The Summer of 1965, at the age of 13, I was working at a shoe factory in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. My first real job. Lied about my age. By my 14th birthday, I had saved up enough to purchase a used set of scuba equipment. 72cf Steel tank with a “J” valve, mask, fins, snorkel, weight belt, weights, a rubber (both sides) wetsuit, and a double hose Royal Aquamaster US Divers regulator. With visions of Sea Hunt and Jacques Cousteau dancing in my head I read the entire US Navy Diving Manual – and headed out to the local quarry.
My father dropped me off and asked, “You know what you’re doing?” I said yes, and he drove away. With me was my best friend Paul Carlson. Paul was there to be my safety diver. Of course, he was fully clothed. The equipment and I malfunctioned badly that day and as I crawled wide-eyed out of the quarry, Paul took off. I never saw him again. Later that year, Dad decided I needed formal scuba diving training and referred me to his friend and coworker, Art. I have never stopped diving since. 7,000 dives plus. Thanks to the Peel Diving Club, (George Bailey, Rick Rowan, Art Sweezie, Frank Shackleton, Paul Mathies, and many others), I became the youngest Scuba Instructor in Canada at 17. Art, Frank, Rick, and Paul are friends to this day.
Joining the Canadian Navy at 18, I became a Sonarman and Ship’s Diver. After leaving the Navy I had a Canadian banking career in Computer Operations. I started Letts Dive!! in Canada in 1985 and my company certified over 1000 PADI Open Water Divers. In 1989, I co-founded an environmentally sensitive diving resort project on the Turneffe Islands of Belize. After divesting myself of the Belize project, in 1992 I emigrated to the USA and have spent the past 27 years in the securities industry, and diving! Brenda, my wife, decided to resurrect Letts Dive!! in St Petersburg, Florida.
I am confident that you will never find a Local Dive Store more dedicated to you, your needs, and your education than Letts Dive!! I look forward to having you visit us, and we want to be diving with you soon!