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Women’s Dive Day 2021

A Letter from our CEO on Women’s Dive Day

Shelley and her daughter Hannah ready to go diving!

“July 17th is Women’s Dive Day! While I celebrate any day that promotes diving, this day has special meaning. As the CEO and President of Divers Direct, I am impressed and grateful for the vendors’ offerings for female divers these days. Gone are the days where we only had the option of pink fins and masks! BCs are cut to really fit a female build, rashguards and wetsuits come in several shapes and colors, and a plethora of colorful bags and accessories are available. Our vendor partners offer these items because women divers are everywhere! In fact, on my last dive in Key Largo, I was pleasantly surprised that there were more females on the vessel than males. I saw women with their significant others, women with their children and groups of women on girls’ dive trips. I struck up conversation with one of these groups of women who were visiting from the east coast. They were college friends who took jobs after graduation in separate states, and were looking to reconnect, unwind and have fun on a vacation.

They booked a dive vacation in the Florida Keys. They laughed about diving not being very “glamorous”, but commented that they prefer doing activities instead of laying around a pool or mall shopping. After they all exited the water, they shared photos while they ate oranges and laughed.  I noticed my daughter watching them with a smile. I know what she was thinking … “I can’t wait to do this with my friends!” I sure hope so, my dear. There is nothing better than a girls’ trip that promotes fun, sun and exercise for both the body and the soul. Happy diving to all!”

Girls’ Dive Trip Through the Most Influential Women in Diving

In honor of Women’s Dive Day, let’s take a look at some of the most influential women in scuba diving.

Dottie Frazier

Dottie Frazier is known for being the first of many—she’s the first female scuba instructor, she developed the first women’s wetsuit, and she’s the first woman to have ever owned a dive shop. Where we are with women’s scuba gear today was ignited and shaped by the work and dedication of Dottie Frazier.

Kati Garner is basically the G.I. Jane of U.S. Navy scuba diving. She was the first woman to graduate from the Navy’s SCUBA diving school in 1973 and officially became the first female scuba diver in the United States military at just 20 years old.

Shirley Lee

Shirley Lee is the first woman of color to receive a scuba diving certification in the mid-1960s. She already had a natural love for the water, working as a lifeguard in her youth. Once she found scuba diving she was hooked. Shirley has logged over 1,000 dives all over the world and eventually became the founding member of The National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS), mentoring and training more divers over the years.

Dr. Sylvia Earle

If you’ve been diving for quite some time or have studied oceanography or marine biology in any way, you’ve likely heard of Dr. Sylvia Earle, also known as “Her Deepness”. Dr. Earle is one of the most respected and renowned divers in scuba diving history, among men and women. Her studies have helped shape and advance the scientific understanding around the ocean and marine life. From documentaries, lectures, books, and more, her work crosses every medium over decades of research and dives.

Jill Heinerth is a lady tech diver who is technically awesome. Jill is a record holding cave diver and an explorer and filmmaker who continues to write, film, dive, and lead the way through safe and adventurous cave explorations. She has received multiple awards for her diving and filmmaking and continues to explore the world’s caves and caverns, advocating for the environment along the way.

Dive Gear for Dive Gals: How Women Changed the Scuba Gear Industry

It should come as no surprise that when women started diving the gear wasn’t quite right. Most of the time the scuba gear was oversized, poorly shaped for their bodies, and lacked proper functionality. This is exactly why Dottie Frazier designed the first women’s wetsuit. Even still, the lack of stretch in neoprene at the time made for an uncomfortable experience, and many of the suits were made far too small. Over the decades, variety in the design of women’s dive gear started to expand, starting with wetsuits and eventually making way to BCDs. 

Unfortunately, along the timeline of the development of dive gear for women, the 1990s saw what would later be known as the “shrink it and pink it” phase that would cater to only petite-framed women who, well, liked the color pink. Moving past that scene, enlightened by the fact that women exist in many sizes and enjoy a variety of colors, ladies’ dive gear started to become more diverse, functional, and appropriately sized. 

And here we are today. We’ve come from the U.S. Divers Elan BCD to the Aqua Lung Soul BCD. We now have the ScubaPro Hydros Pro BCD and the Zeagle Zena BCD. We have a vast selection of wetsuits and drysuits like the EVO Wetsuit and the Bare Evoke Wetsuit designed specifically for women’s bodies. And these are just naming a few! 

If it weren’t for Dottie Frazier, Kati Garner, Shirley Lee, and thousands of other amazing women of scuba diving’s past doing the work to restructure the idea about scuba diving as a “man’s sport” into an activity everyone can enjoy regardless of gender, we may not be where we are today. 

The Future of Diving is Female

Our hope for the future of diving is that the diversity continues to grow and dive gear continues to evolve in response to that diversity where needed. With a female CEO and an abundance of women in management positions throughout the company, Divers Direct stands in support of women in diving 24/7/365. We build our team based not on gender but on expertise and passion in the field. It just so happens in our little corner of the world that ladies are running the scuba game and we are here for it.

All across the globe, though, there are women who are still making waves in the world of diving, and we’re watching, learning, and listening to what these women in scuba diving have to say.

Happy Women's Dive Day!

The Future of Diving is Female

Our hope for the future of diving is that the diversity continues to grow and dive gear continues to evolve in response to that diversity where needed. With a female CEO and an abundance of women in management positions throughout the company, Divers Direct stands in support of women in diving 24/7/365. We build our team based not on gender but on expertise and passion in the field. It just so happens in our little corner of the world that ladies are running the scuba game and we are here for it.

All across the globe, though, there are women who are still making waves in the world of diving, and we’re watching, learning, and listening to what these women in scuba diving have to say.

Happy Women's Dive Day!