Something that has been proven time and time again is that military veterans benefit from connecting with community again after their service as well as getting out of their heads and into their bodies. One therapeutic way is through SCUBA diving — and some programs even allow veterans to continue to give back through ocean conservation dives.
The WAVES Project provides all of the above. The non-profit organization enrolls qualified veterans into their education program, SCUBA certifies them and their dive buddies, and encourages them to experience the benefits of diving at no cost to them. Their mission is to share the therapeutic benefits of water with veterans who have service-connected conditions such as amputations, spinal cord and neurological injuries, and PTSD. Using the platform of SCUBA diving, they provide adaptive training, associated activities, and mission-oriented diving opportunities that build confidence, camaraderie, and purpose.
In addition to providing specialty diving courses from Open Water Diver to Master Diver, the WAVES Project takes veterans on guided dives along the coast or overseas. They also provide discounts on diving gear to help veteran divers build their diving toolkit.
Veterans interested in the program can review the application requirements here. Most of the volunteers at The WAVES Project are veterans and military family members committed to supporting veterans’ journeys — so if you’re worried about an injury, disability, or fear, reach out to them and they will advise you and support you.
Registered divers can connect with The WAVES Project for competitive diving rates along the coast. For example, on Aug. 12, 2023, they will be guiding veterans, their dive buddies, and WAVES volunteers through the La Jolla Kelp Beds.
Of course, it isn’t cheap to certify SCUBA divers, so The WAVES Project hosts a number of fundraising events throughout the year. They are currently preparing for their annual Drive to Dive golf classic that will take place at The Legends Golf Club in Temecula, California on Sept. 29, 2023. Golfers can register to play, sponsorships are available for events such as Lunch, Longest Drive contests or Cart Sponsorships. And, of course, anyone is welcome to donate.
If you’ve ever thought about SCUBA diving, check out The WAVES Project and explore the incredible wonders the ocean has to offer!