Text by Lisa TE Sonne
Aquariums across North America rely on sport divers to help with their aquatic attractions, and divers love it! To read about the opportunities of becoming an aquarium volunteer, read the story in the current issue of DIVER Magazine, Volume 37 Number 8, now on newsstands.
If you’re interested in checking out this dive opportunity, the following list will serve as a starting point for your inquires about an aquarium near you.
Aquarium Dive Program Resources
Thinking of joining a volunteer dive program at an aquarium? Arnold Postell, president of the Association of Dive Program Administrators (ADPA), guesses that all nonprofit aquariums rely on volunteer divers. Of the forty non-profit aquariums that are members of ADPA , he estimates they rely on a total of about 4,500 volunteer divers. (TK)
“Volunteer divers are vital,” says Postell. “I couldn’t imagine keeping nonprofit aquariums going without them.” On the other hand, he says, the profit-making commercial ones like Dollywood, Ripleys, and Disney are not allowed to use unpaid volunteers.
The ADPA is a think-tank nonprofit, promoting education and conservation as well sharing ideas and good diving practices among both commercial and nonprofit aquariums. It is not a regulatory agency.
The American Academy of Underwater Sciences – http://www.aaus.org/diving_standards – sets the standards for diving for scientific purposes. Many divers volunteer time outside of aquariums to help research and academic programs.
To check out any concerns about the ethics of a given aquarium and how it treats its sea animals, Postell suggests the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as the national and international stewards of good environmental and business practices.
Each aquarium volunteer dive program has its own requirements for diver experience, fitness, time commitment and training.
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