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Jim Abernethy has been in the diving business in Palm Beach County as a charter boat operator and scuba instructor since 1981. He has an amazing enthusiasm for diving and spreads that enthusiasm to everyone around him. In 1994, Jim purchased his first dive boat and started Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures, Inc. (JASA), One year later he added a second boat and for the next four years he continued to run local dive charters in Palm Beach while also leading dive trips to land based and live-aboard destinations throughout the Caribbean.
In 1999 JASA expanded by adding a third day boat and a 12-passenger live-aboard boat. A dream come true for Jim as he would now be able to spend an equal amount of time in their two favorite dive locations, Palm Beach and the Bahamas.
Our friendly, professional and knowledgeable staff is what sets us apart. With a staff of over twenty dedicated individuals, we look forward to sharing the best of Palm Beach and the Bahamas with you. Whether you're an "old salt", an occasional diver, or brand new to the sport, we're sure you'll enjoy our diving adventures with our trained captains, instructors and dive masters who are there to insure you have a great time.
Jim is proud of the way JASA has grown and look forward to continuing to provide the very best in diving adventures, in a safe, professional, and fun environment.
JASA is committed to the environment and works closely with organizations that have the same goals and objectives. That is to protect our oceans by educating divers and non-divers on how precious and sensitive they and their inhabitants are. Whether it is turtles, sharks, or the general heath of our waters, we believe that all need our help to survive so they can be shared with the next generation of divers.
Jim Abernethy — OwnerPersonal Website: JimAbernethyImagery.com
USCG 100-Ton Captain / TDI Nitrox Blending Technician / Photographer/Videographer
Jim Abernethy, award-winning underwater photographer, filmmaker, and author, is a pioneer in shark encounters, without a cage. Starting at a young age, scuba diving served as an inspiration for his life's mission as a conservationist and has enabled him to interact with some of the most notorious sharks. For decades, he has been running photography/video expeditions to engage with the world's largest predatory sharks-Abernethy pioneered shark encounters without a cage (day and night) with tiger sharks, great hammerheads, oceanic white tips, bull, and lemon sharks. It should be noted that Jim is best known as an extremely passionate crusader for their protection.
His award-winning marine life images are often featured in top photography magazines such as Wetpixel and Nature's Best Photography. Jim lives at sea, in the Bahamas, running shark expeditions and wild dolphin encounters year round on his boat, "Shear Water." His dive business, Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures Inc., is based in West Palm Beach, FL.
Abernethy has hosted many of the world's top nature filmmakers and magazines such as IMAX, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel. He owns the "Marine Life Art Gallery" in West Palm Beach, FL, where his captivating images and educational books are available. When he's not below sea level, Jim is often seen piloting his flying inflatable boat (ultra-light), "Oversear," in order to capture nature at sea with his lens from an aerial perspective.
While Abernethy is well known as a photographer and passionate conservationist, it's his unique ability to bring divers up close to some of the world's largest predatory sharks, turning them into strong passionate ambassadors to save them, which sets him apart from all others. His relentless pursuit of his life's mission is to save the planet's ocean creatures, starting with sharks, through his photography, books, films, and presentations.
Jim HarrisPADI Master Instructor / USCG 100 Ton Master Captain / Blender Instructor / CPR/First Aid/AED for Adult /Children/Infants Instructor
Jim started diving in the 60's before BCDs. He took a long surface interval and became a PADI professional in 1994 and has been teaching all levels of SCUBA training up to and including Assistant Instructor, as well as several DAN courses. Jim comes to us from Danbury, Connecticut (originally from Hewlett, Long Island) where he was employed full time as a Facilities Engineer and electrician in a computer industry supply company in Brookfield, CT. He was the senior instructor in Pan Aqua Diving's Connecticut store since 1996 (that's because he was the oldest one there). Through his tenure at Pan Aqua Diving, Jim was able to travel around several islands in the Caribbean and also to Fiji, his favorite dive site. Jim still loves to bring the underwater world to new divers and also to train divers in specialties. However, he is not doing any more ice diving classes! "Diving is one of my true passions and it was difficult to pursue my dream in the northern climate. The only option I saw was to go for it and leave it all behind and move to paradise. I am so fortunate to be able to chase my dream and to share it with others." Jim is an ordained minister and would be more than happy to perform your marriage aboard The Deep Obsession or Shear Water. When Jim's not working on the boat you can find him playing ice hockey (in Florida!) somewhere.
