What started in 1992 as a hobby for Rick quickly developed into a passion, and then a full-blown business. At first, when Rick was diving simply to enjoy the wonderful and unique marine life (as well as to indulge in some mussels and scallops) located off the coast of Newfoundland, it was just something he did when he had the time.
However, soon after diving to the Bell Island shipwrecks, the time he spent in the water increased more and more. Due to his own excitement for the wrecks, Rick soon decided that the world needed to discover them. Thus, Ocean Quest was founded.
With just one boat, Rick undertook a rigorous Scuba training schedule to graduate from basic diver to instructor, ensured that his operation complied with CCG and TC regulations, and began to show people the beauty that lay beneath the waves near his home.
Now, Rick operates Ocean Quest as a qualified Rebreather Diver, Full Cave Diver, Advanced Nitrox and Deco certification, and has over 400 dives on the Bell Island shipwrecks alone. Together with his team, he oversees the provision of tours, recreational and commercial diving sales and services, educational offerings, and a number of other services across the province.
Along with Ocean Quest, Rick also helped to start Ocean Net, a conservation group dedicated to educating people about the importance of our marine environment. Through this group, Rick is steward of an area that includes the Bell Island shipwrecks, and he continues to ensure that the actions of Ocean Quest are in harmony with the environment that he has loved for as long as he can remember.
In 1994, Debbie started her love with diving. Since then, she has completed her Assistant Instructor certification, as well as her full cave certification, and gone on to be the Co-Owner of Ocean Quest with Rick Stanley. Along with these certifications, Debbie has also completed her SVOP, MED A2, and a first aid marine course. She was also the first women diver to explore the underwater mines on Bell Island.
Coupled with her diving training and experience, Debbie also has an extensive background in working with various film groups. From working with the videographers who filmed the MUR Subs on their descent to the Titanic to working with Didier Noirot, a videographer from Europe, on his documentaries on diving with humpback whales, Debbie has seen a lot.
When she’s not diving, Debbie loves to cross-country ski, zipline, hike, and enjoy a number of other water sports. She’s a big fan
Holly started diving at the age of eight, and became a professional diver at 18. Since then, she has dived in Cuba, Mexico, and Hawaii. However, she still prefers to dive in Newfoundland, especially when it involves the Bell Island shipwrecks.
Currently, Holly has been working with us for the past three years. Along with being an instructor, she also drives and oversees our tour and scuba diving vessels, and she teaches our First Aid courses.
Mark is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor and EFR Instructor. His professional member rating allows him to deliver 16 different PADI specialty diver courses. For the past three years; 2013, 2014 & 2015, he has been a recipient of a PADI Elite Instructor Designation. In his real life he was a member of the RCMP before retiring after a 36 year career that saw him serving in Canada and abroad. Mark has dabbled as a diving instructor for better than a dozen years and enjoys diving world-class wrecks, right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. His opinion is solidly based upon his own dive experience for he has dove in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, USA, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Columbia, Honduras, Bonaire, Saba, St. Kitts & Nevis, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives and Newfoundland & Labrador. He is currently working towards a recreational rebreather instructor rating and his favorite dive buddy is his lovely bride; Marcia.
For over forty years, Gerry has been involved in the dive industry in some capacity. Ever since his father was a commercial diver in the 1960s, he has had an interest in the profession.
He was first certified as a PADI diver in the 1990s in New Zealand, where he was working with an exchange during his time in the Royal Canadian Navy as a Marine Engineer. From there, Gerry spent the last twelve years of his thirty year career with the Royal Canadian Navy helping out at the Abyss Diving Suits shop in his spare time.
Now working with us, Gerry has obtained a number of other certifications in most common regulators, PSI tank inspection, and expert level Bauer Air Compressor maintenance.
As a retired naval officer, Bill has plenty of experience on open water, which is one of the many reasons why he's Master of the marine vessel "Mermaid".
Along with this, Bill is also a local historian for the Bell Island Shipwrecks, as well as a Board Member for the Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
When he's not overseeing our tour boat, Bill can be found diving (he's a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer), hiking, or mountain biking.
John is Ocean Quest's "Professional Adventurer". Driven by and focused on helping people enjoy their lives more, John has over ten years of diving experience with many milestones.
Starting as a PADI Open Water Diver, John continued his training and is now a certified PADI Instructor. Thanks to his training and a commitment to exploring, John has plenty of experience with the local diving sites, as well as a number around the world. This year Johnny was able to complete his tech training (including advanced Nitrox and Deco), NAUI Cave 1 and 2 courses and was certified as a Cave Diver with Tony Flaris.
