Scott Mathews -
Vincent Stewart’s enthusiasm for scuba diving began in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1989, when he was a trainer for the Air Force.
“I ran into a swim-team buddy from high school while there who invited me to come diving with him in the Red Sea,” Stewart said.
“Recognizing my interest in scuba, he encouraged me to become a dive instructor.
Yet, at that time, I just wasn’t sure it was for me.”
When Stewart realized he could make good money as an instructor, he earned his open-water certification and began teaching in 1998.
Today, at 72, Stewart’s enthusiasm for diving and giving scuba lessons has not waned.
The Professional Association of Dive Instructors, or PADI, has established standards for those interested in becoming certified scuba divers.
Students must complete classroom academics as well as confined and open-water sessions.
“Obviously, you must know how to swim,” Stewart said with a smile.
“Students must be able to swim 200 yards and tread water for 10 minutes.” According to Stewart, an average class consists of eight students and takes about a month.
“But, the time it takes depends on the student and his or her personal schedule,” he said.
Jill Doczi – public relations manager at Dive Quarters on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach, where Stewart conducts some of his classes – spoke highly of him.