Posts Tagged ‘dema’


I hope you are able to enjoy so time time with your family today or over the coming weekend.  I am heading out Sunday morning to start my return journey to the Florida Sea Base, so I am really looking forward to these last few days with family.


Copied from the DAN @ DEMA brochure:

Dr. Petar Denoble is the senior director of DAN Research.  After graduating from medical school, Dr. Denoble joined the navy in the former Yugoslavia and specialized in naval and diving medicine.  For 13 years he was involved with training, supervision and treatment of divers in open-circuit, closed circuit, deep-bounce and saturation diving.  His doctoral thesis focused on studying oxygen consumption in underwater swimming.  He has been at DAN for 20 years and has been involved in the development of the largest data base of exposures and outcomes in recreational diving, the monitoring of diving injuries and the study, treatment and prevention of fatal outcomes and long-term consequences of diving accidents.

I attended two presentations made by Dr. Denoble during the 2012 DEMA show, “Chronic Diseases and Safety of Diving: Results from the DAN Members Health Survey” and “Sudafed, Viagra and Oxygen Toxicity”.  (I commented on the second presentation in my last  post.)  The last morning of DEMA  morning I happened to run into Dr. Denoble in the A-Plus Marine Supply booth on the trade show floor.  I introduced myself, told him a little bit about the Florida Sea Base and told him I appreciated his presentations.  This started a conversation that lead to my concern about youth divers and psychotropic drug use.  That lead to Dr. Denobles interest in statistics involving young divers.  He said he was very interested in starting a dialog.  I am optimistic that this will become very beneficial for the safety of the Scouts diving at the Florida Sea Base.


My son is one of the corporate officers (and the music and audio genius behind) Rockshow Comedy.  They will release a new Scout appropriate comedy DVD tomorrow starring Tim Hawkins.  You can see a preview on their website or search “Tim Hawkins” on YouTube.  If you go to you can purchase the DVD, purchase a download, or both.  The comedy shows are usually performed in churches and are very family friendly.  This is a great gift idea. offers a preview of their comedians, ticket sales, and the opportunity to book Tim Hawkins for your own show.  Tim’s YouTube videos have had over 37.6 million views.  Enjoy!

Click to enlarge.

My son, Aaron, playing drums with the Tunafish Band in a 2008 Tim Hawkins concert.


Captain Rich mentioned yesterday that the Florida Sea Base will offer Coral Reef Sailing style adventures from St. Thomas in 2014.  In response to one of the posted comments, there are no plans to include Florida Sea Base scuba programs in the USVI for the time being.


I have been invited to discuss the possibility of writing an article or blog post for the American Health Journal. I will try to follow-up on that once the Divemaster Academy has concluded.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713



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The 2012 DEMA show concludes Saturday morning and I will be jetting back to Dallas.  I will return to the Florida Sea Base after Thanksgiving.  I had an incredibly busy 4½ days at the show.  I attended classes in PADI Standards Update, Risk Management, Project AWARE, Website Development and Improvement, Social Media, Chronic Illnesses, Aging Divers, and some things I am too tired to remember right now.

The PADI classes are open to non-PADI members.  As we were finding our seats for one of the classes, a young woman confided to me, “These classes are much better than the ones at SSI (Scuba Schools International) where I work”.  Maybe she’ll cross over.

I saw several of my PADI Course Director Training Course (CDTC) classmates including Curtis Wilson who was my “dive buddy” for the course. I also spent time with several PADI employees (many of whom are Scout leaders or former Scouts), Samantha “Sam” Merrill, Divers Alert Network employee and volunteer Scouter, and some former students from PADI Instructor Development Courses that I worked with while preparing for the CDTC.

I placed significant equipment orders with Aqua Lung and Divers Alert Network.  I discussed new products with several companies.  The only disappointment at DEMA was that I wanted to order some low pressure steel tanks and none of the manufacturers are making the tanks in the size that I wanted.  Oh well.


PADI has released a beta version of a new online social media venture named ScubaEarth.  It is, or will soon be, linked to Facebook.  it looks a lot like Facebook but also allows a person to log their dives, drop pins on a Google map of the locations they have dived, save information like serial numbers for all of their dive gear, and carry on Facebook-like conversations with other divers.  This program is open to all divers, not just PADI divers.  Check it out!


