Photo Information

A student listens as an instructor shares information about handling scuba equipment at Camp Johnson Pool, March 16. She was there to take place in the Open Water certification class, one of many scuba classes offered aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.::r::::n::

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera

Students dive into new worlds with scuba class

16 Mar 2012 | Lance Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera

In the warm days of summer that are approaching, many families will make their way to the coastlines throughout North Carolina for a day in the sun and sand. Many other adventurers will trek further into the ocean and delve deeply in the sea to discover underwater plants, animals and even famed shipwrecks that fill the local area by scuba diving.

For those who are interested in learning how to scuba dive, or those interested in advancing their skills, Outdoor Adventures is holding a series of classes aboard Camp Johnson to get them closer to their goals.

“My (introduction) to every new class that I’ve taught for the last 15 years is that scuba diving is addictive,” said Maj. Dev Spradlin, New River Dive Centers’ chief instructor, who is working with Outdoor Adventures to provide the classes for the military community aboard the base. “Once you start it, it’s all you will ever want to do.”

Through a four-day series of classes, students learn all the basics needed to gain an open water diver certification through the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. The class begins with classroom instruction, although students can take the initial classes online.

It then progresses to confined water dives where students learn to assemble and disassemble their gear and start diving in a pool. Instructors go over basic skills such as clearing one’s mask of water.

“(The class) is very user friendly,” said Tara Conway, a student in the open water class. “Courses in the past have taken longer periods of time. It’s been an arduous process with a lot of classwork. This particular class focuses on getting you in the water.”

Lance Cpl. Tafari Coffie, a rifleman with Marine Corps Special Operations Command, felt that the initial venture in a pool gave him greater confidence in his equipment and skills while scuba diving.

“It was fun and exciting,” said Coffie. “I learned very quickly.”

Once students have completed their confined water dives they begin diving in open water. The students will complete four open water dives in either a rock quarry or the open sea.

“When I take an open water diver to the water it’s going to be in crystal clear water,” said Spradlin. “He’s going to see cool stuff (like) fish and some awesome wrecks, the stuff that makes him want to scuba dive in the first place. (Students) see all of that because I want them to love scuba diving. I love it and I want everybody who does it to love it, too, so I’m going to put them in the environment where they will have the best experience.”

The classes available aren’t limited to the Professional Association of Dive Instructors Open Water Certification. The instructors can also teach other Professional Association of Dive Instructors and Scuba Diver International certifications.

Classes can also delve into many specialties, from wreck diving specifically to underwater photography and videography.

The instructors teach with an emphasis on hands-on learning, giving the students the knowledge and skills to prepare them for the world of adventures that lie ahead with scuba diving.

“The main point is to go have fun,” explained Spradlin.

For more information, visit or call 451-1440.