Who we are:
A group of volunteers that believes in supporting our community with our passion of scuba diving through the Dive Pirates Foundation, a 501 c 3 not-for-profit public charity
What we do:
Dive Pirates supports, trains, equips, and provides dive travel to individuals with disabilities through Adaptive Scuba Diving
Based on camaraderie, compassion, freedom to dive, and the Code of Conduct, Dive Pirates will support, train, equip, and provide dive travel to individuals with disabilities through Adaptive Scuba Diving.
Dive Pirates will create a community of Adaptive Divers that will dive and travel in the mainstream world of Scuba Diving through education and overcoming obstacles.
What's in a Name?
Dive Pirates derives its name and philosophy from the combination of diving adventure and the romance of the Caribbean, especially the panache of pirates. Traditionally, pirate crews would take care of injured crew members by making them peg legs, hooks, eye patches, etc. Disabled crew members were not banished from the ship, but were given new tasks that they could perform and be useful to the rest of the crew. They were also given a pre-determined cut of the booty in exchange for their contribution. Dive Pirates continues that spirit by bringing the Adaptive SCUBA Divers along with the rest of the crew and cutting them in on the priceless booty of Scuba Diving in the Caribbean.
Description of SCUBA and Adaptive SCUBA Diving
Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) is a popular sport created and made famous by Jacques Cousteau. Although it was once a sport for only the strongest of swimmers, it is now a sport that is enjoyed from ages 10 to 80 and beyond. Resorts and dive boats operate around the world and the sport has generated a specific travel industry. Air travel to the Caribbean makes most dive destinations within 2-5 hours from most US cities and this accessibility has helped grow the sport.
Instruction and safety is self regulated by the Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC). Members include the instructional agencies of Scuba Schools International (SSI), Professional Association of Dive Instructiors (PADI), National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) and others. These agencies have agreed to a common set of minimum requirements for the safe training of individuals to achieve a rating of Open Water Diver. An Open Water Diver needs to be able to be comfortable in the water, understand the operation of his/her equipment, be able to plan dives within the limits of nitrogen decompression and be able to perform minor rescues. All agencies also offer and encourage continuing education for divers.
Adaptive Scuba Diving (formerly known as Handicapped Scuba Diving or Disabled Scuba Diving) is a training philosophy that addresses the specific needs of a disabled individual, trains to that specific disability, and then prepares that individual to dive with mainstream Open Water Divers. We do this by including as many standard skills as possible and by jointly training with an Adaptive Buddy that can fill in the gaps for the disabled diver. These divers are a team that can dive in most locations with Open Water Divers.
Creation of the Club
Dive Pirates was originally a social club of divers started by Barbara Thompson of Houston,Texas, Sophie Wimberley of Houston, Texas and Nettie Evans of Linton, Indiana that enjoyed practical jokes on dive trips and sharing them on a website, www.divepirates.org. Initially, money was raised by selling t-shirts and special Scuba Do Rags TM. In 2003 after learning Adaptive Scuba Instruction from Stacey Minton, Barbara, Sophie and Nettie expanded the club as a fund raising organization for Adaptive Scuba and began to look for candidates and funding to train them. Sergio Marquez of Scuba Houston in Houston, Texas and Stacey’s New Mexico Scuba Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico started Dive Pirate Clubs and raised funds for their local “chapters.”
In 2004, The Scuba Houston chapter began to focus on the needs for returning vets who were amputees as a result of wounds received in combat from a tip provided by Theresa and Martin Cortez of San Antonio, Texas. This led to a formal fund raiser gala at the Houston Downtown Aquarium early in 2005. The attendees were generous and we were able to take 4 adaptive divers and their buddies along with our able-bodied divers to Brac Reef Beach Resort in Cayman Brac.
The success of this trip was both overwhelming and humbling. Nettie’s husband Bob joined the trip along with Tracey and Martine Hamilton of Dallas, Texas and Ginnie and Chris Pulliam of San Antonio, Texas. These individuals formed a core group of Dive Pirates committed to forming a non-profit organization, training more instructors, teaching as many injured veterans as possible, and expanding nationwide. They were later joined in forming a Board of Directors for the non-profit that would eventually also include Lou Brown of Christoval, Texas, Byrdie Thompson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Nancy Walker of San Antonio, Texas and Dave Kuhary of Cleveland, Ohio.