Some of you are NOT going to like this, but here it is.  Research conduced by the Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Duke University suggests that persons who dive while using pseudoephedrine (products like Sudafed) or PDE5 medications (such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra and some medications used to treat pulmonary hypertension) are at increased risk of oxygen toxicity which results in seizures.  I will try to get more details but I probably won’t have time until after the first of the year.  The MD presenting this information made it very clear that past success diving while taking these medications is NO guarantee of future success.  Divers using the medications are at increased risk of convulsions at depth.  There are documented cases of fatalities contributed to these medications.  if you are using the medications and can’t wait until I make time for further clarification, feel free to call DAN for clarification.

I’ll close with that.  Dive SAFE!

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713



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I apologize for not posting for a few days; I am simply overwhelmed.  We have been tasked with completing a program cost analysis, review our year end budget projection, reviewing year end purchasing needs and preparing an agenda for our upcoming Florida Sea Base Advisory Committee meeting, all with deadlines on or prior to 29 November.  In the meantime, Divemaster Academy preparations takes up a part of every day at this time of year and I continue to coordinate with Kyle Moran and Emily Sepeta back at the base on used gear sales.  And to top it all off, I am in Las Vegas at the Dive Equipment and Marking Association Show.


I was pleasantly surprised at the PADI Live program Tuesday night where I learned that the Florida Sea Base was a nominee for the 2012 Project Aware award.  This award “recognizes PADI Retailers or Resorts for outstanding achievement with respect to the aquatic environment”.

In addition, two former Florida Sea Base Scuba Instructors, Brittany Haury (now working in Hawaii) and Brian Sevald were each nominated for the 2012 Top Producer/Continuing Education Certification Growth.  (Some of you may recall that Florida Sea Base Scuba Instructor Captain Christy Clemenson was nominated for that award last year).  This award “recognizes PADI Individual Members for outstanding achievement and commitment to continuing education growth over a 12 month period”.  Way to go!


The weather at the Florida Sea Base is still not too bad.  The Weather Channel is forecasting “cooler” temperatures for the Keys.  The high Thursday will be around 80.  By the weekend it will cool down to 77º.  Brrr!


Kyle Moran reports that the used gear is selling like hotcakes.  If you are interested in buying a used BC, regulator or combo, contact Kyle via email at  When its gone it its gone and there won’t be any more until next August.

I have real work to do.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713

DEMA 2012

I leave Monday to attend the 2012 Dive Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show in Las Vegas, CHILLY Las Vegas.  The temperatures are forecasted to be in the mid forties to mid sixties daily.  The wind should be mild this year; it was blustery two years ago.  DEMA locations vary, but for the last several years it has rotated annually between Vegas and Orlando.  I am scheduled for 29 hours of seminars, 2 hours of meetings, and need to visit with several vendors.  Monday is a travel day.  Saturday morning will be my last session at the show and I fly to Dallas Saturday evening.


I spent about 4 hours working on revisions to the BSA Scuba Award yesterday morning and then had a meeting with Brad Smith from PADI via phone for about an hour.  We had each prepared a draft and our edits were so similar that it was spooky.  I would say, “Great minds think alike” but i wouldn’t want to offend Brad.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director#39713


Saturday was the last work day of the 2012 BSA Aquatics Workshop.  In the morning we discussed Aquatics Play Structures: Work Session and Reporting (lead by Pat Noack) and Aquatics Staff Guide: Work Session and Reporting (lead by Steve Terrell).  The afternoon classroom topics were essentially the same as Friday.  What I failed to mention in yesterday’s post was half of the participants went to the lake for some practical exercises on canoes, kayaks and paddle boards.  Today, the teams rotated.

After dinner we had an Open Mic session where attendees brought up whatever BSA aquatics related issue was on their mind.  We concluded around 21:00 (9pm).

Click to enlarge.

Pictured, from left to right, BSA Aquatics Task Force members Dr. David Bell, Pat Noak, and Dr. Jay Fox.


The tropical Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are currently quiet.  However, a Nor’easter is likely to hit New Jersey on Wednesday.  Don’t forget to go to, click on the Red Cross button so The Weather Channel will match your donation to the relief efforts for Superstorm Sandy.


