David Knoll, 28, had never before worn scuba gear. But July 22, the Centennial resident suited up and went for a dive. Knoll was one of many Denver area residents taking part in the Go Dive Now Pool, which was set up in front of the Downtown Aquarium in Denver.
The Go Dive Now Pool is produced by the nonprofit, Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) and allows visitors to try scuba diving with a certified dive leader in the warm, safe confines of a 4-foot deep portable swimming pool.
The 30-foot, 15,000-gallon pool and exhibit was staffed by professional instructors and dive leaders from A1 Scuba and Travel in Littleton.
“We’re trying to make a way for people to try scuba without even thinking about it,” said David Reidenbach, pool tour coordinator.
The pool has been traveling the United States for 20 years introducing people to scuba without the risk of the open water. It makes a stop in Denver once a year. Reidenbach said despite what many think, Colorado actually ranks in the Top 10 list of most divers per capita in the United States.
“Think about it,” Reidenbach said. “You have everything in your back yard. You can go skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking any time you want. So, when it’s time to take a vacation, you want to go somewhere different.”
Kayla Whiting, 20, of Highlands Ranch, began her diving journey at a Go Dive Now event.
“I fell in love with it,” she said. “I think it’s an awesome idea to figure out if you like it or if you’re comfortable.”
Whiting and Knoll, friends and sign language interpreters, hope to one day combine their skills to sign an underwater wedding.
The Downtown Aquarium does offer two scuba programs inside the animal tanks. One is a volunteer program fro certified divers. The other is for the general public who would like to dive in one of three tanks at the aquarium, including the shark tank.