By Erin Gignac
Scuba diving isn’t a dangerous sport, if you’re trained properly, said Rob Knolle, a scuba instructor at Western Michigan University.
“If you hold your breath and [the air] expands into your lungs, then you rupture lung tissues,” he said. “One of the first things out of our mouths when we go on scuba is ‘Never hold your breath. Always breathe normally.’”
Rob Knolle assists main instructor Rick Sass in teaching an eight-week beginning scuba class at WMU. Sass also owns Sub-Aquatic Sports & Service in Battle Creek. Knolle has been an employee for about year. The course, currently in its eleventh year, is offered in the fall and spring semesters and can be found under PEGN 1750 in the course offerings on GoWMU.
“To be a certified diver, you need to: pass the class, do all the pool work and have 75 percent or better on the exam,” he said. “So, if you really mess up on one section, but pass everything else, we make you take that section over.”
Students must complete four dives in open water to complete their certification. This spring break, the instructors are meeting a group of their students in West Palm Beach to complete the class. However, students are responsible for the $650 in expenses, which includes rental scuba gear, a rental boat, transportation, lodging and meals.
“It’s out in the real world, basically,” he said. “You do four scuba dives and a snorkel dive in open water and when you get done with that, we send in for your certification.”