The second quarter of 2018 was a very busy time for us. We participated in 8 full days of fundraising events, spoke to thousands of people about our programs and raised funds to support them. Our activity with classes has remained high and we’ve begun training more dive professionals to join our staff.
In June we had our first Discover SCUBA Diving class that was conducted by our newest Dive Masters – all three of whom were trained by the WAVES Project. We call it “Veterans training Veterans”. It represents the accomplishment of a major goal of ours, to bring veterans through the program and train them to be leaders. We certified 5 new rescue divers and now have 8 veterans who are beginning the Dive Master training in July.
Staff training has been a big part of getting ready for the summer months. We are excited to report that as of the end of June we had 75 approved applicants in line for upcoming classes. This presents the challenge for us to train and search out more dive professionals to conduct the training.
We conducted HSA (Handicap SCUBA Association) training for our instructors and Dive Masters to gain the skills to transfer a paralyzed “wheeled” diver onto a dive boat, then into the ocean and back out again. We have one paralyzed diver in our class that began in June and will complete mid July so this training was very timely. In addition, two of our instructors completed the first phase of crossover training with an additional certifying agency – SSI (SCUBA Schools International) This gives us more flexibility for training dive professionals and staff development.
Two of our veteran participants completed a week long training course through the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) and received their Scientific Diver Certifications. These two will help lead future expeditions working with the National Park Service conducting service projects as part of the continuation of our Mission Oriented Diving Program (MOD).
In June we signed a lease for our own office space and have begun moving in. This will give us the opportunity to store dive gear in the warehouse area and set up our service area. This is another major milestone for us to move forward with our planned projects of training veterans to service SCUBA Gear. It also gives us the ability to obtain our own air compressor to fill SCUBA Cylinders with breathing air reducing our dependency on other business to meet our needs. We will also train veterans to inspect and certify that our SCUBA Cylinders are in good condition and safe for diving. Lots of great things are in the works, we are very encouraged with the progress we are making and having achieved these important goals.