SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– KOLR10’s Frances Lin, a full-time news reporter, and part-time thrill junkie, dipped her toe in a new hobby recently: Scuba diving.

She spoke with Ryan Oestreich, the store manager of Springfield’s Diventures, but also one of the instructors who taught her the basics of Scuba Diving.

“A lot of Scuba customers so far, it’s actually people have a little bit more time to fit in their schedules now that they get to do things they haven’t got to do yet,” said Oestreich.

He talked about five safety tips to keep in mind when you go diving, and the extra safety measures now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As far as all scuba and swim equipment goes, everything is sanitized, in a diluted, bleach solution. It’s one of the best things that the EPA says you can do to clean equipment. And since scuba gear is definitely more, you know very hands-on and shared in a very personable way, bleach is the best thing to do that. On top of that, we’ve taken all the mouthpieces off all of our scuba gear, and we’re actually using that to provide an opportunity for people to have their own mouthpieces to keep. The number one rule of Scuba is always to breathe. You always want to plan out your dive before you go diving. Set those parameters, good expectations with your buddy, you should always dive with a buddy. Never dive alone. And always dive your plan. So there’s a saying in Scuba, where you plan your dive, and you dive your plan. Always have the proper training before you go diving. You never want to exceed the limitations of your training, for whatever dive you’re doing, whether that’s the depth or a night dive, or looking for something underwater, you have no idea where it’s at. Make sure you have a dive flag. Dive flags are placed in the water, there are two different types of dive flags, there’s the international, and there’s also the alpha style dive flag, and you will always make sure that you have those available where you’re diving So that people know there are divers below the water.”

He also busted five myths that may prevent people from trying Scuba.

“Scuba divers don’t use oxygen tanks for diving. We use air tanks because what’s in the tank is not a hundred percent oxygen; it’s actually just air. So it’s taken in by a compressor, dried out, filtered, so it’s very pure, and compressed into a cylinder, so we’re still diving in the normal air like we’re breathing right now, which is just 21% oxygen instead of 100. Everyone likes to ask about sharks. What do you do about sharks when you’re scuba diving, or how do you stay safe from sharks when you scuba dive. It’s one of those things; sharks don’t want a whole lot to do with you, you know. Surfers look like seals, and divers look like divers. We got bubbles, lots of gear, and we’re down in depth. To be honest, we don’t see as many sharks too. They’re more, reckless creatures, and they’re only found in certain areas, especially the dangerous ones. So as a scuba diver, sharks are one of the least things I worry about. Many people think you have to be in super great shape to be a diver when that’s really not the case. You don’t have to be an excellent swimmer to be a diver, either. It’s something that everybody can enjoy, and it’s a very relaxing sport and hobby. When you go down in pressure, obviously your ears need to equalize, so in the course, we teach you how to equalize. Usually, ears, any pain or discomfort there, is one of those things we get past really quickly. You don’t need to live near the ocean to go diving. Or explore. Diventures has five locations throughout the midwest, and we’re all here for a reason. There are plenty of local places to dive, some better than others. But they are a lot of fun, and there are great things to see, there’s a whole new category of aquatic life with freshwater species.”

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