By Jessica Salmond, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The world under the sea is just a few classes away.
Jerry Coleman, owner of Into the Blue Dive Shop, also is a PEDI-certified dive instructor. He has been diving for almost 12 years and opened the dive shop in 2008.
Coleman offers a free “Bubblemaker” class, a basic introduction to scuba, to give people an idea if they would enjoy the aquatic activity.
“I want to make sure somebody likes it before they have to spend a dime,” Coleman said.
The next level is the Discover Scuba course, teaching 6 skills, and the Open Water Course, teaching 24 skills, Coleman said. To become fully certified, a diver must study a book and pass a quiz and a final exam.
When interested participants pursue scuba, Coleman tells them they’ve joined the “less-than-one-percent club” — less than one percent of the world population goes scuba diving, he said.
Over the years, interest in scuba diving for dive shops everywhere has increased, Coleman said. He attributes this rise to the increase of people taking trips and going on cruises. Many of these cruises offer scuba sessions, he said.
Last year, he certified 122 people through his shop.
“For Enid, that’s pretty good,” he said.
Coleman organizes trips for certified scuba divers. Last year, he took 40 people to Honduras to dive.
“We’ve got a good following down here,” he said.
Linda Higgins of Ponca City became a certified scuba diver through Coleman’s classes. Since she began diving about six years ago, she has traveled to Belize, Honduras and Cozumel to experience the waters there. She said she enjoyed the fish beneath the surface.
“The colors are so bright. It’s beautiful down there,” Higgins said. “I saw a crab as big as a table top.”
She is helping her 14-year-old granddaughter from Las Vegas, Makayla Higgins, develop an interest in the recreation. Her grandmother’s stories about scuba diving have drawn Makayla in.
“She’s told me all about what she’s seen in the ocean,” Makayla said.
If she passes the certification, her grandmother is going to take her to Cozumel to scuba there, Makayla said.
Coleman is a counselor for the scuba diving merit badge course for Boy Scouts. College students also can receive college credit for taking the Open Water Course and the Advanced Course. Into the Blue is located at 115 S. Jackson Street in Enid. For more information, call (580) 747-6044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.