About Our Team…
In 1976 Bob was hired to teach diving and manage Gulf Coast Divers, a young dive business started by Tom Williams in 1972. Bob implemented a whole new approach in recreational dive training that emphasized more practical skills and learning, with less emphasis on memorizing specific formulas, physics laws and medical terminology. Bob didn’t care whether or not Gulf Coast Divers’s students knew what year a principal was first discovered or if they couldn’t name the person who first discovered it, as long as the concepts and principals were understood as they related to diving, and that the person was a safe, competent and comfortable diver.
To better accomplish this Bob has always emphasized learning to dive on the subconscious “auto-pilot” level. He says not only is it a safer way to dive, but also that it frees up your conscious attention to enjoy the dive rather than focus on equipment, techniques and survival.
Gulf Coast Divers’ new approach gained popularity rapidly, and within three years Gulf Coast Divers had also opened stores in Pensacola, Pascagoula, and Biloxi.
Bob had grown uncomfortable with his ability to control the quality of training at all stores with the rapid expansion, so he went to the business’s owner to offer a “choice of solutions”. This led to an agreement whereby Bob bought the Mobile and Pascagoula locations. He also expanded into the industrial/commercial diving business through a sister company that conducts a wide variety of underwater operations for numerous private businesses and governmental agencies.
Bob has obtained multiple certifications for various instructor ratings including Master Instructor and Instructor Trainer through various diver training agencies including SDI, TDI, SSI, YMCA, INDI, PADI, and CMAS. He also completed EMT training (Emergency Medical Technician) through the University of South Alabama to gain the knowledge in case it was ever needed within a diving context.
Bob’s instructional techniques and class philosophies evolved into today’s VIP-PACE diver training program offered by Gulf Coast Divers. Thousands of divers have been trained through this program, and it has gained a solid reputation of producing divers who are better trained and more comfortable than divers who were not trained under the VIP-PACE system.
Hugh and his family were initially certified at Gulf Coast Divers in 1983, and he completed Advanced Open Water certification in 1987. Hugh says he and his wife enjoyed diving in the BC period (Before Children) but sadly let it slip for a few years to meet the obligations and demands of family and career. Happily for us at Gulf Coast Divers, he revived his passion and spirit for diving and underwater exploration, and now enjoys utilizing his teaching skills to share that passion and spirit with new divers.
Since joining the Gulf Coast Diver’s dive team, Hugh has updated or completed several dive specialties and is First Aid and O2 trained, rescue certified and is a level one instructor.
Hugh’s enjoyment of sharing his passion and experience with future divers is apparent as he helps new students with their introduction to the underwater environment. He says one of his biggest rewards is seeing the excitement of new divers as they discover the joys of diving.
Lawren earned his initial instructor certification in 1994. He has been trained and has multiple certifications as a scuba equipment technician, has been a USCG licensed boat captain since 1999. He has also been certified as a commercial diver since 2003.
Lawren enjoys spearfishing, photography, cave diving, or just observing marine life, and still takes advantage of any opportunity to swim around underwater.
Like so many others, learning to dive changed Lawren’s life. He has often described his initial scuba class as “the best Christmas present I ever got!”.
Robin earned degrees in both psychology and sociology at the University of West Alabama. After graduating she got married, worked in pre-school education and had her first two future divers before joining the staff of Gulf Coast Divers.
After re-discovered a love of the underwater world she got excited about sharing the world of diving with others. She was working on her divemaster certification when she became pregnant with her third child. This seems to have further fanned the flames of her desire to work with children, and she re-started our swim lessons program with “Rockin’ Robin’s School of Star Fish!
She spends much of her dry time scheduling sessions and keeping the instructor staff in-line and on time for their next class. If you call and are greeted with her perky voice you can hear the smile thru the phone! Robin has been described as a “continuous ray of sunshine” due to her always-positive attitude.
Terry got a reputation as an accomplished spearfisherman, but the lure of technical and cave diving drove his interest into the freshwater. Terry began his technical training and diving in 2004 and is now a Technical and Cave diving instructor. He teaches several technical and extended range courses at Gulf Coast Divers. Terry has worked on several research and exploration projects for underwater caves throughout Florida, North Alabama and Tennessee.
Even though most of his diving is in the extensive underwater cave systems on the gulf coast, he can still be sighted on the deck of the Oriskany every now and then.
Gulf Coast Divers
1284 Hutson Drive
9:00AM - 6:00PM