I have been volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center (GSC) as a part of Shark Reef since the Aquarium dive program began in 2013. I became aware of, and interested in, this opportunity when my young granddaughter informed me that her favorite place to visit and explore in Greensboro (GSC, of course) was in the process of implementing a new aquarium addition. She was so excited at the prospect and I definitely wanted to learn more about it myself.
The GSC aquarium dive certification process is very thorough and in depth, similar to the requirements for scuba open water certification. The type of diving that we do at GSC is considered commercial diving because we use surface supplied air, umbilical cords, full face masks, audio, tender, etc.. Not all of these components are included in the training required for basic scuba diving. We have a very comprehensive dive operations manual, Diving Standards for Underwater Operations, which is based on strict OSHA Standard 29 requirements. For every dive that occurs at the GSC aquarium, there is both an Active Diver and a Stand-By Diver (Tender) in place, as well as a DPIC (Designated Person In Charge). Only the actual diver is in the water (wet side), while the Stand-By Diver and the DPIC are present and available as back-up (dry side) in case of the need, emergency or otherwise. Additionally, all members of the aquarium staff have their radios tuned to our own GSC channel for each daily dive.
Being a volunteer diver at GSC has given me the opportunity to share my love of Mother, Mother Ocean, and our undersea world with many visitors over the past three years. However, as most of the divers in our program would probably agree, I have received so much more from the dive program than I could ever give back in return. After volunteering at Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida, for the past ten years, I am so appreciative of the opportunity the GSC dive program has given me to participate in a wonderful and similarly rewarding capacity right here in my hometown of Greensboro.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Eric and Susan Wiseman for making this wonderful educational facility possible for one and all to enjoy. Their vision and support for the GSC is without equal. I am certain it will only get better as we await their participation and contribution in bringing about the new 2500 square foot addition onto the existing aquarium facility.
So as my good friend Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt says, ” Join us again soon for another underwater adventure.“. I look forward to seeing you soon on the “Dry Side” from me on the “Wet Side”!