Winter in the Keys

January 10, 2017

Well winter has finally hit the Keys! Last week we were enjoying flat calm seas with temperatures in the mid 80’s. This week, locals are putting their winter coats, beanies, and scarves on for the CHILLING temperatures in the low 60’s! As you can tell by looking at the wind and wave height above, we will be staying on dry land for a few more days. We are planning to be back into the water soon!

Check out our upcoming dives on our calendar and our Totally Wrecked Tour this summer, July 11th- July 14th.

VA Approved PADI Professional Courses

If you are a United States Veteran, we want to first of all thank your for your service to our country.  We do not take our freedom lightly and we are thankful for the hard work and service of our men and women in our armed forces.

Are your interested in using your VA Benefits towards and exciting new career as a PADI Scuba Diving Professional? Our affiliate School, Florida Keys Diving Institute, has now had their PADI Career Development Center(CDC) course curriculum approve for VA benefits.   Key Largo and the Florida Keys as been voted as the Dive Capital of the World.  What better place to learn than here in the fabulous Florida Keys.

We are very enthusiastic to be able to help our Vet’s develop a career in diving!  With this Veterans Administration Approved courses, a candidate can enter our program at any level of experience.   If you are not a certified diver yet, not a problem, your can start our program from beginner and continue on through the PADI Instructor Course.  As a PADI Instructor, you can also continue on and gain additional experience in our Post IDC courses and work towards the prestigious level of  PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer.   If you have a passion for scuba diving, and want to experience the other 3/4ths of the world you have been missing; warm water, colorful reefs teaming with fish , and thrilling wrecks, contact us on how to transfer your Veteran benefits into a scuba diving career.



Applying/Transferring VA/GI Bill Benefits:

  • First, in order to apply for your VA/GI Bill Benefits you need to download and fill out a VA Form 22-1990.  Click Here for your form.
  • Next, if you have already used some of your benefits, but would like to transfer the remaining towards a course through us, you will need to fill out a VA Form 22-1995.  Click Here for your form.
  • While Applying, our Career Development Department will be listed under Florida Keys Dive Institute, and list the different courses you are interested in!
  • Also, we need all post high school transcripts, your DD-2586, and your “Certificate of Eligibility”  submitted to our Florida Keys Dive Institute VA Director.

Once Applied…

Other Important Factors to Consider:

~If you are pre 9-11, you will need to prove that you are attending monthly (submit forms online) and you will be responsible for paying your monthly dues with your monthly stipend.

~ If you are post 9-11, everything is completed. Tuition and fees will be paid directly Florida Keys Dive Center, and the rest of the supplies will go to you.

Unfortunately, Florida Keys Dive Center can not guarantee that your VA benefits will pay for everything, but while going through the process if you have any questions or concerns please contact us and we will try to help as much as possible.  As a result, YOU are ultimately  responsible for any additional costs of the courses you participate in.  This may be covered by your stipend, but it is your responsibility to find out.


VA Approved Courses:


PADI Preparatory and Professional Level 1 (PADI Divemaster)



This course is simply where you get the chance to become Zero to Hero.  Not certified yet?  No problem, with this program you can take the steps needed in order to gain the certifications needed to eventually become a professional PADI Divemaster.  The PADI Divemaster course is your first level of professional training. Working closely with a PADI Instructor, you’ll fine-tune your dive skills, like perfecting the effortless hover, and refine your rescue skills so you anticipate and easily solve common problems. You’ll gain dive knowledge, management and supervision abilities so you become a role model to divers everywhere.   As a PADI Divemaster, you’ll lead others as you supervise scuba diving activities and assist with diver training. Whether you want to work at a faraway dive destination or close to home at a local dive shop, the adventure of a lifetime awaits you.

PADI Preparatory and Professional Level 2 (PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor/IDC)


If you like people, have a passion for scuba diving and want an extraordinary life – become a PADI Instructor. Teaching scuba diving allows you to share your love of the aquatic world with others while doing what you enjoy – being in, around and under water. PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors and PADI Assistant Instructors are the most sought-after dive professionals around the world because they’ve completed the program that sets the standard for training dive professionals. You earn a PADI Instructor rating through hard work and commitment, but you’re rewarded with a job that lets you share incredible underwater adventures with others – transforming their lives for the better and enriching yours. With these courses it is also required to take our Emergency First Responder Instructor course.


PADI Preparatory and Professional Level 3 (PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer/MSDT)


The PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating sets you apart as a dive instructor who takes continuing education seriously and is committed to teaching a variety of courses. (Potential employers like this.) Being an MSDT signifies that you’ve got the experience and certifications to offer all the training a diver needs to become a Master Scuba Diver – the ultimate recreational diver rating.  All PADI Instructors who have certified at least 25 PADI Divers and have earned at least five PADI Specialty Instructor certifications can be Master Scuba Diver Trainers.


