Jim Wyatts' Dive Qualifications

50 Years experience as a SCUBA Instructor 45 years Experience as a Cave Instructor NSS-CDS Cave Instructor Trainer/Evaluator
Former Training Director for
Current member of the NSS-CDS Training Committee PADI Platinum Course Director
NACD Instructor I-28
Former NACD BOD Member
rEvo Closed Circuit Rebreather Instructor CCR Cave  Instructor
CCR Trimix Instructor US Coast Guard Submersible Pilot/Pilot Trainer IANTD Technical Cave Instructor Trainer
IANTD Trimix Instructor Trainer IANTD DPV Cave Instructor Trainer Emergency First Responder Instructor Trainer
Automated Emergency Defibrillator Instructor Trainer Oxygen Provider Instructor Trainer First Aid Instructor Trainer
Advanced Nitrox Instructor Trainer IANTD Cave DPV Instructor U.S. Navy qualified Ship Salvage Diving Officer
US Navy Recompression Chamber Operator/Supervisor USCG 100 Ton Captain US Navy Surface Warfare Officer

University Education

B.S. Psychology University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 1976
Post Graduate work in both Clinical Psychology and Accounting.

navy diving


This is my background of diver training and water related experience.

I started diving at the age of 12 in Key West. I became certified when I was 16. At the age of 18 I attended a PADI Instructor training course and became certified as PADI Instructor #4612.

In 1973 I was certified as an NACD Cave diver and then in 1975 I attended an Instructor training course through the National Association for Cave Diving (NACD) and became full cave instructor #28.There were no cavern, intro or apprentice courses in these days.

I loved the technical side of cave diving, and feel that the cave training was the best SCUBA training I ever received. I was lucky enough to dive with and be trained by both Tom Mount and Sheck Exley, and am honored to be listed in his book Caverns Measureless to Man as one of his many dive buddies.

As a college student I was chairman of a diving committee that explored the "Lost Sea" for a period of 2 years. The "Lost Sea" is in the Guiness Book of World Records as being the largest underground lake in the world. We explored the underwater caves that extended off from the lake, this was a very intense experience for me. We worked in conjunction with cave divers from the US Geological Survey and some good science was done there. I presented our findings at the annual meeting of NACD in 1976. The Lost Sea had never before been explored by divers and we were all very proud to be the first explorers there in the underwater caves.Exploring, mapping and installing hundreds of feet of exploratory line in a virgin cave system is the pinnacle of any cave explorers' career.

I moved to Grand Cayman in my early 20's and worked as a boat captain, scuba instructor and divemaster there for a total of about 5 years. Diving 2-3 times daily and some days as many times as 4 dives daily. I logged over 2000 dives while there.

Missing the technical side of diving I joined the US Navy's Special Operations officer community. I attended Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI and the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center's diving officer course in Panama City Beach, FL. I became qualified as a hyperbaric chamber operator/supervisor as well as a ship salvage diving officer for the United States Navy and was assigned to fleet operations. I am very proud of my service to our great country.

The most interesting thing I participated in during my Naval service was the salvage of the CSS Cumberland which was rammed by the USS Virginia (AKA Merrimac) during the battle of Hampton Roads during the civil war. The ram was broken off of the Virginia during that clash. In 1985 the Secretary of the Navy ordered a team of us to locate and salvage the ram from the Virginia. We located the ship, lots of artifacts but not the ram.

I learned a tremendous amount about underwater salvage, surface supplied diving, diving physics and physiology, as well as hyperbaric chamber operations. I was trained to diagnose and treat DCS. This experience was one of the best I have ever had in terms of personal development, self-discipline, and diving knowledge. I was assigned to the USS Spiegel Grove, LSD-32 to earn my Surface Warfare qualifications. It has been a great experience having served on the ship and then diving on her after she was sunk to be an artificial reef near Key Largo, Florida.

After the Navy I supervised and dived with a dive crew rebulding the underwater supports for a couple of bridges around the Chesapeake Bay. Diving surface supplied rigs in river currents, cold water with 0 visibility paid well but was usually not any fun.

From 1991-1995 I was the Controller/Business Manager of a Marine Science education facility in the Florida Keys after completing my Post Graduate education in accounting. This is a $5 million/year IRS 501 C 3 non-profit company specializing in Marine Science education for kids up through the age of 18. I was responsible for all the accounting functions of the business as well as ensuring federal tax returns and other statutory requirements were met. Each year my books were audited by a large accounting firm based in Miami and each year we were given a good review. This experience is what helped me be a succesful treasurer for the NACD for a period of 17 months.

From 1995 thru 1999 I worked as a submersible pilot, pilot trainer, and offshore operations manager for Voyager Submarines, Hawaii. I also trained all the divers to rescue the subs should they become stranded on the bottom. These submarines are 78 feet long weigh in at 100 tons and carry 51 people. We carried visitors to our subs down to 150 feet to look at the reef and the fish!

The M/V Sea Tiger was sank as an artificial reef off of Waikiki during my time there and I was assigned as the supervisor to get her ready for sinking. I crafted the legislation, with help from a local lobbyist friend that was submitted to the Hawaii State House of representatives as a resolution to allow us to sink her. Working with the Hawaii legislature general government operations was an eye-opener for me.

From 2000 thru 2005 I owned and operated Florida Keys Reef-Divers on Cudjoe Key, 21 miles from Key West, FL;I trained and certified hundreds of divers during my tenure at Reef-Divers from Open Water to full trimix.

During 2006 and 2007 I served on the NACD Board of Directors for 17 months as an instructor/director in the position of Secretary/Treasurer.

For eight years I served on the NSS-CDS training committee - four of those years as training director.

I am also a Technical Cave Instructor Trainer for the IANTD and TDI and train cave and other levels of instructors in addition to cave divers and also an Emergency First Responder instructor trainer, qualifying me to certify instructors in CPR, First Aid, and AED usage. In 2011 I upgraded my credentials and have been certified as a PADI/DSAT technical instructor trainer for all of the O/C DSAT technical programs.

In 2011 I also became certified as a Closed Circuit Rebreather instructor. Having the challenges of being a student again all of this year (2011) has been good for me and my professional development.

In 2011 I, along with a couple of buddies started a new dive shop in High Springs, Florida. It is still operational and we named it "Cave Country Dive Shop".

From 2015 through 2020 I worked as a scuba charter boat captain in Key Largo, Florida for Ocean Divers, and for Rainbow Reef. I spent over two years of that time as the head captain at Rainbow Reef.

These days I am training cave and technical divers through the NSS-CDS based out of High Springs, Florida....The "Heart" of Cave Country.

It will be my pleasure to help you discover the beautiful caves and caverns here in North Florida.
Captain Jim Wyatt, Your Host



Call or text Jim at 352-363-0013



Above is my original cave instructor card from 1975

This card was issued in circa 1975 Sheck Exley, Rory Dickens and I administered
this short lived PADI Cave diver training program.


Updated 2 October 2023