After strapping on an oxygen tank, a dozen or so students learn to breathe underwater in instructor Chris Rice’s introduction to scuba classes.
“When you get your buoyancy, there’s nothing like flying underwater,” said Rice, who has been diving for nearly a decade and teaches through his business, Perfect Reflection in Crossville, Tenn. “We’re stuck walking and if you’re walking and you fall, you get hurt. Not in scuba. You give a nice little kick and you’re flying.”
His classes, which culminate in an open water certification, are open to TTU students and the community.
The certifications he offers can help students of all majors land jobs. He said he has had several students get jobs diving for Pennington & Associates, an environmental company in Cookeville.
“Students from across campus can benefit from scuba,” he said. “Structural engineering students can use diving skills. If you’re going to be involved in structures like dams and bridges, you need to be able to dive. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has a whole scuba team. If you’re doing architecture, there are all kinds of thing going on underwater.”
The $475 class is offered over the course of four days several times during the semester with a split payment option for TTU students. Rice also offers free scuba experience sessions for people who may be interested in taking the course. A free session will be from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 20. Though the session is free, registration is required. To sign up, call (931) 260-1221.
“Seventy percent of the world is covered in water and only three percent of the population dives,” Rice said. “There are things under the water that 97 percent of people can’t see. You’re seeing sights that are unbelievable.”