Scuba Shack is 100% AWARE!

As divers we are fascinated and in awe of our magnificent oceans and the underwater world. I can still remember my first dives in the Florida Keys & Hawaii, thinking about how lucky I was to explore this unique environment. My first trip to Nassau was another major turning point as I first encountered reef sharks. I wasn’t afraid of them. I respected them and marveled at their beauty.

So these oceans and everything that lives within them need to be protected. So how can one person, one dive shop in central Connecticut possibly help?

Here is how we will start to make a difference. Scuba Shack is now a proud participant in 100% AWARE. What does that mean? Well, with every PADI certification we issue, we will donate $10 to Project AWARE.

Project AWARE connects the passion for ocean adventure with the purpose of marine conservation.

We want to make a difference. This is just one small step that we can take right now. 70% of the planet is blue! Let’s keep it that way.


Staff Review: Aqua Lung i300C dive computer

As part of our commitment to improving our training, Scuba Shack has invested in a fleet of Aqua Lung computers. Our main training computer is the Aqua Lung i100. We also added an i300C. Both computers are an outstanding value for the functionality.

I thought I’d take a minute to tell you about my recent experience with the i300C while at Dutch Springs earlier this month. The i100 and i300C have pretty much an identical menu structure, display and model. The i300C provides a backlight (which I rarely use, but is nice to have). The i300C also has two buttons versus one on the i100. Two buttons made cycling through the menus a little easier.

Setting up for 32 percent Enriched Air Nitrox was simple. The underwater display is big enough and readable even at 85 feet in 43 degree water. The buttons are easy to manipulate with 5 mm gloves. I left deep stops on, and at 42 feet I got a two minute hold. The safety stop starts at 20 feet with a nice count down timer showing minutes and seconds remaining – for the impatient bunch!

Both computers can be downloaded to your computer with an interface cable and placed into the DiverLog application. Pretty neat.

The i300C has an additional really cool feature – Bluetooth. With the DiverLog+ app on my iPhone, I was able to synch the dives into my phone and update my gas usage, weights, gear bag and other dive info. The app then calculated my SAC. Way cool. But there is more. I can actually set the computer from the phone.

We’re impressed with the Aqua Lung line of affordable, reliable and safe dive computers. Stop by and check them out. The i100 is a great deal for either a primary or backup, while the i300C provides that added technology that a lot of folks like.

And hey – you can replace your own battery!

Your Logbook – Remembering your first scuba dive

Do you keep a scuba diving logbook? I do, and I think it’s a great idea for you to do the same.

It is an incredibly cold day here in New England. This morning it was about 5 degrees F NOT C with a brutal wind chill. We are still a couple of weeks away from heading to Grand Cayman and I need some way to warm up or at least think about some warm water diving.

So, I started to think about my very first real dive (after finishing my scuba diving certified). I knew it was in Key Largo and the old disposable underwater film prints have long been lost. But hey, I could pull out my dive logbook and it would help me relive that dive. It was the wreck of the City of Washington on Elbow Reef. How cool is that – to get your first dive on a real wreck? A wreck of a ship that once docked in Havana Harbor near the USS Maine when it exploded.

My Scuba Logbook

The logbook told me all about the dive – the water temperature, my exposure protection, weight, bottom time, depth and what we experienced on the dive and much more. By the way, the water temperature on Elbow Reef in Key Largo that day was 86 degrees.

Keeping your logbook up-to-date is a perfect way to document your dive experience with a lot of great and relevant information to make your future diving more fun and perhaps to remind you of some fantastic warm weather destinations or other interesting dives when it is too cold to scuba in Connecticut or when you just want to remember why we dive.

City of Washington Wreck - In my logbook

Photo courtesy NOAA – In 25 feet of water east of Key Largo, the remains of the City of Washington lie on Elbow Reef. On July 10, 1917, while being towed by a tug, the City of Washington ran aground on and was a total loss within minutes.

Scuba video from Grand Cayman

Scuba Shack instructor Gary Woods visited Sunset House in Grand Cayman for some excellent diving. Here is his video recap of the trip.

GUE Fundamentals, Doubles & Dry Suit Classes at Dutch Springs

This past weekend, three students took part in a Global Underwater Explorers Fundamentals Class at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Students enrolled in programs covering double tank configurations, primary light use, and one completed their dry suit specialty course.

The classes were taught by Scuba Shack’s resident GUE Instructor Ed Hayes, and assisted by instructor Gary Woods. All students worked very hard to take their diving skills to the next level.

