WAVES continues to grow! We have over a hundred applicants waiting to start the program 2019 so staff development took precedence in this quarter. We currently have 7 veterans enrolled in the Professional Training Program to become Dive Masters and be able to assist with classes. Additionally two of our instructors are taking further training to offer more services to divers.
WAVES Instructors had the opportunity to meet Jean-Michel Cousteau; son of
Jacques Cousteau, at the annual DEMA trade show.
At our annual trade show in November, two veterans took four days of training to become certified to service and inspect SCUBA equipment including regulators and air cylinders. This gives us the ability to repair and maintain all WAVES equipment in-house as well as offer the services to veterans and the general public. Veterans receive greatly reduced pricing for the service and any proceeds from the public go back into the organization to support our programs.
In Q4 our lead instructor became certified as an instructor trainer with SCUBA Schools International so that he can conduct the cross over training for existing instructors as well as train new instructors. This reduces our costs for student materials and allows for greater flexibility.
An additional program we have started is a women divers program where women will train other women veterans. Those women with VA Disability Ratings will be the focus of this program as well as family members of disabled veterans. We currently have one female dive professional and a second one in the professional training program.
We have recruited two non-veteran female dive professionals to join our staff to assist with this program. We continue to further develop women divers to the instructor level to conduct the training. One of our female veteran alumni has agreed to serve as a project manager of the program to recruit and communicate with prospective divers. This is a small but under-served section of the veteran community we hope to provide with recovery tools. We are in the initial setup process with this program.
Our partnership with the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center has continued to grow. We conducted another mission oriented diving project in Lake Mead with seven divers working on the conservation and mapping efforts. Two additional Lake Mead projects are scheduled for 2019.
During the week of December 7th we sent six divers to continue the work on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor Hawaii. The memorial is currently closed to visitors due to recent damage. The project focuses on mitigating environmental damage due to oil leaking from the sunken ship as well as looking for solutions to preserve access to the memorial. During the week-long project the veterans from our California and Colorado groups were treated to a visit from members of the band the Eagles and were guests at a memorial concert they put on to commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The divers were greeted after their dive by members of the Eagles – Joe Walsh, Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit. The group invited the divers to attend their memorial concert on December 7th at Aloha Stadium.