An abundance of animals and calm, crystal clear water is an unheard of combination among divers along the Oregon Coast, except at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The fantastic conditions promised by the nonprofit’s exhibits draw over 150 volunteer divers from as far as Vancouver, Washington to volunteer once every three weeks.
Volunteer divers’ submerged service entails a variety of tasks including scrubbing acrylic, wielding a thigh-sized vacuum hose or observing animal behavior. Thousands of venomous rockfish, curious halibut, over 100 sharks and thousands of schooling anchovies keep them company, depending on which Passages of the Deep exhibit they service that day.
Volunteer divers also hit the Aquarium’s waters to speak on behalf of their aquatic companions to crowds of visitors during dive presentations and special events. Dave Wyatt, a 15 year veteran of the Aquarium’s volunteer dive program, said he joined to “keep my diving skills sharp between open water dives. My dive skills have not only stayed sharp but have expanded!”
“The reason I have been in the program all this time is because of the relationships that I have developed with the other volunteers,” he said. The program offers a number of benefits including complimentary Aquarium membership after 50 hours of service. The Aquarium will host an orientation on August 29 for those interested in joining the volunteer dive program. Advance registration is required. For details, contact the Aquarium’s Volunteer Services department at email@example.com.
information and photo by Oregon Coast Aquarium