Recreational Diver Equivalences

SDI Project Development Manager, Lauren Kieran, has authored a blog post citing the recreational sport diver equivalences between PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), SDI (Scuba Diving International), and SSI (Scuba Schools International). This post outlines the similarities and differences between these three agencies that are listed within the WRSTC (World Recreational Scuba Training Council). Lauren has written an excellent summary of the equivalency ratings, and divers and prospective divers should become familiar with this information in order to select the training that is most appropriate to their individual diving objectives. Also, dive professionals everywhere should become familiar with these equivalent cross-references in order to accurately inform and train student divers.

Please click below for the link to the blog post on the SDI website:

Recreational Sport Diver Equivalences


Open Water Diver Certifications

Congratulations to Becky Watson (Palm City, FL), Raven Watson (Palm City, FL), and Caroline Rogers (Marietta, GA) for earning their Open Water Diver certifications today while diving out of the Jupiter Inlet with the crew of “Down Deep”. It was a memorable experience diving on Lighthouse Reef and Julie’s Reef. I wish them all the best of luck as they continue with their diving adventures.


Stuart Scuba Logo

2015 Year in Review

This month marks the end of my third year as a dive professional in Florida. In April I left the Florida Keys and relocated to Juno Beach, Florida (the heart of the Gold and Treasure coast). I continue to teach scuba diving and, although I’m an independent instructor, I primarily work with Stuart Scuba and Blue Heron Bridge Scuba. I still enjoy diving and teaching, and spend most of my time underwater on the reefs and wrecks in the surrounding area.

Since becoming an open water scuba instructor in January 2013 I’ve advanced my own career by becoming a PADI Master Instructor, and I also completed a crossover credential as an SDI Scuba Instructor. Additionally, I’ve attained approval to instruct 26 PADI and/or SDI Specialty and Distinctive Specialty courses, and 4 Emergency First Response (EFR) courses. I’m pleased to report that I’ve certified one or more students in each of these specialty areas, and each class has been fun and rewarding.

This year I recorded 204 open water dives and several more confined water dives. I made my 1,000th recorded open water dive in July and I continue to learn and enjoy all that this sport has to offer. I certified 65 divers in 2015 (29 PADI certifications and 36 SDI certifications). I’ve taught students from 5 Countries and 15 States, with ages ranging from 11 to 60—proof that this is truly a sport everyone can enjoy.

2015 was once again an amazing year because of my students, peers and mentors—all whom continue to make teaching scuba diving a rewarding adventure. I look forward to 2016 as I settle into my new dive home with new friends and plenty of learning and teaching opportunities.

Thank you.

Open Water Diver Certifications

Congratulations to Phil Fragata (PADI), Mike Francescani (SDI), Stephanie Francescani (SDI), Randy Locke (SDI), and Mike O’Hara (SDI) for earning their Open Water Diver certifications today while diving out of the Jupiter Inlet on “Down Deep”. It was a memorable experience diving with sharks, rays, turtles, eels, and so much more on two of our local reefs (Lighthouse and Tunnels). I wish them all the best of luck as they continue with their diving adventures.


Stuart Scuba LogoPADI

Open Water Diver Certifications

Congratulations to Canon Dunick (PADI) and Shane Hodel (SDI) for earning their Junior Open Water Diver certifications, and Jack Holzmacher (SDI), Chris Steuart (SDI), Sam Oliver (SDI), and Earle Spence (SDI) for earning their Open Water Diver certifications. It was a pleasure working with Stuart Scuba and the Captain and crew of “Down Deep” to get these men certified as divers. I wish them all the best of luck under the sea …


SDI / TDI Instructor Certification



I’m pleased to announce that I’ve obtained my crossover instructor certification from SDI/TDI/ERDI.

In order to provide my clients with even better service, I can now offer the choice of basic, advanced or specialty certifications through PADI or SDI/TDI. Additionally, I am now able to offer thirty PADI or SDI/TDI specialty diving certifications – plus four emergency response courses. Special thanks to the generosity and support of Peter Friedman and Christy Campbell and the great employees at Stuart Scuba and Blue Heron Bridge Scuba for helping me make this goal a reality.

