Training Staff and Boat Crew

Photo of our staff on a scuba dive having fun at work.The training staff and boat crew on board the Sea Experience harbor quite a mix of knowledge. They all have one thing in common though and that is their love for the sea. Each of our staff and crew members are experienced scuba divers. They all enjoy sharing their time on the water with our guests and students.

So without further ado, let us introduce you to the training staff and boat crew!

Bill Cole

Bill Cole
Owner

Captain Bill has been running dive/snorkel vessels for over 30 years and is one of the most experienced boat captain’s in South Florida. Bill started diving on his honeymoon in Grand Cayman in 1977 and it’s been hard to keep him out of the water ever since. Completing scuba instructor training in 1979, Bill began teaching diving at the University of Georgia. In 1988, Bill brought the first glass bottom boat to Fort Lauderdale that ran daily charter. He had spent the previous year training the fish on a shallow reef that he named “Fort Lauderdale Twin Ledges”. To this day the fish come to greet the boat when it arrives at the site.

Bill became a PADI Course Director in 1993, this is the highest instructor rating attainable with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). He has trained thousands of instructors who are now employed around the world. In 1993, Bill was among the first group of elite divers awarded the Platinum Pro 5000 certification by SSI (Scuba Schools International). Divers in this group have over 5000 SCUBA dives. Bill loves taking passengers out for tours to the coral reef whether it is in the water or just pointing out things of interest through the boat’s glass bottom windows.

Favorite Local Dive Site – Loves revisiting Willies Way which he helped find and name.

Favorite Local Restaurant – You can find him at Subway almost every day for a bite to eat.

Fort Lauderdale Diving

Treavor Bellandi
General Manager

From the moment he earned his scuba certification Hawaii in 1997, Treavor knew diving would be a lifelong passion. He has had the great fortune to dive in many locations around the world including The Red Sea, The Maldives and the Great Barrier Reef. Always in search of the elusive corkscrew anemone housing a Pederson shrimp, Treavor strives to find new and exciting aquatic life on each dive to capture in his log book. His favorite specialty to teach is Wreck Diver. Born and raised in Montana, Treavor enjoys the opportunity to share his passion in the South Florida sunshine.

Favorite Local Dive Site – Fisher’s Pedestal for the distinct relief and aquatic life.

Favorite Local Restaurant – Currently, it’s Bar Rita, especially during Happy Hour.

Colin Taylor
Career Development and Placement Manager

Colin is a PADI Course Director for nearly 30 years and hails from the United Kingdom.  Once upon a long, long time ago… his underwater journey began in the navy, affording him the luxury of diving all over the world.  Then moving onto the Cayman Islands where he started as an instructor, videographer and boat captain, ending up managing one of the larger SCUBA resorts down there.  While down there, he trained hundreds of divers and authored the first PADI Distinctive specialty featuring the stingrays at “Stingray City”.

Then he moved to south Florida and for the next ten years managed the two largest PADI instructor Career Development Centers in the world.  He found his passion, training people for careers in diving and loved working at the most chosen PADI Career Development Center to date.  During this time, he helped launch the instructor careers of thousands of people.   PADI came calling and off he went to California.  He was the liaison between HQ and the worldwide regional offices.  He also conducted a few PADI IE’s while he was there.  Divers Alert Network was next which afforded him the opportunity to really get involved with diver safety and education, hyperbaric medicine, etc.

Now he has come full circle and is back with Sea Experience working with Bill Cole again.  In fact, he is sitting in the same office as he was over 20 years ago while working for Pro Dive.  Colin is proud to have won numerous awards and recognition including being among the first group of elite divers awarded the Platinum Pro 5000 certification by SSI (Scuba Schools International), divers in this group have over 5000 SCUBA dives and is an award from his peers.  In fact, he has over 15,000 dives around the world.

Colin looks forward to helping students achieve their goals and become successful SCUBA educators throughout the world and still loves to take his camera down with him to shoot footage.

Favorite dive site: The Mercedes, both pre and post Hurricane Andrew.  There used to be a great motorbike on the deck and I have a friendly octopus that shows up more often than not.  I even lost my wedding ring there years ago…. she has forgiven me now

Favorite Restaurant: Any English/Irish pub so I can get my Bangers and Mash.  But for every day, you have to go to Laspadas Original Hoagies, their subs are to die for.  Don’t forget to ask for the sweet peppers on it.

Sea Experience Staff

Captain Mateo Torres

Captain Mateo is also a PADI Course Director. Mateo enjoys scuba diving and sharing those experiences with others. Mateo’s passion is working on the ocean. He enjoys passing on the knowledge he has to students and to teach them to dive with respect to the marine life and to leave only bubbles! He has been diving since 2000 and became a PADI Instructor in 2006. In June 2016, Mateo became a PADI Course Director. Mateo has dived Florida and the Bahamas.

Favorite Local Dive Site – Can’t resist an exciting dive at Hog Heaven.

Favorite Local Hangout– Enjoys a relaxing evening at home with his dog.

Sea Experience Staff

Jayne Haas
Administrator

A native New Englander, Jayne has been Sea Experience’s Career Development Administrator since December 2010, and is the expert on staff for all programs from the Veterans Administration (including Montgomery GI Bill and Post-911 VA benefits), British Military Resettlement, and Vocational Rehab for all 50 states.

