At Harry’s Dive Shop, kids do more than dip their toes

The wonders of scuba diving are available to children who want to do more than dip their toes in the water at Harry’s Dive Shop in Metairie.

Owner Cindy Caldwell says the only requirement for children enrolling in the one-week Scuba Camp is that they feel comfortable in the water.

“They learn practically everything a certified diver will learn, but there are no tests at the end,” Caldwell said. “On our last day, we have a party. Kids learn about safety first and fun second, and there’s lots of both.”

Scuba Camp will be offered for children ages 8 and up June 5-9 and July 24-28 at Harry’s Dive Shop’s 16-foot-deep pool kept at 90 degrees year-round. A separate swimming camp will be offered June 12-16 from noon to 4 p.m., and year-round swimming lessons are available for everyone, ages 6 months and up.

Caldwell said there is superb supervision at Scuba Camp.

“The first day of class is a swimming evaluation, for us to get to know whom to watch extra close,” Caldwell said. “Then the children learn how the mask and snorkel work, and they learn how to assist someone else in the water who has cramps. They learn if someone is in trouble in the water, they never help, but they go get an adult or make a phone call. They learn how to throw a life ring.”

As the camp advances, children learn how to put together the scuba equipment on their own, and then they begin their scuba diving.

“They learn how to clear the water out of their mask and how to make themselves positively buoyant,” Caldwell said. “They also learn about marine life and the environment. They learn what is the largest mammal on earth (the blue whale) and the depth of the Mariana Trench, which is the lowest spot on earth (36,000 feet below sea level in the Pacific Ocean). They learn about game fish, pretty fish and predatory fish.”

Caldwell said each camper gets a certificate of completion along with the confidence that he or she has tackled a new skill.

For more information, contact Harry’s Dive Shop, 4709 Airline Drive, Metairie, at 888-4882; www.harrysdiveshop.com.

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