Meet Our Team of Contributors

Please take your time to read the below to meet our team of regular contributors. Would you like to be a contributor please contact us at

People can be contributor once or frequently the choice is theirs.

William (Bill) Doran

Bill has been diving for almost 30 years and still possesses a safe and robust passion for enjoying any dive, from the simple to the technical. Whether diving with friends, training beginners or developing new instructors, Bill can always fit into the role easily, and his genuine joy of diving is always present.

Over the years, Bill has had the pleasure to have started and developed three scuba clubs that are still going strong and started 4D Diving and Adventures, whose focus is building fun, safe diving for family and friends. This successful model has served well to build safe and confident divers. 

Bill has enjoyed working on course curriculums, standards and procedures, and with NAUI. HQ and on committees like NAUI. CORE has only increased his passion for diving as well as his desire to share it. 

Previously, Bill worked through the ranks at ACUC Canada, attaining the level of Instructor Trainer Evaluator (CDT for those of you in the NAUI world).

Bill’s love of diving was confirmed when he started 4D Diving and Adventures in the early 2000s focusing on fun and safe diving.  In its nearly 20 years of existence, the club has added a dive school and a dive store that allowed members access to many benefits. This successful model has served well to build safe and confident divers. 

For several reasons, in 2016, he crossed over to NAUI along with 4D Diving and Adventures.

In 2018 Bill received an NAUI. Outstanding Achievement Award while at DEMA. During DEMA, he promoted the idea of re-establishing an NAUI. Canadian Rep based in Canada. He continued promoting the Canadian plan through to the date of Beneath the sea in the spring, where he and Luc saved the day by driving to pick up the trade show booth that was miss-shipped by the courier. That day The NAUI staff at Beneath the Sea asked what they could do for him, and Bill said, let me volunteer to run NAUI. Canada as a regional manager. He continued the promotion of NAUI. Canada though to the fall with the support of Terrence Tysall, our NAUI VP of Training, who Bill had shown he could get things done, and come September it happened, an “In Canada” Rep for NAUI.

4D Diving received the NAUI. Performance Excellence Award in 2018.

Starting in the fall of 2019, Bill worked for NAUI. Worldwide as the Regional Manager for Eastern Canada and then beginning the fall of 2020, Bill added in the role of Marketing Director. He performed these two roles until January 31, 2022, when he retired from his full-time position. This does not mean that he is not still a promoter of NAUI, quite the opposite! Bill now resides as the Chair of the Marketing and Business Development Sub-Committee for the NAUI. Worldwide Board of Directors.

While at NAUI Services Group, Bill was quite proud of creating and publishing the NAUI Talk series (see NAUI TV on YouTube) and relaunching a digital version of the former magazine NAUI Sources which he developed and published bi-weekly.

What now? Bill is starting up Scubabiz.Help to continue his passion for assisting scuba businesses.

Outside of diving, Bill’s 35 years of business include his work in starting and building a successful call centre, where he has been inducted into the Canadian Association of Message Exchange’s (CAM-X) Hall of Fame.

So, what does the future hold? Well, more diving, more teaching, more committee work and of course, helping Scuba Businesses worldwide to grow through his work at ScubaBiz.Help.

Ryan Vickers

Ryan Vickers wanted to dive from an early age watching Cousteau specials, episodes of “Flipper” and broadcasts of “The Last Frontier” on CTV in Canada.  When living in Eastern Ontario along the St. Lawrence Seaway he was anxious to get certified but it didn’t end up happening until he moved north of Toronto!  While he has had wonderful experiences diving around the world – Curacao, Grand Cayman, the Great Barrier Reef – his favourite place to dive is the shipwrecks of the waters in Ontario.  He is a member of 4D Diving in Barrie Ontario, where he is a fully licensed scuba instructor with over 10 years experience and has logged over 1000 dives.

Outside of diving, Ryan works in the entertainment industry as a game show host, researcher and creative consultant.  He also is a member of Canada’s national Sport Stacking team – yes, he can stack plastic cups among the best of them!

Karen Erens

My name is Karen Erens, born in 1977 and grew up on the water, on the sailing yacht of my parents in the European waters (Belgium). Snorkeling always has been a passion and in 2007 I learned to scuba dive. Being underwater became a new passion. Until 2012 I worked as a Project Manager in the logistics industry, that same year I became a NAUI dive instructor and changed my life . From that moment on, I managed together with Jean-Marc, my partner, our dive shops and dive school in Belgium. Introducing people to the underwaterworld, teaching snorkeling and scuba courses, training new dive masters and instructors to become professionals like me, taking divers to exotic dive destinations, it is/was all part of my job. But, we had some more plans for the future, a more relaxed way of travelling and meeting scuba professionals around the world. Our dream was to travel the oceans with our own sailing yacht and visit the best dive spots we would come accross. The future is now as we started our new life in 2021. We provide dive adventures onboard our sailyacht Blowing Bubbles for our guests and of course share videos of all these adventures and write articles about it for you. 

