Open Water Diver Certification courses at Cashiers Community Pool

Taking diving trips into the depths of open water all over the world using SCUBA gear requires an Open Water Diver Certification, which is now available through courses at the Cashiers Community Pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the first week of August.

Course Instructor Roger Skillman said dive equipment, pressure changes, diver safety, aquatic life, etc. are topics covered throughout the course.

From left are Dive Instructor Roger Skillman demonstrates how to remove a cramp from your partner’s leg while in water to Mike Crist and Kristy McCall.

Instruction consists of three parts. An academic portion is online and completed at home. Pool skill sessions take 2-3 days to complete at Cashiers Pool from 5- 8 p.m. After academics and pool skills are completed, all students must complete 4 open water dives (2 days), usually in Lake Jocassee, for certification. The entire course process takes about 2 weeks to complete.

Diver certification never expires as long as a diver is current with their skills, certification is recognized around the world,” said Skillman. “Dive travel is worldwide. Make new friends, find a new career path as a diver. Lastly and importantly to consider before taking a dive class; if you are in good health, comfortable in the water, can swim, and are over 12 years old then a dive class may be what you have been missing your whole life. Come join the adventure.”

From left are Mike Crist practicing removing and putting his SCUBA gear back while in the water under Roger Skillman’s direction during the Open Water Diver Certification course at Cashiers Community Pool.

Cost to enroll is $349 and participants must email Skillman at or call at 864.710.1567 to register for the course. All equipment is provided, and participants must be at least 12 years old. Skillman said minors should be accompanied by an adult.

 “Upon certification, an Open Water Diver is certified to dive to 60 feet,” said Skillman. “The diver can dive with an equally certified or higher buddy, go on dive trips, and rent scuba gear. Just like new drivers, new open water divers need to dive within their capabilities and should dive to gain much needed experience.”

Kristy McCall and Mike Crist recently took the OWD course and said Skillman was patient throughout the process and was well worth it.

Mike Crist practices towing an unconscious swimmer, Kristy McCall, during the Open Water Diver Certification course.

“I’m very glad that I took the course,” said McCall. “Recently, my mom passed away due to injuries she sustained during a car accident. I feel like she missed out on a lot of things this past year because of Covid. Not only were things shut down, but she was very nervous about Covid. She put off doing so many things that she wanted to do. I won’t say that scuba diving has ever been on my bucket list, necessarily. But I will say that I have learned how short life really is, and I refuse to let my fear keep me from living life and experiencing all that I can.”

Cashiers Community Pool Hours

  • Cashiers Pool is open for public swim Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. 
  • Lap swim is Tuesday-Saturday 9-10 a.m. and Sunday noon to 1 p.m.
  • Pool parties may be scheduled by calling the pool at 828.743.6663.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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