Scubility Diving in Utah with Paralyzed Veterans of America

We packed up the Jade Scuba Adventures staff and volunteers for a week of scubility diving at Homestead Crater, Utah.

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Group of divers with LifeWaters sign in front of Jade Scuba Adventures van at Homestead Crater, Utah.

In the second week of October 2023, we packed the Jade Scuba Adventures van to the gills and drove all day to Salt Lake City. Our mission? To help seven members of the Northwest chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America earn their Scubility diving certifications.

Group of divers with LifeWaters sign in front of Jade Scuba Adventures van at Homestead Crater, Utah.

What is Scubility Diving and How Can You Help?

According to the Scuba Diving International (SDI) website, “The SDI Scubility Diver Program is designed to give physically disabled divers the necessary skills and techniques used to conduct open water dives in conditions similar to their training without the direct supervision of a SDI Scubility Instructor. However, some SDI Scubility divers require supervision of a qualified SDI Dive Buddy.”

Interested in learning more about Scubility? Check out my related story here.

Divers outside of tent at Homestead Crater

What is it like diving in Homestead Crater?

Homestead Crater is a 55-foot tall beehive-shaped limestone formation that houses a geothermal spring. Located about 45 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, it is a popular destination due to the consistent 95-degree water. Learn more about our scuba experience here on my related story.

Diver underwater next to plastic skeleton

How Does LifeWaters Support Scubility Diving?

“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man only has to sink beneath the surface and he is free.” Jacques Yves Cousteau

LifeWaters is a nonprofit with several dive training centers across the US. Their goal “has always been to provide training and scuba opportunities while trying to decrease the cost of training and travel for people with disabilities. Life with a disability is expensive, no matter how great your insurance or VA coverage. LW understands that.  We want to give people affordable opportunities to participate in LifeWaters’ experiences.

LifeWaters isn’t just about diving. The social return on investment reaches far beyond one individual, going into the family and community of the adaptive diver by providing hope and strength for a better tomorrow. It is about giving people with disabilities a chance to expand the possibilities of their life, creating moments of pain-free living, and long-term camaraderie with others.”

We couldn’t do programs like this without our volunteers!

From left to right: Buddy Gavin Davenport (Los Angeles), Buddy Will Schrier (Pittsburgh), Buddy Kelly Kennedy (Seattle), Instructor Jonathan Clark (Seattle), Instructor Ashley Arnold (Port Orchard), Buddy Katherine O’Leary-Cole (Hood Canal).

Water Entries

Many of our program participants needed an extra hand entering and exiting the water. Thankfully, we always had willing hands and creative ideas on how to make it happen.

DeAnne figured that a cannonball was easiest for her!

Here, George was very impressed with our quick transitions utilizing a harness.

Divers entering the water at Homestead Crater.

Diver Accomplishments

Dive student Philip earned a DB1 scuba rating that he will likely upgrade to a standard Open Water Scuba certification.

Group Buddy Jason is the husband of a dive student and earned his Scubility Surface Buddy certification. Jason was a great help on this trip and we’re sure he will continue his Scubility education!

Two divers checking scuba tanks.

Student Divers Practicing Their Buoyancy

As all divers know, buoyancy practice is a lifelong journey! To the left, student Matt is getting the hang of just how much air to have in his BCD at varying depths (dive buddy Katherine). To the right, student Scott T is clearly enjoying his time breathing underwater!

Group Photos in the Pool

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a group of divers to take a photo together underwater?? These are the best shots we have!

Group of divers underwater in a pool.

Our Volunteers

We’re all thankful for the volunteers that took a week off from their individual lives and work to assist our dive students in earning their certifications. Additionally, we offer a special “thank you” to Homestead Crater manager Dani (to the far right of the picture on the left) for making the process as smooth as possible!

Diving is a Team Sport

From helping each other assemble their scuba gear to working on their buoyancy, all divers need buddies to fully enjoy the sport and lower risks.