Jayne is also the principal liaison for Sea Experience’s accreditation with the State of Florida Commission for Independent Education. Her knowledge and experience make certain that Sea Experience students receive their maximum funding and entitlements and are enabled to pursue an appropriate career development curriculum. Jayne is often the first point of contact for any student inquiring about training.

Brito Lane

Growing up in Topeka, Kansas, Brito didn’t have a lot of chances to be in the water. When she was 14, her family took her to the ocean for the first time. She convinced her dad to take a Discover Scuba Course with her and ever since then, she was hooked. She developed a passion for our ocean and the creatures in it. When she graduated from high school, she packed her things and travelled the world seeing Europe, Central America, and Asia as a photographer until she ended up in Koh Tao, Thailand. On the island, she did everything she could from diving with Whale Sharks and Rays to completing her Master Diver and Divemaster training.  Brito is planning on continuing her Pro career and will be taking the instructor course in the near future!

Favorite Local Dive Site: Second Reef

Favorite Local Hangout: The Alchemist

Kayla Deri

Kayla is a native Floridian and owes me a write-up for her bio.

Favorite dive site: Dania Jacks

Favorite local hangout: Chipotle

Bonnie Salas

Bonnie went 26 years without touching water. Never drank it, never swam, or even sweat. He was VERY afraid of all liquids. He woke up one morning and didn’t realize his life would never be the same by the time he had lunch. He went on a boat after years of begging from his friends and when they reached the middle of the ocean, they tossed him in and abandoned him there. They weren’t very good friends. When he had panicked himself into exhaustion, he began to sink. Right before he drowned, the last bit of air left his body and he transformed into a mermaid. Imagine Jason Momoa as Aquaman but not as manly because he has a tail. Now he loves the ocean because he is the ocean and works as PADI Instructor for Sea Experience. You may see him in a full kit when diving but that is just a show since he has to follow the proper PADI Standards to keep from being sued.

Favorite Local Dive Site: The neighbor’s kiddie pool

Favorite Local Hangout: The Prancing Pony

Kraig Burford

The first time Kraig realized his love for the sea was when he was on a boat living in Vietnam, his second home. During his day off, he met a dolphin who spoke not to him, but to his soul. During this intimate encounter, he decided the best way to live life would be teaching others how to develop personal relationships with sea animals like he did with Henry the Dolphin. He came to Sea Experience and went through our Total Immersion Program starting as a beginner to become a certified PADI Scuba Instructor. He is living his dream but every day, he looks out to the open sea off of our catamaran and thinks about his dolphin, hoping to one day be reunited.

Favorite Local Dive Site: Staghorn Graveyard

Favorite Local Hangout: A Jonas Brothers Concert

Sea Experience Staff

Suzanna Sharkey

Suzanna began diving in a murky lake in Austin, TX. During a trip to Cozumel, she did her first ocean dive and fell in love with the sea. About a year later she became a PADI Open Water SCUBA Instructor. Throughout her diving career she has worked with three dive stores, the Boy Scout Sea Base in Islamorada, taught diving to juvenile offenders and conducted numerous group dive trips including one to Cuba. Now a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, Suzanna is thrilled to work with Sea Experience and spend as much time diving in the ocean as she can! Her passion is ocean conservation and coordinating local reef cleanups. Her favorite local reef is Barracuda Reef and also loves diving the Tracy wreck. When not diving, her favorite local hangout is Dania Beach with friends or Disney World (not necessarily local, but close enough!).

Marc Weekley

Marc Weekley is one of our boat captains. He currently holds a 100 Ton Master license, a 3rd Mate Unlimited Tonnage license and has been with Sea Experience for two years.  Marc originally completed the Total Immersion Program at the dive shop in 1992. Over the next few years, he worked as a dive instructor at Club Med resorts as well as a private dive shop in the Bahamas.  Marc returned stateside to finish his degree in Environmental Science.  He worked at an environmental lab, then was commissioned as a NOAA Corps Officer to drive government research vessels.  After eleven years, he separated from NOAA, took his qualification tests for his Coast Guard licensing and is currently a Mate with American Cruise Lines while continuing to drive boats for Sea Experience.

Favorite Local Dive Site: Twin Ledges

Favorite Local Hangout: Mary’s Budget Apartment

Andrew Bloem

Summers spent by Lake Michigan made Andrew fall in love with the water early on.  The freshwater was nice, but he always longed for something saltier and warmer.  After graduating from Auburn University in 2017 as a Master in Education and newly certified diver, he began traveling around the world with a constant desire to be in and near the ocean.  His travels brought him to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the vibrant reefs of Southeast Asia before landing in the Florida Keys.  
 
Working for the Boy Scouts of America in Islamorada, Andrew quickly garnered dive experience while becoming a Divemaster in 2018.  Today, Fort Lauderdale serves as home as he enthusiastically shares his love for the environment, lionfish hunting, and the reefs of South Florida with eager divers aboard XP2.

Favorite Local Dive Site: Hammerhead Reef

Favorite Local Hangout: Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

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