Jean-Marc Claes

As a biography is never really up-to-date because while writing it, you are already doing new things or at least, that is what I do.
So, a brief sum up dating now, 2022, 32years into professional diving for me.
Started diving at young age (14y) in Belgium, my home country, due to a geeky older brother who led me into it.
Just imagine how that could have turned out differently?
At 18y, became a dive instructor, because you need to be 18years old to do so and so I did.
At the same time, started my own dive school and dive shop because weeding the neighbours garden was not that fun anymore and at that moment I had no clue about the word business at all, let´s not even start about dive business?
The 90´s were the starting years for many dive businesses worldwide and scuba diving was spreading as fast as a virus (now, that is up-to-date).
The dive shop, dive school, dive centre for local diving, it all grew its way and soon international dive travel had to be added, because really, how long can you entertain divers in the cold, murky waters of Belgium and surrounding places?
Exploring new possibilities, new areas, that brings marketing to the job.
Setting up a wholesale business brings bigger business to the table.
32years of everchanging projects, adapting to evolving markets and reinventing yourself to stay up and running, motivated and dedicated.
32years later, over a 100 countries are on the list of being visited/dived but many more are still missing.
So, what to do about that?
Currently, sailing and diving the world, onboard (with my partner in crime Karen Erens) our Sail Yacht Blowing Bubbles, we left Europe in 2021 on a world tour to explore more ocean, to get to more remote places and trying to satisfy that ever growing appetite for ´more´: more diving, more fish to learn about, more ocean knowledge to gain, more adventure to undertake and sharing all that ´more´ with all of you, both possible onboard by joining us or in writing and by video in ScubaBiz, as this is our next goal in life.
And here we go…

The Viking from Sweden

My name is Thommie Sylvander.
I have been a Scuba business owner since 1999, a Course Director Trainer and the NAUI Rep of Scandinavia several years now.
I started my Scuba Diving career 1994 and have been a Scuba Diver Instructor since 1997.
2004 I became an Instructor Trainer and later that year also a Course Director. A few years later I was asked to become the NAUI Rep of Scandinavia and I accepted.

Why I becme a Scuba Diver

When I was in the Swedish elementary school, 1st to 9th grade, I was the school’s bullying victim to various reasons such as that I was a “Stockholmer” but now lived in a small village in Småland where they disliked “Stockholmers”. I also had red hair and, on top of that soon also glasses…..

I was often “daydreaming” when I was by myself and thought about that there were so many fascinating places on earth that we read about in school and I could see on TV.

When I was about 14 years old or so, I went with my mother to Halmstad, the ”big city” everybody went to when they were going on an adventure. Halmstad had a travel agency. When my mother spoke to a woman there, I collected a number of travel brochures and took them home with me. Once home, I read them “inside out” and looked at all the cool and beautiful pictures. I found out that there was a ticket they called “go around the world ticket”. That included 8 stops around the world for around 8000 Sek (at the time 900 US$).

– Wooooow….. This now became my dream! But I had no money….. so how would I pay for it and how would I support myself during the trip?

Then I thought of the underwater films I’d seen on TV and the nice pictures I’d seen in the brochures. – “I will learn to dive and then take a job as a dive instructor!”

But unfortunately, me and my family did not have the funds for that. Time passed and I was suddenly 24 years old and trying to make my way in life in different ways. I attended a short course on how to start your own business, and listened carefully to a lecture by a nearly deaf guy, Micke, who had started his own business in accordance with his dream. Micke had a PADI diving school….. At the end of his lecture, he offered everyone at the “business course” to come with him to the big “Gustavsviks adventure resort” nearby, to try to breathe underwater. EVERYONE wanted to!

It was sooooo coooool! We had so much fun that I knew immediately that I wanted more.

I got a job at an office and tried to earn the 2900 Sek the course costed. It took a while but eventually I could. My brother, Samuel, and my father, Per, also took the SCUBA diving course.

Once attending the SCUBA diving course I thought Mike would show us a lot of cool places to dive at and a lot of tricks in the water. – What a disappointment! It was just a lot of rescue exercises.

Me and my brother were the most disobedient students he had ever had! We always looked to be the first pair to perform each exercise so that when he practiced “mask emptying” or anything else in shallower water with the others, me and my brother dove down to the deep part of the pool. Mike always came down and picked us up and was always so angry and annoyed with us … But we just wanted to dive … He told me that this course was to teach us how to survive in the water. So eventually we began to understand the seriousness of what he was trying to teach us and we did apologize to him.

