The Vaqueros Del Mar ("Cowboys of the Sea") dive club was
formed more than 40 years ago with the stated purposes
Four decades later VDM remains true to these founding principles.
"... to encourage skin diving, spear fishing and underwater
sightseeing for the love of the sport ...,
to establish training programs to ensure safe practice ...,
to promote fellowship, sociability and cooperation ...,
and to promote public good will towards skin diving ..."
The club started soon after Livermore was chosen as the site of the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
in the early 1950's. The Laboratory needed divers for studying the
underwater effects of the nuclear tests in some of the Pacific atolls.
These divers returned to Livermore and founded the club.
Incorporated in 1958, it is one of the oldest clubs in the San Francisco
In 1959, VDM's 30 members applied for membership in the Central California
Council of Diving Clubs
Over the years the club has been a strong supporter of CenCal,
and club members are generally also CenCal members.
One of the first activities of the club was to teach safe diving practices.
Club divers developed a training program to teach new members how to dive
safely. This training program was later brought under the auspices of the
National Association of Underwater Instructors
Joe Jaklevick, who was NAUI's Mid-Pacific Branch Manager and Northwest
Regional Representative during the mid and late 1990's, was the first VDM
Instructor to be certified as a NAUI instructor in 1968.
Today, VDM is closely allied with the
VDM School of Sport Diving
which assumed independent responsibility for training in 1989.
Graduates of the entry classes are welcomed into the club and receive a
complementary guest membership for the rest of the year.
The VDM School of Sport Diving offers a variety of
every year including
Scuba Diver (entry level), Advanced Diver, Master
Diver, along with the DAN Oxygen Provider Course,
Openwater Rescue Course, NITROX Course, and Dive Master Course.
Currently the school has five instructors and five dive masters.
Memorial Day and Labor Day usually find the majority of club
members on the north coast of California, particularly at
Van Damme, Anchor Bay, or Salt Point.
We skin dive for abalone and scuba dive with cameras or spear guns.
In the evening, we usually have a potluck dinner featuring plenty of abalone
cooked in various styles.
In 1992, to encourage and learn both still and video underwater
photography, the special interest group
PhotoGeeks has a monthly meeting (normally the Wednesday after the club
meeting), runs a monthly photo competition at the club meetings, and
maintains the club camera gear to rent. Monthly photo competitions include
a variety of categories (such as California underwater,
Topical underwater, and above water),
and two levels for underwater categories (Novice and Advanced).
The winners at the end of the year receive plaques at the Annual Awards
Through these practices, quite a few members have received regional and
national photographic awards.
The Annual Awards Banquent provides an opportunity to celebrate the
diving year. Typically held in November along with entertainment and
dancing, it features awards for photography and sport fishing.
Diving equipment and trips donated by dive shops and sponsor organizations
are given as door prizes.
To promote environmental awareness and diving safety, we have an annual
Beach Clean Up, and a Seafood Festival.
The club is also a supporter of nonprofit organizations such as
the Marine Mammal Center, the Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber,
the Abalone and Marine Resouce Council, and
Point Lobos State Park.