Scuba diving class offered at Tech

Instructor Chris Rice (bottom left) from center left, Katilynn Franklin, Robin Rice and Taylor Jett.
Photo by Logan Staley.

On a Monday afternoon in a pool located in the basement of Memorial Gym, Tech scuba instructor Chris Rice pushes his students backward into the deep end to start class. 

Rice has been teaching at Tech for nine years with the help of his wife, Robin, and initially got into scuba diving as a family activity. 

“We have always been a close-knit family, and we passed a trailer one day when our kids were small … and it was ‘Learn to Scuba Dive’ and our son was like ‘Hey! Let’s do that,’” Rice said. 

Rice is affiliated with Scuba Diving International and the Professional Association of Dive Instructors. Through the classes, he offers certifications for four diving levels: Open Water, Advanced Adventure Diver, Rescue Diver and Divemaster. Students who earn one of the certificates are able to leave Tech and work professionally with their divemaster certification, he said. 

Andrew Goddard, a senior mechanical engineering major, and Jacob Lord, a senior wildlife and fishery science major, founded the Scuba Society Club in February to offer students of all experience levels fellowship and opportunities to go on dive trips. 

Goddard, the president, discovered diving when he passed Rice handing out flyers on Tech’s quad for his scuba diving class. 

Lord, the vice president of the club, said he formed an interest as a child watching “Rescue Heroes,” a cartoon in which a team of emergency responders rescue people out of various disasters. 

He did not have the opportunity to dive until he got to Tech and enrolled in Rice’s open water scuba diving class.  

Club members may participate in discounted trips through the professional organizations Rice works for and also a few trips of their own Goddard said. 

“We have several trips throughout the year … during fall break we do local checkout dives … for spring break we go to the springs in northern Florida and we follow it up by going to Disney and diving the Epcot Exhibit … and every May we take them to Key Largo for five days,” Rice said. 

Rice said he enjoys seeing students realize the value of the oceans and endangered reefs.

“Changing these kids’ lives … when they go to open water with me and see a fish, turtle or shark for the first time … we’ve had students in the nursing field and have changed to marine biology because they want to make a change and have an impact on the environment,” Rice said. 

For more information on diving and the Scuba Society Club go to the Instagram page scubasociety.tntech.