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About Thomas

A little about Thomas

Dr. Thomas Powell, Jr., a co-owner of Air Hogs Scuba in Garner, North Carolina, and Cave Excursions in Live Oak, Florida, has been diving since 1994. As an instructor trainer for SDI, TDI, and ERDI, he has taught classes in recreational, technical, and public safety diving on many levels. During his professional dive career, Thomas has been a professional diver for PADI, HSA, PSAI, DAN, SDI, TDI, ERDI, and IANTD. His experience includes recreational diving around the world, officer positions on various public safety dive teams, cave diving, expert witness work within the dive community, work as a legal investigator, and rebreather diving.

Thomas is originally from Concord, North Carolina. Following high school, Thomas attended Davidson College where he played football and began serving in the Army. In 2009, Thomas made the decision to leave everything behind and immerse himself totally in the world of scuba diving. For two years he worked dive boats, taught classes, and worked on his master’s degree. In 2010, Thomas returned to Charlotte, North Carolina where he worked for a brief stint in local dive shops until he reunited with his business partner, Josh Norris, to open Air Hogs Scuba. From that point forward, they used unique practices focusing on satisfying consumer needs, to bring fun and excitement into their local dive community. Following its opening, Air Hogs Scuba was the first dive facility in North Carolina to become established as a Vocational Rehabilitation Training Facility for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Simultaneously, they were able to bring a higher level of standardized public safety training into their region as well as create a network of unified dive teams through the establishment of mutual-aid agreements.

In August 2016, Thomas made the decision to partner with a group of dive professionals to take over Cave Excursions. The hope was to help rebuild Cave Excursions into a well-used dive facility and to bring some of the success found in North Carolina down to North Florida. Thomas assists headquarters with instructor Trainer Workshops on a regular basis, and is often floating between North Carolina and Florida.

Explore Articles by Thomas

A deep dive into public safety training - long term planning

A Deep Dive Into Public Safety Dive Training – Long Term Planning

Join Dr. Thomas Powell and Alan Cale as they chat about all things public safety diving. They're doing a deep dive into public safety diving long-term planning. While things might be slow in the current COVID19 times, there are still things we can do while the world is on pause.
szeptember 9, 2021/Szerző: Adolfo Ruiz Cantero

Can I dive with a Disability?

This may or may not be a common question you’ve heard in the past as the diver friend, an instructor, or even a dive shop owner. The truth is, most of the time the answer to this question is, yes. However, we’re breaking this down further to talk more about how taking a scuba course with a handicap might go. Hint: it might not be as different as you think.
július 1, 2020/Szerző: admin

The Importance of Staying On Top Of Your Diving Gear Maintenance Tasks

Most folks want all the cool gear but don’t actually want to or know how to properly care for it. In this article, we’ll delve into which pieces of gear you should be looking at, who should perform the maintenance, and how to fix it.
május 19, 2020/Szerző: admin

Volunteer Dive Team Success: Leadership, Supervision & Evaluation

Three things that can take a volunteer dive team from good to great. They are leadership, supervision and education. To give you a bit more insight as to how they can help teams, we’re breaking down each of them, explaining what they mean and how you can implement them.
április 13, 2020/Szerző: admin

Deteriorating Skills and the Recreational Diver

Some of us don’t get to get in the water as much as we’d like to. Sadly, those are just the facts of life for some of us. However, when it DOES come time to get back in are you taking the time to make sure you’re ready?
március 24, 2020/Szerző: admin

Happiness, Skills, and Safety

Do you know the three most important things about each Open Water Course? What if we told you that making sure these three things happen in every course could help GROW the dive industry. Read: Your business, too!
március 23, 2020/Szerző: admin

Jump On Board Or Not: Latest Trends In The World Of Public Safety Divers

Public safety diving has been getting more media and news attention lately and this has led us to believe there might be a need for some clarification on a few things.
szeptember 17, 2018/Szerző: admin

The Value of Scuba from the Consumer and Retailer

What do you look for when shopping for scuba gear? Have you been questioned “What’s you life worth?” when comparing prices online versus in-store? Read it straight from the word of a dive shop owner on valuing your home dive center over just simply price shopping.
július 25, 2018/Szerző: admin

What is a Real Public Safety Dive Team Made of?

Think about this, what would happen if dive teams worked together? If two neighboring counties could rely on each other for equipment, support and even training? Public safety would almost become an easier job, wouldn’t it?
május 15, 2018/Szerző: admin

Do You Need a Refresher as a PSD?

