Aquarium Seeks Dive Volunteers

October 03, 2006

Volunteer dive training is being offered to advanced level divers

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is offering dive volunteer training in two separate series of classes this fall. The first course will be will be held two consecutive weekends; Saturday and Sunday October 28 and 29 and the following weekend, November 3 and 4. The next course will be held four consecutive days; Thursday through Sunday, November 2 – 5. Volunteer divers play an important role in maintaining the 1.3 million gallon Passages of the Deep and other exhibits, with divers doing everything from cleaning the acrylic to feeding the Aquarium’s 15,000 animals.

“Among the divers in the Pacific Northwest are a core group of highly qualified and experienced divers who make volunteering at the Oregon Coast Aquarium part of their lives,” said Aquarium Dive Safety Officer Vallorie Hodges. “Their experience level, training requirements and commitment make them an elite group among divers.” Hodges said diving in the Aquarium is a popular experience among Northwest divers offering a unique opportunity to watch marine life close up in the Aquarium habitats. “The Aquarium offers divers the chance to swim with several species of sharks, bat rays, Pacific halibut, skates, and a variety of invertebrates, birds and mammals. The work is rewarding and it is a clear water environment that can’t be found in the waters along Oregon’s coast,” said Hodges.

During the course, divers will learn about the natural history of the Oregon coast, the diverse marine life at the Aquarium, and how to perform routine maintenance. Divers will develop skills for diving in the Aquarium exhibits, with an emphasis on buoyancy control, finning and full-face mask use. Once divers complete the training course, they can become a volunteer and receive benefits that include an Aquarium membership after 50 hours of service, two free passes for every 100 hours, a 20-percent discount in the gift shop and free admission to special programs at the Aquarium.

Divers must be at least 18 years old, be certified divers at an advanced level or higher, hold a current CPR and first aid certification. The dive-training course cost is $175.00. Volunteer divers are committed to diving and working to maintain Aquarium exhibits or other duties one day every three weeks for one year. For more information or to register for the training course, divers can call Vallorie Hodges at the Aquarium at (541) 867-3474 ext. 5302.

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