NEW! Online Classes Coming Soon

We’re working with PADI to start offering courses to our divers online. That means you don’t have to come into the shop to discuss knowledge reviews or go through presentations! You’ll meet with your instructor and classmates online.

We’re planning to roll this out for the following courses first:

More courses may follow. If you’re interested in joining us for any of these, send us an email!

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Save on PADI and DAN eLearning

Stuck at home? Dreaming about when this will all be over and you can move forward with plans?

Just because we’re social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t keep going with your scuba training! And when you sign up now, you can save 10% off the cost of the PADI and DAN eLearning courses!

Even if you are not sure when you can do the pool training or open water dives, you can get your adventure started today by signing up for eLearning and get your academics underway.

Just click here and use the coupon code “RATHERBEDIVING” when you check out to save 10%! Grab one for yourself or a friend.

Offer ends March 31, 2020.

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Stay immersed in the dive life without getting wet

Stuck at home due to COVID-19?

Worried about getting your scuba fix if you are working from home and don’t want to take off your PJs? We’ve compiled a list of suggestions for keeping yourself immersed in the dive life.

Start a PADI or DAN course via eLearning

You can get a head start on many dive courses with the eLearning now! Why not get the academics out of the way so you’re ready to jump into training as soon as the weather warms up?

Become a Citizen Scientist

Learn how you can help make a difference on your next dive. There are many useful online resources and apps to make your dives count!

Some of our favorite ocean reads

Here are just a few of our favorite books for getting a dive fix when we’re nowhere near water:

  • “The World Beneath: The Life and Times of Unknown Sea Creatures and Coral Reefs” by Richard Smith
  • “Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher’s Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything” by Helen Scales
  • “The Fragile Edge: Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific” by Julia Whitty
  • “Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness” by Peter Godfrey-Smith
  • “Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods” by Danna Staaf
  • “Sex, Drugs and Sea Slime: The Oceans’ Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter” by Ellen Prager

Ready to escape the house for a quick visit to the shop?

If you are ready to venture forth and get some face time with your fellow divers, come on by and let us help you with any of the following.

Bring your dive gear in to be serviced

Do you know what the service schedule is for your equipment? We can service many brands in-house, and if we can’t, we can make sure your gear gets where it needs to go.

  • Regulator (first stage + second stages including octos and safe seconds) – Most manufacturers now require you to have full overhauls every other year with annual inspections in between. That means bring it in every year!
  • BCD – Bring it in for inspection every year.
  • Dive computers – Batteries should be replaced every 18 months. That goes for the wireless pressure transmitters too!
  • Drysuits – Bring it in every year for an inspection.

Join us for a classroom-based course

Not all scuba training has to happen in the water! Here are just some of the courses you can take in the shop without having to get your hair wet. Most of these are offered every month.

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Categories: News

Blue Planet Scuba's COVID-19 Outbreak Response

The health and safety of our divers continues to be our highest concern. We are closely monitoring the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local health officials around the country and the Divers Alert Network and will rely on their expert recommendations. 

Classes

Until further notice, all training classes will proceed as planned. If you’re not feeling well, please contact us immediately to reschedule as needed. We will waive any rescheduling fees in light of the current situation. 

While we have always been vigilant about sanitizing all our dive gear, we will be taking extra precautions both at the pool and at the lake during training weekends to ensure everyone’s safety. Click here to read the article put out by the Divers Alert Network and know that we have always used Steramine for sanitation of dive gear. We will have buckets of this sanitizer readily available during all trainings so our divers can feel certain their gear is safe to use.

Travel

As of now, all scheduled group travel will proceed as planned. We’re in direct contact with the various destinations and we’re monitoring U.S. State Department travel advisories. If any scheduled trips are cancelled, we will work with the destinations to arrange refunds or credits, but this will need to be done on a case by case basis.

If you have concerns about your upcoming travel, click here to read an article from the travel industry that will hopefully make you feel more secure about traveling! You can also search the State Department’s country specific updates by clicking here.

All of us at Blue Planet Scuba understand that this issue is cause for concern to many of you. As the situation changes, we will make decisions with the health and safety of our divers our top priority and share new information as it arrives.

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March Happy Hour: Environmental Film Festival - CANCELED!

Environmental Film Festival logoIt’s that time of year again! We’re excited to see the lineup for the 2020 DC Environmental Film Festival running March 12-22, 2020. There are over 160 films, dozens of premieres and discussions with experts and artists.

Join us!

We’ll be attending the film below as a group for our March Happy Hour. You can reserve tickets for FREE online here. Let us know if you plan to go by RSVP’ing on Facebook or via email.

