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

Jim

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.

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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.

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Iain

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!

 

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Blackbeard captain Drew.

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.

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Tamlyn

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.

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Blackbeard dive instructor Thato.

Thato

               Dive Instructor / Engineer

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.

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Morgan

Morgan

Engineer

Morgan, or Biggins as his friends know him, comes to us from Orlando, Florida. When he was just eight years old, he took a trip to Boston with his family and ended up meeting his father’s scuba instructor, Steve. Morgan was fascinated by the underwater photos that were on Scuba Steve’s walls and told himself that he too, would one day get scuba certified. He got his scuba certification in 2010 and has loved being on the water ever since. All thanks to Scuba Steve! Morgan took to the water for 4 years with The Navy as an Aviation Electrician and when he got out he went to the Marine Mechanical Institute in Orlando for a year. In his spare time he loves metal working and aquariums. When you see him, please make sure he has put on sunscreen!

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Chris

First Mate/ Engineer

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.

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Charlie

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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Sarah

                         Dive Instructor

Sarah comes to us from Ontario, Canada. While working at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto, she got her Open Water certification and never looked back knowing life on the water was where she was meant to be. After an unusual journey to become a PADI Dive Instructor, Sarah has worked in Cozumel and Italy, and diving everywhere in between, with The Bahamas having a special place in her heart. When she’s not diving you can find her doing yoga, reading every book in sight or pursuing her other passion as a professional hammock sleeper. She is known to be the human form of a pineapple and her favourite animal is the Great Canadian House Hippo.

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Sarah

     Chef

Sarah’s from the sunny beach town of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. Starting from a young age when she was able to look over the kitchen counter top, food overtook her imagination and most of her free time. If she’s not busy you’ll find Sarah baking something delicious, running around barefoot on an adventure, or asking a billion questions about everything to anyone who’s listening. Hobbies include baking, reading, hiking, swimming and photography. You would never guess that she’s secretly a qualified ninja, and her favorite animal is a penguin!

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Stephen

                            Dive Instructor 

Stephen was born in Michigan, the land of 10,000 lakes. He started diving in the Great Lakes and local quarries & fell deeply in love with diving while visiting his parents in Fiji in 2018. Stephen came home, quickly sold everything he owned and quit the corporate lifestyle to make the ocean his office. He believes his passion for the water came from his parents raising him on a houseboat, literally spending every waking moment on or in the water! He is a big fan of anything water sports, fishing being his #1.

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Chelle Dive INstructor

Chelle

                         Dive Instructor

Chelle is originally from Manchester, England but for the last 10 years has been travelling and working around the world. She fell in love with diving 4 years ago and became a PADI MSDT so she could call the ocean her office. She loves animals, yoga, dancing, underwater photography and anything that gets the adrenaline pumping; especially jumping out of a plane or white-water rafting!

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Fleetwood

                         Dive Instructor

Michael is his name, but everyone calls him Fleetwood! He was born in Southern California, but I have lived so many different places that I am not sure where I call home. I got most of my education from under the hood of a car. I was a mechanic for many years but have always been my happiest when I was out on the water. This led me to diving 20 years ago. I did it once and was instantly hooked. I wanted to do anything and everything that would keep me on the water. Therefore, this is why I am here today! I am combining my two loves! Scuba diving and boats! I tell each of my nieces that they are my favorite but do not tell them!

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Pancho

                        chef

Francisco joins us from Chile and his friends call him Pancho! He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism. Once he graduated from college, he started travelling the world to really start his education– Japan, Australia, Thailand, and the Phillipines. That is where he found his love of cooking and eating good food. Each place he visitied had a different style of cooking that he had to try to keep with me when I left. He also fell in love with scuba diving during his time in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef. Here, he can combine his two greatest passions which are food and diving! Other hobbies are snowboarding, photography, and learning new languages. Hide your chocolates when Pancho is around because he is extremely addicted to it!

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Fabian

Fabian

                                  Cook

Fabian is from Guayaquil, Ecuador. He grew up close to the water and can never remember not enjoying being on or in the ocean. Fabian also grew up loving to be in the kitchen preparing food. He learned to dive when he was in the Galapagos and has spent his time since then staying near the ocean! He joined Blackbeard’s to combine his two great passions– Cooking and Diving! When he is not cooking or diving, Fabian really enjoys doing anything that has to do with nature and wildlife.

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Jared DI

Jared

                            Dive Instructor    

Everyone calls me Orr or affectionately, Orrzy, from my ice hockey days. Jared hails from a small town in Northern Ontario, Canada where the water is warm in the summer and turns to solid ice in the winter. He went to university for criminal studies before realizing his passion for the ocean. He really enjoys fishing, snowmobiling, hiking, reading, playing hockey and diving with sharks of course. Orr loves to travel and to see the landscape, architecture and learn about the history of every new place he visits. He first got into diving when he was 16 and did a discover scuba course in Jamaica, then after a couple years of school, he did a shark conservation program with Bull sharks in Fiji and realized this is what he want to do for the rest of his life. A couple things about Jared that nobody really knows is that he is really interested in psychology and behaviour of humans and animals, and also if you care to test it out, he can distinguish chocolate milk brands while blindfolded.

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We Are 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.  

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