MARQUETTE — A few of us might keep in mind Jacques Cousteau in his TV exhibits and documentaries within the 1970s and 1980s. Right this moment we hear of diving in Lake Superior, reminiscent of this summer time’s decrease harbor clear up. Some might know that you may take a credited course for diving at Northern Michigan College.
Did you additionally know Marquette had its personal dive store again within the 1970s? That you would not solely take a diving class, however that you would research to be a licensed dive teacher? That the second girl to obtain Grasp Instruction certification with Skilled Affiliation of Diving Instructors (PADI), Bettey Tomasi, lives in Marquette? If you already know George and Bettey Tomasi, you might know the story.
George and Bettey met at NMU and married in 1956 however after graduating left the world for work. Later George discovered a job at NMU and was capable of transfer their rising household again to Marquette. Finally they might have 9 youngsters. He labored because the Convention Director and employed Scott Holman.
Scott additionally taught scuba di
ving as a part of the persevering with schooling division to college students and neighborhood members. The category was not for credit score. He invited George and Bettey to take the category. After taking the category, they began serving to train and shortly afterward, Scott left and so they assumed all educating obligations.
Whereas diving for the navy or exploration dated a lot additional again, diving as a sport was nonetheless fairly new within the early 1970s. A number of organizations developed for educating and certification within the 1950s and 1960s. At the moment, certification of lecturers was nonetheless being developed.
George and Bettey skilled with PADI (the Skilled Affiliation of Diving Instructors). The emphasis was extra on expertise within the water and sensible abilities than theories. They continued to work with the group all through their diving careers.
Not solely did the couple train, they labored to advertise the game of diving in lots of different methods. They opened a dive store on Third Avenue, subsequent to the Blue Hyperlink. Divers may get their oxygen tanks stuffed and buy different wanted gear. Their youngsters helped run the shop, so it was solely open after faculty and on weekends. Clients may additionally name the enterprise on the Tomasi home and Bettey may meet them down on the store.
George bought a ship and began diving excursions of wrecks in Munising. The excursions featured the Smith Moore wreck which sat upright, and provided a terrific diving expertise. Divers from across the Midwest got here to dive off their boat. Once more, a few of their youngsters helped with the diving excursions.
Bettey continued educating with a few of their youngsters serving to her at open water dives at Presque Isle. The diving program provided completely different ranges together with teacher certification. Divers got here from across the Midwest to change into licensed instructors, then they got here again to the area with their college students to dive George’s shipwreck excursions.
Bettey’s work additionally prolonged into writing for nationwide publications. She wrote a column for the Below Sea Journal for different instructors and developed a seminar on Ladies in Diving, as this was nonetheless a brand new subject for ladies. The couple introduced across the Midwest and East Coast.
Regionally they supported a membership with actions and a publication to assist the game. Evening time diving was accessible. Vacation outings included underwater pumpkin carving contests and Easter egg hunt competitions.
The couple had long run impacts on the game within the Nice Lakes: Bettey labored to have a bariatric chamber bought on the hospital–the primary within the UP. The therapy for divers was not accessible to divers within the UP; and there was no good resolution in case of an emergency.
Each Bettey and George labored on a committee to determine underwater preserves within the Nice Lakes. As furnishings manufactures salvaged wrecks to reuse timbers for furnishings, divers discovered their sport in jeopardy. George and Bettey served consecutive phrases on the state committee to avoid wasting these wrecks. By 1980 laws arrange the safety of those wrecks together with these off Marquette and Munising. These legal guidelines made it unlawful to take away artifacts from the wrecks and preserved wrecks for divers to get pleasure from for generations to come back.
George and Bettey additionally supplied coaching for the police, together with coaching for below water ice rescue. They supplied skilled diving for the police and the mines. Bettey even helped assemble the higher harbor marina as George was chartering excursions on the weekends and holding down his full time job at NMU through the week.
Diving continues to be taught at NMU, although as we speak it’s a credited course. There isn’t any longer a dive store and the constitution tour boat was remade right into a glass backside boat so non-divers can view the wrecks from the consolation of the boat. Nevertheless, many divers are nonetheless energetic within the area.
Study extra about sport diving within the area on Nov. four when native diving fans Eric Smith and Dan Fountain will focus on their adventures reminiscent of diving the shipwrecks of Isle Royale. They may share historic photographs of shipwrecks and focus on the event of sport diving round Lake Superior. This reside on-line presentation will embrace time for questions. $5 donation to the Historical past Middle to affix this program. Register for the Zoom on-line program at marquettehistory.org/things-to-do or scan the QR code.
Diving can be featured in our present particular exhibit: The Nice Outdoor: The Historical past of Out of doors Recreation in Marquette County by means of Jan. 23. This system and exhibit are a part of our 2020 Nice Outdoor Sequence, with assist from the Michigan Humanities Council.