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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Blue Campus: New Club Allows Students to Explore the Wonders of the Deep


Scuba diving students test out equipment in the pool during certification training in the Bahamas, similar to what UMass Boston students will do in the Clark Athletic Center pool. Photo courtesy of Jeff Toorish

Our beautiful campus is located on Columbia Point, a peninsula bordered on three sides by Dorchester Bay, the smallest of the three bays that make up southern Boston Harbor. Naturally, this provides a scenic view as one arrives to campus.  But better yet, it gives us access to the Atlantic’s waters. Two of UMass Boston’s particularly adventurous students, Serap Hidir and Lara Tomaz, took advantage of our unique location and created UMass Boston’s own Scuba and Snorkeling Club.

Hidir and Tomaz became certified in diving last year in the same class at United Divers, where a mutual hobby turned into a passion. “It is an entirely new world underwater,” Tomaz said.  “We started diving like crazy people. We were doing multiple dives a day and per week. We fell in love with the sport. We wanted to be underwater every chance we got.”

Their love for the sport drove them to introduce UMass Boston to the fantastic world of diving and its special community: “The reason why we started the scuba club is to find dive buddies, share our diving experiences, and also to make scuba diving and snorkeling accessible to UMB students and teachers,” Hidir said. 

The Scuba Club negotiated with United Divers to offer a reduced rate for certification.  It costs students about $400 instead of the usual $650 to get certified either at UMass Boston’s or, now, MIT’s pool.

Once certified, people can join the club for dives that include shore dives, boat dives, wreck dives, and night dives. People can bring their own equipment, or rent equipment from United Divers at a discounted price. Snorkelers and free divers are also welcome to accompany the group on dives. The club is open to graduate and undergraduate students, and faculty are also welcome.

The first meeting of the club was March 9, with a turnout of forty to fifty students from a wide spectrum of diving experience. There were former military personal, newly certified divers, and people who have never been scuba diving in their lives. Senior Melissa Brodie explained, “I want to get certified because I eventually want to work with marine mammals,  and diving is a great skill to have for that.”

The Scuba Club was formed to unite members of the UMass community for one common purpose: to have fun safely, at a discounted price. “There is so much to see and explore, that it is mind-blowing.  We wanted to get everyone diving,” Tomaz said.  Water covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface, and traveling into this vast world is, for us, simply a matter of stepping into our backyard. The Scuba Club offers the tools to take that step.  Even if you don’t immediately get a chance to dive with a group, now would be the time to get certified while the discounted opportunity is available. The Scuba Club’s first dive is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, and anyone interested in the club can come to their next meeting in April, or contact Hidir at [email protected] for further details