Whole Lotta Diving Going On……….

Whole Lotta Diving Going On……….

Ron Smith diving on The Oriskany two weeks ago

Hello Divers,

Normally, June is our busiest time of year at The SCUBA School.  Last year, because of the oil spill, we didn’t have much going on at all but this year I believe we are making up for it.  As you read this newsletter we currently have three group trips at the same time.  Mark has a group doing a couple of days of wreck diving in Panama City, FL.  Spencer currently has 24 divers with him in Bonaire, experiencing some of the best shore diving in the Caribbean. Forrest is taking groups of spearfishers for Red Snapper, competing in the Alabama Spearfishing Association’s Red Neck Riviera Spearfishing Tournament.

Since the last newsletter we have had a few other wreck trips to Panama City where divers have seen multiple massive Goliath Groupers and one of the largest Stingrays we have ever seen.  We also just returned from The Oriskany, the largest artificial reef in the world, off of Pensacola, FL.

Forrest with a nice Amberjack taken a couple of weeks ago

The dates of this year’s Alabama Spearfishing Association’s Red Neck Riviera Spearfishing Tournament are May 20th – June 25th.  The best Spearfishers in Alabama are competing and we have several from the Birmingham area that are holding their own. For more info on this and other tournaments go to Alabama Spearfishing 

Every couple of weeks, one of our divers has a personal best fish.  I would like to believe that we are just getting better but I really think we have the best overall spearfishing in the Gulf. 

Alabama has the largest and longest established Artificial Reef System in the Gulf.  For a fisherman or spearfisher it is an absolute paradise.  Off the coast of Alabama mainly was sand, a desert with an ocean on it.  In 1953, 250 car bodies were dropped in Orange Beach which started the Artificial Reef System.  This attracted Snapper and Grouper in addition to other species.  In the 1980s several Liberty Ships were put down as well.  The fish habitat grew even more in 1994 when 100 obsolete Army Tanks were added to the system.  We dive on many of these today & the site locations are published. More info can be found here: Alabama Reefs

Upcoming Trips
SSDS has many trip options in the next few months & you can see the dates here on our calendar.  All of these listed have availability right now.  If you are wanting to go, please let us know quickly because we are selling them every day. 
Continuing Education
July 2, 9:00 am at The SCUBA School Enriched Air NITROX
Have you ever dreamed of having longer no-decompression limits to take pictures or explore a wreck? Did you ever want to be safer while diving concerning the potential risk of decompression sickness?
Nitrox is the key. Due to the reduced fraction of nitrogen in your breathing gas, your body will have less work and the de saturation times will be reduced.

In your ENRICHED AIR NITROX program you will learn all the necessary rules for planning dives with Nitrox and using Nitrox in a safe way. An important key point in the entire program is analyzing your own tank prior to any
Nitrox dive.

July 23, 24 Stress and Rescue Course
Stress is a major contributor to rescue situations and diving accidents. Through this course you will learn accident prevention, as well as how to handle problem situations if they occur.

The program is about avoiding, recognizing and solving problems on the surface and under water. The course runs two – four days in which you will participate in academic and in-water sessions in the pool and in the open water. As a prerequisite for certification you will also earn CPR & First Aid certificate during this course.


* What Is Stress?
* Stress In Diving: Causes And Prevention
* Detecting And Dealing With Stress
* Accident Management
* Skills Needed To Deal With Panic And Rescues
* Conditions That Complicate Rescues

Legislative Update
Many of you have probably read in the paper lately about our efforts to amend The Alabama Underwater Cultural Resources Act.  Several divers have been detained and harassed when they were diving in the public waterways of Alabama.  They have not been arrested or prosecuted, just had their time wasted for many hours and made to feel not welcome in their own State.  Also relics have been seized without due process. Our Bill, HB 104, is to make it easier for Law Enforcement to determine if divers in Alabama waterways are breaking a law when diving for isolated finds not associated with a Cultural Resource.  Already, shipwrecks that are declared Cultural Resources and submerged Indian Burial Grounds are protected and must have a permit to dive on.  What HB 104 does is allows for diving on navigable waterways not associated with a Cultural Resource.  It is possible with the current wording to misunderstand and interpret it to mean that all water anywhere is off limits to the people of Alabama.  This is too broad.  Divers need to have the freedom to explore our rivers.  HB 104 passed by a landslide in The House 86 to 3.  In the Senate it was first in the Governmental Affairs Committee and passed there as well 7 for, 1 against and 1 abstaining.  It has now made it to The Rules Committee and you would think with the overwhelming support in the first two Committees it would at least get a vote but one senator, Senator Scott Beason, (Blount, Jefferson and St Clair Counties) has said that he is considering killing the Bill.  He is the Chairperson of this Committee and has this power.   Senator Beason’s reasoning for killing our Bill is that one of his friends wants him to and he hasn’t heard from enough people supporting it.  We need you to support it ASAP!  As chairperson of the Committee Sen. Beason can kill our bill and not be on record as voting with the academic elitist who are paid in grants and contracts for their useless efforts that show no results. We have no opposition in Sen. Beason’s area that he represents yet he personally is going to kill our bill that effects all divers, historians, museums, relic hunters, gold prospectors and the public in general just to allow one special interest group to continue to fleece the state and public. The Legislative Session is almost over and even though we have made it a long way, we are dangerously close to coming up short.  Please continue to contact Senator Beason and ask him not to kill our bill at scott.beason@ALSenate.gov  His personal phone number is 205-585-4094. He should let HB-104 come to a vote on the Senate floor, not kill our bill in a disgraceful backstabbing manner such as he is doing. Remember many museums like the one at Tannehill Historic State Park have incredible displays for the Public to see.  The artifacts in this museum were located, recovered, preserved and put on loan by members of the public entirely.  This would not have been possible if diving for isolated finds in the Public waterways were off limits. Help us see to it that this does not happen.  Divers still want to help recover, preserve and share with everyone what is underwater.  The only time you will ever see a Government funded Archaeologist/Anthropologist recover an artifact is when they confiscate one from a member of the Public. 
Forrest Phillips
Southern Skin Divers Supply



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