Have you ever been to an all-inclusive resort that offers scuba diving as one of the excursions? For one reason or another,
Diving was always one of those activities I avoided. Not out of fear, but more out of what I rationalized as I was not confident in learning what would keep me alive and safe forty-plus feet underwater in less than an hour.
Diving would not be in the Family Fortunes' top 100 surveys for Oklahoma sports in the world of adventure or sports. I was surprised to find out that the third oldest Dive Shop in the United States is located in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Frank's Underwater Sports has been certifying divers for over 65 years. What started as a quest by Frankie Sr. to find a way to continue to water ski in the winter months with the then "invention of wet suits" by early dive pioneers such as Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the French naval officer, and Diving innovator, led the founder of Frank's Underwater Sports into the world of diving.
Currently, Frank's Underwater Sports is operated by the 2nd Generation Frankie and his son, a third-generation Diver. One of my company's core values is "We Have Fun," so when I was asked as a member of my to be a part of a private class taught by Frankie Jr, I could not say no.
The history mentioned above of the Dive Shop took me entirely by surprise. Before the course, the enthusiastic Frankie shared with me the rich history of his dive shop and the sport of Diving. His passion and excitement are truly contagious.
As a new Diver, you will be put through the Open Water Certification through the Scuba Schools International Certification or SSI. Since June 1, 2010, Scuba Schools International has been one of the few certifications qualified for a Global ISO Certification.
For those with a busy schedule, such as myself, I was pleased to find out that most of the "classroom" education is completed online or through the SSI App (available on Android or Apple products).
The online material must be completed before you attend class. Actual classroom time comprises of two evening classes the take place on a Thursday and Friday, followed by a half-day, Saturday class. Each class is split between in-class learning, and then you head over to a fitness center to utilize their pool for practical dive training.
Suppose you are concerned about the "breathing underwater" experience. Let me tell you, don't be. Believe it or not, it is the furthest thing from your mind as you swim along the bottom of the pool. At one point, after working through a variety of dive skills,
I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm breathing underwater." I must admit, though, on multiple occasions, the instructor had to give me the hand signals to surface as I was having too much fun hanging out at the bottom of the pool.
After the classroom, pool time, and a 50-question test, Frankie will schedule a two-day, five-dive session at a local lake. Local, as in one of Oklahoma or Arkansas lakes. Yes, it is not as grand and exciting as Diving in Cozumel, Mexico; however, it is part of the certification process.
I must add, though, I was pretty excited to hear that there are a few places to explore underwater between these two states, including underwater memorials, sunken towns, and a few other underwater sites to explore. After completing these dives, you receive your Level 1 Dive certification.
This year, I have two big trips planned; one to the Maldives and Puerto Rico. Besides the fun in the sun and relaxation, I am excited to put my new Dive certification to use. If you are a traveler, let me share my excitement with you.
Do not leave your trip to explore what is above sea level; reach out, get your dive certification, join me with many other Oklahomans with their dive certification, and explore the world below the sea on your travels abroad.