Sea of Shadows
Sunday, March 22, 2020: 4pm-6pm

Naval Heritage Center: 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004

A looming disaster in one of the most spectacular environments on Earth sparks a rescue mission unlike any other in SEA OF SHADOWS, a riveting new documentary with the intensity of a Hollywood thriller from National Geographic Documentary Films and winner of the Sundance audience award. When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers join forces to poach the rare totoaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, their deadly methods threaten to destroy virtually all marine life in the region, including the most elusive and endangered whale species on Earth, the vaquita porpoise.

SEA OF SHADOWS follows a team of dedicated scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists and courageous undercover agents as well as the Mexican Navy as they put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquitas and bring the vicious international crime syndicate to justice.

AWARD WINNER: Hausman Foundation for the Environment Award for Best International Film

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Categories: Conservation, Events, News

World Seagrass Day / Seagrass Awareness Month

An often overlooked but critically important ocean habitat is seagrass. Over the years, the month of March has become Seagrass Awareness Month in many parts of the world, and there are calls for the UN to officially recognise March 1st as the International Day for the Conservation of Seagrass Meadows, World Seagrass Day.

Seagrasses are deep-rooted plants (not seaweed) that grow in salty and brackish waters and are found in coastal regions of every continent except Antarctica. ⁣These coastal ecosystems, along with mangroves and tidal marshes, are considered blue carbon ecosystems for their capacity to take up and sequester significant quantities of coastal blue carbon from the atmosphere and ocean in both the plants themselves and the sediment below. They are now recognized for their important role in mitigating climate change.

seaweed vs seagrass

Algae or “seaweeds” (left) differ from seagrasses (right) in several ways. Algae on the seafloor have a holdfast and transport nutrients through the body by diffusion, while seagrasses are flowering vascular plants with roots and an internal transport system. (Courtesy of the Integration and Application Network (ian.umces.edu), University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science )

Blue carbon ecosystems also provide numerous benefits essential for climate change adaptation along coasts, including

  • Protection from storms and sea level rise
  • Prevention of shoreline erosion
  • Regulation of coastal water quality
  • Provision of habitat for commercially important fisheries
  • Provision of habitat for endangered marine species
  • Provision of habitat for flagship marine species, such as sea turtles and manatees
  • Food security for many coastal communities

Seagrasses are known to be one of the most vital and economically powerful ecosystems in the world. They are known as the “lungs of the sea” because one square meter of seagrass generates 10 liters of oxygen per day through photosynthesis. 

Similar to mangroves, seagrasses play a critical role in carbon and nutrient sequestration. One acre of seagrass can sequester 740 pounds of carbon per year (83g carbon per square meter per year) – that’s about the same amount emitted by a car traveling around 3,860 miles (6,212 km). Annually worldwide, that’s about 83 million metric tons of carbon and they can capture it up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests. Seagrasses help with nutrient cycling and improving water quality by absorbing nutrients in runoff from land and releasing them into the water – an especially important function in nutrient poor regions. 

worldwide seagrass meadow location map

Seagrasses are found across the world, from the tropics to the Arctic. Shades of green indicate the number of species reported for a given area. The darker shades of green indicate more species are present. (Short, F. et al. 2007.)

Seagrass meadows serve as a filtration system for agricultural runoff and land based pollutants acting as a protective coastal barrier between the land and vulnerable ecosystems further offshore. ⁣Although seagrasses account for less than 0.2 percent of the world’s oceans, they sequester approximately 10 percent of the carbon buried in ocean sediment annually.

Despite these benefits and services, coastal blue carbon ecosystems such as seagrass meadows are some of the most threatened ecosystems on earth. It’s estimated that up to 29 percent of the global coverage of seagrass has already been lost. Major threats include degradation of water quality due to poor land use, such as deforestation and dredging, as well as nutrient runoff, climate change, and overfishing. Additionally, seagrass beds are vulnerable to disease and invasive species. ⁣

Sebadal / Seagrass from Rafa Herrero Massieu on Vimeo.

Some simple steps that you can take to help preserve seagrass ecosystems include: 

  • Don’t litter
  • Limit the amount of fertilizer and pesticides you use
  • Don’t dump anything hazardous down the drain
  • Be careful when boating by going slow and avoiding shallow areas
  • Support conservation efforts and offset your blue carbon footprint
  • Sign the global petition to the UN in support of March 1 as World Seagrass Day to increase awareness of these vital ecosystems worldwide

You can help support seagrass restoration and conservation around the world by purchasing a blue carbon sequestration offset through The Ocean Foundation Seagrass Grow project blue carbon calculator

Find out more about seagrass and ways to protect it at Project Seagrass and Seagrass Watch

sea turtle in bed of seagrass

Adult green sea turtles spend most of their time grazing in seagrass meadows. (Clifton Beard, Flickr)

Sources: 

  1. https://www.thebluecarboninitiative.org/about-blue-carbon
  2. https://oceanfdn.org/projects/seagrass-grow/
  3. https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/plants-algae/seagrass-and-seagrass-beds
  4. https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/seagrass-secret-weapon-fight-against-global-heating
  5. Global seagrass distribution and diversity: A bioregional model – F. Short, T. Carruthers, W. Dennison, and M. Waycott
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Celebrating Blue Planet Women in Science

February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This day was created in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology and to support their efforts in the field. 