DEMA (Dive Equipment and Marketing Association) is next on my travel list.  The industry show is in Las Vegas 12 – 17 November.  In the meantime I will be working on Divemaster Academy preparations, applying to PADI to upgrade the Florida Sea Base to 5 Star Instructor Development Center Resort status, preparing for the first Florida Sea Base Instructor Development Course, and looking for a scuba instructor for Christmas.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713


Congratulations are in order for new certified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Keith MacDonell.  Keith took a non-conventional path to his OWSI certification but was successful none the less.  All four candidates from Florida Keys Dive Center were also successful in the bid for this coveted achievement.  It was my honor to be chosen to evaluate the rescue skills at the PADI Instructor Exam (IE) Sunday.

The weather pattern was disappointing yesterday.  It was descent enough for the divers to head out yesterday morning but they were chased back in by rain and lightning.  Then, once it was essentially too late to go back out, the weather became much better.  When I returned from the IE, some of the Coral Reef Sailing crews were having a blast sailing the small Hunters and stand-up paddle boarding.

A new tropical system Invest 90E has developed in the Eastern Pacific but the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is remaining void of tropical development.  The low pressure system off Florida is bringing fresh breezes and some rain, but nothing severe.

Click to enlarge.

I am very fortunate to have an Apple iPad.  My do list would require a ream of paper if hand written.  It will be a busy Monday.

The annual DEMA Show is in Las Vegas again this year.  The honorees for 2012 are Dan Orr and Dick Rutkowski.  DEMA has posted and good article.  The Florida Sea base Health Advisor has collaborated with Mr. Rutkowski in hyperbaric medicine for over 30 years and is very excited for his friend’s recognition.  Mr. Orr is the President of Divers Alert Network and an exceptional public speaker.

Gotta go!  I wish I had more time, but I have to rush to the morning staff meeting.  Make it a good Monday.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
PADI Course Director #39713
Aboard S/V Escape 

Yesterday was the last day of the 2011 Diving Equipment and Marketing Association show in Orlando, Florida.  I have now returned to the Florida Sea Base after being away for five weeks and two days; one week at the BSA committee meetings in Dallas, three weeks on vacation with my family, and one week at DEMA.

I met Captain Dennis Wyatt at 0840.  He had towed my trailer from his house to DEMA so I didn’t have parking issues for the week.  We hiked the 3/4 of a mile from the hotel parking lot to the DEMA show where Captain Dennis checked in and received his credentials.  I had a class to attend at 1000 (which is when the exhibits officially opened, so off I went.  Captain Dennis was watching “The Scuba Cowboy” sing at the Scuba Radio exhibit just outside the show entrance.  They were giving away prizes and the lucky guy won a very nice  drybox with a customizable pick-and-plug foam interior.  Way to go Captain Dennis.

When my class concluded I met Captain Dennis on the show floor and we walked around for two hours.  At that point (around 1300) I left the show and started my trip back to the Florida Sea Base.  Good-bye to the 35th Annual DEMA show.  The next show is in November 2012 in Las Vegas.

The drive from Orlando to the Florid Sea Base was incident free.  My little Civic averaged 34.4 mpg with the trailer in tow.  I ran into Captains Rich and Carol and Tux the Wonder Dog at the Quarterdeck.  We talked for just a couple of minutes and I made my way out to Escape.  Overall, all was well.  I filled the water tank (which I had intentionally left low) and cleaned up one mess from a leaky portlight.  Both air conditioners cranked up without major issue but I need to clean the strainer sometime today and fiddle with the aft unit a bit (it’s old and cranky and doesn’t like being ignored).  By 2100 (9 pm) everything was in reasonable order and I turned on the Alabama/LSU game.  (I’m not a fan of either team but I was pretty sure it would be a good game.)  That didn’t last long.  I was tired and called it night around 2130.

I did notice that there has been no progress on the harbor dredging.  I believe the contractor is scheduled to come out Monday and discuss the revised plan of action.  I’ll let you know more as soon as I know more.  Life will be VERY difficult is this project is not completed before the middle of February.

I have a meeting with Scuba Instructor/Commissioner Laura Kuras at 1000 this morning.  I have a two month mountain of “stuff” in, on and around my desk to wade through, clothes to wash, an expense report to file, air conditioners to piddle with, a car and trailer to unload, Divemaster Academy issues to address, groceries to buy, and who knows what else.  I hope you have a relaxing Sunday.

Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape

It was a LONG day yesterday.  I woke up with a headache and then spent almost 10 hours in training seminars.  Today’s schedule is somewhat better.  Captain Dennis Wyatt will join me this morning to walk the floor and I should get a chance to actually look at some of the show exhibits.  I have one class from 1000 to 1100.  Whenever I get finished, I will drive back to the Florida Sea Base (about a 6 hour drive).  I may sleep in a little Sunday morning so I may not get the post up as early as usual (maybe not at all).

This is my 700th post.  I know you are overwhelmed with attacks via phone, email, and social networking on a daily, even hourly basis.  I appreciate the time you find to read this blog.  I bear all expenses for this site and write it in my non-BSA time.  I started this site because of my frustration with our inability to bring you timely information as an organization.  I try to provide current information about the Florida Sea Base as openly as I can.  I get my hand slapped on occasion by FSB management for what I say.  As you read these posts, please keep in mind that this is NOT an official site of the Florida Sea Base or the Boy Scouts of America.  Some days it is simply ramblings from a tired old man. 🙂  Thank you for those who have become frequent visitors.  If you are new, and looking for supplemental information about the Florida Sea Base that you can’t find at, please use the search feature on this site to look for the information you need.  You can also go to the ABOUT page for a list of names and email addresses for  FSB department heads.  If you have a question about the Florida Sea Base and aren’t sure who to direct your question to, send it to me or click on COMMENTS and I will get it to the proper person.  The WEATHER page has information such as historic weather temperatures (including water temperatures).  The MEDICAL page has detailed information of particular interest to scuba participants.  Thanks for visiting this site.

Staffing wise, the summer of 2012 is going have some challenges.  Captain Dennis Wyatt and my right hand woman, Dr. Ellen Stites-Wyatt, are not planning on returning for the summer.  I will miss them professionally and personally.  They have taken a couple of summers off in the past (the Alaska years) and we have obviously survived.  Dr. Ellen carries the largest burden of any of the seasonal employees and her position is very challenging to fill.  But what I will miss most is hearing the two of them laughing their way through the difficult days.  They are incredible individuals and an unbelievable team.  We will get to work together during the spring and, knowing Dr. Ellen as I do, she will do all she can to leave us in good shape for the summer.  Also, Captain Carol Chapman, who is working very hard on her nursing degree, may not be able to work with us this summer due to her school commitments.  So I am loosing my two most experienced captains the same summer that I am adding another inspected vessel to our scuba fleet.  That is a three captain deficit.

Wednesday I briefly (like 10 seconds) crossed paths with PADI Course Director Gregg Johnson.  I think I last saw Gregg in 2001.  He now has a dive shop in Lancaster, Texas.  Yesterday I managed to catch up with Gregg for about 15 minutes on the show floor between classes.  Gregg was the Course Director for my IDC Staff Instructor course (SEVERAL years ago).  He’s an extremely competent scuba instructor.  If you happen to be in the Southwest Dallas area and looking for a dive shop or instructor I recommend him without reservation.  The name of his dive shop is Divers Isle Training Center.

At the end of my last class I was approached by another blast from the past, Captain Margarita Olson.  Captain Margarita is a PADI instructor and is teaching the PADI Open Water Diver course at the Florida Keys Community College in Key West this spring.  She is a former Florida Sea Base staff member but has been away for a few years.  We didn’t get to talk very long, but I am looking forward to maybe finding time in the near future to catch up.  I understand that she has had some incredible experiences since I last saw her.

I got the car partially packed last night.  I have to finish packing ASAP so I can get checked out, meet Captain Dennis, and get to my final class of the week before walking the floor for a few hours.  Whenever I get through, I have a six hour drive back to the Keys.

One of the first things I have to do when I get back to the base tonight is to fill the water tank on Escape.  Since the air conditioners haven’t been run in a month there is a decent chance that the sea water strainer or other components may need some attention.  Once I have water and air conditioning and a few essentials unloaded from the car, I should be able to get to bed.

Capt. Steve Willis
Heading for “the rock”

Yesterday I was up at 0530 to write the daily post and study (cram) for about 30 minutes for the Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer course.  That certification is a prerequisite for the PADI Course Director Training Course.  My efforts paid off, I aced the practicals and written exams.  I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Captain (and PADI Course Director) Bert Hubby of Florida Keys Dive Center for helping in my preparations for this course.  I am now certified to train others as EFR Instructors for CPR (adult, youth and infant), first aid, and AED use.  The EFR Instructor certification is a prerequisite for becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.  One of my goals for 2012 is to become certified as a PADI Course Director which would allow me to teach the Instructor Development Course.

