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More Texans diving into new activities (literally) during the pandemic

With all the suits and breathing apparatuses needed to explore underwater, social distancing isn't much of an issue.

SAN ANTONIO — The scuba diving industry is proving resilient during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic as people sheltering in place look for safe outdoor alternatives to their usual hobbies. 

“While diving is a social sport, we do a majority of our hanging out underwater,” said Taylor Schoelman, of San Antonio's Diving World Scuba Center. “You can’t really get COVID underwater.”

We've gotten used to living our lives with six feet of air between us, but water is another matter.

“Scuba divers know that we have our own breathing tank or cylinders. We know that we aren’t going to be coughing in each other’s faces or anything like that,” Schoelman said. “As far as new people go, new people just want to get out.”

She said she’s seen a steady stream of newcomers to the sport since the coronavirus drove everyone indoors.

“It’s pushed people into isolation, but because of that isolation, they’re wanting to get out,” she said. “They’re wanting to do something fun and spectacular and scuba diving is the perfect outlet for it.”

The shop offers a range of courses and certifications, from open water to divemaster and everything in between, starting right in their in-store tank. But Schoelman said the real draw is their travel packages.

“It’s something very special," she said. “It gives you the opportunity to explore new worlds that you wouldn’t ordinarily get to see.”

She says that though some places restrict travel from the U.S. right now, there are plenty of places to see in the meantime.

“We’re just hoping for the best, as far as places opening up,” Schoelman said. “But there’s certainly are places and opportunities to where we still can go out and travel and dive those gorgeous sites.”