Both science and gender equity are critical for the achievement of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and despite global efforts to inspire and engage women and girls in science, their numbers in the field continue to be low. Currently less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are female, and only around 30 percent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. 

At Blue Planet, we are fortunate to have a number of female scientists on staff and we want to recognize them for their work in their respective fields. Here are a few of their stories in brief as well as some inspirational words for any fellow women or girls who are interested in similar fields of study. 

Tricia Hevers

I have a B.S in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering, both from Cornell University. I use these degrees in my work for a company called L3Harris Technologies as a Satellite Mission Systems Engineer. We build space telescopes (like Hubble) and space antennas that are used in satellite radio and other mass communication satellites. 

As a Mission Systems Engineer, it’s my job is to integrate critical satellite mission components. I, and my fellow engineers, are responsible for developing system engineering requirements, performing trade studies, and designing CONOPs (CONcept of Operations – figuring out what you actually need to do to accomplish various activities). 

It’s an interesting job because it requires strong technical knowledge of how satellites work. I previously worked on small satellite programs at Boeing’s Satellite Development Center in Los Angeles so this background in flight software and satellite controls is very useful. As with many jobs, it also requires good communication skills for getting engineers to talk to each other and solve hard problems! 

3 space engineers in a clean room

Trish (far left) in a clean room helping to integrate a satellite that she worked on in college

How did you become interested in science?

I became interested in Aerospace Engineering through Girl Scouts! My sister and I had just bridged into Junior Girl Scouts and wanted to start earning badges over the summer. Two of the badges that we earned were the “Sky Search” and “Aerospace” badges. We spent the summer building wooden gliders, kites, learning about constellations, and tracked a NASA space shuttle mission. From that point on I knew that I wanted to ‘put things in space!’

Once I went to Cornell, I had the opportunity to ‘live the dream’ as an undergraduate student. I worked on an Air Force sponsored satellite program called CUSat, which launched on September, 29th 2013. While on the team, I worked on the Attitude Control Subteam and as the student Program Manager. It’s crazy that I got to run a multimillion dollar Air Force program before I even graduated from college!

Words of wisdom for aspiring female scientists

Find something that you are passionate about. Passion is something that you can’t manufacture and that you can’t teach, and yet it makes all the difference. Also, there is always more than one path to get to where you want to go. Don’t EVER give up!

Social media

You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Marin Hawk

I have a Bachelor’s in biology from Washington University in St Louis and a Master’s in Environmental Science from the College of Charleston. I currently work as a fisheries biologist at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a nonprofit that encourages sustainable fishing through its scientifically-based sustainable fishing standards. Every day, I help companies and fisheries understand the nuances of the MSC program that includes employing more sustainable practices and becoming more responsible members of their ecosystems in order to earn the MSC blue fish label

Marin Hawk

How did you become interested in science?

In high school, I did a Discover Scuba diving program in Cairns, Australia where I met Wally,  a well-known and much-loved resident giant grouper (not to be confused with the Goliath grouper) who lived on the reef. The sheer size of Wally was jaw-dropping – he was HUGE! He was a Queensland grouper, and I’m guessing about 500 pounds. Having grown up in landlocked Michigan, I had no idea fish could grow so large. It was so incredible to come face to face with such a gentle giant in the wild that I realized there was a whole world underwater that I knew nothing about. 

When I returned from that trip, I began volunteering at our local aquarium in Connecticut (where our family had moved after middle school) to learn more about fish like Wally, and that’s where my career really started. I fell in love with the ocean and learned as much as I could about the threats it faces. This led me to graduate school and a career in marine conservation, specifically fisheries biology where I am today.

Words of wisdom for aspiring female scientists

Find what you are passionate about and pursue it!

Social media

You can find me on Instagram

Rachael Lewus

I have a Bachelor’s and PhD in Chemical Engineering that led me to big pharma where I now lead teams developing manufacturing processes for oncology medicines. One of my proudest moments was hearing the success stories from patients of my first product. 

Rachael Lewus

How did you become interested in science?

As a kid, I loved puzzles and building toys and math so when it came to college plans, engineering seemed like a good fit. Early on, I was inspired to pursue chemical engineering as a road to pharmaceuticals by my undergrad professor. Later, my summer internship manager introduced me to several career paths and motivated me to seek a PhD.

Words of wisdom for aspiring female scientists

Go talk to people – both men and women (and notice I say “go” – this isn’t a passive thing!). Finding mentors can feel overwhelming, but my best mentors are people I’ve met who have talked to me more in depth about an area of interest. In fact, my biggest opportunities so far have come organically from these “strangers”.  

