During a career day presentation in grade school, Chris was introduced to scuba diving during a presentation given by a local dive shop owner. Captivated and motivated by the idea of scuba diving, Chris spent two years convincing his parents to let him get certified. At the age of 15, he did.
It was the right move. Today — a few decades later — he and his wife Kelly have spent their professional careers in the scuba industry and currently own and operate Blue Horizons Dive Center, as well as 25 Fathoms International, Inc. Chris has been working as a dive professional since he was 19, teaching classes and on working on local boats.
In 2004, Chris became one of the youngest candidates accepted into the Course Director Training program. Today, as a published PADI Course Director and Technical Diving Instructor Trainer, Chris spends most of his time training would-be scuba enthusiasts to become instructors and technical divers. Chris’ resume includes the certification of more than 1100 students and the execution of more than 3000 dives, including the famous Andrea Doria.
Chris is also a Manufacturers Sales Representative for 3 major brands, Sherwood, Akona and Princeton Tec. He frequently works as a consultant with other dive centers across the country, guiding them to success. When not teaching, Chris can be found exploring the globe in search of his next adventure. He enjoys everything from local diving between Massachusetts and North Carolina, to reef diving in the Caribbean, and specifically expedition-style technical diving.
Wreck Diving and Lobster Diving are some of his favorites. If you are new to diving or have been around for awhile, feel free to reach out to Chris with any questions, he is happy to help you plan your next adventure.
Kelly became addicted to diving in December of 1993, when she was taken on a Discover Scuba Diving excursion with her mother and stepfather in Cabo San Lucas. Three friendly seals approached her, and the rest was history. She and her father became Open Water and Advanced Open Water certified during the summer of 1994, in beautiful Santa Rosa, NM. Kelly joined her father and mother & stepfather on numerous diving trips during the next few years, including Papua New Guinea, Cozumel, the Grand Bahama, Belize and Fiji.
In 2000, Kelly began her career in diving when she went to work part-time for a large sporting goods chain in Southern California called Sport Chalet. Working in the scuba departments of multiple locations, while earning her business degree at California State University of Fullerton, Kelly spent 4 years learning the retail side of the scuba industry, cutting her teeth on the Southern California shore and boat diving, and eventually running the scuba department for the Huntington Beach, CA location of Sport Chalet. In the summer of 2004, Kelly earned her business management degree and her Divemaster certification. She spent the next few years assisting with classes (sometimes with her father who had become an IDC Staff Instructor) and learning all about the role of a Divemaster in different environments.
In 2005, Kelly was hired by Cramer Decker Industries, the parent company of the Sherwood Scuba, Genesis Scuba, and Akona Adventure Gear lines. She ran the customer service department for 3 years, until she met Chris, and he swept her away to Philadelphia, PA in December of 2007. Kelly & Chris quickly became engaged, and created 25 Fathoms International, Inc., which began as a consulting firm for fellow scuba professionals. In no time, the firm became the vehicle for all of the services she and Chris had to offer the industry: professional development, technical diving instruction, manufacturer’s representatives and business consulting. During the next few years, Kelly & Chris worked with multiple dive shops throughout the country to improve their bottom line, and along the way they got married, had a son, and purchased Blue Horizons Dive Center.
Kelly became an Open Water Scuba Instructor in 2013, and also became an official instructor for the Handicapped Scuba Association. These events allowed Kelly to have the honor and pleasure of working with students in a whole new way, including the incredible opportunity to instruct some of our nation’s military soldiers and veterans. Kelly is currently an IDC Staff Instructor, and loves working with classes and running the shop.
Tim became a professional diver in 2000. He is certified to teach more than 30 kinds of scuba classes. Tim loves to dive the tropical reefs with his wife, who is also a professional diver. Having certified more than 100 divers from his classes, Tim’s experience in research diving, professional water rescue and technical diving give him professional career distinction.
During the time when Tim’s wife was finishing her Ph.D. in aquatic biology, he had is first involvement with research diving. Studying invasive plants in the Adirondack Mountain lakes is not for everyone. Collecting sediment for lab study is strenuous work, with difficult visibility that can instantly be reduced to zero. Vegetation sampling, however, can be hours of meticulous documentation in complete solitude. Tim still assists his wife’s research, now that she is a professor at a local college. Occasionally, he even runs his own experiments.
With a decade of professional water rescue experience including scuba, swiftwater and ice rescue, Tim is also a Public Safety Instructor. He was a founding member and commanding officer of a water rescue team in upstate New York before moving to Pennsylvania. Not only does he have experience building a team from scratch by funding, equipping, training and staffing the team, he also has extensive command experience.
Tim learned to technical dive in the 1000 Islands regions of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and has a decade of full Trimix diving experience. Tim enjoys the challenge and level of discipline that technical diving requires; plus it is just cool to dive wrecks that other divers only get to read about. He not only enjoys the challenge of technical diving, but Tim also takes pleasure in learning the history behind many of the wrecks. The majority of the diving he currently does is technical diving, including teaching many of Blue Horizons technical classes.
Sheldon Bender was certified as an Open Water Diver in 1979. He became a PADI Divemaster in 1997 and a PADI Assistant Instructor in 2001. He holds numerous PADI Specialty certifications.
Since becoming certified, his diving experiences have included the wrecks of New Jersey, the reefs and walls of Grand Cayman, Lake George, New York, as well as trips to Bonaire, Cozumel, Key Largo and the St. Lawrence River.
Sheldon considers himself to be fortunate, because he had great instructors during his diving training, from Open Water through Tec-40 levels. His current, primary focus is to assist the Blue Horizons instructional staff; Sheldon wants to contribute to the development of new divers, helping to provide a safe, comfortable and enjoyable learning environment.
Glenn is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor who has been part of the Blue Horizons crew since 2001, when he wandered into the store to inquire about rebreathers.
His fascination with the underwater world began when he was a child with Mike Nelson on Sea Hunt, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and National Geographic magazine and documentaries. He became a certified diver in 1980, diving mostly in the Gulph of Maine and the Caribbean.
After spending a lengthy amount of time diving in the Bay Islands of Honduras in 2001, Glenn’s professional development soon followed. He loves teaching individuals and/or small groups, gladly working with students who will benefit from Glenn’s intense, one-on-one approach to teaching. The teaching/learning goal is to guide the student through his or her challenges, while keeping the student safe and engaged during the learning process.
Glenn’s love of diving keeps him involved, either learning from those with greater knowledge & experience or by teaching those with less knowledge & experience.
In addition to introductory scuba certification, Glenn teaches many advanced diving specialties and is one of Blue Horizons certified Handicapped Scuba Association instructors who has been honored to participate in the Wounded Warrior Program.
Bernie is a 60-plus-year-old scuba enthusiast, husband, father and grandfather. Married for more than 40 years, and with two children and two grand children, Bernie is a Vietnam-era veteran of the U.S. Army Airborne.
Bernie was certified as a diver in 2006, in Cozumel, Mexico. With drift diving being his favorite form of scuba, he loves exploring Cozumel’s elaborate reef system, its diverse ecosystem with an abundant variety of coral and marine life — from large parrot fish and moray eels to manta rays and eagle rays. A major professional highlight for Bernie is watching new divers becoming certified and enjoying this great hobby & sport.