Janine ChouiniereDive Master / Deckhand / Office Staff
Janine has been diving the reefs of Palm Beach since getting certified in 1986 through SeaPro Scuba Center, where Jim Abernethy was one of the instructors in her Open Water class. Having fallen in love with the beautiful Palm Beach reefs, she wanted to increase her opportunities to dive and began working with Jim at SeaPro. In 1988, Janine was asked by Jim to join him at Three Little Devils Dive Charters as the office manager. In 2008, after a long absence from the dive industry, during which time she raised 4 wonderful children, she returned to the JASA family once again. 2010 was a very exciting year for Janine as her two older boys, Michael and Sean, were certified by one of the JASA instructors. On New Year's Eve 2011, Janine became engaged to Brian Chouiniere, one of JASA's captains and dive instructors. Janine was the inspiration for the name of one of our beautiful reefs here in Palm Beach - Janine's Ravine. When she is not working in the office or on the boat, she enjoys diving with her fiancé and children, mountain biking, kayaking, and nature walks. Janine is a wonderful addition to our family!.
Fran JonesPADI Divemaster / USCG 50 ton Captain / Nitrox Blending Technician / Bookkeeper
Fran started diving in 1999 after her daughter became certified. Though living in New York, she found a way to dive often by volunteering as a diver at the New York Aquarium. After moving to Florida in 2007, she became a divemaster and a captain. Her love of everything about the ocean began at 3 years old, when she tried to flood her bathroom so she could swim.
Jamin MartinelliCaptain/ PADI Divemaster/ Sharkini Creator
Jamin started diving in the warm waters of Roatan, Honduras in 2004. Jamin only likes diving in warm waters, and has lived in Hawaii and now Florida & the Bahamas. Jamin joined JASA in 2009 and spends most of her time on the MV Shearwater in the engine room. When she is not in the engine room you will find her enjoying dives at Tiger Beach with Jamin Shark (tiger shark named after her). Jamin hopes to one day see a great white shark up close and shell even travel to cold waters to see them! Because of her love for sharks, she created a bikini company which features shark prints. Check out her bikinis at her web site.
Mike starting diving in 1992 in the waters of Mexico and found his way to JASA in 2009. Mike joined the MV Shearwater crew as captain and cook, not to mention a film producer! Yes Mike is famous for his bloopers videos aboard the Shearwater which always make the guest laugh. Mikes first dive with Emma, the 14 ft tiger shark, was very memorable for him, the sweat filled his mask and the dive lasted 3 minutes! Now as the founder of Bates 2000, Mike will be up close to the sharks taking video of their amazing teeth!
Matt HeathDive Crew/ PADI Instructor
Matt was certified in Key West, FL in 2006, but didnt do much diving because he lived in Illinois. So in 2009 he decided to move to Florida and become a PADI Instructor so that he could work with divers and sharks. Matt went on a Tiger Beach trip with JASA and knew right away that he would love to work up close with LARGE sharks and joined the JASA team in 2010. Matt is known to the crew as the Matador because he is in charge of protecting the crates from Emma the Tiger Shark.
Jay CastellanoDive Crew / Chef
Jay began his professional diving career in 2011 with JASA. In Jay«s first week here, he swam with both a whale shark and a manta ray. Then and there, the decision was clear and he escaped to our paradise from the dry, heartless desert of the 9-to-5 workday in Las Vegas. Currently working as the chef on the MV Shear Water, he is known for his shark tagging zebra pants, stuffed mushrooms and delicious bouillabaisse.
Chad ShagrenPADI Dive Master
Chad is an award winning documentary filmmaker who started work with us as a dive master in April of 2010. Born and raised on the Jersey Shore, the ocean has always been a constant in his life (He swears that he does not fist pump). His dive career began while in pursuit of a Scholarship through Our World Underwater Scholarship Society. While traveling, he earned certifications in Australia and was eventually awarded an internship with Sport Diver magazine in Orlando, Fl. Chad wanted to have shark diving experience and heard through coworkers at Sport Diver that Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures was the "best of the best". Not only was his favorite time with us spent diving with tiger sharks in the Bahamas, but it was also one of the best times of his life.
Michele HelerOperations Manager
Michele first heard about Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures while tagging giant bluefin tuna in the middle of the North Atlantic and figured working with giant sharks was the next best thing. Originally from the Northeast, she graduated from UNH with a degree in Marine Biology, backpacked around much of the world and is now pursuing her interests in large pelagics and marine conservation. Somewhat a jack of all trades at JASA, Michele can be found taking care of business in the office, working as deck hand on Deep Obsession and on the rare occasion, even spotted underwater. Black coffee undrinkable to most is her drink of choice, she wishes David Attenborough could narrate her life, and has recently found she needs a new bucket-list (all that’s left is to swim with a Great White, a Blue whale and go to Antarctica!).
George HughesDive Master
George moved back to South Florida in 1999 and started diving Palm Beach with JASA. We haven't been able to get him off our boats since. In 2000 he started working part time as a divemaster as many weekends and nights as he could. Today George can be found on Deep Obsession most Mondays and any other time he can get away from his "regular jobs" practicing yoga, massage, and reiki.