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Learning to scuba dive in Rockville Centre

Kidsday reporters from Valley Stream go scuba diving

Kidsday reporters from Valley Stream go scuba diving at Swim and Scuba Long Island in Rockville Centre. Credit: Richard Rosenfeld

Swim and Scuba Long Island is a water sports training center located in Rockville Centre. They offer instruction in swimming, diving, water aerobics, lifeguard training and other water-related certifications. They also have a dive shop for all diving needs, and host birthday parties. We visited Swim and Scuba recently and met Steve Scigliano, the course director, and his staff.

We were first introduced to scuba gear. We were fitted with the gear and learned how to use it. The gear includes a mask, flippers for the feet, an air tank worn on the back, and a vest that is inflated with air to remain buoyant in the water, and deflated to submerge. Linda, our instructor, showed us some basic skills for scuba diving. We learned some hand signals to use underwater to communicate with each other. Divers always dive with a partner to make sure everyone is safe. Once we were comfortable with the gear on and with the hand signals, it was time to enter the water. We swam underwater in the shallow end of the pool, and played games to get comfortable and practice techniques.

We learned most people are nervous when they first learn to dive. If you are comfortable in the water and comfortable with the equipment, scuba diving is fun. The regulator that goes in your mouth is connected to your air supply, which allows you to breathe underwater. Divers also wear goggles to see underwater, flippers to help move, and a protective wet suit in deep waters. The equipment feels heavy and cumbersome, but we got used to it.

One important thing to remember is to always stay calm. When you get nervous, you breathe more heavily and you use up your air supply faster. Steve has done scuba diving all over the world and has the highest certification a diver can have. He told us to always have respect for the sport. Know your limitations, be mindful and considerate of the wildlife you encounter, and always be aware of your air supply and rules for submerging and emerging from the water.

Besides beautiful fish and sea creatures, divers might encounter shipwrecks and lost articles and artifacts. Expert scuba divers have different careers open to them, including rescue and recovery work, exploration, and construction. We found it exciting to dive in just a few feet of water. We can only imagine the thrill of diving in the natural world. If you are interested, go to swimandscuba.com or visit the facility at 490 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre (516-872-4571).

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