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Cayman dive operators pay tribute to Ron Kipp

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The former owner of Bob Soto’s Diving, and diving icon, died on Grand Cayman at the age of 79.

Hailing him as a passionate promoter of the Cayman Islands, a dynamic marketer, an inspiring leader and a good friend, Cayman dive pioneers remember Ron Kipp, who for two decades was at the helm of Bob Soto’s Diving in Grand Cayman. Mr. Kipp died July 22 at the age of 79.

Adrien Briggs, owner of Sunset House/Sunset Divers, and Rod McDowall, Operations Manager of Red Sail Sports remember when Ron Kipp arrived in 1980 to take over Bob Soto’s Diving. Using his corporate skills, Kipp infused energy and ideas into the local dive industry.

Ron Kipp was great inspiration in his approach to marketing the Cayman Islands, resulting in many people visiting,” said Briggs. “He was a leader in new initiatives for the diving community and was the father of the well-loved Scuba Bowl.  Ron will be sorely missed by myself and everyone in the Sunset House family.

Rod McDowall echoes that. “Ron was a very dynamic and passionate man, particularly in the promotion of recreational scuba diving locally and internationally along with his love of the Cayman Islands.”

As a founding member of the Cayman Islands Watersports Operators Association (CIWOA), Ron Kipp helped bring Cayman’s operators together to set dive safety standards for Cayman, and eventually these standards were adopted across the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands was established as a leader, not just for setting the standards, but also being one of the world’s great dive destinations.

Ron was great marketer who came up with many novel and imaginative promotions and packages for Ron Kipp’s Bob Soto’s Diving and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism,” said McDowall. “On a personal note, he was a fun man with a great sense of humor and love for life. A good friend, competitor and partner.

Owner of the Southern Cross Club in Little Cayman, Peter Hillenbrand, is another pioneer of Cayman’s dive industry.

Ron Kipp was a legend in the dive industry.  He knew how to promote and sell computers at IBM, and he really knew how to promote and sell something he truly loved – scuba diving the Cayman Islands,” he said.  “Ron’s spirit and wisdom will be sorely missed.”

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Breaking News: Captain charged in Conception boat fire tragedy

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According to reports in the international press today, it has been announced that the Captain of the dive boat Conception, which was completely destroyed by fire last year, resulting in the tragic loss of 34 passengers and crew, has been charged with 34 counts of seaman’s manslaughter. 

The Captain Jerry Nehl Boylan was among five crew members to escape the blaze on board Conception, a dive boat operated by Truth Aquatics, which took place in the early hours of 2 September 2019 whilst the boat was moored offshore, close to Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California.

The BBC reports that Mr Boylan has not publicly commented on the charges, and is expected to surrender to the authorities at a later date. According to the BBC, each charge of seaman’s manslaughter carries up to 10 years in federal prison.

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Crossover to NAUI for FREE!

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As a boost to help the diving industry, NAUI are still offering a FREE Instructor cross-over course together with five free certifications to all Instructors. This can include Open Water, Advance, Rescue, Nitrox and various other specialities and can be mixed and matched so all five do not necessarily need to be for the same certification.

NAUI have also frozen the membership fees for 2021 for instructors crossing over or restarting.

NAUI’s Southern UK Rep Simon Lodge says: “Throughout this year, the diving industry has severely suffered so as a result, to help kickstart the diving industry NAUI will not be charging membership fees 2020/2021 to any new instructors.” 

Founded in 1960, NAUI Worldwide is one of the scuba industry’s largest not-for-profit agencies whose purpose is to enable people to enjoy underwater activities as safely as possible by providing the highest quality practical education, and to actively promote the preservation and protection of the world’s underwater environments. As a pioneer in diving education, NAUI has developed many of the programs and concepts accepted throughout the diving industry. NAUI: A Higher Standard!

For more details please contact Simon Lodge (Southern UK Rep) on simon@europe.naui.org or Craig Warner (Northern UK Rep) on cwarner@europe.naui.org.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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