If you are interested in learning more about Global Underwater Explorers, the advantages of diving with doubles, a dry suit or a primary light, please contact the shop for more information.

GUE Fundamentals class at Dutch Springs

On Thursday Aug. 10, five students from Scuba Shack in Rocky Hill, Connecticut took part in a Global Underwater Explores Fundamentals Class at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The class was taught by GUE Instructor Ed Hayes and assisted by Gary Woods. The intense training lasted until Sunday afternoon with multiple dives and lectures each day. Divers were trained in pre-dive, ascents and descents, buoyancy control, forward and backward propulsion, turns, air shares, “basic five,” surface marker buoy deployment, team diving skills and much more.

All dives were videotaped, reviewed and critiqued by the instructor and the students. Congratulations to all the students who participated and trained very hard to improve their diving skills.

If you are interested in taking your diving to the next level, the GUE Fundamentals Class could be for you. Please contact the shop for more information.

Students complete GUE Prep Class

On July 21 and 22, five divers completed the open water sessions for the GUE Prep Class that was conducted by Scuba Shack Instructor Gary Woods and GUE Instructor Ed Hayes. The two day in water class was preceded two classroom and pool sessions.

The intense training was held at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Students were trained in pre-dive, forward and backward propulsion, ascents and descent drills, air shares and “basic five” drills. This class was designed for students wishing to further their diving skills and to reach the goal of total control in the water. If you’re interested in the GUE Prep Class, or any other GUE programs, contact Scuba Shack today.

Congratulations to all the participants who worked very hard over two long days of diving with very good results.


Annual trip to the Bahamas – Hundreds of Sharks!

It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since May 24, the day the Scuba Shack gang invaded Nassau, Bahamas, for the annual Scuba Shack Memorial Day Weekend. Twenty one adventurers participated in another fun filled weekend led by Scuba Shack instructor Peter Katz. Our usual haunt, Orange Hill Beach Inn, had sustained significant damage during Hurricane Matthew back in October but managed to accommodate us. Perhaps not in the lap of luxury, more like Motel 6 only no light left on for us since it had burnt out years ago and no one has gotten around to replace it. But they managed to feed us breakfast every morning and provided an excellent BBQ on our last night.

The Stuart Cove dive staff were terrific! Unfortunately, our previous crew was no longer at the shop but our new crew, Captain Wendell, Divemasters Katie and Alex were able to fill the void. They did an excellent job and were more than willing and able to inject energy and enthusiasm into the trip.

Many of the dive sites have undergone changes since Matthew passed through which made for interesting dives. By far the dive highlight was the trip to the Lost Blue Hole and Rose Island. This year we did two dives at the hole. The first included a visit from a huge loggerhead turtle and a school of 100-150 sharpnosed sharks exiting from the depths of the hole, en masse. The second dive was a shark feed with eight Caribbean Reef Sharks up close and personal. How close you ask? Ask Anja whose mask was knocked off by one of the sharks as it swam by to partake of the feed.

Our evening out encompassed our usual favorites, Capriccio’s, Café Matisse, and Luciano’s. We were surprised to find that we were joined for dinner by Dan Marino and former Miami Dolphins as well as the mascot and cheerleaders. It turns out that Pete Walden went to college with Dan. The next thing we knew, people were posing for pictures with Dan. It made for an exciting evening.

Although we were missing a few of our regulars, the “newbies” joined right in and in no time felt like “regulars”. The best thing was we “old timers” were able to tell the same old stories and jokes to a new audience. All in all, everyone had a spectacular time and are looking forward to next year’s trip.

Nassau Trip Video

Nassau Trip Photo Gallery

Hundreds of Sharks!

Posted by Doug Shuckra on Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Grand Cayman Trip Report

I just got back from a five day trip to the Sunset House on Grand Cayman. It was a promotional deal to check out their facilities and the dive operation. The flight from Bradley was easy and fairly quick on American Airlines. The taxi ride to the resort took about 10 minutes and a smooth check in at the front desk. I stayed in a courtyard room which was clean and nice with two double beds, a front porch and a great view.

The resort has a nice pool with a waterfall, three ladders to access the beautiful Caribbean Sea for diving or swimming, a large covered bar with plenty of table seating, and a restaurant that serves three meals a day with waterside dining available.

The dive operations were exceptional. The Sunset House is designed for scuba divers and every aspect of the diving is smooth and easy. The dive boats are clean and in good condition with plenty of room on board, even with a large group. The shore diving was great with easy access to the water, and the house reef is as good as many of the dive boat sites. The crew was very accommodating and provided some of the best service I have seen.

