Friendship PArk, OH. (WTRF) – Almost every year, Ted Velas of T.L. Velas Diving & Supply rings in the new year with a winter dive.
The tradition started in 1983 with a small group of divers at Barkcamp Lake. It’s now grown and takes place at Friendship Park in Jefferson County.
Frank Borsek is a scientific diver for the environmental protection agency, he’s been diving for 30 years and has been participating in the new years day dive for 15 of them. A tradition he says starts the new year off right.
“Starting the new year off right getting in the water, it’s kind of a challenge. Each New Year’s Eve you think ‘am I realy going to do it.’ As long as I can keep doing it, it’s a nice tradition to keep up. Plus a lot of good guys come out here to do this.”Frank Borsek | Scientific Diver, EPA
It’s no question that the cold weather plays a factor in the dive, that’s why the divers equip Dry Suits to brave the 38 degree water.
38 degrees seems cold but compared to other years, Velas says it’s about an average temperature and is definitely not the coldest he has seen.
“Probably the coldest that we’ve done it in the air was in the low teens and that was in the river. It wasn’t quite frozen over yet although the water was about 36 degrees. But the air that day was probably 11 or 12. So when you got out of the water, everyting froze immedietly.”Ted Velas | Owner, T.L. Velas Diving & Supply
This year is a little different for Velas, instead of taking a plunge in the almost-freezing lake, he says it’s his turn to sit back and watch.
You can also take part in the tradition by getting certified to dive, Velas’ next class begins on February 2nd and after that is March 22nd.