Jon’s Technical Diving Philosophy
Jon started recreational SCUBA diving in 1986 at the age of 12. In 1998, after graduation from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor in Science, Jon was commissioned in the United States Navy, and began flight training in Pensacola Florida. In 2000, he earned his “Wings of Gold”, and was qualified to pilot the F-14D Tomcat. In 2005, Jon was rated in the F/A-18 Super Hornet and graduated as a Weapons and Tactics Instructor. In this role, he honed his skills teaching advanced concepts in a highly dynamic environment; which uniquely suited him for the transition to technical SCUBA instruction.
Jon's Instructor Level Certifications
Tec Deep Instructor (Tec 40, 45, 50)
Tec Trimix 45/50/65/90 Instructor
Tec Sidemount Instructor
Deep Technical Search and Recovery Instructor
TEC Gas Blender (Trimix) Instructor
Master Scuba Diver Trainer
Open Water Scuba Instructor
Advanced Open Water Scuba Instructor
Rescue Diver Instructor
Delayed Surface Marker Buoy Instructor
Peak Performance Buoyancy Instructor
Project AWARE Instructor
Enriched Air (Nitrox) Instructor
Self-Reliant Diver (Solo) Instructor
Sidemount Diver Instructor
Drysuit Diver Instructor
Boat Diver Instructor
Deep Diver Instructor
Wreck Diver Instructor
CPR-AED First Aid Instructor
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
PADI Tec Instructor
PADI MSDT #343773
Phone: (240) 210-6718
Email : Jon@SoMdDivers.com
Jon’s gear configuration philosophy
Southern Maryland Divers, llc
During his time in the Navy, Jon was introduced to the exciting world of deep diving with Helium. Heliox and Trimix opened many frontiers that were previously inaccessible to him as a diver. From that moment on, he was hooked on deep and technical dives. Today, his favorite dives are sidemount technical, involving staged decompression and deep wreck dives – to include USS Spiegel Grove in Key Largo; and the “Great Carrier Reef” the USS Oriskany, a former US Navy aircraft carrier that is the largest artificial reef in the world.
Although he has logged thousands of dives and has been conducting technical dives for almost two decades; Jon still considers himself a perpetual student, and is always trying to learn from experts in the technical diving field, to include Jim Wyatt, John Chatterton, and Edd Sorenson, amongst others. In fact, Jon believes that you are only as good as your last dive; and divers must always be striving to make themselves better and safer.
Jon’s instructional methods are rooted in his aviation career. Consistency, practice, and proper application of “lessons learned” are what makes us progress as divers. He does not believe in ridicule or overly harsh instructional methods. He does believe in allowing divers to make minor mistakes, and encourages them to learn from those mistakes. He also realizes that not all divers are the same, some learn and different paces and learn from different techniques. Finally, he believes in training thinking divers that are rooted in the team based concept. He encourages and conducts his classes in a relaxed, positive atmosphere that encourages proper briefing, proper debriefing, and team-based approaches to diving, especially deep and technical dives.
Jon conducts the PADI Tec Deep syllabus multiple times per year, both in Pompano Beach Florida, the Florida Keys and locally at Lake Jocassee, SC, Dutch Springs, PA, and Juturna Springs. He also tailors private classes to prepare divers for specific locations, such as Truk Lagoon or the USS Oriskany. So, please check the Southern Maryland Diver’sCalendarfor upcoming classes, or email / call the shop to schedule a private class.
Jon’s thoughts on Technical Diver Training
Technical divers need a mastery level of dive theory, procedures, and diving skills. One of the most important, and overlooked of these skills is buoyancy. While extremely important for recreational diving; proper buoyancy is critical for technical diving. In the water skills assessments phase of technical training, the professional staff of Southern Maryland Divers will evaluate diver buoyancy control. If a diver cannot show mastery of keeping open water stops within plus or minus 3 feet of desired depth; they will require remediation before continuing with technical diver certification.
As such, we strongly recommend that all prospective students practice their open water buoyancy skills prior to starting a technical diving course with us. In addition, Southern Maryland Divers conducts many technical training dives in the local area, which equates to cold bottom temperatures and dry suits. Although the minimum number of dives in dry suit before starting a technical diving course is 25; we strongly encourage divers to have logged a minimum of 20 hours in the dry suit they will use during technical diver training.