Richie Kohler

Ten Questions with Richie Kohler
Q. When / where did you start diving? A. When I was nine, I went with my father as he learned to dive. I watched him in the pool with that double hose regulator and I knew then I would be a scuba diver. My Dad taught me how to use and assemble the equipment and showed me all the required skills in our backyard pool. I soon was diving from the back of the family boat in the waters around Brooklyn and Long Island NY with a line tied around my waste. I thought this was because of my fathers concern and protective nature and didn’t wander to deep or too far. He would later tell me it was just to get the equipment back if things didn’t go well for me. In 1977 when I turned fifteen I was certified in Florida as a PADI Junior Scuba Diver and have been diving ever since. Q. What motivated you to become a diver? A. One is that I come from a boating family, all them men being offshore fisherman and every summer was spent on the boat. The second was the Apollo space program. Watching Neil Armstrong take those steps on the moon lit the fire in this 9-year-old explorer’s heart. When Dad took me to scuba class with him, I realized this was the way a kid from Brooklyn NY could be an explorer, and when I was diving, I was “boldly going where no man had gone before”. That feeling has never changed, 34 years later. Q. Where have you been, where are you going? A. Although I have spearfished, been cave diving, and take u/w still photos, wreck diving has always been my first and foremost diving passion. It combines my love of history, sense of adventure and zeal for diving all into one neat package. Shipwreck diving has brought me literally all over the world to places as diverse and extreme as some of the shipwrecks I dive. A few of the places I have been are the English Channel, Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt, Nova Scotia, Dry Tortugas, North Sea, South Pacific and even the wreck of Titanic to name a few. This type of diving and exploration is exactly what I was thinking as a young boy who dreamed of the stars, but found the sea. Where am I going? Well my wish list is too long for me to write here, but China, New Zealand and the Black Sea are in my sights. Q. What diving accomplishment are you most proud of? A. It would be the work I did along with John Chatterton in identifying the wreckage of an unknown German U–boat in deep water off the NJ coast. It took six years to unravel the mystery and the diving was extreme and costly; three divers lost their lives diving the wreck. When we uncovered the U-boats identifying number I went to Germany and contacted as many of the crews families I could find. Letting the families know where their loved ones where and that they no longer lay anonymous at the bottom of the sea, was for me my proudest accomplishment. Q. What will the sport of diving be like 20 years from now? A. 25 years ago I used a wet suit, single aluminum tank, and a horse collar BC and would go to 100 feet. 15 years ago I used a dry-suit, double tanks with a pony bottle, and went down to 200 feet. 10 years ago I started using nitrox and tri-mix to dive safer and more efficiently to about 300 feet. Today I use a closed circuit re-breather, dive computers and am looking at making 400-500 foot dives. What an incredible change in 25 years! Tomorrow, who knows? The equipment and technology just keep getting better, safer and easier every year! (But I do have a set of plans for a two-man mini-sub I am thinking of building) Q. Who do you admire in the diving community? A. One person I admire is US Navy Diver Tom Eady whose autobiography, “I like diving” should be a must read for anyone interested in early diving pioneers. His quote” anyone can dive deep I believe, but not everyone can dive deep and accomplish something” really rings true even today! Q. Do you have any pre-dive, dive, or deco rituals? A. I like to have an equal number of descents and ascents, other than that no. Q. Do you have any advice for a new drysuit diver? A. Try not surface feet first. All your buddies will laugh at you, trust me on this. Q. Where can people find out more about you, your productions, and books? A. www.shadowdivers.com, www.richiekohler.com, www.U869.com, www.diveportaldvd.com Diving with Richie Kohler Diving with Richie Kohler Diving with Richie Kohler Diving with Richie Kohler