Kingston Underwater Network aims to boost diving, tourism

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When it comes to scuba diving the Kingston Ontario area seems to have an abundance of everything divers want, except more divers. The east end of Lake Ontario from Kingston to Prince Edward County has plenty of shipwrecks and only 20 per cent of them have been discovered.

Kingston diver and underwater explorer Kenn Feigelman says also underwater are also two Harvard aircraft, part of the fleet used to train pilots during the Second World War. One Harvard is near Kingston and the other is off Prince Edward County.

There are a group of wrecks in this area, which is known as the Marysburgh Vortex. It is the Great Lakes version of the Bermuda Triangle.

One theory is that deep holes in the area might be due to meteorites, which could have adversely affected ships that only use compasses for navigation. The compasses might spin.

There are also many shoals in the area. Feigelman added that the ferocity of the weather, poor seamanship, greed of captains who overloaded their ships, and fires also played a role in the ships’ demise. These factors could have come into play, jeopardizing ships. Finding their wrecks is a challenge for today’s sailors.

Feigelman, a long-time Kingston diver, and other diving enthusiasts, decided to attract more divers. They formed the Kingston Underwater Network to help that pursuit.

Then they went one step further. They decided to promote the Kingston area as a major tourist area. It had almost disappeared. So had the dive shops.However, in a timely move, Helen Cooper opened new dive shops in Kingston and nearby Brockville.

Every fall an underwater film festival will be held. Guest speakers from around the world will be involved. Organizers hope that the event will attract non-divers to take up the sport. Feigelman says the Kingston Underwater Network will lobby for a hyperbaric chamber for the Kingston General Hospital to treat severe burn victims and those involved in diving mishaps. The Kingston Underwater Network is having an inaugural event on May 26. Divers from all over are invited.

Every fall an underwater film festival will be held. Guest speakers from around the world will be involved. Organizers hope that the event will also attract more non-divers to take up the sport.

Meanwhile, Feigelman, under his Deep/Quest 2 banner, will be working on Awesome Oceans 2.O, in English, French and Spanish Youtube series. It will be a series to educate grade school students about the ocean’s wonders. He hopes to have a 15-minute promotion on YouTube this fall.

Feigelman says this will be a major Deep/Quest for the season. “We will lobby Ottawa to designate it (Lake Ontario from Kingston to Prince Edward County) as a national marine park similar to Tobermory Ontario.” He adds that the area will play host to major underwater film festival. A national marine park would help attract tourists to events such as this.



About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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