Outside of diving, John is also experienced in wilderness hiking, extreme weather adventures, caving, zip lining, kayaking, and more. Basically, if there is something you want to try, John is your guy!
Our up-and-coming shop expert, Ian is the newest addition to our service department. His extensive diving experience has given him first hand knowledge and experience with scuba diving. Currently, Ian holds his Advanced Open Water certification with 97 logged dives and is working towards his Rescue Diver certification.
Ian is now a fully certified Mares Service technician, has completed his PSI cylinder MSP course and has his airfill station certification. He has aspirations of becoming a full service technician and become fully certified to work on Scuba Pro and Posiden equipment.
In his free time, Ian spends his time icefishing, hiking, scuba diving, fishing and spending time with his family.
Between his 5 years of dive experience and his work experience at Ocean Quest, Peter has nearly seen it all when it comes to diving. He currently is a certified Advanced Open Water dive and is trained in Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures. Additionally, he is an OTS certified guardian technician. Outside of diving, Peter enjoys kite boarding, snow kiting and snowboarding.
Currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce (Co-op) program at Memorial University, Colin is our newest employee at Ocean Quest and is our social media guru. He works hard to develop and share our photos, videos and customer stories. In his spare time, Colin enjoys watching sports, hiking and outdoor adventures
Currently enrolled in his last year of Architectural Engineering Technology program at College of the North Atlantic, Kieron completed his Open Water certification back in 2014 and is now a certified Advanced Open Water Diver and looking to work towards his Rescue Diver certification. He started working at Ocean Quest around this time last year as a full-time/ part-time. While at Ocean Quest, Kieron works as a sales assistant, crew member and photographer for the marketing department. In his spare time, he enjoys snowboarding, wrestling, diving, travelling, playing guitar and piano and always looking for the next adventure!!
We are too Kieron, here's to a successful year of doing what we enjoy!
This is Erin's second season working as a PADI Scuba Instructor with Ocean Quest. She was first introduced to scuba diving during her undergraduate years in the cold waters of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick where she took her open water and advanced open water courses and she was hooked on diving by the time I was working as a divemaster on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia! Erin moved back to British Columbia and took up cold water diving in full force while conducting biological underwater dive surveys, conducting commercial scuba diving activities, and also managing and teaching at a PADI dive centre in Victoria over 8 years. Her recent move to St. John's, Newfoundland Labrador has introduced Erin to some epic diving on the east coast including some close encounters with a humpback and beluga whale, not to mention diving on some pretty cool ice bergs. She loves exploring the local waters "because you just never know what you are going to see even if you've dived the same dive site many times." If you're ever in Harbour Main you might see Erin diving in her favourite spot just for fun or teaching a couse!
Cateline has always been drawn to the natural world, especially to the oceans and the incredible wildlife inhabiting them. This enduring interest and fascination with marine ecosystems, as well as her desire to protect them, has led her to different coasts around the world and to be actively involved in marine conservation research, wildlife rehabilitation, and environmental education.
A graduate of the University of Guelph, Cateline is a Marine Biologist who is passionate about the conservation of marine wildlife (especially cetaceans!) and their fragile habitats. This drive inspired her to study them in Atlantic Canada where, after graduating, she became the Teaching Assistant for the 2013 and 2015 Marine Mammals and Seabirds Field Biology university courses at The Huntsman Marine Science Centre. In 2014, Cateline traveled to Samaná Bay, D.R., where she volunteered with Odyssea, an environmental conservation organization, to monitor humpback whale behaviour and vessel interactions within their protected breeding and calving grounds. Later that year, she moved to Cardigan Bay, Wales for several months as a Research Intern for Sea Watch Foundation, a cetacean research charity. Her research focused on a semi-resident popuation of bottlenose dolphins, using photo-ID and acoustic surveys to contribute to the ‘Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project’, which supports the conservation management of marine mammals inhabiting Cardigan Bay. In addition to studying these beautifully wild, social beings, Cateline shared their research, and communicated the aims and importance of conservation and protected areas with the public, as well as with local school groups.
When she is not on the water guiding whale, iceberg or sea-kayaking tours with Ocean Quest, Cateline is often concerning herself with something related to the oceans or exploring all that this beautiful island has to offer. She enjoys hiking, camping, wildlife photography, swimming and scuba diving and is often found wandering along the coast and on trails studying wildlife... With hopes to continue contributing to the field of marine conservation and environmental education, Cateline intends to pursue post-graduate studies and hopes to inspire others to learn more about marine conservation issues threatening our oceans today
Marcus Snow! The newest member of the OQ family, Marcus will be starting his last of High School in September. Marcus is currently working us as an Adventure guide and works in our retail shop. A recent graduate of the Open Water course, Marcus is currently enrolled to complete his Advanced course. His interests include; Newfoundland history, nature, and playing his guitar!