If interested or have any questions, please contact us at 305-852-4599.

From Andrew M.

Hi Guys,

I just wanted to drop you an email to say that I had a fantastic time over the course of my IDC training and the IE. Sally is a fantastic Course Director and I felt that I learnt so much from her. She is a fountain of knowledge and I feel privileged that I was able to become an instructor under her tutelage.

But I just can’t sing Sally’s praises. Everyone at the dive shop was fantastic and so helpful. There are few dive shops that I have come across that rank as highly as yours. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone there: Sally, Pam, Yvonne, Carstan, and Stephanie. They all really helped to make my trip there fantastic.

I hope that I will be able to come back soon and if any of you are ever in the Bahamas, please look me up.

Thanks for everything.


Aquarius Undersea Station

We went out a few days ago with New York’s THE DAILY production team to catch a glimpse of the action at Aquarius undersea station, where NASA astronauts were doing their training. Flakey’s own “King Neptune” (Joe) was guiding the film team and could not help to bring back some shots he did himself. Truly amazing, an encounter one of a kind – THANKS JOE! Sadly though the future of Aquarius undersea station is in question due to cuts in federal funding.




















For more info about the Aquarius undersea station go to:

Florida Keys Dive Center’s 29th Birthday

Florida Keys Dive Center recently celebrated 29 years in business on May 10th!
A special thank you goes out to everyone who wished us a happy birthday and to everyone who has helped us and been there for us in these 29 years.
We never could have made it this far and become such a success if it wasn’t for the support of our friends, family, and fellow divers and snorkelers.

Thanks again from Tom, Pam, and the staff of Flakeys(:

Still living the dream!

US Coast Guard Stability Test

On April 18th the US Coast Guard Marine Inspector Roger Fisk was at Florida Keys Dive Center measuring and doing calculations for a stability test on our two charter boats.

Why the need for a stability test? A recent census showed that the average person weighs about 185lbs. The Orion and Big Dipper’s original stability tests were based on the average person weighing 160lbs. The good news is both boats passed with flying colors! We even used 195lbs. as the weight per passenger. Therefore both boats are now licensed to carry 49 passengers and 6 crew members.
Our 46′ Newton dive boats are some of the most stable dive vessels in the Keys(:

Easter Egg Hunt!!!

EASTER EGG HUNT!!! Join us Saturday, April 7th for an Easter Egg hunt on the reef. We will have a raffle ($10) for the chance to win some prizes! All proceeds go to the Coral Reef Restoration Foundation –
Please call us in advance to book your space, there will be an easter egg hunt on both morning and afternoon trips. Want a picture on the reef with the Easter Bunny? We’re doing that too! Must reserve in advance. call us 305-852-4599 or email us to make reservations.

Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail

Among several thousand divers who visit the Keys annually to dive the destination’s shipwreck trail, 10 winners were randomly selected as part of the Florida Keys ‘Wreck Trek Passport Program’ that concluded in January 2012.
More than 100 divers completed a series of nine wreck dives to be eligible to win one of several dive and lodging packages and sets of dive equipment.
Rocky Welch, a diving instructor from Pinellas Park, Fla., was the program’s first grand prize winner, receiving a state-of-the-art scuba system from Aqua Lung, including a Zuma bouyancy compensator (BC) device, Mikron regulator, Airsource 3 second stage with power inflator and a Suunto ZOOP 2 guage dive computer.
Welch, who accompanied numerous diving groups to the Keys for customized weeklong trips to complete the Wreck Trek dive challenge, said, “It’s the overall adventure of [the shipwreck trail] that divers love. There’s no other place you can do that,” said Welch, who thrives on introducing divers to new experiences.
“On three different Wreck Trek trips, I never saw the same thing twice,” Welch added. “My countless trips to the Keys are some of the best dive trips I’ve had.”

Nine other selected recipients were Paul Adams, Jr. and Patrick Hellman of Fairborn, and Tipp City, Ohio; Sarasota, Fla. resident Eric Lyons; Olexander Myronov of Palm Harbor, Fla.; University Park’s Mike Lesh; Tracy Matthews and Tabitha Dimas of St. Petersburg, Fla.; Clearwater, Fla. resident Sebastian Majewski; and Shari Vang from Baypoint, Calif.
Among the prizes awarded these individuals were a SCUBAPRO MK17/A700 Black Tech regulator, Sherwood Profile dive computer, Sherwood Gemini integrated power inflator Fusion dive fins, as well as two-night/three-dive stays for two at Keys lodging properties, including Doubletree by Hilton Grand Key Resort in Key West, Marathon’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites and Keys Largo’s Amoray Dive Resort and Ocean Pointe Suites.
Because of the dive program’s popularity, plans are underway for a “Wreck Trek 2.0” dive challenge, expected to continue through January 2014. Details are to be announced soon.