Hi everyone in YMCA Scuba World, just wanted to write a little update on where our YMCA SCUBA program currently is since many of you former YMCA instructors/divers may not be aware of the changes. Of course us ‘old’ originally certified YMCA Instructors and divers know and love the YMCA SCUBA PROGRAM, it made us the best trained divers in the industry -r always concentrating on Education not necessarily gear sales…
Our philosophy from the inception of the YMCA SCUBA program was simply to teach our students how to safely dive. Dive gear of course being necessary, however it was not our focus until after you were a confident, competent, and safe diver. Why buy all the dive gear, now thousands of dollars, and not safely be able to use it because your SCUBA course didn’t give you the skills and confidence to survive any and every possible problem you may/do face underwater?
As most of you know, I have owned and still operate Capt. Slates’ SCUBA Adventures here in Tavernier, Florida formerly Capt. Slate’s Atlantis Dive Center for the past 42 years. Believe me, tens of thousands of dive charters later and still today as when I started, I almost daily see poorly trained divers who not only are a danger to themselves but a danger to their buddies and those on the boat. I know too well the results of poorly trained divers and the end result isn’t pretty and almost always the accident would never have happened if those divers had been trained properly first, before they faced the real world.
Dive gear will not save your life, unless you are properly and confidently trained to use it and are comfortable in the water using the gear. Just another skill added to your class, another lecture, another pool session, more time practicing all your skills until you ‘mastered’ them or were completely comfortable with them will make you a much better/safer diver. Then you can start your diving career by getting your log book filled with dives (a minimum of 50 dives are needed to actually be a confident diver) and continuing education, Advanced, Rescue, Dive master etc.
Keeping in mind that going without diving even for a few months changes the entire equation and you must do an update (refresher course) and get a medical if necessary, to continue being a safe and competent diver. So there in a short you have the original purpose of YMCA SCUBA. Teaching Safe scuba divers from 1959. We started SCUBA instruction for the ‘public’ and literally every founder of every major SCUBA Training agency that followed – PADI, SSI, NAUI, NASDS etc., was a YMCA SCUBA Instructor first. I could go on for 20 pages on our great history having served as the National Chairman of the YMCA SCUBA PROGRAM for 17 years (‘81-‘98).
So where is the program? Well, it is still here, yes, it is! In about 2008 the YMCA of the USA (the Y parent organization) downsized their aquatics program to concentrate solely on swimming/diving programs and the current YMCA SCUBA National Committee bought the YMCA SCUBA Program from the YMCA of the USA. Under agreement we changed the name completely and all the products to SEI (SCUBA EDUCATORS INTERNATIONAL). Originally SEI was housed in Muncie, Indiana at Tom Leaird’s Underwater Service Dive Center. Tom was the National Chairman of the YMCA Committee at that time. So, every YMCA SCUBA program (of course, constantly updated since 1959) was preserved and the YMCA SCUBA Program, text, publications, and philosophy are still the same (thank God) and being directed and taught by SEI.
SEI also acquired the SCUBA instructional agency of PDIC and again both programs are taught the original YMCA Way! Just within a year past, the SEI program headquarters moved to Largo, Florida when Cameron Byrd and Ben Brown who purchased SEI from Tom in Muncie, moved and brought the program to the largest diving state in the Union. Still the YMCA WAY through SCUBA EDUCATIORS INTERNATIONAL teaching safe SCUBA for 61 years! Stay with the Original!