On a side note ….. I participated in the certification of 15 SDI Open Water divers, 2 PADI Rescue divers, 1 PADI Underwater Navigator specialty, and 1 EFR (CPR & First Aid) certification in the past week and yes, the diving here is great and I still love my job!!!

Master Instructor

MI patch

On April 10, 2015 I achieved my goal of becoming a PADI Master Instructor (MI).

I didn’t plan on becoming a dive professional when I moved to Key Largo in 2011 – I simply wanted to scuba dive as much as humanly possible. My diver friends encouraged me to pursue additional training, and I eventually became a PADI open water scuba instructor. Over the course of my professional dive career I’ve recorded almost 1000 dives and certified almost 200 people of all ages, introducing them to the underwater world or helping them achieve their personal goals and ambitions. It has been an amazing and rewarding experience and I’m truly grateful for having had this opportunity to dive for a living.

As I leave Key Largo for bluer water up north (the greener pastures analogy just didn’t seem to fit) I want to thank my family, friends, students, and peers who helped me along the way. I’m grateful to Ocean Divers for the opportunities afforded me as an independent instructor – I couldn’t have done this without their help. I’d also like to thank Ross Neill & Chris Adams (Rainbow Reef Dive Center) for allowing me to work with a recent Divemaster class to get my last two required certifications. And, a special thanks to my dive buddy Micki, who has been my most fervent supporter and the best Divemaster anyone could ask for.

If you’re ever in or around Juno Beach, FL please look me up and we’ll splash ….. Happy Diving!

Advanced Open Water Diver Certification

Spiegel Grove Mareen Dave 4 4 2015

Congratulations to Mareen Luethen (Berlin, Germany) who completed the Deep, Night, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Underwater Navigation, and Wreck Adventure dives this weekend, earning her a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Certification. Mareen and I worked with Ocean Divers to explore the reefs and wrecks in Key Largo, FL. I had a great time diving with Mareen and her fiancé Victor, and I wish them all the best as they continue to dive together and learn new skills.

Open Water Diver Certification

Congratulations to Anne and Brendan McCarthy (twins from Skokie, Illinois) who completed their PADI Open Water Diver certification today while diving on Molasses Reef with Ocean Divers, Key Largo, FL. I want to wish them the very best as they complete their senior year and head off to college in the fall, and encourage them to continue diving as they’re both well suited for some quality time under the sea. I had a great time diving with them and their father.

In Search of Gold & Treasure



Juno Beach Pier - The Walk

On April 15, 2015 Dave’s Scuba Connection will begin operating out of Juno Beach, the center of southeast Florida’s Gold & Treasure Coast. I am pleased to announce that I have joined the Stuart Scuba team, which maintains a dive shop in Stuart, a boat and departure dock in Jupiter, and a dive shop at the Blue Heron Bridge in Riviera Beach. With approximately 60 miles of coastline to explore, our clients will be able to dive in the Atlantic from as far north as Port St. Lucie and points south to Fort Lauderdale. In 2013, the Blue Heron Bridge (located in the approximate center of this 60 mile area) was chosen as one of the 50 best dive sites in the world by PADI’s Sport Diver magazine.

Clients who wish to dive in Key Largo are encouraged to contact me for availability, as I may continue to operate in the Keys, affording customers more choices and diversity of dive sites throughout southeast Florida.

I’m very excited about this new adventure and opportunity to live and work along the Florida coast – I can’t wait to get started diving in a different and diverse environment. Come dive with the Stuart Scuba team and discover your own treasure along the coast.

Advanced Open Water certification

Congratulations to Bradley and Beverly Aho (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) who completed the requisite dives and performance requirements today leading to a certification as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver. They braved 5′-7′ seas aboard Ocean Divers Blue Kai dive boat, while diving the Spiegel Grove and Benwood wrecks. They truly earned their advanced rating given the conditions over the past 2 days. Best of luck to them both as they continue to dive and learn new skills.