GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Gulf Shores City Schools students have the opportunity to learn about marine life, up close and personal as they have just added a scuba diving course. Jessica Sampley with Gulf Shores City Schools came up with the idea.

“It was just one of those things that was in the back of my head, then realized we have several teachers that are certified,” said Sampley. “I got certified when I was 18, so we were trying to think of ways we could provide another opportunity that is relevant fir our students and that is a life long skill.”

Sampley applied for a grant and received $15,000 for a garden project that is also being used for the Scuba Diving class and seven students will be scuba certified by the end of April.

Dianna Moore, a GSHS junior, is one of seven students in the class and she says it was a great decision to take it.  

“It has been absolutely amazing, we started with our orientation, we learned about the things we would be doing and what we could do with our certification,” said Moore. “Now, we have been working together as a group to learn all the skills from our dive instructor in the pool at the civic center.”

The class meets at Down Under Dive Shop where they pick up their scuba equipment and head to the water.

The scuba diving course is $550 per student. It includes everything including the equipment. It’s not just about having fun underwater, the students are learning all kinds of new things.

“Lot’s of math,” said Sampley. “Safety is a big part of it and then just teamwork overall. It’s just a buddy system, everything that you do, you have to depend on somebody else, to help you double check, everything, you learn a lot about pressure and how that effects the body, so lots of health science.”

Once students master the skill in the pool, they go to the Gulf to take a dive to see and study what’s underwater. Right now, the class is only open to high school students. By May, fifth through eighth graders will be able to join the course for the summer.