High school students (L to R) Drew, Matt, Florian, and Danielle learn the scuba diving and the basics of underwater archaeology in the MARC class.
LAMP staff regularly teaches a Maritime Archaeology Research Class (MARC) at Pedro Menendez High School. In addition to learning the basics of maritime history, archaeology, and marine science, select students undergo scuba training and certification. All dive training is overseen by Chuck Meide, LAMP Director and a NAUI scuba instructor.
Scuba certification includes both classroom time and an extensive amount of time in the pool. Our current group of students has participated in more than 10 pool sessions of at least two hours each. This is considerably more pool time than most open water classes, and the results are divers with strong skills who are confident and comfortable in the water, despite their age. LAMP works exclusively with Sea Hunt Scuba, St. Augustine’s premier dive shop. Sea Hunt Scuba maintains a training pool which is all deep end and perfect for teaching scuba.
Despite the intense training sessions, these kids know how to have fun. Here Drew and Matt show off for the camera.
Danielle is the only girl in the class this semester. She is a strong diver and can keep up with any of the guys.
Florian is an exchange student from Germany. He is on the swim team and is very good in the water, a natural scuba diver.
Here is a video clip of our student divers during a pool training session.
Our volunteer John “Tank” Brunswick is undergoing Divemaster training at LAMP, and he helps oversee the students during our pool sessions. Here is is participating in a black-out mask drill. His view obstructed by duct tape, Tank is following a line laid out on the pool bottom in a zig-zag obstacle course. Each of the students has also done this drill, to prepare them for dives in low-visibility waters. They will be diving with us on a historic shipwreck site in late May, where they will undoubtedly learn to appreciate this low-vis training.
The students must also participate in five open water dives, and demonstrate to their instructor that they have mastered all of the basic required skills of scuba. We staged our first three checkout dives successfully last Saturday at Alexander Spring in the Ocala National Forest. Even with only four student divers, we need a considerable amount of gear. Here is some of the scuba equipment stowed on a tarp. In the background is Alexander Spring.
Congratulations to our student divers for completing their first three dives! From left to right, LAMP archaeologist Brendan Burke, student diver Danielle, LAMP volunteer Tank, LAMP Director Chuck Meide, and student divers Drew, Matt, and Florian. Stay tuned for more pictures of our young explorers from their next open water dives, on a shipwreck site offshore St. Augustine.
To see more pictures from previous semesters of the MARC scuba class, click here (to see lots of underwater photos of Alexander Spring) and here (to see ocean checkouts).