Florida Skin Divers Association
The Florida Skin Divers Association (FSDA) is a volunteer, non-profit coalition of Dive Clubs and individuals bound together by our common interest in sport, skin and scuba diving. The FSDA is the oldest and largest independent organization of divers in the state of Florida. It is governed by an unpaid board of directors who are active in the diving community. The board works hard to promote diving and organize membership to protect their diving rights.

The FSDA would like to thank all of its past and present Presidents, Directors, and members for the following achievements:
  • Influencing dive related regulation/ legislation.
  • Promoting diving safety through continued education on equipment use and maintenance, and diving techniques and safety procedures.
  • Supporting and promoting the interests and activities of specialty diving groups.
  • Supporting the non-destructive use and enjoyment of diving resources by all specialty groups through the encouragement of conservation.

Some specific FSDA achievements include:
  • For over 50 years, organizing the Southern Open Spearfishing/Photography & Videography State Championship, which has included entrants from around the globe.
  • The pivotal involvement in the transport and placement of the Christ of the Abyss statue in John Penekamp State park.
  • Instrumental in developing the now universal dive flag, and boating regulations relating to dive flags for the safety of divers.

Defending Divers Rights by active and successful lobbying efforts including:
  • Influencing the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission’s decision to table indefinitely a proposal to place a moratorium on spearfishing for grouper and a proposal to increase the recreation size limit on grouper to 24 inches (August 1992).
  • Influencing the Gulf of Mexico Marine Fisheries Council’s modification of a proposal to establish ‘rod and reel only’ zones in the Gulf of Mexico to include spearfishing (November 1992).
  • Organizing FSDA members from both coasts to participate in the South Atlantic Marine Fisheries Council’s Scoping Meeting on Spearfishing Gear (January 1993).
  • Helping to modify the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Committee’s proposed definition of fishing zones in include spearfishing with rod and reel ‘take’ zones in all areas except those where spearfishing is already prohibited.
  • Officially endorsing the Florida Coalition of Concerned Sport Divers.
  • Participating in the Crystal River access hearings.
  • Organizing and conducting, annually, the Florida Region’s Save Our Seas Poster Contest aimed at educating our youth on the need for continued appreciation of the ocean environment.
  • Presenting seminars focused on increasing the awareness and appreciation of the public for our sport, its benefits, and the ocean environment in general at trade shows such as the annual Ocean Expo.
FSDA Club Reps, Chairs and Officers — with Dennis O'Hern, Bill Van Deman, Teresa Hattaway, Melody Shearin Engle, Scott Morris, Heidi Thoricht, Matthew Brueckner, Sonia M Smith, Courtland Hunt, Jim Brennan and Bill Hardman.

2016 Officers

Denny O'Hern - serving as Florida Skin Divers Association President since 2016. Denny is a long-standing member and past president of the St. Pete Underwater Club. Serving as Executive Director of the Fishing Rights Alliance has brought him into the realm of fisheries management , science and regulation. Denny has enjoyed thousands of dives throughout Florida, most while spearfishing.

Denny also owns Offshore Hunter Software in St. Petersburg, Fl. He participates in and sponsors many of the local spearfishing tournaments and lionfish derbies. In 2006, Denny was recipient of the Norm Wyman / Poppa Taylor Award for his years of service to and protection of his beloved dive community. 
Teresa Hattaway - serving as Florida Skin Divers Association Vice President since 2011. Teresa is active in the local dive community, and also serves on the board of director's for the Fishing Rights Alliance and as Secretary of the Professional Association of Dive Operators. Teresa earned her open water SCUBA certification in 1984 and became an open water SCUBA instructor in 1991 and has since logged thousands of dives throughout Florida and the Caribbean. She enjoys underwater photography, videography, spearfishing and fossil diving. She currently holds the rating of Dive Control Specialist Instructor with SCUBA Schools International and has certified over a thousand divers. Teresa also owns Jim's Dive Shop, in St. Petersburg, Fl. Teresa can also be heard on the "Reel Animals Radio Show" on weekend mornings. She also participates in many of the local spearfishing, lionfish derbies and photo/video tournaments.  In 2012, Teresa was recipient of the Norm Wyman / Poppa Taylor Award for her years of service to the growth and well-being of her community. In 2015, Teresa was presented with the Platinum Pro Foundation Award from SCUBA Schools International in recognition of 5000 or more dives.
Captain Bill Hardman - serving as treasurer since 2013, Bill also served as the FSDA president for five years. Bill is a member of St Pete Underwater Club and a founding member of Tampa Bay Spearfishing Club. Bill has served as secretary, vice president and president of St Pete Underwater Club as well as past president and treasurer of Tampa Bay Spearfishing Club. Bill is also one of the founders and officers of Dive Care for Military Wounded. Captain Bill Hardman has been teaching Scuba Diving & Watersports for over 30 years. He is the President of Wonderful Water Scuba, Inc. and owner of Aquatic Obsessions. Currently he is the Vice President of the Professional Association of Dive Operators. Captain Hardman is a multi-agency, Scuba Instructor Trainer and he teaches Scuba and Freedive classes from beginning to the professional levels. He's currently the Director of Scuba Programs for the University of South Florida- St. Petersburg, Eckerd College, Admiral Farragut Academy and many other educational and scientific institutions on the west coast of Florida. Captain Hardman is a bi-weekly column writer and photographer for the St. Petersburg Times and is a contributing writer for many national and international diving industry periodicals and on-line magazines. Bill is also a past recipient of the Norm Wyman / Poppa Taylor Award in appreciation of his support of the local dive community. In 2015, Bill was presented with the Platinum Pro Foundation Award from SCUBA Schools International in recognition of 5000 or more dives.
Bill Van Deman serving as the FSDA's Secretary since 2016. Bill is a past president of the FSDA  (2013 - 2015).  Bill has been active in his club, Tampa Bay Spearfishing Club (TBSC) and diver's rights for several years, particularly in the area of freediving safety. Bill has served as secretary, vice president and president of the Tampa Bay Spearfishing Club, and represented TBSC and FSDA as a competitor in organized spearfishing competitions. Bill has been a member of four top 3 teams at FSDA Freedive State Championships, and has represented FSDA at Spearfishing Nationals three times. Bill is a certified PFI Safety Supervisor Freediver and PFI Freediver Instructor and owns Abyss Freediving. Bill was the recipient of the 2014 Norm Wyman-Poppa Taylor Award.