Starting in 2015 we will be spotlighting a new diver each month!
We want to give our divers a chance to share their lifestyle, what they love about diving and inspire others to get in the water with their scuba stories! Rum Runner Dive Shop "Diver of the Month" will be selected based on their passion and involvement in the diving community. Basic diver or dive professional; any diver qualifies. The “Diver of the Month” will be announced via social media, our website and through our shop emails. Plus, they will be given a gift certificate when they are noticed at our monthly Dive Club Meetings.
We love our divers and want to motivate all of our scuba family to blow bubbles often! To nominate a diver email email@example.com.
Kelsey Kelly – April Diver of the Month
Meet Kelsey Kelly - senior Biology major at East Carolina, avid diver and part of the Rum Runner staff family. Kelsey graduates in May and has big plans to continue diving and following her underwater driven passions.
We have has so much fun working with Kelsey and hope all the best for her as she continues to blow bubbles. If you didn’t get a chance to get to know her, read her words below and then make sure to go diving with her this summer at Olympus!
RR- What made you want to start scuba diving?
KK- I’ve had a love for the ocean since I was a little girl. I’ve been a surfer, snorkeler, and beach bum for a long time, so when I came to ECU and found out they had a class to get certified I signed up and now it’s become my favorite ocean sport.
RR- How did you start diving?
KK- I started diving when I decided to take the open water class through the ECU program. From the moment I took my first breath off a regulator I knew that I had found my passion in life and there was no going back.
RR- What made you want to continue diving?
KK- I kept diving because I loved the excitement of exploring new underwater places. I became addicted to the adrenaline rush I felt as I geared up and took the 6 foot drop off the boat. I also loved the people I met and friends I made through diving. It’s such a small community and it’s nice to be able to share what I love with others who truly understand.
RR- What is your favorite thing about diving?
KK- My favorite thing about diving is the serenity I feel once I’m underwater. My life is busy and sometimes very stressful, so I really enjoy submerging and taking in all the cool creatures and shipwrecks while listening to nothing but my own exhaust bubbles. I also suffer from chronic pain in my shoulders due to scoliosis, but once I’m underwater the weightless feeling I experience gives me temporary relief.
RR- What advice would you give someone just starting out?
KK- My advice to someone just getting into diving is learn everything you can! The more you know the more you can relax and enjoy the experience. I would also suggest joining a scuba club because it is a great way to meet people who share the same interests as you and who you can learn from.
RR- What is a long-term goal for diving in your life?
KK- One of my long-term diving goals is to travel the world working in the industry so that I can experience some of the remote and pristine diving locations world-wide.
RR- What is a short-term goal involving diving?
KK- One of my short-term goals is to finish my instructor so that I can help others find their passion for SCUBA like I did. Another is to complete my tech certifications this summer.
RR- What is your favorite scuba class you’ve taken?
KK- My favorite class I took was definitely Dive Master. I found it interesting and somewhat challenging, so that made it fun for me. I also loved it because I was able to get hands on experience with teaching classes and helping students tackle the difficult parts of their training.
RR- What is your favorite certification you hold?
KK- My favorite certification is either nitrox or drysuit.
RR- What is you highest certification level and what do you love about dive leadership?
KK- I’m currently a divemaster and I love dive leadership because I enjoy being the person someone can ask for help. I also love guiding people because I get to show them the best parts of a dive site and when we come back up everyone can talk about all the really cool things they saw that they might have missed out on otherwise.
RR- Where is diving taking you in your future?
KK- I’m still unsure exactly where diving is taking me in the future, but I think it’s safe to say that wherever it does take me will be an awesome adventure filled with great people and great memories.
Kelsey on her time at Rum Runner and her next adventure in her dive career:
KK- My time at Rum Runner has been a gift. I have learned so much about diving and what it takes to keep a dive shop running. You can’t put a price tag on that type of experience. I’ve also loved getting to know all of our customers. Each of you has earned a special place in my heart that can’t be filled by anyone else, and I’m going to miss seeing all of you on a regular basis! I want to thank Carolyn, Erika, Dillon, and Tyler for getting together and deciding that I was a good hire. Y’all have been great co-workers and I wouldn’t have had the experiences I had without all of you! I’m sad to be leaving because I’m going to miss my scuba family and all the hilarious things that occur daily, but I know that it’s time to take the next step in my career.