Think about it, how long have you been a public safety diver? Keep that going, how long has it been since you took a public safety diving course? Most importantly, how do you know when it’s time for a refresher?
február 14, 2018/Szerző: admin

Getting Funding in the Private Public Safety World

Public safety diving isn’t like any other type of diving. Teams are constantly figuring out where their next dollar is coming from and beyond that, how to use it in a way that benefits their team the most. Let’s take a look at how private public safety companies can succeed at business while making public safety divers’ jobs safer and more efficient.
február 14, 2018/Szerző: admin

The Role of the Public Safety Divers in the Legal System

All dive teams must follow regional laws when performing dive operations, and in many cases, must seek the advice and support of associated law enforcement or justice system personnel.
október 19, 2017/Szerző: admin

What’s The Right Thing to Say? Misunderstanding Scuba Talk

The modern world is one in which a single word can change the outcome of almost any event, action, meaning, or understanding. Even the way a single word is used may alter the meaning of that word. Within the dive community, we are no different.
szeptember 6, 2017/Szerző: admin

Health and Fitness Part 2

In Part 2 of our Health and Fitness series, Thomas Powell shares the beginnings of the journey he went on with his business partner Josh Norris to improve their health and fitness. They start by visiting a doctor to get a professional opinion on how they should approach this process and they are shocked by what the doctor tells them. Later they recount how shedding some weight and upping their fitness routine affects their diving.
augusztus 2, 2017/Szerző: admin

How to Simulate Blacked Out Water Training

Looking to brush up on black water training? Do you know the best way to go about this? It may seem obvious but there are many factors you should taken into account before diving into this type of training.
május 16, 2017/Szerző: admin

Supporting Our Veterans

Veterans are the ones who take the time out of their lives to defend our freedoms but yet when they come home we disregard them. Why is this, and what can we do to change it? Veterans all over are struggling to adjust back to civilian life and we can make that adjustment easier by hiring them or pointing them in the right direction.
február 21, 2017/Szerző: admin

Service Dogs on Public Safety Scenes

One subject we rarely discuss is how many factors must come together to safely put divers in the water. These factors often include support personnel, shore-based equipment, and on many occasions, working dogs. So what is a working dog and what makes one different from the standard puppy roaming around our homes?
január 18, 2017/Szerző: admin

Sidemount and Public Safety Diving

Backmount may be the standard in public safety operations, and deviation from the standard is difficult, but let’s examine this configuration for applications in the public safety sector.
október 17, 2016/Szerző: Rob O'Goodenow

Questions to Ask Yourself When Arriving on Scene

Proper preparation and procedures for public safety dive teams when approaching a scene
szeptember 14, 2016/Szerző: Rob O'Goodenow

PSD Night Operations

To find the limits for your team, training is essential. Practice night operations before you attempt them in the real world.
augusztus 17, 2016/Szerző: admin

Full Face Mask Communications

If your team has new systems or needs to be brought up to date on how systems work, seek out training.
augusztus 17, 2016/Szerző: admin

How to Recruit the Right People for Your PSD Team

Recruiting for a dive team can be difficult, and in many cases your candidate pickings may be slim, but do not just accept members to fill seats.
július 13, 2016/Szerző: admin

Becoming a PSD Instructor in the Modern World vs. Old World?

In the old world of public safety diving, instructors were often experienced divers who used common sense to establish educational practices.
július 13, 2016/Szerző: admin

How to Start a Public Safety Diving Team

If you are forming, or plan to form a new dive team, I wish you luck. Even when taking on this task, ask for help and learn how others have been successful.
július 13, 2016/Szerző: admin

A Core Standard for a New Public Safety Diver

A core standard for training public safety divers is essential. Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) has worked to develop a set of training protocols where equipment, safety planning, and operational activities are pre-designed to follow NFPA and OSHA guidelines.
június 15, 2016/Szerző: admin

4 Things You Can Do to Become a Better PSD

Many dive team members join as basic open water divers with minimal experience. To help this type of individual be a better public safety diver, there are many actions he or she can take.
június 15, 2016/Szerző: admin

Temperature and Encapsulation

Diver safety is paramount when considering temperature and how it may affect a diver’s health.
május 17, 2016/Szerző: admin

Unwritten Rules of Tech Diver Etiquette

With any sport or hobby, there are certain unwritten rules of etiquette we should all consider.
május 10, 2016/Szerző: admin

