Scuba divers take the plunge despite freezing temperatures and rain

Jefferson County


Every New Years Day, a group of scuba divers in the Ohio Valley go jump in the lake.

The divers from T.L.Velas Diving & Supply eased into the lake at Friendship Park in Jefferson County.

The outdoor air temperature was 32, and they estimated the water was only a few degrees warmer.

They started the tradition in 1983.

“Today is not the greatest day for the dive,” said Velas. “You’ve got days when it’s really cold and snowy, and that’s not too bad. And you’ve got days when it’s nice and warm and that’s not too bad. But today’s somewhere in the middle and it’s just kind of wet and miserable.”

Most of the divers are first responders in the Ohio Valley.

They say many were exhausted from fighting major fires yesterday and last night, so the attendance at the dive was sparse.

Most of today’s divers were wearing dry suits, that keep you warmer than a normal wetsuit.

Velas says it takes six weeks to learn to dive.

The next class begins Sunday, Feb. 14th.

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