If you are looking for a warm tropical getaway with great diving at a reasonable price, consider joining Scuba Shack in October for a week long adventure at the Sunset House on Grand Cayman.

Trip Photos

Trip Video

Scuba Shack Legacy Timeline

The Scuba Shack staff – including the current owners, past owners and staff – put together this timeline review of the Scuba Shack history. If you have anything to add, send it along so we have great information to celebrate 10 years from now!

1977 – Despite the lingering fear of sharks thanks to the movie Jaws (1975), Scuba Shack founder Bill Roe left his full time job to establish Scuba Shack of Connecticut, LTD. Scuba Shack’s Grand Opening was held on May 12, 13, 14 at the original location at 1839 Silas Deane Highway in Rocky Hill.

1978 – Jolly Ranchers were named the official candy of Scuba Shack.

1979 – Tom Misenti, certified as an Open Water Diver by Scuba Shack in its inaugural year, joined Bill Roe as a co-owner.

1981 – Scuba Shack operated a charter boat, the S.S. Scuba Shack, offered group travel to the Caymans, and moved a few doors up the street to 1845 Silas Deane Highway.

1982 – Scuba Shack relocated to its present location at 1765 Silas Deane Highway.

1987 – To celebrate Scuba Shack’s 10th Anniversary, the Open Water Class – which included 32 hours of lecture, pool and instruction – was offered for $75.

1988 – Scuba Shack opened a second location at 277 Albany Turnpike in Canton, Connecticut.

1994 – This year the cost of Open Water Certification was $175!

A diver since the age of 10, Monty Fitzpatrick brought his technical & commercial diver experience to Scuba Shack.

1999 –  Ed Hayes, a diver since the age of 8 and Open Water certified by Scuba Shack in 1997, introduced Scuba Shack and Connecticut to Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) and the concept of diving with a back plate & wing and a 7’ long hose. Traditionally used by cave divers, this equipment and specialized training offers increased knowledge, skills and safety to recreational divers who want to remain on the cutting edge of scuba training and equipment.

2000 – Scuba Shack Canton was consolidated with Scuba Shack in Rocky Hill.

2000 – Tom Misenti became the sole owner of Scuba Shack when Bill Roe went to Michigan to run the family Christmas tree farm.

2004 – Jeff, Donna and Matt Cinciripino were certified as Open Water Divers at Scuba Shack and soon became an Instructor and Divemasters, respectively, assisting with dozens of Open Water classes, as well as joining several group dive trips sponsored by Scuba Shack.

2006Ed Hayes purchased Scuba Shack and our local dive community wished Tom Misenti well as he moved on to a new job in the insurance industry. Under Ed’s new ownership, Scuba Shack underwent many renovations including doubling the size of the showroom floor.

2007 – Monty Fitzpatrick reached the highest professional level of PADI when he became a PADI Course Director, one of only two in Connecticut.

2008 – Use of the back plate, wing and 7’ hoses enjoyed growing popularity at Scuba Shack.

2012 – Scuba Shack expanded training to Police and Fire Department Dive Teams, becoming the only facility in New England qualified to certify Public Safety Instructors.

2015 – Scuba Shack in Rocky Hill has been operating longer than any of the other dive shops that share the same name. There are Scuba Shacks located in Cayman Brac, Cozumel, Des Moine Iowa, Lawrence, Kan., Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Maui, Hawaii, McAllen Texas, Pensacola Fla., San Antonio, Texas, and Florence, Ky.

2017 – Ed Hayes makes the decision to sell Scuba Shack in order to pursue other business interests.

Monty Fitzpatrick and Jeff, Donna, & Matt Cinciripino, form a partnership and purchase Scuba Shack from Ed Hayes.

Scuba Shack Celebrates its 40th Anniversary, making it one of Connecticut’s oldest dive shops!

The new owners of Scuba Shack wish to thank Bill Roe, Tom & Alicia Misenti, Ed & Gina Hayes and the many instructors, assistant instructors and divemasters who have worked with Scuba Shack in the past 40 years for their loyalty to the sport of scuba. Their love of diving, and their dedication to Connecticut’s dive community has given Scuba Shack a longevity that is seldom seen!

Our mission is to continue to serve a diverse dive community – Recreational, Technical and Public Safety by offering safe and effective training, state-of-the-art equipment, superior service and maintenance, with opportunities to experience a wide variety of diving opportunities that are educational, fun and connect like-minded people with each other and the underwater world!

Scuba Shack, Forty Years and Counting…