Scotty Rose’s world includes fish with big teeth, wrecked ships, exotic locations, deep sea rescues and salty tales.
If this seems like stuff from a fairy tale or video game, it’s not. It’s his scuba diving life since he first began his underwater adventure as a marine welding student at Beaufort County Community College in 1999. Seventeen years, a marriage to Tracy Rose, 1,500 dives and about 300 students later, he still believes there is no place like home.
“North Carolina is voted yearly for being the Number One dive destination in the world,” by various dive magazines, Scotty says.”We are the number one big animal encounter destination in North America.” Those big animals include sharks, barracudas, sting rays, turtles and manta rays. This is inspite of the world traveling he does each year to far-away places like Hawaii, Roatan, Curacao, Channel Islands and Bonaire, to name a few.
“We have the best spearfishing and healthiest marine life of anywhere I’ve ever dove in the world. It’s amazing to dive here,” says Scotty.
The Bath native is owner of Pamlico Divers, which offers professional dive lessons and includes a full service dive shop at the 2225 N. Greene St. location in Greenville. Along with teaching adults and children how to dive and earn various levels of certifications, Scotty dives shipwrecks, and is a 17-year member of the Sidney Dive Team (rescue and recovery diving). He participated in the Hurricane Floyd evacuation, dives plane crashes and submerged vehicles, searches for drowning victims and assists in underwater crime scene investigations.
He has also been featured on local and national television, finds time to be a member of the Bath Volunteer Fire Department, does public speaking, has lifeguard and CPR Instructor certifications and was Fireman of the Year in 2002.
All that before the morning cup of coffee.
“I was taking welding classes at Beaufort County Community College and marine welding was also being offered. . As soon as I got into it, it was an addiction. My instructor was a member of the Sidney Dive Team and that’s how I got on the Sidney Dive Team,” he recalls.
He enjoys showing his collection of fossilized sharks’ teeth, many of which once were in the oversized mouth of Megalodon, rated as one of the largest and most powerful marine predators. The 59-foot beast prowled North Carolina’s coast 2.6 million years ago in search of his lunch that included wooly mastadons and saber tooth tigers found swimming in the sounds and rivers of what would become North Carolina. Now, those bones can be found by experienced and new divers alike off Carolina Beach/Wrightsville Beach and make wonderful family treasures. Scotty says he and other veteran divers can help identify some of the fossilized bones for the newbie.
So who takes up scuba diving? “All walks of life. Mostly water people, people who grew up on the water and swam a lot as kids. They are real comfortable in the water,” he says. “More men than women (become divers) but we are seeing a big influence of women and kids as well in the past several years.”
“We do have handicap training now for divers that lost limbs. And we’ve donated to Walter Reed Hospital in SUDS (Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba) for military people who come back and get certified with lost limbs. SUDS is based at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMC) in Bethesda, MD. In 2013 SUDS offered its first open water certification class to those service members at Naval Medical Center (NMCSD) San Diego, Calif.
Still, some people need convincing about diving as a sport. Asked what are some of the misconceptions and fears people may have about diving, Scotty answers with a smile “Sharks. That’s the number one thing that keeps people from diving I think. Next thing is probably their health and fitness.” The author recently attended a presentation Scotty made to the Tar River Power Squadron, where his videos show sharks are curious as cats but swim away when nudged with a pole by a diver.
New students should expect to take their lessons in the safe environs of a swimming pool and once they pass the course, are certified for depths up to 60 feet. The more advanced divers can qualify for deeper dives. Dives usually last between 30 to 60 minutes, he says.
Interested in taking the plunge? Contact Scotty at 252-945-3725 or visit his website at www.pamlicodivers.com.