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Our Team

MBT Staff

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Fritz Sharar

  • Owner of the shop since 1996. Dive Safety Officer for the University of West Florida’s Scientific Diving program since 2010
  • How long have you been diving? I started diving in New Jersey in 1979.
  • What is your highest dive certification? Professional level – Instructor trainer; Technical level – Prism 2 Rebreather Diver
  • Why did you start diving? I began diving for work and then it became a passion.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? The Brass wreck because I always see something new when I get the opportunity to dive her.
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Steven Hemmert

  • General Manager
  • How long have you been diving? Began Diving in 1989.
  • What is your highest dive certification? Trimix, Prism 2 rebreather, course director and CPR First Aid/O2 Instructor Trainer
  • Why did you start diving? My father was a diver and I loved seeing his diving adventures and was fascinated with the underwater world.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? I don’t really have one site that is my favorite, they all offer something new with each dive.
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Billy Sullivan

  • (Billy 1) Sales and paper towel/toilet paper inventory control person
  • How long have you been diving? Since I was in the 8th grade - after double hose regulators and before power inflators on BC’s
  • What is your highest dive certification? Stress/Rescue/ Advanced/ 3x80 diver - 80 foot visibility, 80 degree water, and 80cubic foot tank
  • Why did you start diving? To see what was out in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? Belize - Amberqis Caye - nice reeds, friendly people, and good food.
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Micah Minnocci

  • Service Technician, Sales Associate
  • How long have you been diving? I have been diving since July 2015.
  • What is your highest dive certification? I’m a Rescue Diver and working towards Dive Master.
  • Why did you start diving? I am from a small town on a barrier island over on the east coast, so whether it was the beach or the Indian River, I was always in the water. Several of my neighbors were old-school treasure hunters and I grew up hearing stories of the lost 1715 Spanish fleet, including Urca de Lima. Fascinated by the history that surrounded me, I pursued my bachelors degree in anthropology and videography. I got my dive certification just in time for the 300th anniversary of the Spanish fleet wreck and immediately began to take interest in preserving Florida's submerged cultural resources digitally. I followed that passion to the University of West Florida’s Historical Archaeology masters program, where I've had the opportunity to dive and work on shipwrecks dating back to the 1500's.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? My favorite spot is the Brass Wreck, a schooner from the late 1800s, which is the topic of my thesis research for graduate school. It was called the 6 Anchor Wreck but several of them have been looted from the site. It took the name Brass Wreck for all the brass fasteners that remain intact. Visually, it is a cool wreck, with iron ribs jutting out of the sand and it also has a lot of marine life, including some resident bull sharks
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Taylor Bowling

  • Sales, marketing, and tank technician.
  • How long have you been diving? Since 2008, in Kentucky.
  • What is your highest dive certification? I am a Rescue Diver, I am currently working on my Dive Master Certification.
  • Why did you start diving? I began diving because my dad was a police diver in Louisville, KY and I was obsessed with the water. I loved the idea of being able to see an entirely new environment beneath the surface. I loved diving so much, I decided to get my masters in Maritime Archaeology and continue to have to opportunity to continue diving as a career.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? I have a few local dive sites that are near and dear to my heart, so it is difficult to just pick one. My favorite shore dive is hands down the Fort Pickens Jetties, specifically at night. You can see tons of marine life and it is a quick walk into the water from your truck! My favorite off-shore dive site is probably the San Pablo (AKA Russian Freighter), this wreck has such a cool history, and was ultimately sunk by practice bombers on Project Campbell in the mid 1940s. The hull is still intact and has tons of marine life living around the site. Typically you can find a moray eel hanging out near the wreck, but I am excited to check out all of the wrecks around the Gulf.
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Aidyn Hemmert

  • Sales Associate and tank technician
  • How long have you been diving? 5 years
  • What is your highest dive certification? Currently working on my Advanced Certification.
  • Why did you start diving? I loved the water and it seemed like it would be fun. Growing up around the shop, diving was something I always wanted to learn to do.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? The New Venture is my favorite local dive site, even though it is in between Pensacola and Orange Beach, because it is a big open wreck that is still mostly intact and you can explore a large portion of it.
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Ryan Young

  • Sales Associate, tank and service technician
  • How long have you been diving? 4 years
  • What is your highest dive certification? PADI Rescue Diver
  • Why did you start diving? I was invited to go on a liveaboard in the Red Sea, so I jumped at the opportunity and got certified. Scuba diving has been a passion of mine ever since and I have been able to dive in places such as the USVI, Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys, and Egypt. A lifetime goal of mine is to experience as many major dive locations throughout the world as I can. I am also currently pursuing a Masters degree in historical/maritime archaeology at the University of West Florida.