He then told us that the “advanced” course was the course where he was going to teach us the cool things such as “night dives, boat dives, deep dives, navigation dive” and more. We signed up immediately!

When we stood there with our certificates in our hands, I had made up my mind! So when I, at my job, after the coffee break on the Friday afternoon, went to my boss, Ronny Stenberg, I said: – “I will be a diving instructor and travel around the world so I will not come back to work on Monday. I quit today!” My boss just laughed and said: – “See you on Monday, Thommie!” But I never came in to work that Monday! I was on my way to Stockholm, where I signed up for all the courses I had to take to become a SCUBA dive instructor.

It was at this stage I had explained to me what NAUI was, and with the motto “Safety through Education”, the transition was natural and obvious to me. I took the remaining courses through NAUI organization at Österåkers diving school in Åkersberga, Stockholm. I had some very experienced and inspiring instructors named Jan Eierholen with the help of the instructor Michael Bergström, now Wolhardt, NAUI Tech CD and owner and founder of SwedTech Organisation. What fine and fun dives we did and such a good way they explained the different theoretical pieces of SCUBA! I really look up to you bouth! Thanks Jan and Michael!

When I eventually had my instructor certificate in my hand and was fully equipped with a brand new SCUBA gear, I went back to Örebro where I began to instruct at Nordic Divers with Mats Andersson and Glen Kihlström. There we had many enjoyable classes and even more enjoyable students. We travelled around the whole country and we got so many happy and enriching moments together.

Eventually I felt that I wanted to have my own diving school but wanted to have some more experience of diving in warm waters. This far, only my students dove in warm waters… I made a phone call to Hasse on NAUI Scandinavia and asked him if he knew any dive centers abroad who needed a Swedish instructor. He told me that they just had received a fax from NAUI headquarters in which they announced a job as a SCUBA instructor at “Seacamp NHMI” located at Big Pine Key in Florida, USA. I called them up and they became very interested so they had an interview with me “in English” over the phone for 2.5 hours while I was at my grandmothers, who wondered “what I was doing” standing there, waving my hands and legs around as the flower pots flew all over the room.

– “They want me grandma’!!!” I shouted overjoyed.

I then came to “Seacamp” with my “Green Card”, which I won in the “American Green Card Lottery”, in one hand and my diving equipment in the other. There, I worked with the instructors Chad Barker, Kazuki, Al Yarbro, Tom Saylor, Kath Mazzey, Tim and our “sidekicks” Costi Serban, Barbara Bauer Brighton, “Fliss” Severn and Toby J. Monson and others, with 150 new children every three weeks for the whole summer. We dove at the coral reef experiencing everything from shipwrecks and small sized fish to lobsters and sharks. We learned professional rescue and had to take boating licenses etc. Seacamp founder, the late Irene Hooper, her sister Grace Upshaw and my American / Russian “Mother” Professor Elena Istomina, took extra care of me and held their protective wings over me during my time with them. There, I got to know the cool Russian professor of microbiology, Alexander Kamnev, who asked me if I could come to him in Moscow to teach his biology students to dive after my time in America. Absolutely! Said and done, I went to Russia and taught his students to…. swim(?)…. and then to dive.

After these experiences I opened up my Baltic Divers diving school which was located at my ship, just next to the City Hall, where the Nobel dinner is held every year, in Stockholm. After some time, Mats at Nordic Divers asked me if I wanted to “take over” their diving school Nordic Diver to. Of course!

In doing so, I began collaborating with other Dive Centers as Hasse Johnsson on Long Island Divers at the northern tip of Öland. We had trips with students to incredibly fantastic wrecks, including Skriner schooner that sank in a storm in 1880 that Hasse found with his Side Scan Sonar the year of 2002.

During this time I trained at NAUI Scandinavia to become an Instructor Trainer and Course Director. But unfortunatly I became the victim in an assault where I was badly injured with a neck injury. I had to refrain from diving for 2 years.

While rehabilitating, I met Laura who later became my wife and the mother of our three amazing diving children (and future instructors). After some additional years in Stockholm, we moved “down” to Skåne in southern Sweden. There I started up again, on a small scale, to get back in to the diving business. Than I have put the next gear in.

The spring of 2016 I finally went to Richard Lucas at NAUI Europe, in the Netherlands, whom I have had contact with for many years, and became an active status CD again and now, after many years in the industry also a NAUI Rep of Scandinavia.

Now with my experience in the Scuba business and with a lot of good friends in the diving industry standing behind me, I humbly seek to help others to get our solid dive tradition to “infinity and beyond….”

/Thommie Sylvander
Dive Business owner, CDT #20001 and NAUI Rep Scandinavia

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