Local Coral Shores High School students interested in marine science courses will have an opportunity to become certified divers this summer at a discounted price. Thanks to a summer partnership with Islamorada’s Key Dives, student divers can certify for only $300.

The course will be open to current and prospective marine science students. Coral Shores High School requires its advanced marine science students to be certified prior to adding the class. Two three-day classes are scheduled for the weekends of June 29 – July 1, and August 3 – 5. The first day of the course is spent in the pool. The two following days introduce students to the ocean dive sites.

The rebated course includes all the online educational resources students need to certify, use of all equipment, pool training, ocean dives, and certification card. The courses’ usual price tag is $550.

“The goal is to get them excited to be involved to help,” said Key Dive’s owner, Mike Goldberg, who has been diving the local waters for more than 30 years.

Over the last 18 months the coral communities have been hit hard, said Goldberg. Large scale brain coral die offs have been a big concern for the longtime Keys diver. Mobilizing a local populace of divers to help in coral restoration initiatives is critical to the reefs’ longevity. Future stewards are important to stave off the decline of coral communities, he said.

Key Dives has selected a handful of Upper Keys locations to take students: Alligator Reef, Davis Reef, Rocky, Davie Crocker, and many more. The student to instructor ratio for open water dives is 4:1, with no more than 12 students per class.

In past years Islamorada Dive Center has also partnered with school to certify students at a discount price.

Coral Shores High School marine science teacher Beth Rosenow said the partnerships with local dive shops allow students to learn more about important ecological events happening locally at a younger age. The students collect data on events like reef disease and coral bleaching.

“For the past few years, Islamorada Dive Center has offered discounted rates to Coral Shores High School students want to get their open water certification. This year, Key Dives will be offering a discount as well,” said Rosenow. “Now more than ever, it’s essential to recruit the next generation of divers so they can see our corals before any more die-off occurs.”

A $100 non-refundable deposit is requested for Key Dive’s course registration. Call 305-664-2211 to sign up or visit Key Dives at MM 79.8, on the Bud N’ Mary’s Marina property.

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