My Diving History

Curt and his Stingray I have always had a love for the water, even though I was raised in the land-locked mountains of West Virginia.

Despite that, I became a skilled swimmer, boater, and skin diver, free diving to depths of up to 27 meters in the icy lakes of the area. My first job was as a lifeguard at a lake near my home.

In 1972, at the age of 14, I was able to persuade the local NASDS SCUBA Instructor to teach me, and I never looked back.

I went away to attend The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Maryland, where I discovered warm water diving. Then, after college, I took every course available, learning as much as I could about every aspect of diving. I eventually earned the ratings of PADI Master Instructor, TDI Decompression Procedures Instructor and PSAI Instructor Trainer. Since then, I've been teaching SCUBA, leading diving trips, and taking underwater photos all over the world. You can see some of my photos here.

As luck would have it, my job in the early 1980's had me working as a consultant to US Navy divers, and diving with them. This gave me the opportunity to dive a Navy MK16 Rebreather.

I gained an immediate appreciation for the advantages of rebreathers, but never thought that they would become available to the recreational diving market. I had heard about the Beckman Electrolung, which was a commercial failure.

Then, in 1995 Dräger introduced the Atlantis SCR, and in 1997 I became one of the first Dräger Instructors in the USA. I still actively teach divers for certification on the Dräger Atlantis and Dolphin SCR's.

Seeking increased efficiency, I started researching ways to convert my Dolphin to CCR in a way that would allow me to revert to a standard SCR configuration for classes. In the course of this research, I met Kerry McKenzie online, who gave me mountains of information from his work in this area.

Then, in December 2003, Kerry introduced me to Dr. Errol Harding and his Abyss CCR. This lead to my becoming the US representative for Rebreathers Australia.

I have been diving a prototype of the Stingray CCR since early 2005, and acting as "crash test dummy", doing all of the cold water testing (our local dive sites have water temperatures ranging 4-6 degrees Celsius year-round at depths greater than 18 meters). I am also currently working on improvements to the training materials for the PSAI Abyss/Stingray certification course.

Curt on a test dive

Curt on an early test dive. Photo by Martin L'Heureux.