Learners from the College of Delaware used the Winter season Session in Florida with Michael Birns, the diving protection officer for the College or university of Earth, Ocean and Natural environment and the scuba teacher for the University of Maritime Science and Policy. They spent the month of January diving and doing the job towards numerous certifications, including UD’s to start with at any time Nitrox certification which was section of the 200-degree scuba course. Nitrox certification will involve diving with an oxygen enriched blend for additional basic safety in shallow and intermediate depths. The slide semester college students who certified in Florida in the course of Winter season Session gained a few certifications and an supplemental two semester credits.
Pictures courtesy of Byron E. Little and Cecily Duggan
February 21, 2023
Diving Protection Officer Michael Birns reinvigorating the scuba offerings at UD
When Michael Birns arrived at the College of Delaware in December of 2021 as the diving protection officer for the Faculty of Earth, Ocean and Environment and the scuba teacher for the College of Maritime Science and Coverage, he noticed an possibility to expand the program and raise collaborations across the College and further than.
Acquiring been scuba diving considering the fact that he was 10 years aged, Birns mentioned he is a firm believer that scuba diving can be daily life-shifting. He holds instructor qualifications from five key scuba certification businesses.
“There is nothing at all like the initial time you are in a situation wherever you get the click of neutral buoyancy — which is as near to zero gravity as you can get without leaving the environment,” stated Birns. “The total experience of weightlessness, the flexibility of it, it’s an unbelievable sensation.”
Birns mentioned he hopes to carry that practical experience to much more UD college students, who have three scuba courses out there. Birns teaches all a few courses, in which quite a few pupils simply call him “Captain Mike” simply because of his previously work as a Countrywide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration captain.
Michael Birns, the diving dafety officer for the University of Earth, Ocean and Natural environment and the scuba teacher for the College of Marine Science and Policy, is encouraging to broaden the scuba software and boost collaborations across the University and outside of. Birns has been scuba diving because he was 10, and reported he is a company believer that scuba diving can be existence-modifying.
The 100-level essential scuba open up h2o class is open up to all UD college students and entails lectures and pool periods. The superior 200-level course builds on the lessons figured out at the 100-stage.
Then, there is a 400-stage “Scientific Diving” course that gives an introduction to scientific scuba diving procedures. Completion of this class will certify the college student as an American Academy of Underwater Sciences Scientific Diver and allow them to participate in UD diving investigation tasks that get place with other universities and government businesses.
Immediately after completing the 100-degree class, pupils have the skill to receive their dive certification via the National Association of Underwater Instructors, which will allow for them to do primary, entry-level diving, anywhere in the earth in shallow to intermediate depths.
Students who want to get accredited can both full their dives in Lake Attract in Pennsylvania or vacation to Florida through winter session, in which Birns and a team of UD college students used January 2023 diving and operating toward various certifications, together with UD’s to start with at any time Nitrox certification which was element of the 200-degree class. Nitrox certification consists of diving with an oxygen enriched mix for additional safety in shallow and intermediate depths. The slide semester pupils who went to Florida in excess of Winter Session came household with 3 certifications and an further two semester credits.
The introductory class — both of those the classroom periods and the pool classes — normally takes spot in the Carpenter Sporting activities Building on the Newark campus. About 20 individuals are in the course, which is damaged up into lesser teams for the pool sessions.
Learners learn almost everything from the origins of scuba diving and how it has progressed by way of time to how to adequately use the scuba tools and at some point finding to scuba dive them selves. The pool periods of the course start out in the shallow finish, and, by way of the study course of the semester, learners perform their way up to scuba diving in the deep stop.
Ben Horney and Meredith Lockwood are two UD undergraduate college students who completed the introductory scuba class.
Horney, a senior majoring in civil engineering, claimed he read about scuba at UD from a good friend.
When he arrived at UD, Horney worked with Jack Puleo, professor and chair of the Section of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at the Heart for Used Coastal Exploration and all through that time, he remembered the scuba class and imagined it would be advantageous to his foreseeable future vocation options.
“I recognized I truly preferred this subject, and I needed to consider scuba diving,” claimed Horney. “Now, after having the class, Captain Mike [Birns] has opened up a full new environment of alternatives for me. I could see myself doing this as a career, perhaps, in the potential, and I’m incredibly passionate about it.”
A person of the exterior partnerships that Birns has started to build has been with the Black Women Dive Foundation, a non-profit corporation that establishes house and chance to empower youthful girls to check out STEM via marine science and conservation and scuba diving. Participants from that method joined the UD students through the 2023 Winter Session to dive with and master from the UD college students who have been having scuba qualified.
As a member of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) Collegiate Method, Horney will be element of the CEC local community pursuing graduation and he reported the class assisted him realize the scuba opportunities obtainable to him in the upcoming.
“That is almost certainly the most advantageous element of the scuba plan to me,” explained Horney. “I’m already having that exposure now, and I can carry all the activities on with me to my specialist profession in the Navy and ideally beyond.”
As a lifeguard in the summer season, Lockwood mentioned that she made the decision to just take the class to get a lot more knowledge with the water.
“Being scuba licensed is a life purpose that I desired to accomplish, and the actuality that I could do it for credit score at university is actually wonderful,” said Lockwood, a sophomore maritime science big with a maritime biology focus.
Lockwood said she is energized to see exactly where her scuba vocation can go now that she is certified and has realized so considerably from the class.
“This is the commencing of a for a longer period road of scuba diving and becoming capable to go and get far more certifications — such as dive learn certifications and rescue diving certifications,” explained Lockwood. “Even if I just preferred to go on trip and go scuba diving, not everyone is allowed to just go scuba diving, but I would be ready to. I feel this is a fantastic foundation for prospects and options in the future.”
Another component of the course that they both equally highlighted was how understanding scuba diving with their fellow Blue Hens was a excellent bonding encounter.
“The feeling of comradery that Captain Mike provokes is awesome,” mentioned Horney. “There are folks from all different kinds of disciplines, and it’s good when you get collectively and talk to them about their encounters and why they’re there. It’s a actually gentle atmosphere and a welcoming environment.”
Students from the Black Girls Dive Foundation joined the UD pupils throughout the 2023 Winter season Session to dive with and master from the UD college students who ended up finding scuba licensed.
Lockwood agreed, indicating that she enjoyed meeting other learners who were also interested in scuba and that she appreciated studying from Birns.
“Captain Michael Birns is remarkable,” said Lockwood. “You can explain to he has a whole lot of expertise, and he’s a wonderful professor for this program.”
Growing the Program
One particular of the exterior partnerships that Birns has began to build has been with the Black Girls Dive Basis, a non-earnings corporation that establishes place and option to empower younger gals to explore STEM by way of maritime science and conservation and scuba diving.
Contributors from that plan joined the UD students throughout the 2023 Winter Session to dive with and discover from the UD pupils who were finding scuba qualified. College students from the foundation also traveled to UD in December to check out out the College and its services.
“I’m hoping to display them how wonderful UD is and in a ton of techniques, with any luck , that partnership will work out to provide some of individuals girls to the UD maritime science program,” said Birns.
Birns is also intrigued in expanding the scientific diving method to allow for for collaboration involving the scuba system at UD and the Robotic Discovery Laboratories, where by UD has slicing-edge autonomous underwater cars. For now, he is just hoping to raise the profile of the scuba method at UD to make it possible for for more collaborations.
“I can not go a week in this article with out someone declaring, ‘I did not know we had scuba at UD,’” said Birns. “So we’re making the system up, and I’m psyched about the potential to develop scuba at UD.”