A World of Diving Adventures

Call us today! 954.734.7111 or 800.327.9600

Captain Red is the best of the best -- knows his stuff and obviously very committed to customer safety and experience.

James Palkovic

The Vessels

Vessel layout of Blackbeard's dive liveaboard in the Bahamas

Blackbeard’s cruises are delivered on one of our two 65′ diving liveaboard sailboats, the Sea Explorer and the Morning Star.

  • Exceptional oceanfront and island views
  • Dining – picnic-style outdoors in the horseshoe or inside near the kitchen (galley)
  • Bunks – beds come in doubles and singles as uppers or lowers
  • Bathrooms (heads) – small and shared with your mates
  • Showers – hot water and long showers are a luxury – enjoy them before you arrive
  • Kitchen (galley) – yes, a compact space where all your meals are prepped. We’re serious.

Don’t pack tons of clothes. We’d rather have room to store all the food we’ll eat each trip.

Our dinghies are our transportation to and from islands.

Meet Our Crew

Captain Jim Swartzell of the Blackbeard dive liveaboard Sea Explorer


The Captain

Captain Jim first joined Blackbeard’s in 1991 as the dive instructor on the Sea Explorer. He later served as engineer, until earning his Captain’s license and began the rest of his time as First Mate and Relief Captain throughout the fleet. He also sailed a few times as the chef! Jim left in ’95 to work in yachting. He came back in early 2016, missing the pirate life. Outgoing, friendly, and full of stories, he’s returned to his passions, sailing, scuba diving and fishing. Jim is a world traveler, and an avid motorcyclist/collector. Hobbies also include snowboarding, paddleboarding, rock climbing, and cooking.

Capt Red is the captain of the Blackbeard dive liveaboard Morning Star.

Michael "Red"

The Captain

Red joined us years ago and hails from Virginia originally but if you ask him, the Bahamas he calls home. He went to the school of hard knocks and got a BS in BS. He loves to travel, take wild road trips to see NASCAR and never misses Talladega! He enjoys cook outs with friends especially. The lure of the sea brought him to diving. He started out as a cook and worked his way up to Captain. When he was just 14, he used a fake ID to join the crew of the Schooner AMERICA and sailed to Key West from Norfolk. She was built in 1851 and was the first winner of the America’s Cup. When they arrived in Key West, he was detained and then sent home. He found his way back to a sailing vessel a few years later and has made it his life.



Captain, Engineer & Dive Instructor

AKA Podgey, this criminal psychologist major decided to pursue diving as a profession back in 2008 but has been diving since he turned 14. He enjoys watching real football and also playing it. He likes to go out, take long walks on quiet beaches and has no intention of telling us a secret about himself so we’ll be creative and make one up — Podgey likes to take bubble baths with rose scented soap!


Blackbeard captain Drew.


Captain & Assistant Crew Chief

Drew has a long history with Blackbeard’s! going to his college days at Ole Miss where he was the scuba club sponsor and brought new students out each year for spring break. We finally lured him to the life at sea and he joined us as an instructor working his way up to captain. He hails from Itta Benna, MS and now lives in Miami Beach when not on the boats.



Captain, First Mate, Engineer &
Dive Instructor

Tamlyn hails from South Africa and is both PADI and SSI certified as an instructor. She loves diving, hockey, hiking and basically all sports! She studied literature in university and is fluent in Afrikaans and English.

Blackbeard dive instructor Thato.


                         Dive Instructor

Thato was born in Johannesburg South Africa and went to university in Cape Town. It was there that she fell in love with the ocean and travel in general. After University, she moved to South Korea to teach English and travel through Asia. Thato visited the Philippines 8 years ago and did her open water course in Coron; known for its shallow shipwrecks. Over the next 8 years she travelled and dived all over Asia including, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. During this time, she accumulated her higher diving certifications until she completed her divemaster training in El Nido Philippines. This was two years ago and that is when she decided to become a professional diving instructor. She also wanted to explore the Caribbean, so she moved to the Dominican Republic where she completed her training as an Open Water Instructor and MSDT. Thato worked full time as an instructor both in Punta Cana and Bayahibe. Hobbies: Diving, Videography, Cycling, Snowboarding, Surfing, Reading and Writing
You would never guess that she  once travelled through every major city in South Korea over 2 months by bicycle.



Now Hiring

We are always looking for adventurous individuals to join the team.  Life on board is hard work but very rewarding- send in your application today! Dive instructors, chefs, and engineer positions available.  



Dive Instructor

Martyna is from Poland, but moved to Canada in 2011. She started diving at the age of 17 and has since worked her way up to PADI Staff Instructor and Equipment Technician. She enjoys diving shipwrecks and tech diving in the cool Canadian waters.

Martyna originally studied new media art but decided the pirate life was best for her. She loves cute kitties and rock and roll. She fears no mosh pit when catching a metal show either.  




Born in Florida, raised in Alabama, Corrãi thrives in getting his hands dirty and engineering tirelessly as the food, the conversation, and the sights that come after come with greater satisfaction. He spent his college days studying Philosophy and Psychology at Auburn University. While he can’t have the engines aboard the Cat Ppalu recline on a couch and unravel their feelings to him, a mind conditioned for analytical thought, attention to detail, and problem-solving serve as the foundation for his newfound mechanical passion.

Corrãi is an avid reader, a bluesy pianist, a world traveler, and a determined writer, hoping to cultivate some stories of his own out here and further advance his skills as an engineer.




Gladys is from Nicaragua and learned to cook in her native country.  She loves to dance, dive and go on adventures.  She has three beautiful daughters.  





Hailing from San Diego, Chris is a professional Uno player and believes you can stack multiple pickup cards on top of each other. A recently certified diver, working towards his rescue course, he now enjoys the recreational activity of practicing rescue breathing on damsels in distress. His favorite color is pink, he owns the most magnificent flamingo shirt. He traded in his bar tending skills and cold water fishing expeditions for the sunny teal blue skies of the Bahamas. Tinkering is his strong suit, therefore as one of our engineers, he plays with all sorts of tools.

His hobbies included crafting animal figurines out of used o-rings, and racing Japanese imported hamsters.



Dive Instructor

Charlie hails from Wabash, Indiana where he grew up around the aviation industry. He spent some time in aviation fabrication and repairs until 2014 when he took his Open water scuba course. He was hooked and knew that he wanted to pursue a career in diving. He became a PADI diving professional in 2015 and has never looked back. Charlie’s favorite dives are deep, night, and wreck. When Charlie isn’t soaking wet from a good dive, you might find him hiking, camping, kayaking or horse back riding! One place you won’t find Charlie is around reptiles. He does not like them at all. The more teeth they have the less he likes them!


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