Dave Wright visited the Florida Keys to take another scuba instructor’s course before opening a dive shop in Cincinnati.
Then his plans literally turned south. He decided to relocate to the Keys where there is year-round diving and sailing and make his living there. On returning to their home in the greater Cincinnati area, Dave and his wife sold everything, including a geothermal and air-conditioning business he owned.
Soon, he launched Southern Most Diving http://southernmostdiving.com/index.html in Summerland & Big Pine Keys, Florida, which offers dive training, reef and shipwreck dives, night diving, lobstering, spear fishing and sunset cruises. Southern Most Diving will continue as a business to serve the general public but it will also be a launching pad for the Pro Dive Learning Center of America. The latter will train American veterans as divers, sailors and boat captains up to U.S. Coast Guard certification, as well as for related jobs in dive shops, hotels and marinas. It is all funded by the U.S. government under the Post 9/11 GI bill.
“It has to be an accredited course. If a vet has lost a foot, hand or arm he can still be an instructor. That is the vocational rehabilitation program.”
Dave says the program will be lucrative for him but in the lead up to its launch, Southern Most Diving is offering discounted rates for dive instruction to ensure he has enough qualified people to train the veterans.
“They can go in six weeks from nobody to instructors. I need five to seven students a week just so they can become dive masters and assistant instructors and start teaching,” says Dave. “That is why I’m giving it away. If they want to learn to dive and do specialties this is the only way to do it so it is economically possible. PADI said if I do this it will revolutionize the way diving is taught in America.”
At-cost diving, inexpensive flights to Florida from anywhere in the U.S., as well as bargains on car rentals and accommodations will keep students costs to a minimum, he says. Open Water certification for those open Water Certifications can be as little as $150 to $250
Pro Dive Learning Center of America is set to launch in August with 19 veterans enrolling as students. Working in conjunction with other facilities in the area – up to five or six dive shops are involved – Dave says they will be able to train up to 195 veterans a year.
For more info contact Southern Most Diving at 305-974-DIVE (3483)