Wednesday, May 7, is the date for Chamber Day 2014 — be sure to mark your calendar!
The USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber, located on the campus of the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center at Big Fisherman Cove at the West End of Catalina Island, is an emergency medical facility for the treatment of scuba diving accidents. For the past 25 years, Chamber Day has helped raise funds to support and maintain the Chamber, keeping it ready 24 hours a day for scuba divers who need emergency hyperbaric treatment.
The first Chamber Day attracted about 200 divers and netted around $15,000, and over the years the event has grown to over 1,000 participants. In addition to Chamber Day, they’ve also added Chamber Eve, the Flying Dutchman, and the Chamber Challenge; and last year raised just over $125,000. Chamber Day and Chamber Eve are considered the largest single-day scuba charity event in the United States, and perhaps even the world.
It’s worth noting that all money at the upcoming event will go directly to the Chamber. No administrative fees are deducted from the proceeds, the local SoCal boats generously donate their time and services, manufacturers donate gear for raffle prizes, the Aquarium of the Pacific donates their facility for Chamber Eve, and hundreds of volunteers donate their time. Your contributions are appreciated and help keep the chamber operating through the year.
Some of southern California’s finest dive boats donate their services for the day. Participating boats include the Magician, the Sundiver and Sundiver Express, Asante, Cee Ray, Giant Stride, Hattitude, Pacific Star, Sand Dollar, and the Second Stage.
The main event is Chamber Day, which includes a full day of diving (two dives) at Catalina, plus a walking tour of the Chamber at the Isthmus. Cost is $95 (plus $30 for food and airfills, which goes to the boat, to cover those items). For your donation, you’ll get the diving, tour, a T-shirt, and 5 daytime raffle tickets.
This year (for the first time), one boat (the Magician) which will forgo the island tour for a third dive. If you can’t take the day off but would still like to participate, there’s the Flying Dutchman— a big part of Chamber Day, and the perfect option for those who can’t attend in person. “Diving” the Dutchman gets you 5 daytime raffle tickets and a special limited-edition T-shirt available only to folks who sign up for the Dutchman.
There’s also the Chamber Challenge, which “challenges” our community to raise extra funds for our Chamber through direct donations (mostly $100 pledges, but also $500 and $1,000, and even $5,000 and $10,000). You donate, and then—we hope—you challenge your friends to match your generosity.
Raffle tickets, anyone? Daytime raffle tickets are the way to go—because you don’t need to be present to win. Tickets are $1 each, with discounts when you buy more.
Chamber Evening, co-sponsored by the Aquarium of the Pacific, wraps things up. You’ll have full access to the Aquarium, a sit-down dinner in the Great Hall (under the life-sized model of a blue whale), hear a few speeches, enjoy the raffle, and the presentation of the Chamber Day check to Karl Huggins, Director of the Chamber.
Chamber Day is a great event and great way to help scuba divers in California – and help make sure the chamber will be ready for you if you should you ever go a little too deep or stay a little too long!