Richard A. Hartley Memorial Scholarship
Richard Hartley, aka “The Commander”, unexpectedly, passed away, on November 2, 2011 from natural causes. The Commander was highly respected in the dive industry and will be missed by many divers throughout the world. Richard entered his Basic Diver training when he was in the army and soon earned the BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) 3rd Class Diver, BSAC 2nd Class Diver and BSAC Advanced ratings. He was an airborne officer in the British Army and left a career in the aerospace industry to pursue his passion for teaching others to dive.
Richard made the Middle East his home and it quickly led him to become the Diving Officer for Dhofar Divers and Muscat Divers. He became a PADI instructor in 1990 and moved to the Caribbean where he worked in Antiqua, Saint Maarten, Club Med Mexico and then Grand Bahamas Island as the Dive Operations Manager for UNEXSCO until 1995.
He was certified as a PADI Course Director in 1995 and became Director of Training with Pro Dive in Fort Lauderdale, FL. In over 16 years he has trained thousands of students to be Instructors and been responsible for starting the successful scuba careers of countless individuals. His love of technical diving saw him become qualified as a Technical Instructor Trainer, Rebreather Instructor Trainer and he qualified over 8000 divers and Instructors. Richard held Instructor ratings with PADI, NAUI, TDI, IANTD, BSAC, DAN, DSAT and CMAS.
Numerous dive industry leaders, who have trained an international legion of Instructors over the past decade, refer to The Commander’s “pass it on” philosophy, which can literally be found around the world, both above and below the water. “He adhered to a strict set of standards and could often be relied on for his exhaustive wealth of diving knowledge” said former colleague and Course Director Jim Brandt. “The Commander has inspired and motivated countless number of divers over the years”. When a number of instructors, divers, and former students were asked what they remembered most about The Commander they overwhelmingly remembered this quote, which he traditionally used to address his new Instructors, “Here’s to us, them like us and those that want to be us”.
For the last 18 months Richard had rejoined his old friend and colleague, Bill Cole to become Director of Training at Sea Experience in the Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale. Richard had come home to where it all started for him in 1995 and was excited to be doing what he loved the most, train instructors for a successful career in the scuba industry! He will be profoundly missed. RIP.
The Richard Hartley Memorial Scholarship
To commemorate the life and legacy of Richard Hartley, Sea Experience will be offering a full scholarship for their Phase Two Program (Open Water Scuba Instructor), annually to one candidate.
- Applicants must provide a personal biography including diving and teaching goals in the Scuba Industry. It should also include reasons for financial need in order to continue their goals in the diving industry.
- Two letters of recommendations from adults that know you in a professional capacity in diving which would include an employer or an Instructor.
- A resume that includes your work experience, extracurricular activities in regard to diving and ocean and reef conservation and any other accomplishments that would you would deem merit consideration for this award by the selection committee.
- Recipient must have the credentials to enter the Phase Two Program within six months of being picked to receive this award. Proof of certification level is required.
- All applications must be received by March 31, 2013. Late applications will not be accepted.
- The winner will be announced on May 6, 2013, Richard’s birthday.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ERIN AUSTRIA, WINNER OF THE RICHARD A. HARTLEY MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FOR 2012!
Erin is a certified teacher, wife, mother of two and PADI Divemaster. She currently is the director of a pre-school, who in her spare time volunteers at the Shedd Aquarium and has helped with annual harbor and beach cleanups. Erin has always wanted to use scuba diving as a way to communicate and help children with special needs and has been committed to working very closely with Autistic children. Another of her goals is to bring more women into diving with a program called “Girls Dive In”. To quote Erin, “the goals of this program are to encourage positive social, emotional, mental, spiritual and physical development by building confidence through scuba diving”.
Erin also has a very good sense of humor evidenced by the picture submitted by her as part of her application process.
Needless to say we look forward to teaching and working with Erin in the very near future!