Speaking of the Course Director certification, I received positive feedback Wednesday when I met with Johnny Wetzstein, PADI Training Director.  While Johnny was kind enough to give me some great pointers on how I can improve my ranking (which I WILL follow-up on), as it stands right now, I would make the cut for the 2012 PADI Course Director Training Course.  Course Director is the highest of the PADI instructor designations.  I do not know the origin of the title “Course Director”, but most agencies (including EFR) use the designation “Instructor Trainer”.

The tropics remain quiet.  While we still have a potential for severe tropical weather through the end of the month, the likelihood is slim.  It’s not over yet, but maybe we will manage to get through the 2011 hurricane season without a major incident at the Florida Sea Base.  A cold front should pass through the Keys tonight dropping the temperature into the low to mid 60s and a giving us a 10% chance of rain.

Today’s DEMA schedule is intense.  From 0800 to 1800 I have an hour off for lunch (between 1300-1400 as I recall) and otherwise I will be in class.  Speaking of DEMA, it’s time to go to the Instructor Development Course Staff Instructor update.  (If all goes well in 2012, this will be my last IDCSI update and it will be replaced with the Course Director update at future DEMA shows.)

Capt. Steve Willis
10 time DEMA attendee

I was running a little late yesterday morning, but arrived at the North Hall of the Orange County Convention Center just a few minutes after 7 to officially check in with the registration desk.  I was pleasantly surprised by the small number of people in line and the express registration process.  I have been coming to DEMA for many years.  I have three major complaints; DEMA requires you provide your email address and they give it (or sell it) to anyone and everyone, the on-line registration process is difficult, and securing credentials after arriving at the show is a big hassle.  The email issue remains.  The pre-registration is still a little tedious but has improved significantly.  The credential pick-up was a breeze.  I was prepared for a difficult and frustrating process but all I was required to do was show my emailed receipt for pre-registration, photo ID and 30 seconds later I was on my way.  This is a VAST improvement over years past.

On the walk over from the hotel I ran into Dan and Betty Orr of the Divers Alert Network.  They have been to the Florida Sea Base trying to establish a partnership between DAN and the BSA/FSB.  They are very nice people.  If ever ever have the opportunity to attend a Dan Orr presentation, it will definitely be worth your while.  He is an excellent, entertaining, informative speaker.

After that, I sat in the lobby, edited yesterday’s post and started on today’s post while waiting for my first PADI mini-seminar, “Dive Against Debris”, to begin.  (The Orange County Convention Center has much better free, visitor Wi-Fi than what we have at the Florida Sea Base).  I ran into several other individuals that I haven’t seen in a while including John Koonz, Niccole Sherman, Bill Hamm and Janelle Hamm (all PADI employees) and Course Director Gregg Johnson from Hillsboro, Texas.  I used to work for Gregg but I haven’t seen or heard from him in years.  Unfortunately, I was in an interview when he walked by and we couldn’t exchange contact information.  Hopefully I’ll run into him again.  In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if he was still alive.

In case one of my bosses is reading this, here’s how my schedule went yesterday:

0704-0707 Check in at registration
0900-1030 “Dive Against Debris” seminar
1100-1200 Meeting in the PADI booth with Regional Manager Mike Kurczewski
1200-1300 “Project AWARE 2.0” seminar
1300-1400 Lunch ($15 for a dried out hamburger and a bottle of water)
1400-1500 Meeting in the PADI booth with Johnny Wetzstein, Training Director
1500-1630  “Risk Management for Retailers and Resorts” seminar
1830-2030 Business dinner with Mike K and Johnny W (PADI), Capt. Bert Hubby (Florida Keys Dive Center), Tracey Brennan (Florida Keys Community College) and the owners of Sea Experience (who won the PADI “Outstanding Dive Business Award”).
2220-2300 Cram for today’s EFRIT exams

I spoke with Captain Rich yesterday.  He is still in the St. Petersburg area looking at prospective vessels for the Florida Sea Base sailing programs.  Laura Kuras has devised a plan to sell all of the remaining used scuba gear.  If you are interested in obtaining a set, please email Laura ASAP at or you may miss the boat.

Back to cramming.  (I’m too old for this.)

Capt. Steve Willis
Soon to be EFR Instructor Trainer