Social media

You can find me on Facebook

Jennifer Pollom

My foray into science was not as direct as some of my fellow female scientists! 

After 11 years of working in DC as a lawyer and political aid in the Senate and slogging through several presidential campaigns, I decided to finally pursue my real passion: ocean conservation. After leading an economic non-profit in DC, I went back to school at age and got a Masters in Marine Biology in 2015 from the University of Miami.

After teaching several college level courses in the Bahamas, I started helping set up coral nursery stations and outplanting those corals to help restore reefs that are suffering from bleaching events throughout the Caribbean. Currently, I am a Dive Training Specialist and Master Scuba Diver Trainer at Blue Planet Scuba and volunteer as a coral restoration specialist for spawning and planting events around the world.

diver giving the ok sign underwater just above some coral

Jennifer Pollom

How did you become interested in science?

I fell in love with the ocean at age 16 while on a high school trip to Key West. Being from rural Indiana, I’d had little exposure to the ocean up until then, and those two weeks when we lived and dove on sail boats had an enormous impact on me. However, while I’d planned to study environmental law in school, I took a circuitous route and only returned to this after pursuing a very different career at first.  

Words of wisdom for aspiring female scientists

Follow your passion – which is likely the thing you choose to spend your free time on and care about most. I had a very successful career but found that every vacation and every bit of free time I had, I spent learning about the underwater world. So I became a diving instructor and a marine biologist and have never looked back!

Social media

You can find me on Facebook and Instagram

Valerie Schneider

I have a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard and an undergraduate degree in Biology from Cornell. Currently I am a staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) where I manage a broad range of human genome-associated software tools and displays (more about what I do can be found here). 

Valerie Schneider
Image credit: CHIA CHI CHARLIE CHANG

How did you become interested in science?

I was fascinated by creating Punnett squares for a seventh grade biology book report – (The Punnett square is a square diagram that is used to predict the genotypes of a particular cross or breeding experiment) – and this piqued my interest in manipulating genomes in order to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. I’d been moved by the character in the book Alex: the Life of a Child, a moving father’s memoir of his daughter’s battle with the disease and given that the girl would have been the same age as me when I read the book, it really got me thinking about genetics.

Words of wisdom for aspiring female scientists

No matter whom you meet with, bring your A-game. This means being prepared and being fully present. It also means not hesitating to ask questions and speaking with confidence. 

Also, someone else once told me that when in large groups of people, speak as if you’re the most confident person in the room. Don’t hesitate in the way that you present your opinion – be strong and be open. I found this to be excellent advice.

Social media

You can find me on Instagram and Twitter.

Seminar: Master Scuba Diver -- A Passion for Diving - February 25, 2020

What inspires YOU to dive? Exploring parts of the world that few ever see? Experiencing incredible marine life encounters? Escaping the stress of your every day life with a little compression therapy?

Learn how our Master Scuba Diver Prep program can help you achieve your underwater dreams. Blue Planet instructors will be on hand to answer your questions and help you develop a personalized plan to become the best diver you can be. RSVP below!

When: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 starting at 7:00 PM

Where: Blue Planet shop

RSVP via Facebook or email

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Trade in - Trade up!

Looking to upgrade that old dive equipment to something new? If you bring us your old gear, you can take 20% off the retail price on any new Hollis, Oceanic, Suunto and Zeagle dive gear! NOTE: While we normally don’t stock Hollis, Oceanic and Zeagle, we’ll be happy to place an order for you.

 

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Categories: Gear Reviews, Gear Specials, News

Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup - Sunday, April 19, 2020

Join the Blue Planet Stream Team, the Rock Creek Conservancy and the Alice Ferguson Foundation for the 12th Annual Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup.

When: Sunday, April 19, 2020 from 10 AM – 12 PM

Where: Meet up in the parking lot across from Pierce Mill on Tilden Street right before it crosses Beach Drive and turns into Park Road. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the Cleveland Park Metro station.

What to bring: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (you may get wet). Bring yard gloves if you have them. And don’t forget water — in a reusable container, of course.

RSVP: Please register online by clicking here and then RSVP on our Facebook event page, or just email the shop!

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Categories: Cleanups, Conservation, Events, News

Latest News

NEW! Online Classes Coming Soon

We're working with PADI to start offering courses

Save on PADI and DAN eLearning

Stuck at home? Dreaming about when this will all b

Stay immersed in the dive life without getting wet

Stuck at home due to COVID-19? Worried about gett

Contact Us

Blue Planet Scuba
1755 S Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

(202) 527-9419
info@blueplanetdc.com

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COVID-19 UPDATE

See the latest information on Blue Planet's response to the COVID-19 orders in Washington, DC.