116. My Top Five Locations for New Divers, plus Wet Notes – new, information and commentary

Registration for the DEMA Show is now open. DEMA members can register for early bird pricing of $55 until October 16th. After that the price jumps to $75. Non-DEMA members rate is $180 for the full package. The show is open to all dive professionals, dive shops, resorts, manufacturers and travel agents. This year the show is in New Orleans and runs from November 14 – 17.

The 39th annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival took place on July 8, 2023 at Looe Key Reef. The purpose of the music festival is to promote coral reef conservation. Several hundred snorkelers and divers participated in the event.

Oceanic 31 is an exhibit of shark art that is sponsored by the Shark Trust. It is billed as a shark art exhibit and what they did was to get a group of artists who are passionate about sharks and conservation to create 31 paintings, drawings, sculptures and digital media representing a species of sharks or rays that live in the ocean.

OCEARCH is a non-profit organization that is conducting unprecedented research on sharks. Their mission is to accelerate the ocean’s return to balance and abundance. OCEARCH is affiliated with Jacksonville University and was recently awarded a $5 Million grant from the state of Florida to build a new headquarters.


As dive professionals we have a duty of care to our students. We must keep them safe. We cannot compromise on this duty. It is too easy to lapse, so we must be diligent. Our students equipment must be functioning properly. You cannot put a student in the water with gear that is compromised. Also, we should not overweight our students. Getting weight correct is a challenge for new divers. Take the time to dial it in as best you can. Also, we cannot take students into environments that they are not ready to encounter.

My top five destinations for new divers based on the distance from my home in Connecticut.

  1. Fort Wetherill, Jamestown, RI
  2. Key Largo
  3. Grand Cayman
  4. Bonaire
  5. Philippines