As many of you know I will be working at Olympus this summer. I’ve been hired on as shop staff and I’ll also be working as a dive guide. I also plan on teaching classes for them once I finish my instructor in June. I’m excited about this opportunity and I’m loving working there so far. I started last weekend and it was a blast, so I’m definitely excited about this summer!
I’m most excited about finally living close to the ocean. My degree is in marine biology, so I can’t wait to be close enough to all the action that I can be heavily involved in things like beach clean-ups, lionfish derby’s, the research being done by NOAA, and work being done by the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium and other conservation and research agencies.
March – Ed Lowthert
Ed Lowthert is no stranger to adventure; it’s his fuel. He has always had a love for water and no fear when it comes to trying something new.
Ed explained, “I’ve always been drawn to the water. I dove for the first time when I was 16 and knew it was for me.”
Several years later, in ’93, Ed earned his certification and began diving. However, at that time he was in the military and he did not have much free time to dive.
In the Marine Corps, Ed did Military Free Fall School where he would jump out of aircrafts from 10,000 feet. During the week he would do training jumps and on the weekends Ed and his buddies would sky dive. He was accustom to never having his feet on the ground.
In 2002, during a skydiving accident Ed experienced a 100 feet free fall that left him dead. His friend, who was medically trained in Combat Life Saving techniques, rushed to his side and revived Ed. The accident left him paralyzed. The doctors told him he would never walk again, let alone dive.
A Marine Corps Force Recon Veteran, Ed spent 13 years serving his country. After the accident, he was medically retired from the Marine Corps.
Ed refused to be grounded though. He didn’t spend time believing the doctors. Instead, he began a journey to walk again.
For anyone who was ever told they couldn’t do something because of a disability, Ed encourages, “Do it! Find a way!”
Ed is now a walking paraplegic. Moreover, he dives, drives, enjoys riding motorcycles and continues to defy his injuries daily.
Once again, Ed’s feet are off the ground.
Ed said, “I feel better in water. There is no pressure on my body – not having to stand on anything. I have more mobility. I am free in the water.”
Ed is looking to move into dive leadership in the future and he would also like to start spearfishing more. He is currently taking the Science of Diving Class and says it is his favorite course so far.
Ed urges divers to, “Make sure you are comfy in the water and take time to learn about the physics behind diving. More divers should understand dive physics, how your body responds to breathing gases at depth and getting more knowledge past just basic diving. It really helps when you can link information you learn to reality as you dive.”
Ed also suggest getting involved in the dive community because everyone is friendly. He recommends talking to professionals in the industry, always staying open to learning new things and trying new dive sites every chance you get.
This May Ed will be joining Rum Runner for the St. Lawrence Seaway Trip to Canada. One of his long-term travel plans is going to Truk in 2017.
Ed is a regular at Rum Runner Dive Shop and come late spring he will join our staff. So come hang out with him and get to know a wonderful diver. Meeting Ed is an adventure of its own, we are so happy he is a member of our scuba family and we are excited to have him join us.
February – John Britt
Congrats to John Britt, our February Diver of the Month! John started diving with us after he finished his Basic Diver Certification on the MLK Florida Springs trip. He is an enthusiastic addition to our dive family. Even though he was already certified, John sat in the very next Basic Scuba class in January just to help with his friend who he encouraged to become a diver as well. John hasn't stopped getting others excited about diving. Next month his brother will be taking Basic Scuba! John has already found the value in owning his own gear and has a complete set of his own. He has earned his drysuit diver certification and is looking forward to earning his Advance Certification by taking more specialty courses like Science of Diving next month. We are happy to have you diving with us!
