Saturday, October 17, 2015

Scuba diving instructor spotlight, Carlos Aguilar, JCA Elite Scuba

Scuba Diving Lifestyle and Resources

Adventure, Passion, and Fulfilment

Scuba diving instructor spotlight, Carlos Aguilar, JCA Elite Scuba

Nothing is more important to a scuba diver, than his cat! Her name is Emma. She is a 10 year old Abyssinian that he’s had since she was a kitten. There are people that have pets, but when you have that special connection, you, the animal, and everyone knows it. He tells me that every time he comes home, she meows at him from behind the door and can’t wait to be picked up. She loves to be outside, but she is not an outdoor cat. Emma has traveled the country with Carlos and was there from the beginning of his  scuba diving career.

Carlos originally got his scuba certification in 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada and fell in love with scuba with his first breath in the pool. He tells us, “Holy, moly.” “It works!” We laugh together. He explained later that he didn’t think that it would not, but it was what his heart felt. His interest progressed fast and he immediately worked towards his advanced open water certification. Advanced, and then Master Diver came in the first year. By the second year, Carlos started working towards a professional certification and became an SSI, Advanced Open Water Instructor.

The professional part of his dive career went slowly, so he picked up technical diving. Technical divers go beyond the scope of traditional recreational, no decompression limits. This could include going beyond the 130ft limit that a recreational deep diver would, could include going into decompression and having mandatory safety stops on ascent, and even a combination of the two. Carlos achieved the ranking of Advanced Nitrox Diver and Decompression Procedures Diver in 2007. He didn’t stop there. In 2009 he achieved Trimix Diver which allows Carlos to dive on a gas mixture of oxygen, nitrogen, and helium. This program culminated in his dive on the USS Monitor at 241 feet in the Outer Banks of North Carolina . Carlos is also a cave diver..

In 2013, Carlos crossed over to NAUI to teach recreational divers. He describes this as the best move he’s ever made. “NAUI grants me the latitude to teach my students to become scuba divers, and not a person that just received a certification card.” Carlos does not work for a dive shop. He describes his business as a partnership with shops that must believe in his values, never pressure students into buying gear before they are ready or need, and will let him take the lead. I asked him if he found it hard to not have everything a dive shop has. He laughed and I seemed a little bewildered for a second and until he told me, “I feel sorry for them.” “They don’t have me!” Carlos’ business revolves around a schedule that puts the student first. He is open 24 hours a day, and while most of his business is done during traditional hours, most of his customers work during the traditional 9-5, store hours.
He describes this as his niche that dives shops won’t follow. Its not that he just offers independent and private scuba diving lessons, but he does it on the student’s schedule, comes to them for their educational requirements, and doesn’t have a deadline that they have to complete the program by. “By focusing on the student’s needs, their strengths come through.” “If I focused on a sales goal, once the student has bought gear, the relationship would be over.” By having this platform, Carlos’ students consider him “their” instructor. His goal is to create a lifelong relationship and continue their educational career, their kids, and one day, even their grandkids! Carlos doesn’t have any other job that people call, “career.” He just wants to teach and dive.

Carlos sees himself and his business continuing to grow. He reports that he has already done 135% (YTD) of what he did last year and expects to finish the year around 220% of last years receipts. I found that amazing, numbers that any corporation would die for. When I asked him if there was a secret to his success, he said, “Yes!” Cheshire grin and he stands up to shake my hand… Carlos can be reached at and his website is JCA Elite Scuba.

Scuba Diving Lifestyle Staff Writer

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