
To complete the course we had to demonstrate all the skills in open water. The most challenging scenario was to find a missing diver. We had to perform an underwater search to find our “missing” diver, which was a blue fin weighted to stay on the bottom. Once we found the “missing” diver, the fin turned into a real diver, Mike. There were three of us acting as “rescuers”. We had to bring the unconscious diver up from a depth of 55 feet. Then we had to start providing rescue breaths and get him out of his diver gear. We had to tow him into shore all the while providing rescue breaths. After we successfully carried him onto the grass, Mike magically turned into CPR Annie. Joe and Patrick, the other two students, started CPR while I got the O2 started. After this scenario, all three of us were physically drained.
This past summer we travelled with the Boy Scouts to the Sea Base High Adventure Camp in Islamorada, Fl. for a full week of SCUBA diving. We were there from July 31st to August 7th with 8 scouts and 4 adults. The scouts were between the ages of 14 and 18.
We did a total of 11 dives during the week. All the dives were coral reef dives on the Atlantic ocean side of the keys. The divers were to a depth of 20 to 30 feet. Water visibility was anywhere from 80 to 40 feet, depending upon the weather conditions. The scouts got to dive both hard corals and soft coral reefs.
The abundance of sea life was just out of this world. We got to see tons of reef fish. Just about every dive we saw at least one barracuda. On the night dive, we saw the barracuda schooling over the reef. We saw a couple of nurse sharks. On one dive some of the boys got to see some black tip reef sharks. The nurse sharks were great. They were between 5 and 6 feet in length and we were able to swim with them for quite some time. We saw some grey spotted eels and several moray eels. On one dive we swam with a sea turtle that was about 3 feet in diameter.
All the scouts and two of the adults had to get PADI certified in SCUBA diving before going on the trip. The scouts did their certification in May & June.
||Long Key Reef
||Pillars of Atlantis
||Capt Grumpy Reef
||South End of Alligator Reef
||North End of Alligator Reef
||Landing Strip Reef