Surface Supplied vs. Back Gas

Air delivery is one topic that must be discussed and planned on any dive team.
április 19, 2016/Szerző: admin

Benefits of Tech Training as a Sport Diver

There is always something to learn, and an intense focus on improving skill sets and better understanding dive theory can help any diver perform more efficiently in the water on almost any type of dive.
április 12, 2016/Szerző: admin

Things to Remember on Your First Call

No matter what, you will get some butterflies in your stomach and the thrill of a real world mission cannot cloud your need to remain a responsible team member.
március 16, 2016/Szerző: admin

Are You Ready to go Scuba Diving in Cold Water?

Cold water diving is not the best concept for everyone out there. But for some, cold water brings the best visibility, solitude, and a very unique aquatic environment.
február 3, 2016/Szerző: admin

Planning a Contaminated Water Dive

Diving in bodies of water known to hold contaminants can be dangerous and problematic. Planning must go into operations of this type and all parties should look for potential hazards and risks to mitigate problems.
január 20, 2016/Szerző: admin

How to Search and Recover Under the Ice

The truth about ice diving operations is that they are very similar to standard public safety dives, with the addition of problematic factors.
január 20, 2016/Szerző: admin

Things Divers Should Never Do

The following are sensible suggestions of things divers should never do, based entirely on common sense.
január 6, 2016/Szerző: admin

PSD Leadership and Training

What happens when the old hats take over? Does this mean that once you become the boss the busy work goes away?
november 17, 2015/Szerző: admin

Equipment Considerations for Sidemount Diving

Divers of all types have begun to find value in this type of configuration and the industry has supported the innovation.
november 11, 2015/Szerző: admin

When to take an Inactive/Refresher Course

For an individual who has not been diving in a while, the return to the water can be both exciting and nerve wracking. Anxiety and concern over what has been forgotten, or what may happen, can get to the nerves of anyone.
november 6, 2015/Szerző: admin

Dive Gear: Tips and Benefits of Streamlining

One of the easiest ways to have a better experience underwater is by streamlining our gear and our bodies.
november 6, 2015/Szerző: admin

The Scariest Dive

Each of these instances shows how normal dive activities can still create circumstances in which a diver may become fearful. The reality is that we as divers must train to remain calm and to develop skill sets that help us to recognize and eliminate problems.
október 31, 2015/Szerző: admin

How Altitude Affects Public Safety Diving

When a public safety dive team is called to perform tasks at altitude, altitude factors associated with dive planning and profiles must be considered.
október 14, 2015/Szerző: admin

6 Tips for Conserving Your Breathing Gas

There are many factors that can help a diver at any level conserve breathing. The following are six basic suggestions that may help you reduce your gas consumption.
szeptember 30, 2015/Szerző: admin

Transitioning from Sport to Tech

You must want to learn more, and take the time to become more proficient in order to remain safe, but you must always make the step into the technical world for the right reasons.
szeptember 30, 2015/Szerző: admin

Is a Service Log Really Worth Keeping?

Various organizations that operate on local, state, and even federal levels, establish rules and regulations that may be applicable to a group taking on public safety diving operations. These regulations may involve equipment service, decontamination protocols, operational standards, team structure, and even the types of operations that a team may perform.
szeptember 16, 2015/Szerző: admin

Do You Have What it Takes to be Part of a Public Safety Dive Team?

What does it take to be a member of a dive team? I get that question quite often from individuals looking to go further in diving or seeking to find some way to be more involved within their communities.
augusztus 18, 2015/Szerző: admin

Scuba Diving and Helping People

As you travel, explore, and continue your dive adventures, ask yourself how you can help others, and make diving that much better for those who love, or may one day love, the sport.
augusztus 4, 2015/Szerző: admin

Adventure and Education Despite the Odds

This entire experience to date shows the heart of the dive community. Time and again, individuals and groups took personal time to spend with a young lady who has a passion for scuba.
augusztus 4, 2015/Szerző: admin

Take Your Tech Diving Skills to the Public Safety Sector

Technical training may be a perfect baseline for any public safety diver. Technical training can teach a diver to perform tasks while close to the bottom but maintaining neutral buoyancy, and move excess items around on the body in a fashion that helps streamline equipment and reduce the effect on diver trim.
július 14, 2015/Szerző: admin
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Thomas Powell

Air Hogs Scuba

Cave Excursions

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