January – Dan Drake
20 years ago Dan Drake had an interest for diving, but it wasn’t until last summer when he had a business meeting with Rum Runner Dive Shop owner, Pete Wagner, that he realized it could become a reality. After participating in a Try Scuba, he knew diving was for him.
“Rum Runner has a great approach to introduce people to the sport.” Dan continued, “The instructors are great. Being able to rent and use gear while you are learning is great so you don’t have to invest until you know diving is for you. It’s not overwhelming and there is a lot you can get involved with once you begin diving.”
By the end of the summer Dan earned his Basic Open Water certification through SSI. He continued diving and training every chance he could. Dan has completed his Nitrox, Zen of Buoyancy, Deep Diver, Limited Viability/Night, Dry Suit, Navigation and Advance courses so far.
Dan says he enjoyed the Zen of Buoyance and Nitrox classes best, “Zen gave me the ability to improve my buoyancy skills and be a more confident diver. Nitrox refined concepts of dive tables and is beneficial to any diver as well.”
Dan continued by recommending Zen of Buoyance as “an essential class after Basic certification” because he believes it is worthwhile to be comfortable underwater and good buoyancy control will change how you dive.
What’s next for Dan? He says his goals, once it warms back up, is too see more wrecks off the N.C. coast.
Dan is excited for more opportunities through diving. He just returned from F.L. with Rum Runner and is already talking about taking another trip back down to the Sunshine State. He said the dives were wonderful and the trip gave him a great opportunity to meet others divers.
One thing Dan likes about diving is that there is a range of opportunity. You can be a basic diver or a cave diver. Regardless, diving is diving and you can find a place to fit in and enjoy the sport with others.
Diving is easy to get into and when you are with Rum Runner you feel welcomed and can stay involved. Dan gave kudos to Tyler Boruff, his instructor through all of his training, and the Rum Runner staff.
“The staff goes out of their way to welcome new people in and bend over backwards to ensure divers get the training and pool time needed to be successful.”
Dan lives in Winterville with his wife and six children. His two oldest are already interested in diving just like their dad. Dan works at Vidant in the corporate Quality Department.
Rum Runner Dive Shop would like to thank Dan Drake for his love of diving and being an enthusiastic addition to our dive family over that last several months!
Rum Runner is a NAUI Pro-Platinum Facility
The NEW DiveSSI App is available in iOS and Android versions. You can take advantage of this revolutionary all-in-one solution for digital learning today.
This is the hot new sport and we have geared up to teach you how. Ever wanted to dive without being encumbered by all that scuba gear? Or maybe you like snorkeling but want to stay down longer or go deeper. We can train you to dive 40, 50, 60 feet or deeper and stay 2, 3, 4 minutes or longer on one breath! Classes are forming. Call the shop for details.
Welcome two new members of the Rum Runner team.
Rum Runner Staff News:
We're on a roll! Congratulations to our six new NAUI Instructors! Carolyn Wagner, Erika Khalil, Dillon Waters, John Hill, John Whichard and Randy Mintz. Thanks to Tyler Boruff, Instructor Trainer and Mike Dunst Course Director
Congratulations to Tyler Boruff our new NAUI Instructor Trainer and Tommy Pate, Robbie Marlow and Pete Wagner for crossing over as NAUI Instructors. Thanks to Mike Dunst, NAUI National Sales Manager for making it all happen!
We've added Fourth Element dive products to our line up. Specializing in state of the art thermal protection wetsuits, dry suits and accessories.
New awesome lights, interchangeable heads, swappable rechargeable battery, remote control capable, compact size with big light output
Rugged and reliable. Bright High resolution LCD display, low power consumption, OC and CC capable. Uses inexpensive AA batteries. Simple to use. The new Petrel 2 adds an electronic compass. A complete technical and recreational dive computer.
Petrel 2 - Now shipping!
Nova HD and Edge-X
GoPro vs Intova You Decide!
We're expanding our photography lines!
Olympus Cameras, Inon Strobes, Sea & Sea, GoPro accessories and more ...
Technical Dive Gear