Located in East Rochester, New York, Pisces School of Dive has been an East Coast diving instutition since 1976. A family-owned business, the dive center is owned and operated by husband and wife Sid and Susan Webster, and offers training and rental gear, sales and service, and trips to local and exotic destinations. Sharing scuba diving with a wide audience, Pisces School of Dive also works with the Boy Scouts of America, and is setting up programs with the Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA) and the Wounded Warrior Program.
Article by John Tapley; photos courtesy Pisces School of Dive
I spoke with Sid and Susan about their enthusiasm for sharing scuba diving with a larger audience, their favorite local dive destinations, and programs geared at inspiring the next generation of scuba explorers.
John: What motivates you to run Pisces School of Dive?
Susan: It’s never the same day. There’s always something interesting that comes up – even on quiet days.
Sid: It keeps us healthy and lets us travel and meet so many people. That’s the joy of it. It’s about fun.
John: Where do you travel? What are the most popular dive destinations for your clients?
Sid: We have a boat on a local finger lake, Canandaigua Lake, and our local trips run from the Canadian side of the river and Lake Erie to the Thousand Islands in the north and Dutch Springs in the south. That’s in addition to our winter trips to the Caribbean.
Susan: To me, the St. Lawrence River is a mecca for freshwater diving. The shipwrecks… the topography of the riverbed is astounding to me. You never have the same dive twice; I could live underwater there. The Niagara River has become a favorite because it’s a lot of fun to drift in. We go to Dutch Springs about twice during the season. It’s always fun to get out of town for a little bit, and it’s an easy [trip] for people to make.
Sid: Everybody can go to Dutch Springs for training, and there’s something for everyone with the other sites. The Thousand Islads is novice through advanced; Lake Erie is for advanced and technical divers; the drift dive is only at 20 feet, so everyone can go on that.
John: Pisces School of Dive is involved with the Boy Scouts of America. What has that been like for you?
Sid: We’re quite involved with the scouting program. We have our own venture crew that specializes in scuba diving. We do the scuba diving merit badge and the Scuba Diver Award, which is involved in Discover Scuba, letting them try it out. We also have merit badge counselors for swimming and first aid.
Susan: This year, we have two classes that are headed down to Sea Base [in Islamorada Florida]. They’ll get certified here; it’s exciting for them.
John: What’s new with Pisces School of Dive in 2018?
Sid: We have three new instructors: two are vets – and we do a lot with the Wounded Warrior program every year. Our vet new instructors, Joe Johnson and Mike Sallaway, are looking forward to getting involved with that. We’re also branching out into HSA (Handicapped Scuba Association) programs. Walter Hartman and our instructor Pat Clark want to get into HSA.
Susan: We’re seeing more and more families, and it’s recently become even more fun than in previous years. It’s great because it’s so healthy for everyone.
Whether it’s adventuring through the St. Lawrence Seaway with a group of excited buddies in tow or opening new avenues for divers to explore, Pisces School of Dive has been a New York establishment in opening new avenues for divers to learn and grow.
For more details on Pisces School of Dive, visit www.piscesdivers.com.