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Long Island Divers Association to Sponsor Harbor School Students

on Special Long Island Scuba Dive

September 30, 2013

NEW YORKSept. 30, 2013The Long Island Divers Association (LIDA) today announces that it will sponsor the students from the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School on a special SCUBA diving adventure at the Ponquogue Bridge at Long Island's Shinnecock Inlet on October 26, 2013.

New York Harbor School LogoThe Urban Assembly New York Harbor School is a public high school located on Governors Island In New York City. The school provides over 430 students, the majority of whom are classified as economically disadvantaged, with four years of college preparatory education, with a strong emphasis on maritime careers. Freshmen at the school can choose from six available career education paths, including such diverse and exciting disciplines as aquaculture, marine biology research, marine robotics and scientific diving. Tenth-grade scientific diving students are given the opportunity to train as certified SCUBA divers.

The school has been operating for 11 years. Historically, more than 70% of the students entering Harbor School are performing below grade level in either math or reading before starting at the school. Last year, 97% of Harbor School graduates were accepted to college, going on to top colleges and universities, including Cornell, Fordham, Middlebury, Penn State, SUNY Maritime and Syracuse. Many have also gone on to work in the maritime industry as licensed boat captains, SCUBA divers, ocean engineers, marine technicians or marine biologists.

While at the school, the student divers spend much of their underwater time exploring and studying the waters of New York Harbor and Governor's Island. The dive on October 26 will give the students a unique opportunity to experience the clear waters of Long Island's East End. The dive site at the Ponquogue Bridge is one of Long Island's premier dive locations and on this dive the student divers will have a chance to encounter the diverse marine life found there.

LIDA, by sponsoring the dive, is providing transportation from the city for the students and is arranging to have a full complement of experienced local divers on site to accompany the kids on their dives, helping them learn the dive site and ensuring their safety in the water. Local dive clubs will also be participating. Rounding out the day will be a full barbeque for all participants and attendees.

The dive will take place at the time of high slack tide, which will be at 2pm on October 26th.

The idea for this unique sponsorship came from a chance meeting between Barry Lipsky, President of LIDA, and Joe Gessert, a faculty member of the school, during a beach cleanup event on Coney Island shortly before Hurricane Sandy struck the area last year. After learning more about the mission of the Harbor School, which is to provide a college-preparatory education built upon New York City's maritime experience that instills in students the ethics of environmental stewardship and the skills associated with careers on the water, Lipsky and LIDA have worked tirelessly to secure the location, date and logistics for the event.

The sponsored dive is emblematic of the work of LIDA, a not-for-profit organization with a mission of advocating for divers interests on Long Island. Providing students from the Harbor School with access to one of the best dive sites in the entire region is the driving force behind this unique sponsorship event. Because of economic limitations, the students of the Harbor School rarely have access to diving outside of the waters close to New York City. The upcoming dive at the Ponquogue Bridge will expose them to a new and very different diving experience, which will help further fuel their interest in pursuing careers in the maritime industries described above. All that is left to do now is to dive the waters of Long Island with the students from Harbor School and LIDA on October 26, 2013.

For more information about the Harbor School visit

About Long Island Divers Association (LIDA)

LIDA is a not-for-profit regional organization dedicated to the promotion of local diving, the representation of divers interests throughout the diving and general community, and the protection of divers rights through outreach to our local and regional government officials. We are funded by member dues, donations and the proceeds from our annual Film Festival fundraiser (scheduled for January 27, 2014). LIDA is staffed completely by volunteer members.


Directions to Ponquogue Bridge

  • Take the Long Island Express to exit 70S (south) to route 27 East
  • Take exit 65S (south), which is route 24 to the end (Hampton Diner). Stay in left hand lane
  • At the lights turn left (east) on to Montauk Highway (CR 80)
  • At second set of lights turn right (south) on to Ponquogue Avenue
  • Follow the road all the way down (approx. 1.5 miles)
  • Turn left (east) on to Shinnecock Road
  • At second stop sign turn right (south) on to Foster Avenue (Coast Guard on North side of the bridge)
  • Follow road around to left and continue over the new bridge
  • Take left hand lane on other side of bridge
  • Turn left at the light
  • Take next left (almost immediately)
  • Drive towards the end and then park wherever you can find a space.

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Last modified: August 13 2014