When the new pool at San Benito High School opened this summer, it created new possibilities for aquatic programs for the local community. Five times a year, it will host scuba diving certification classes taught by Mauri Munoz of Gilroy-based Pacific Ocean Water Sports.
Munoz said he started scuba diving at an early age.
“I was eight years old and with my Uncle Rudy, who was spearfishing,” he said. “He came back with pressure still in the tank, and I begged him to let me put on the gear. It was instant love of the ocean and the sport.”
Munoz began teaching in 2005, using the pool at Gavilan College. He now runs Pacific Ocean Water Sports full time, which gives him the focus he wants.
“I love that I can maintain the high standards of safety and training that I learned from my instructors,” he said.
The certification classes follow a set schedule. There are two three-hour classroom sessions with theory and instruction followed by two four-hour sessions at a pool. Once in the water, students begin with warmups that include 10 minutes of treading water. After that, they pull on the wetsuits, check the air tanks, and get into the water with scuba gear. Following another series of safety checks, students are allowed to submerge. The final test lets them try their skills with two days of ocean diving.
Andrew Eymann, who plays on the San Benito High water polo team, attended a scuba certification class on Nov. 7. He first got interested in scuba diving through an introductory program offered by the Boy Scouts. That experience created an instant passion for the sport.
“You get to see a whole different side of the world,” Eymann said. “Seventy percent of the world is underwater. You get to see a lot of things regular people never get to see, the beauty of the natural life.”
Classes include the instruction time, dive tables and logbooks, a student manual, the certification card, the scuba gear rental, and all other fees. The next class at the San Benito High School pool starts Dec. 3. There are also classes available in Gilroy.
For more information, visit the Pacific Ocean Water Sports website or call (408) 713-1211.