Ski/Scuba Center is no spring chicken, originally opening in 1977 right here in Knoxville as a PADI training and instruction center. We have operated out of our current location on Sutherland Ave since 1986 which was purpose-built to include a large classroom, indoor heated pool with 10ft diving well and an extensive retail shop and service center. In addition to being an Authorized PADI instruction center we are now a full-service SSI (Scuba Schools International) member training center and offer a full line of equipment, repair, tank fills and testing and, of course, customized Dive training ranging from Open Water to countless specialty certifications and even Dive Professional training. We also continue to be the go-to place for Red Cross Lifeguarding certification.
Offering full-service beginner and advanced training, our many classes are taught in an engaging, fun environment. With an emphasis on safety and knowledge, students of Ski/Scuba Center will feel confident that they have the information to dive safely, to make smart decisions, and allow them to have the best time possible.
Personal and Individual Service
Whether you prefer a one on one learning experience or a class setting, or you are taking that last-minute vacation and want to get certified before you go, Ski/Scuba Center is always able to customize any training schedule. That’s the benefit of working with local professionals that love what they do.
Jimmie started diving in 1978 and the following year became the Pool Manager & Scuba Instructor at the UT Student Aquatic Center. In 1989, he began working full time for Ski/Scuba Center which involved sales & service along with Scuba & Red Cross instruction. Jimmie branched out into other water sport activities in 2000 when he began working for Chota Outdoor Gear; a paddle sport & fly-fishing accessory manufacturer. During this time, he was still active with scuba and lifeguard instruction at the scuba shop but the big jump occurred in 2009 with the purchase of Ski/Scuba Center from Dion.
Jimmie holds instructor certifications in SSI, PADI, and NAUI with numerous specialty ratings. He also received SSI’s Platinum Pro 5000 Instructor rating in 2011.
Not only has he been in area lakes and quarries, he has been diving all over Florida as well as the Caribbean, Bonaire, Roatan, and Fiji just to name a few.
Jimmie’s wife Carolyn also helps out with many of the shop functions including classes and trips.
Dion KeithDion Keith is the original owner of Ski/Scuba Center. She began diving in 1976 and in 1977 opened the dive shop.
She received her PADI Instructors in 1988, and Master Scuba Diver Trainer in 1990.
In 2004, Dion became an SSI Scuba Ranger Instructor, and not long afterward became an SSI Scuba Instructor and Dive Control Instructor. In 2007 Dion was honored to receive SSI Platinum Pro 5000 Instructor and Platinum Pro 5000 Diver. In 2013, received the SSI Gold 500 Instructor. Dion still helps Jimmie with classes, works in the shop part-time and fills in as needed teaching courses and leading shop trips.
Dion’s favorite pastime is spending time with her three children, four grandchildren and traveling with her husband Don “Duck” (Some you will know him from the Quarry as the cook of the “Ducky Dogs”).
Dive Control Specialist
Bill LoringBill Loring was certified PADI in 1980. It was not until he convinced his wife to certify in 1998 that he actively pursued a diving career. Between 1998 and 2000, he certified with PADI as an Advanced Diver, Night Diver, Equipment Specialist, Rescue Diver and finally his Dive Master. When Ski/Scuba became SSI, he pursued the same diving level and finally reaching Dive Control Specialist in 2010. Local diving includes quarries, lakes, and rivers and several trips to Florida. Trips to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Monterrey Bay, San Salvador, the Tortugas, Roatan, and the Bahamas help round out his experiences. He enjoys teaching Try Scuba and of course diving with students on Open Water days.
Scuba Asst. Instructor/Freediving Instructor/Mermaid Instructor
Joseph HillJoseph joined the Ski/Scuba team after moving to Knoxville from Colorado. He was originally certified back in 2010 and so far diving Belize has by far been his favorite. Other memorable diving includes Jamaica, Cozumel and the cenotes around Tulum, Mexico as well as freshwater diving in Colorado, Flordia, Illinois, New Mexico, and of course Tennessee.
Joseph is also our resident Freediver. Trained by Nick Fazah, SSI Freediving International Training Director, freediving certifications include Level 1 Freediving Instructor and Mermaid Instructor.
While not diving or working at the shop, Joseph can be found mountain biking, camping or just enjoying all that the Great Smoky Mountains have to offer.
Sadie CountsSadie got her Open Water certification with Ski/Scuba back in 2011 and is a water sports enthusiast. As a competitive swimmer, she finds diving to be a wonderful past time and hopes to one day become a Divemaster.
Sadie is currently a student at the University of Tennessee where she is getting a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology. She hopes to eventually live abroad as a human rights activist and get some international diving in as well.
When not swimming or working at the store Sadie can be found hiking in the national park, paddle boarding on Volunteer Landing, or exploring the Greater Knoxville area.
Dive Control Specialist
Kirk SowellKirk began his dive career in 2012 when he became Open Water Certified through IDEA. He began working at Ski/Scuba Center in 2014 and is active in almost all aspects of the shop.
His certifications include Openwater, Advanced, Search & Recovery, Navigation, Night/Low Visibility, Deep Diving, Nitrox, Stress & Rescue, Science of Diving, Equipment Techniques, React Right, Dive Guide, Divemaster, and is currently a Dive Control Specialist.
He’s enjoyed getting to dive in the Florida Springs, Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys, Grand Cayman, Bonaire, St. Croix, and Cozumel, along with an assortment of quarries throughout the south.