Dive Into Adventure: Exploring the College Dive Course

At Santa Maria College, we are all about diving headfirst into exciting experiences, quite literally! Our school-run scuba diving course isn’t just about exploring the underwater world; it is a journey of discovery, growth, and unforgettable moments. 

The PADI Open Water course at Santa Maria College is in its second year. In that time, 83 students from Years 10 – 12 have successfully passed the course, which also provides them with an endorsed unit in which they could contribute to their WACE requirements.

The Benefits of Scuba Diving

The PADI Open Water scuba diving course provides students with a unique opportunity to connect with nature in an immersive way. This experience fosters a deep appreciation for the environment and instils a sense of responsibility for its conservation, empowering students to become stewards of our oceans.

Participating in our scuba diving course promotes physical fitness and wellbeing. As students refine their diving skills and build endurance, they not only improve their physical health but also boost their confidence and self-esteem.

The course offers invaluable opportunities for personal growth and development. Learning to scuba dive requires mastering new skills, overcoming challenges, and adapting to dynamic environments, all of which contribute to the development of crucial life skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and resilience. Whether it’s navigating underwater terrain or communicating effectively with their dive buddies, students emerge from the course with newfound confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

The Social Benefts

Diving is a social activity that relies on trust, communication, and cooperation between divers. Through shared experiences and mutual support, students forge bonds that extend beyond the confines of the classroom, creating lasting friendships and memories that will endure long after the course has ended. And for one student, it was the opportunity to become a third generation diver, after her father and grandfather.

Participating in our school-run scuba diving course opens the door to a world of exciting opportunities beyond the classroom, from marine biology research to careers in underwater photography or conservation.

Perth Scuba Empowering Students

Perth Scuba was the provider for the course, and it was such a positive experience for our students that all the dive instructors were female. These ladies were powerful role models for our students, showing them that women can excel in traditionally male-dominated fields. The female only diving course also sends a powerful message about the importance of diversity and inclusion within the diving community. It demonstrates our commitment to creating an environment where all individuals, regardless of gender, feel valued, respected, and supported in their pursuit of adventure and exploration.

What Did the Students Think of the Course?

Year 11 student Sarah Gugiatti who completed the course in 2023 shared the following:

It was a very exciting and new experience, much different to the usual snorkelling. We were granted with good weather to be able to experience a different feeling of life under the water. I got the chance to see many new things from a different perspective deep in the ocean. I am now in Year 11, and it has been a year since completing my PADI open water diving ticket. Since then, I have been on another dive in Bremer Bay, where I got the chance to see some new species of sea life, including a leafy sea dragon. This experience has made me grateful for the opportunities I am able to have. 

Year 10 students Elizabeth Harris & Esme Burgess share their experience

Elizabeth Harris

As soon as I heard about the scuba diving course that the school was offering, I jumped at the opportunity. I would always find diving an intriguing concept, but I never thought the opportunity would present itself to me! The final straw that pushed me to do it was that I would be able to do it with my friends and teachers. With familiar people, this course was a breeze.

Two moments stand out to me when I think of the course. Seeing the shipwreck at Rockingham and jumping off the boat at Rottnest. On the second day of the course at Rockingham, we went on two shore dives, the second of which was when we saw a shipwreck. That experience, with so much water above me and so much water below me, felt like flying, and that is when all the excitement, work and anticipation paid off. The second most memorable moment was when everyone in Group 1 was jumping off the boat at Rottnest together, that moment reminds me of why I wanted to do the course in the first place – to have fun with friends.

There were a few moments when I felt pushed out of my comfort zone, the most notable one being when we surfaced on the final dive, only to find that we were 100m away from the boat. The swim was brutal, with the current against us and exhaustion creeping in. Thankfully, my friends and supervisors helped me get through it with lots of jokes and humour. Even though it was hard at the time, we laugh about it now.

This course helped me adapt to new situations, and coming away from it, I learned the importance of patience and perseverance. Patience is key in getting things right in such a complex activity and I quickly became accustomed to repeating the assembly/disassembly of gear and waiting for instructions, it did become (somewhat) therapeutic. Perseverance, what would I have done without perseverance? (I would probably be halfway floating to Antarctica by now) Yes there were challenges, yes it was hard and scary and all of the in-between. But sometimes we need to realise that because it is hard, is why it is so rewarding.

I got to do this course with some great people, friends, instructors and teachers alike. I got to know new people and form new connections (the great thing about it being underwater is you don’t have to worry about messing up on social cues; actions speak for themselves). It also meant that when things didn’t go according to plan, you had people to help you out.

Esme Burgess

Exploring the underwater world has always fascinated me (I was constantly watching the “Blue Planet” documentaries and reading marine science books growing up), so I was ecstatic when I was given the opportunity to learn how to dive! Doing the course with Santa Maria allowed me to pursue a passion of mine in a safe environment with experienced and friendly instructors.

I had many memorable experiences during the course, most notably, however, was the abundance of marine life I saw during the first dive on Rottnest!

The PADI course equipped me with many skills that extend far beyond diving. Alongside learning diving techniques, I found that the course helped me to develop my teamwork skills, problem-solving ability, risk management, and confidence. These skills (despite being valuable underwater) are very beneficial in everyday life, making the course not only enjoyable but also an enriching experience beyond diving itself.

I would highly recommend the PADI dive course to other students! It is a thrilling opportunity to safely explore marine ecosystems, and it provides comprehensive training and certification recognised worldwide. It is an amazing opportunity, especially to do it with other Santa Maria students.

In the future, I envision myself going on dives frequently. I am particularly eager to dive in exotic locations like the Great Barrier Reef. I also would like to dive in underwater caves or wrecks because of the unique ecosystems found within these structures!

2025 Course

For students currently in Years 9 and 10 who are interested in completing the course, Ailsa Harris, Course Coordinator, is looking forward to launching the course again in 2025.

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