Meet UMD's Scuba Instructor

Meet UMD's Scuba Instructor

UMD offers a scuba diving course every year taught by Elmer Engman, who has been diving for almost 49 years.

“The Open Water Scuba course is for someone who may know a little or nothing at all about scuba diving,” course instructor Elmer Engman said. “The class covers snorkeling and scuba equipment, physics as related to water pressure, diving safety and the diving environment.”


After one full session and four open water dives in the summer, students can get “open water certified.” This is a certificate that never expires and enables you to scuba dive anywhere in the world.

“No matter where you go in the world you may see something that no one else has seen  before,” Engman said. “Even in Lake Superior there are spots that divers have never been and you never know what you may find.”

Engman has been teaching scuba diving for 45 years and has written three different books on the subject, one of which is a guide to western Lake Superior shipwrecks.

“Although there are a lot of reasons to start diving, the main interest that started me on this path was the love of maritime history and shipwrecks,” Engman said. “Lake Superior has over 1000 shipwrecks beneath its water and the cold fresh water will preserve them forever.”

Engman’s favorite memory while diving was in the wrecks of Truk Lagoon.

“Truk is located in the Pacific about 500 miles south of Guam,” Engman said. “During World War II, an air attack sank over 60 Japanese ships. I was diving in the engine room of one of those ships and was near the engineer’s console and looked up and saw the ship’s clock and you could see the hands of the clock and when time stopped for that ship.”

According to Engman, the next scuba course at UMD will be held sometime in July.

“It is always a good feeling at the last class session to see students eager to start diving and explore their new world,” Engman said.

To register for scuba classes, contact the RSOP office at 218-726-7128 or email them at

All photos courtesy of Elmer Engman

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Funding needed for University of Minnesota's Health Services

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