Scuba Doo!

Salesianum Student Recounts His Scuba Diving Career to Shed Light on the Uncommon Water Sport


Chase Flanagan

Diving with the Turtles in Maui – August 2018

Benjamin Green, Reporting Journalist

Imagine diving and exploring a colorful coral reef off the coast of the Turks and Caicos or swimming along with playful dolphins in Florida. Divers get the opportunity to explore a unique ecosystem that most people never get to see and for one adventurous Salesian, his explorations have taken him around the underwater world.

Scuba Diving is a forgotten pastime in America because people believe it to be too difficult to get certified when in reality it is pretty easy. As long as you’re not afraid of the water, diving can be extremely fun and eye opening. Divers become immersed into an underground world completely different from the one you see every day. All sorts of different marine life flood to the reefs to create a diverse underwater ecosystem.

In an interview, Chase Flanagan ‘23, an avid scuba diver, recounts his life of diving to help Salesianum learn more about the hidden hobby.

  1. How did you first get into diving? And at what age did you start?

Chase: I had watched a lot of YouTube videos on diving and decided to try it out. I ended up getting certified during the spring break of 2017 when I was 13. I got certified in St. Martin. 

  1. Where have you been diving? Who many total dives have you completed?

Chase: I have been diving in St. Martin, Key Largo, Grand Cayman, Turks and Caicos, Bonaire, and Hawaii and have overall been on over 100+ dives since I have been certified. 

  1. What was your favorite dive, what is your favorite thing to see when you dive, and where is your favorite place you dive?

Chase: My favorite dive was in Hawaii at a site called Koloa Landing. We started out swimming through a giant bait ball with thousands of fish. We then saw a rare dragon moray eel and two giant frogfish. My favorite thing to see on a dive is either a shark or an octopus. My favorite place to dive is in Bonaire*. 

*In Bonaire, a popular diving location, you can dive off the shore. In other words, you can walk with your gear from the beach and enter the ocean. With shallow reefs, Bonaire is known for its good diving. 

  1. Have you ever been free diving?

Chase: I have never been free diving. 

  1. What is your scariest diving moment? What was your coolest diving moment?

Chase: My scariest moment was probably diving in a 235 foot long shipwreck with extremely low visibility (~20 ft of visibility). It was pretty eerie seeing the wreck appear out of nowhere in about 90ft of water. My coolest diving moment was getting close to all the reef sharks we’d see hanging out over the Turks and Caicos wall*. In total, I counted around 30 sharks in just one week of diving. 

*The Turks and Caicos wall is a diving staple. The whole island is on top of a giant underwater plateau, meaning that the water is only around 60-70 feet deep. However, the plateau does not go on forever. In a circle around the island, this plateau drops off instantly to 5,000 ft. Imagine being on top of a mountain and then looking off the edge to a completely straight drop of 5,000 feet. Now picture that in the water. The wall is covered with marine life going down all the way to the bottom and is a haven for creatures that like the colder waters. 

  1. What is one tip you have for people interested in getting their certification? How hard is it to become certified?

Chase: A tip for someone interested in diving is to get certified at a good diving location. A bad first experience, like going somewhere with cold or murky water, or diving someplace that’s not very interesting will make you not want to dive again. Getting certified takes a good amount of time, but isn’t that hard. As long as you pay attention you should be able to pass the classroom tests before you get in the water. You also have to be ready to jump out of a boat a few miles off shore, which might be the toughest part of diving for some people. 

Even though getting certified for diving can be a long process, Chase explains that it’s not as challenging as it seems. Being certified opens up an entirely different world than what we are used to. Scuba Diving can be extremely fun as long as you take that jump, literally! I myself am a certified diver, and even though I have not been on 100+ dives like Chase, I can say that it is a truly memorable experience. Both Chase and I encourage anyone interested to make that jump, as it will be one you will never forget!