If you’re landlocked in Lynchburg, don’t despair. You can take scuba lessons at University of Lynchburg.
Paul Stern, coordinator of the New Horizons Outdoor Adventure and Leadership Program, became a certified scuba instructor this summer, earning his license from PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors).
Stern said becoming a certified scuba instructor was harder than getting a master’s degree. He had to learn about the physics on diving, how to use technical equipment, and how to teach underwater.
Lynchburg’s only dive shop closed last spring so Stern decided to open scuba lessons up to the public. His first class this fall will be Sept. 9-10 with pool sessions Sept. 19-20 and open water Oct. 3-4. Cost is $275. Participants must also purchase mask, snorkel, fins, booties and rent a wetsuit if desired.
Stern has agreements at the Bedford YMCA and Randolph College for pool sessions and then will take his class to dive in either the New River near Radford or at Lake Rawlins, an old quarry near South Hill, Va., where divers have 60 feet of water in which to explore an intentionally submerged airplane and bus, along with other items including computers.
Stern also plans to take LC students in the New Horizons program on dives, as he did last year when he took a group to Florida to dive with manatees. He’s even dreaming of creating a dive session for incoming freshmen. The ocean’s the limit.
New Horizons is University of Lynchburg’s outdoor adventure program that gives students a chance to do everything from caving and canoeing to rock climbing and scuba diving. But mostly, it’s about developing leadership skills.