Commercial Diving Academy's Professional SCUBA Programs - Florida's Largest Diving School

Commercial Diving Academy
8137 B North Main Street
Jacksonville, FL 32208

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Team Scuba

Meet Our Instructors

Our teaching staff is distinguished by the depth and breadth of their experience. Their time in the business is measured not in years, but in decades — nor has this time been limited to just teaching.

These are real-world divers and, when you learn from them, you are learning from their decades of experience (and not just what they are reading, verbatim, from their instructor manuals).

Captain Ray Black

Founder/CEO: Captain Black Founded Commercial Diving Academy in 1995 and continues to instrumental in not only the commercial diver training program, but in the development of the school's Commercial Diving Academy Pro Career Training Institute and 40 Fathom Grotto. Captain Black began his diving career 21 years ago serving in the USMC/USN. After an honorable discharge he continued his career as a commercial diver working in all aspects of commercial diving. Captain Black Founded Commercial Diving Academy in 1995. His goal then and still today is to produce Certified World Class Divers and to prepare them with necessary skills needed and sought after in the Industry today.

The Captain is also founder/CEO of Blacksmith Marine Corporation, an offshore company specializing in underwater welding and the installation and repair of petroleum pipelines world wide (seen here in the Mediterranean in 2006).

A Commercial Diving Academy Course Director, Captain Black works closely with Commercial Diving Academy Worldwide in the development of Commercial Diving Academy Pro Career Training Institute, 40 Fathom Grotto and Professional Scuba Diving Academy, He looks forward to the venture into Commercial Diving Academy Technical Diving from an Association of Diving Contractors International Bell/Saturation Diving Supervisor (ADCI 1614A) point of view.

Captain Black is also instrumental in Team Scuba, an effort to use the power of NASCAR to make its millions of fans aware of our planet's oceans and the opportunity they have to explore them.

Scott Evans

Division Director: Scott conducts most of the school's leadership level courses. Diving since 1982, Scott literally grew up in the business, filling tanks in his early teens for the family business. Scott's background includes owning and operating one of the East Coast's most successful dive centers. Scott Evans is Program Manager for the school and teaches most of our leadership-level programs. In Scott's 25 years of diving, he has made over 4,000 logged dives.

In 1992, he received his BS from Radford University and qualified as a scuba instructor. In 1997 he purchased the family dive business and went on to create one of the largest dive retail stores in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Scott is a Commercial Diving Academy Course Director, Technical Diving Instructor , PADI Master Instructor and IDC Staff instructor. Additionally, he holds instructor certifications as a Handicapped Scuba Instructor and DAN Oxygen Provider.

Scott is also an ADC certified Commercial Diver and a founder of Dive Services Inc., a commercial diving company. After selling his interest in both companies he relocated to Florida and joined CDA. Scott is also currently working on his MBA at University of North Florida.

Scott says: "I grew up in the dive 'biz.' I was filling cylinders before I was old enough to drive a car! After college, I became a scuba instructor and began working full time for my dad's dive store. Two years later, I left to get a real job. That lasted two years (not enough vacation) so I came back and bought the shop from my father.
I believe that the risks associated with diving are minimized by comprehensive training. Students need to be challenged to develop the necessary skills to become self sufficient. Diving is fun, so learning scuba needs to be fun too!"

Mick Parkinson

Staff Instructor:  Mick adds some more of the international flare coming from the U.K. He holds ratings as Commercial Diving Academy Scuba Instructor, BSAC,DAN. During his military experience he served as a nurse.

Mick is our store manager (Jacksonville campus) and runs our ARREST program for aspiring diving professionals.

Scuba Jay

Staff Instructor: Jay's varied background and enthusiasm adds a unique flair to our school and 40 Fathom Grotto. He holds ratings as a Commercial Diving Academy and a PADI Instructor with his past experience working in Mexico, Hawaii and Guam.

Jay is responsible for the daily operations of our dive site, 40 Fathom Grotto as well as one our instructors.  He is currently working his technical diver ratings and Commercial Diving Academy Instructor Trainer designation.

Drew Davis

Staff Instructor: Life is about achieving balance. That certainly describes Drew Davis who, for the past decade, has balanced his time between the diverse worlds of commercial and recreational diving. Drew started his diving career as a scuba instructor for Commercial Diving Academy in 1995. He decided to advance his training in 1997 and enrolled in school to certify as a Commercial Diver.

Drew worked for Underwater Construction Corp. as a lead diver. He performed ECCS Suction Strainer retro-fits for Nuclear Power Plants. Drew also worked offshore performing Oil Rig maintenance, hull surveys, topography surveys, inspections and emergency call outs for welding repairs.

Drew currently divides his time between teaching commercial divers at CDA and leadership-level courses at 40 Fathom Grotto.

Vinko Koteski

Staff Instructor: Reflecting the international flavor of our divers and their training, Vinko Koteski started diving over 20 years ago in the Yugoslavian Navy. since then he has worked extensively as a dive instructor and commercial diver in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. Mr. Koteski started diving in 1987 as a diver in the Yugoslavian Navy. He left the Navy in 1989 and worked as a commercial diver for Irix, a Commercial Diving and Construction company. Vinko fabricated concrete forms for docks and pilings, worked in electrical power plants and installed underwater pipelines for municipal water delivery systems. He also worked for the Macedonian Government excavating a 4,000 year old underwater archeological site.

Mr. Koteski has performed underwater salvage operations and opened Kaneo Diving in 1998, a recreational scuba instructional school. Mr. Koteski has worked as a Commercial Diver in: Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and the United States. He speaks English, Croatian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, and Macedonian
40 Fathom Grotto
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