Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

KRSS SCUBA Instructor Trains Florida Fire and Police Dive Teams

When you think of Tennessee, you don’t often associate SCUBA diving with a landlocked state. But did you know that the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has one of the largest National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) collegiate SCUBA programs in the country? In fact, a SCUBA diving minor will be offered at UT starting fall semester 2024.
Photo of dive instructor working with diver as diver prepares to enter the water

Blankenship (orange hat) instructs a Key West emergency services diver

Just recently, Greg Blankenship, an instructor in the department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies (KRSS) in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) travelled to Key West, Florida to train Fire and Police department dive teams. Instructor Blankenship as part of a team of NAUI instructors from Florida, California, and Tennessee led an intensive five-day NAUI Public Safety Diver Certification Course.

“The Physical Education Activity Program in KRSS is proud to have Greg Blankenship as one of our instructors. This recognition by the city of Key West for Greg and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is a credit to his relentless work ethic in making SCUBA a safe endeavor for both recreationists and professionals in various industries,” said Scott Smith, Director of the Physical Education & Activity Program.

Group of instructors talking to emergency services divers

Blankenship (orange hat) takes part in SCUBA instruction for emergency services divers

Public Safety Divers constitute a unique cohort. While many begin as recreational divers, their strong desire to serve their local community often propels them to pursue advanced training, enabling them to offer emergency, rescue, and investigative services to the public, even in the most adverse conditions.

This comprehensive course encompasses advanced diving techniques, search patterns, victim rescue and recovery, evidence preservation and collection, vessel hull inspections, risk assessments, and emergency response procedures tailored to the specific challenges encountered by public safety divers.

Through a blend of classroom sessions, practical exercises, and scenario-based open water training, participants honed the expertise required to respond confidently and effectively to a broad spectrum of underwater emergencies and incidents.

Thanks to the training conducted by the team of NAUI instructors that included Instructor Blankenship, Key West Fire and Police Department divers are now prepared to conduct joint underwater operations. Instructor Blankenship shows that no matter where you are, Volunteers are making an impact in local communities.