Ask any Northwest diver – the waters off the Oregon coast are cold, dark and turbulent. Braving these conditions requires a drysuit, dedication, and perhaps even a bit of obsessive zeal.
But for those who’d rather do it in a far more friendly environment, they can volunteer at the Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCA) where calm conditions and the opportunity to view abundant wildlife are guaranteed.
At the Oregon Coast Aquarium, approximately 150 volunteer divers travel from as far as Portland and Vancouver to splash in OCA exhibits which offer crystal clear waters, teeming with swimming and slithering creatures.
Volunteer divers’ service involves a variety of tasks including scrubbing acrylic, wielding a thigh-sized vacuum hose and observing animal behavior.
Thousands of venomous rockfish, curious halibut or over 100 sharks keep them company depending on which Passages of the Deep exhibit they work in that day.
Volunteer divers, while fully submerged, speak through special microphones on behalf of their aquatic companions to crowds of visitors during dive presentations and special events.
To be a volunteer diver at OCA requires participation once every three weeks and offers a number of benefits including complimentary Aquarium membership after 50 hours of service.
Jenna Walker, Dive Safety Officer for the Aquarium said, “Many volunteers tell me they enjoy diving to maintain their proficiency locally as there aren’t many dive opportunities in Oregon.”
The Aquarium will hold an orientation on March 28 for those interested in joining the volunteer dive program. For details, contact the Aquarium’s Volunteer Services department at firstname.lastname@example.org.