THE CREW

We attribute much of our success to our liveaboard crews. Crew members are special people! It takes an outgoing exceptional individual to live and work on a scuba diving liveaboard and we think we have the best of the best on our sailboats!   Both the Sea Explorer & Morning Star have a hard working crew of five, a captain, 1st mate, cook, engineer and dive instructor to tend to your needs and safety.

Captain Jim Swartzell

It’s true, Swartzie is back! Capt. Jim crewed with Blackbeard’s from ’91 to ’95 starting 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/Relief Captain. He also sailed a few times as the chef! 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, cooking and yoga.

Captain Michael RED Salmon

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 and First Mate Tom Hodgskiss

Hodgey ( rhymes with Podgey) join us from South Africa and has his MSDT as well as his 200 ton yacht master license. He attended Stellenbosch University. He enjoys reading, gaming, diving, sky diving, drawing and painting and telling great jokes. Of course traveling is high on the list too. He got into diving when he worked at a childhood friend’s family dive shop. He really doesn’t mind “all about the bass” by Megan Trainor either.

Captain and First Mate Chris Lawrenson

Chris hails from Alabama and is a graduate of Auburn University. He traded in his suit and wingtips for a mask and fins a few years back and has never regretted it! Chris used to spend his vacations as a diver on Blackbeard’s and finally checked out of the corporate world for good. Now he enjoys traveling the world on his time off and hiking unusual places.

Captain and Assistant Crew Chief  Drew Johnston

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.

Dive Instructor and Engineer Iain Barnes

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 u us a secret about himself so we’ll be creative and make one up- Podgey likes to take bubble baths with rose scented soap!

Engineer and Instructor Jared Nosworthy 

Jared hails from South Africa and studied IT networking before joining the scuba industry. He loves to cook, take photos and figure out how things work!

Chef and Engineer Tristan Lensvelt

Tristan was raised in Jburg, South Africa and moved to Seattle to live with his dad after graduation. His dad was a crew member for us way back when! Tristan likes to mess around with computers and watch movies.

First Mate, Engineer, Instructor “Breezy”

Breezy hails from Tennessee and has been diving since she was 15 years old when her dad suggested she try it. She has been hooked ever since her first breath in the pool. She likes to knit and read in her spare time. She attended ETSU for two years before deciding it was a pirate’s life for her. You wouldn’t guess it but Patrick Swayze is her biggest actor crush and since his death, she hasn’t been able to watch any of his movies. A true romantic!

Instructor Marina Joury

Affectionately known as Mar by her friends, she hails from Jordan.  She graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a degree in Marine Biology and Earth Sciences.  Her Master’s degree was obtained from Queen’s University in Marine Geology.  She studies rocks, fossils, shells and can identify mollusks and corals on sight!  Her hobbies include hiking, camping, skating and photography.  Most of her hobbies include something to do with rocks and fossils too.  She was introduced to diving by her father, who is a dive instructor.  She began diving at age 13 and has been hooked ever since.  She also discovered that if you wear your scuba mask while chopping onions, your eyes will never tear up!   

Chef Gladys Gonzalez

Gladys came from Nicaragua and studied accounting and book keeping at the University of Managua. She enjoys cooking, reading, traveling and loves to DANCE! She has three beautiful daughters back home.

Engineer, Instructor Tamlyn Hagerman

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.