With almost 120 members, the New College Dive Club is one of the most prominent clubs on campus. Third-year Charlie Edelson, current president of the Bull Sharks, cited that the club was established some time in 2008 and has been gaining popularity ever since. Approximately 30 students attend the weekly meetings which take place on Fridays at 5:30 p.m. next to the pool. Dive Club has two purposes: to teach and certify novice divers and to provide open and advanced water courses for more adept divers. The Bull Sharks attempt to organize one trip per month for destination dives. This semester, they traveled to Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Venice Beach and the Wreck of Regina off Bradenton Beach.
“The dive club acts as a place where a group of actively safe divers can have a blast,” Edelson said.
Edelson started diving when he was 13 at a summer camp in the Florida Keys where he became certified. Since then, he has become a divemaster of technical diving and cites this as what made him become a Marine Biology AOC.
“I’m a Colorado native so I had no chance to be exposed to diving until I came to NCF,” third-year and Vice President of the Bull Sharks dive club Lisa Crawford said. “I’m a Marine Biology AOC so I knew that I would have to dive eventually for my degree and a bunch of my friends were in it so I decided to join. I immediately became certified and now I’m addicted.”
Crawford was one of the inaugural members of the advanced certification course. The dive club certifies about six students per semester and has one of the only advanced certification programs in the area. In the spring semester, they will offer additional certification courses for divers of all levels.
“It is important that we have this club because if you were to go to a local dive shop, you would have to meet and socialize with people you don’t even know and then be able to trust them once you are in the water,” Edelson said. “It’s amazing that we have an organization like this at New College.”
Currently, members are expected to rent their own equipment due to the high costs and complicated regulations the club must comply to in order to buy communal equipment. Luckily, Scuba Quest, a local dive store, gives substantial discounts to New College students. The club has applied for school funding in the past but was unable to receive it. They plan on trying again this year so they can make their monthly trips more affordable to students.
“We just want to go out and dive and have fun. [The club] serves as a really nice environment for people to dive with students they know and trust,” Edelson said.