Presented by Trip Advisor , this award recognizes accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers.
Presented by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, and sponsored by JAC, this award recognizes an individual who gives selflessly of their time and energy to champion the interests of the provincial tourism industry.
Presented through partnership with the four Atlantic Tourism Industry Associations, this award highlights the achievements of members of the Atlantic Canada tourism industry by promoting technology as an increasingly important strategic priority in the tourism industry.
Presented by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador and Canadian Heritage/Parks Canada to the industry operator who has made strides in sustainable tourism practices and continually works toward the protection of our natural and cultural resources.
Presented by Parks Canada, the recipient of this award has made a contribution to practising and promoting sustainable tourism in Canada by:
Presented by the Town of Conception Bay South, this award is given to a group or individual that has contributed to the growth and development of the town’s tourism sector. It recognizes efforts that demonstrate:
Developed by Ocean Net, this annual award recognizes exemplary support of Ocean Net programs and initiatives on behalf of the marine environment by a diver or dive group.
Ocean Quest is dedicated to the conservation and active protection of our marine resources. As a tourism business, we thrive on their unparalleled quality and protecting them is a necessity. Ocean Quest does this in a variety of ways.
This is a key philosophy of ours. Simply put, nothing comes out of the water and nothing gets left behind. All of our visitors are briefed in this mantra and we exercise a zero tolerance policy on our charters. Marine life is for viewing, not interacting, and one of the key draws of Newfoundland shipwrecks is their unspoiled nature, often with personal effects in situ.
We should note that it is legal to harvest some types of marine life, namely scallops, but proper licenses must be purchased, and Ocean Quest ensures that visitors adhere to these laws.
Every day, in every way, in everything we say.
The major component of conservation is education. Not only do we practice it, we ensure that everyone learns it, so they can practice it. This idea is ingrained in our day-to-day operations, and no aspect of our business is untouched by it. Since we deal so closely with the ocean, conservation and protection is the first and final word of every matter at Ocean Quest.
Ocean Quest offers the unique experience of giving visitors the chance to dive shipwrecks that have rarely been seen before by divers. Newfoundland and Labrador has over 9,000 wrecks unaccounted for, so there’s no shortage! But with every discovery of a potential historic resource, there is a lot to be done. Our policy takes into account the various laws that may apply to a newly discovered shipwreck. It goes beyond official law though, where we have procedures where we can deliver information and media to local communities so they can take ownership and protect these shipwrecks.
Not only is Rick Stanley the Co-Owner of the province’s most successful recreational scuba facility, he is also a Co-Founder of Ocean Net, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the ocean. Ocean Net, now affiliated with the Marine Institute of Newfoundland & Labrador, organizes beach and underwater cleanups, events in which Ocean Quest staff regularly participate.
Along with being actively involved in helping the ocean, Ocean Quest also works to ensure that we have minimal impact on the environment overall. Our office policies are designed to reduce waste and to use recyclable materials, our indoor pool is heated in part by solar energy, and we use compost in all gardens on our premises.
Conservation and protection are philosophies not restricted to our environmental and historic resources. Ocean Quest supports small local businesses wherever possible, and our province-wide expeditions spread tourism revenues to communities throughout the province. Ocean Quest Co-Owner, Rick Stanley, sits on many boards of organizations dedicated to economic and social development in the region.
Ocean Quest Adventure Resort is Newfoundland and Labrador’s only full service dive and adventure business. We pride ourselves on dedication to three bottom lines: social, environmental, and financial. We contribute to our local communities through employment, patronage, and the celebration of our unique culture and history. We are also intensely interested in protecting our environment. Without our unique natural resources, Ocean Quest could not survive. We are constantly revising the delivery of unique tourism product to educate, to remain non-invasive, and to correct wrongs that have already been inflicted on our beautiful province.
For more information on our focus on the environment, please see our Sustainable Tourism section.
Started in 1997, Ocean Quest is proud to continue growing. Beginning as a simple dive charter to some of the world’s best shipwrecks, we have grown to include accommodations, an indoor training pool, a full retail dive shop, a commercial service facility, a full retail adventure shop, and adventures packages across the island, Conception Bay South, and Twillingate.
As founders of Ocean Quest, Rick and Debbie Stanley continue to operate Ocean Quest with eyes firmly on our past, our present, and our future. They ensure that our past below the waves is revealed for all to experience, they ensure that their visitors experience the best adventures on Earth, and they are ensuring a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy and respect.