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Maggie Ibarra

Instructor Mike Hale is showing high school students what to do when his oxygen tank runs out of oxygen. As students are practicing underwater, Hale turns off a student’s tank to give a step-by-step safety process.

SCCC students dive deep

April 7, 2020

Students at Seward County Community College are getting an education underwater in Mike Hale’s scuba diving course. Whether one wants to become a Police Diver or just go scuba diving on their vacation to the Caribbean, this class was a big splash before it was canceled due to the “stay-at-home” order that closed activity-related classes on campus.

SCCC has been offering the scuba diving course since 1993 and Mr. Hale has been the instructor of the course since the beginning. The class counts as two credits and one will become a Certified Scuba Diver for life. The students will spend time in the classroom and time swimming around the pool. 

In the pool, students learn to scuba dive, along with many different “What Do I Do If” tasks, such as what to do if their mask falls off underwater and how to get oxygen from another tank if their tank runs out. When finished with this class, they’ll be ready to explore deep under water with little fear because of how safe the sport actually is.

International students who have English as their second language and even students that cannot swim will have no problem being successful and having fun in this class. Instructor Hale will get you the tools to help you succeed, whether that be books in your native language or teaching you how to swim.

Students practice, with instructor Mike Hale, on steps to take when they run out of oxygen at the Wellness Center pool in SCCC. In this lesson, Hale turns off his student’s tanks for them to know how it feels to run out of oxygen and what to do. Scuba diving was canceled when the governor’s “stay-at-home” order was issued. It will be offered again next school year.


Scuba diving teaches you such interesting things, even outside of the water. For Jose Ayala, sophomore drafting and design major, the pool isn’t even the best part. 

“My favorite part of the class is the learning process. Like how if I take a volume of air from one depth to another depth, how much will the volume and density change? That kind of stuff is very interesting to me,” Ayala said.

Not only is the class a blast to participate in for students, but it comes with a lot of benefits as well, one being that it looks good on a resume.

If a student is a criminal justice or a welding major, this would also be a great class to add to their schedule. During their career, diving could be very beneficial in solving old unsolved crimes and even find evidence for new crimes.

Maggie Ibarra
Preparing an oxygen tank to go scuba diving is crucial. Students are instructed to set up their tank in the beginning of class as well as putting away equipment at the end of class.

Police departments and other major companies all over the world are looking for certified scuba divers.

“I’ve had two students who went to work for NASA in the pools, I’ve also had a lot of welders who want to be commercial welders because underwater welding and inspection pays so well and they require you to be open water certified for enroll in a commercial diving classes,” Hale said.

Scuba diving is even great for people who enjoy underwater photography and video, underwater archaeology, and even just want to cross something off their lifelong dreams.

This class is one of the things on my bucket list. Plus it looks so cool to dive underwater,” Ayala said.

Speaking of diving underwater, this year, the class is taking a trip to Lake Meredith and will be participating in four open water dives over  the course of two days.

These dives will be just the start of your many underwater adventures and explorations if you become a certified scuba diver.

“We only live once in this world, let’s make the best of it,” Ayala said.

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