  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? The Brass Wreck because it is a nineteenth century wooden schooner with historical ambience.

Instructors

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Amy Duncan

  • One of many fabulous Instructors on staff.
  • How long have you been diving? I’ve been diving for 5 years.
  • What is your highest dive certification? I’m an SDI Instructor qualified to teach open water, advanced open water, or rescue courses.
  • Why did you start diving? I started diving out of my love for the beach and the ocean. Raised in Pensacola it wasn’t until I moved away to NC and returned that I truly appreciated all the Gulf Coast has to offer.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? I have two local favorite spots both thanks to epic night dives at these locations. The San Pablo aka Russian Freighter, an old banana boat used for missile testing and sunk in 1944 is always teaming with life and so many toad fish you lose count.
  • Next is the Ocean Winds, an 87’ long tug boat sank in 2016. This is the first wreck I’ve had the pleasure of diving shortly after being sunk and then watched get taken over by the sea. Both day or night you can find octopus tucked away and hidden among the wreck. A Goliath Grouper frequents the large easy to swim through well house of the tug boat. With both of these locations in around 80ft of blue water they make for a great day of diving.
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Billy Giese

  • (William Giese II “Billy”) Dive instructor, sales associate, tank fill and service technician.
  • How long have you been diving? Been certified since ‘14 - clearwater diving mostly - Hawaii, Costa Rica, Belize, Bahamas, the Key, Honduras was my favorite
  • What is your highest dive certification? Instructor, EFR instructor, Nitrox instructor, and life coach for many!
  • Why did you start diving? The personal quiet, relaxation, beauty - and to find buried treasure!
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? Don’t really have a favorite - need to see them all - Dives at the Springs and shore diving in the bay and gulf - 20ft for 20 min.
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Cathy Haley

  • Dive Instructor
  • How long have you been diving? 25 years
  • What is your highest dive certification? Instructor Trainer
  • Why did you start diving? I have always participated in water sports so when I moved to the coast learning to dive just seemed like the next thing to do.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? That is a tough question I get asked all the time. I think it is all about the experience. From swimming with turtles at the beach, being eye to eye with a Goliath grouper bigger than me or having a spotted eagle ray circling me as I descend to the Avocet. How can you pick just one!
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Bradley Gaiser

  • (Bradley “Skip” Gaiser) Scuba Instructor Extraordinaire
  • How long have you been diving? 25 Years
  • What is your highest dive certification? Instructor Trainer with SSI
  • Why did you start diving? Something I always wanted to do. I love being underwater no matter what the visibility is.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? Pickens, hands down. The most sea life in the area and it's a shore dive.
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Joe Grinnan

  • Dive instructor teaching everything from Open Water to Divemaster.
  • How long have you been diving? I caught the diving bug in 2005.
  • What is your highest dive certification? I am an SDI Open Water SCUBA Instructor and PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer.
  • Why did you start diving? I have always loved being in the water and when the opportunity arose to learn how to breath underwater, I jumped on it.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? My favorite local site is Fort Pickens. Fort Pickens Jetty is one of the most easily accessible spots in town and boasts the most diverse array of sea life of any shore site.
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Meghan Mumford

