The driving idea behind Panama City Diving is essentially to be a clubhouse. The central hub of a community of divers and place for them to meet up, plan their next adventure and be a resource to further the knowledge and safety of that community. All are welcome. The origin of our Dive Shop started as a simple boat charter in 2008. It consisted of Capt Pat, a Divemaster, a boat, a cell phone and a website. Pat, a Panama City Beach native, believed that since none of the other dive boats in town were run by their owners or the owners weren’t active divers there was a gap in customer service being provided. Since then, the fundamental idea that has driven our expansion has been that the status quo is not good enough. We have continuously looked at the systems at work in the business of diving and questioned if they are safe, efficient and FUN for the customer and the diving community.
That idea seems to work. The boat grew a dive shop to support the gear needs of its patrons. The shop has in tern grown into a full retail and training facility. Thanks to the investment of Capt James, the shop finally owns the ground it sits on. and will continue to grow and offer new services as we develop our new land to better serve the dive community. So if you want to learn to dive for the first time or plan you next diving adventure our shop can be your base of operations.
Papa John believes that better ingredients makes a better pizza. Capt Pat believes that better Divemasters makes a better Dive Shop. A founding principle of our shop is that the most valuable asset of any business is it people. So we keep and retain the best in the industry year after year.
Capt Pat is the leader of this motley crew. He is a Panama City Native. The driving philosophy Pat brings to the shop is the idea that we can always do a better job and striving to do so makes us all better people (and businesses). Pat got the scuba bug back in 1991 and has been diving in Panama City ever since. He has literally thousands of dives locally and loves traveling to the Keys and Belize on vacation. Spearfishing is his true passion and he has also become actively involved in fisheries management politics for the last decade.
James Green is usually found driving the Steel Slinger on an offshore charter. Although now that he is an partner in the shop you may find him going bald doing payroll in the office too. In addition to being able to reach the items on the top shelf, James brings a solid background in business and finance to the operation having had a career in commercial banking before discovering the dive life. James is father to two dogs and the future boat Captain for the shop, his son Ethan.
Josh is PADI Divemaster and father of two boys. He is a former Steel-Worker for US Steel and currently has transformed into an underwater Steel Slinger. (boat puns!) He has been diving for over a decade, and first learned how to dive with the well-known shop in Birmingham, Southern Skin Divers. Now with over 1,000 dives out in the Gulf of Mexico, he has fully adapted to the laid-back beach lifestyle.
Travis got his start in the diving world working as an underwater janitor at a local marine park, scrubbing algae, and vacuuming up after dolphins. Once he realized that wasn't the glamorous job he thought it would be he came to us for more experience and certifications in diving. The summer of 2015 he went from an Open water diver to a Divemaster. Soon after he went down to Vero beach and earned his instructor rating at EASE. Since then he has worked back and forth between Panama City and Australia over the summers training new divers. He also is very involved in spearfishing here on the gulf coast and practices ethical food consumption in an effort live sustainably. He has recently added a 50 ton masters license to his CV and is one of the primary Captains on the Steel Slinger.
Ben Carpenter holds professional certifications from PADI and SDI and is one of our primary instructors. He is originally from Dothan, Alabama and moved to the beach in 2014. He quickly adapted to the salt life by getting his underwater fix as a freediver, going to the state park every chance he could get. He always knew he wanted to get scuba certified though and he finally took the plunge and got certified at Panama City Diving! Knowing that diving held a future for him, he advanced quickly over the last few years and went from a regular has become one of Panama City Diving’s Instructors. If you hang around Ben for too long his love for diving becomes contagious, you just might end up becoming a pro too!
Bella is our newest hire. She works full time as a fisheries biologist at the National Marine Fisheries lab and monlights with us. She brings her scientific background and love of the marine environment to compliment her fantastic customer service skills in the shop. Bella love animals and is Mom to a cat and a dog.
Originally from Wharton, Texas, Walter began diving at the age of 15 in Egypt’s Red Sea. After an extended surface interval spent in the US Marine Corps and attending George Mason University in his 20’s, he traded in his suit and tie for a wetsuit and fins. Today Walter is a PADI Specialty Instructor certified to teach Wreck, Night, Navigation, Digital Photography, Full Face Mask, and a number of other specialty courses. Walter is also a PSI Cylinder Inspector and Shellback who has completed two Suez and two Atlantic Crossings.
Aleese is a PADI Divemaster and a EFR Instructor. She also has her 50 Ton
Master License including Auxiliary Sail. She moved down from Indiana in 2012 to pursue her dream as a Professional Diver and generally living the Salt Life. She first learned to dive with ASP Diving in Fort Wayne Indiana while obtaining her
Bachelors’ Degree from Indiana University Purdue University majoring in Environmental Policy. Her passion for being on the water is quickly evident if you talk to her she might convience you to live at the beach too!