Diving deep

Features

Most people use a surplus of free time to pick up a new hobby or skill, but few are as adventurous as junior Braeden Rose who decided to undergo the rigorous process of obtaining his scuba diving certification.

Scuba diving first piqued Braeden’s interest last October after reading a magazine labeled “Top 10 Places to Scuba Dive,” at which point he said he became obsessed with the idea of learning how to scuba.“I started doing research into it, and I realized that you needed to be certified,” he said. Braeden became certified through the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) where he took six four-hour lessons often ending at 10:30 in the evening.

“Most lessons usually start with a classroom component and end with going into the water,” Braeden said. “You have to learn things about pressure and oxygen and a lot of the stuff behind dive theory, and there is also some math involved in the certification.” When it came time for the final exam, Braeden had to complete what was called an Open Water Dive over the course of two days. “I had mine in late October, and we were actually in the ocean out of Rhode Island,” Braeden said. “Essentially, I had to prove to the examiners that I knew how to do the essential skills that I learned over the course.” He did exactly that, finally earning his official certification. Now that he is allowed to dive recreationally, Braeden does so through a diving center, which takes him out on a boat to a dive spot and provides him a buddy to go along.

“I usually don’t get scared because I did all the training, and I know what to do if something goes wrong,” Braeden said. “However, the parts I do find scary are dives of enclosed spaces, because you can easily get stuck or lost, and it’s dark.” Braeden explained that his favorite part is seeing all the cool animals up close. “[The ocean is] so colorful too, but as you get deeper, colors become duller and the seascapes become less bright, but it isn’t very noticeable at the recreational depths,” he said.

In the future, Braeden said he would like to go diving more often and further continue his training, which would allow him to obtain higher certifications or specialties such as underwater photography, fish identification, and rescue diving. Ultimately, Braeden said he feels that this experience has encouraged him to try new things and step out of his comfort zone.

Although scuba diving seemed daunting to him at first, he said it has allowed him to see many bewildering sights in the ocean that only a fraction of people will be able to witness firsthand. “It opened up for me a whole new world that I never would have gotten the opportunity to see otherwise,” he said. “[The ocean] never really gets boring. It’s like this other planet with different rules and a whole different set of residents. Down there, we’re like tourists to the fish.”