  • Hello fellow divers, my name is Meghan Mumford and I am a new instructor at MBT Divers. Additionally, I work as a dive master on the dive charter vessels affiliated with the MBT Divers.
  • How long have you been diving? I became Open Water certified and an Advanced diver when I was 14 years old, in 2004. Thereafter, I went on to my undergraduate university, Coastal Carolina University, where admittedly, I did not do much diving, but I did determine that I wanted a career in underwater archaeology. I moved to Pensacola in 2012 and attended the University of West Florida where I earned by master’s degree and became an AAUS Scientific Diver for the university. Since then, I was hired on a faculty member at the UWF Archaeology Institute where I continue to do research in submerged cultural resources and teach undergraduate and graduates how to do underwater archaeology. My career has taken me around the world and enabled me to dive year-round on many amazing cultural heritage sites. I have been fortunate to complete over 800 dives since my graduate school days and thereafter.
  • What is your highest dive certification? I am an Open Water Instructor and recently went to “the dark side” and completed by Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedure (ANDP) certification.
  • Why did you start diving? My parents love the water and instilled that same love onto myself and my two sisters. We worked as lifeguards growing up and were given the opportunity to learn to dive through our lifeguard connections. It was a no-brainer!
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? I have many favorite dive sites and I suppose my favorite on any given day depends on the tasks at hand. I will always love diving in Pensacola Bay, on the 16th century shipwrecks associated with 1559 Spanish attempt to settle La Florida despite the less than pristine conditions. While teaching new individuals to dive or while dive mastering on the charter vessels, I enjoy the USS Oriskany and the Russian Freighter. But, I think the best recreational dive I was able to enjoy was in the Exumas, Bahamas on the ledge.
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Mike Boitnott

  • (Mike ‘Mikey B’ Boitnott) I am the Technical Dive Instructor, Technical Diving Consultant, and a rebreather equipment technician.
  • How long have you been diving? 24 years
  • What is your highest dive certification? TDI Advanced Trimix diver and TDI Trimix Instructor
  • Why did you start diving? I first started diving for pleasure and then got hooked on spearfishing.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? My favorite local dive site is the Advocet, which is an old dredging barge. It is always a good place to see large marine animals and the wreck always feels different each time I dive it.
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Nicole Bucchino Grinnan

  • Open Water Instructor
  • How long have you been diving? 12 years
  • What is your highest dive certification? Open Water Instructor
  • Why did you start diving? As an undergraduate, I had decided that I wanted to study history and archaeology. I was walking down the hall in my department at the University of Central Florida one day and saw a poster advertising the underwater archaeology program at the University of West Florida (UWF). That summer, I got my first certification. I started my graduate course at UWF two years later and, after graduating, I now have an amazing career doing underwater archaeology! I loved diving so much, however, that I also wanted to become an instructor and share those opportunities with others.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? Whether you are interested in history or spearfishing, my absolute favorite dive spot is the San Pablo shipwreck (aka, the Russian Freighter)! At 80ft, San Pablo is a great spot for newly certified Advanced Open Water divers. The significant relief from the wreck’s machinery attracts many different kinds of marine life and I’ve seen something new each dive! To learn a little bit about the amazing story of this shipwreck, check out http://www.floridapanhandledivetrail.com/san-pablo.html
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Dean Smith

  • Hi, my name is Dean Smith and I am a SDI Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor (OWSDI) at MBT
  • How long have you been diving? I have been diving for six short years.
  • What is your highest dive certification? SDI Open Water Scuba Diving Instructor
  • Why did you start diving? I was stationed with the Marine Corps on the beautiful tropical island of Okinawa without my family. What a better way to spend my time than diving in the coral rich East China Sea.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? My favorite local shore dive is the Fort Picken’s Jetti. In the right conditions you can see a huge variety of fish and wildlife. My favorite near shore dive is the Joe Patty Memorial Reef, it is a fun relaxing dive with lots of cool stuff to see. My favorite off-shore dive is the Timber Holes located about 20 miles off shore at a max depth of about 110 feet, located between Pensacola and Destin. There is natural rocky bottom with a lot of fun wildlife.
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Austin Burkhard

Open Water Instructor

How long have you been diving? Since 2011

What is your highest dive certification? Open Water Instructor and Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures.

  • Why did you start diving? I thought it would be fun and a good career.
  • What is your favorite local dive site and why? WWII Aircrafts - Hellcat. bearcat, B-25

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