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Great Falls is known for icy rivers, wildlife, and… SCUBA diving? Actually, yes!

Posted at 8:38 AM, Jan 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-26 12:59:48-05

GREAT FALLS — When people think of Montana, especially in the winter, they probably think of snowboarding, cold rivers, and wildlife, but A – Z SCUBA says there’s another option.

The NAUI approved SCUBA certification class teaches proper use of equipment, techniques for rescue and survival, and upon successful completion students can dive anywhere in the world.

Mike Lukas, owner of A-Z SCUBA told me, “There’s lakes, river, lots of waterways to dive in Montana.” He adds, “Most people who get certified here in Montana… they go to somewhere tropical.”

Mike Lukas inspects gear in preparation for a SCUBA class in Great Falls, MT
Mike Lukas inspects gear in preparation for a SCUBA class in Great Falls, MT

“My 14 year old son Jasper inspired me. He’s been really into SCUBA diving. Going through all of the classes underwater gives you lots of confidence” said SCUBA student Dan Vasichek.

Owned by Mike and his wife, A-Z SCUBA is also doing a lot for the community and for military veteran mental health as well. “I got certified with the Air Force in 1991… in concert with the folks up in Kalispell at the dive shop, they have a chapter of Underwater Soldiers. It’s a program for PTSD [for veterans]”

Classes meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings and it takes anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months to complete the course depending on how motivated the students are.

“This is our second week now taking SCUBA lessons. We’re going to Costa Rica and gonna go diving in the nice waters. That was our motivation for this.” Dan said excitedly.

Think you might catch the SCUBA bug soon? A-Z SCUBA can be reached at 406-217-4416 and you can find more details on their website.

And if you've ever wondered where the term SCUBA comes from - it's an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.