Joel Silverstein holds a remarkable record of technical diving, diver training, and international publishing experience. His SUB AQUA magazine was a significant voice in the wreck and technical diving industry from 1991- 1996. Building relationships with leading people in the mixed gas diving world accelerated Joel’s learning and development of safe training techniques and procedures. He excelled at communicating complex subjects by bringing his journalistic skills to bear when creating the educational conference, “Accident Prevention – A Community Workshop” held at the NAUI International Conference on Underwater Education, in 1992. This program brought together leading diving minds for a two-hour roundtable discussion. Its proceedings were the basis of the technical diving safety procedures in use today.
The workshop sparked the creation of the Extended Range Diving Organization, Inc. E.R.D.O.’s mission was the examination and response to deficiencies in the areas of dive training, boat operations, accident analysis, decompression procedures, legal liability and diver treatment. In a cooperative effort with Diving Unlimited International Inc., Joel developed the two-hour training program What Recreational Divers Can Learn from Technical Divers. The program examined the risks and rewards of technical diving and how certain procedures can be applied to recreational diving. It was a cornerstone program for the Responsible Diver Initiative.
In response to limited access of dive injury treatment facilities in the NY/NJ/CT region, Joel shaped a two-year plan with International Underwater Contractors to transform the commercial hyperbaric facility on City Island, NY into a world-class emergency diver treatment facility. Opened in June of 1994, City Island Hyperbaric Chamber became one of the busiest and most important diver treatment facilities in the country performing over 350 complex recompression treatments. E.R.D.O. also worked with and educated other emergency response facilities to improve their services and support. City Island Hyperbaric Chamber inspired one of the most successful workshops on decompression illness in the history of recreational diving, Bends is Not a Dirty Word. This 50-minute educational program, authored by Joel, teaches divers about decompression illness in a non-threatening way. It was these early developments that fueled a successful career now in its third decade.
Joel has served on many dive training and accident prevention boards and panels as organizer, participant and keynote speaker. He has strongly influenced the development of safety and operational procedures for recreational and technical diving, has served as a consultant many equipment manufacturers on marketing and safety procedures. He has worked with Diving Unlimited International, Deep Sea Technologies Inc., Hamilton Research Ltd., the United States Navy, NOAA, NATO, and Divers Alert Network on the development of technical diving equipment, procedures, training and accident analysis. As a consultant to the Eastern Dive Boat Association, he created a federally-mandated Drug Testing and Prevention Educational Training Program.
Being at the forefront of technical dive training since 1990 he developed training and operational methods with technical diving pioneer Capt. Billy Deans, and expedition leader Capt. Steve Bielenda. He holds credentials with Technical Diving International and Scuba Diving International as an Instructor Trainer and with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, as a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. Also, he also holds professional credentials with American Nitrox Divers International, International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers and the Divers Alert Network. Since 1990 Joel has trained thousands of divers to all levels of expertise in both recreational and technical diving practices. He has authored and presented a broad variety of educational programs to more than 200,000 people in several countries.
Mr. Silverstein is a Fellow National of the prestigious Explorers Club, a recipient of the SSI Platinum Pro 5000 Award, the Beneath the Sea Outstanding Service Award, the Eastern Dive Boat Association Outstanding Service Award, and the NAUI Outstanding Service Award. He is also listed in the Who’s Who of Diving. As an accomplished shipwreck explorer he has led expeditions to the Andrea Doria, SS Republic, USS Wilkes-Barre, and the USS Monitor and other locations throughout America, the Caribbean, and Europe.
His work today continues as a principal of Scuba Training and Technology Inc. specializing in diver training and equipment distribution. Within STT is the sub-division Tech Diving Limited, a leading e-commerce company distributing technical diving equipment to consumers worldwide. TDL was one of the first and most progressive companies to take advantage of the internet and social media marketing for diving equipment. STT/TDL is also the parent company for many of the expeditions and training Joel is involved in. In 2012 he and Kathy Weydig formed Sea Wonders LLC, a communications consulting firm exclusively for the development and authoring of papers, publications, education training programs and market development. Also, Joel collaborates with attorneys as a subject matter expert and expert witness on litigation matters which also helps in shaping new diving safety procedures.
Working as a Dive Operations Coordinator, he has been responsible for running operations on multiple major motion pictures, news, documentaries with specialized crews handling special effects, rigging, lighting, and stunts, all with a perfect safety record. He can be seen working with major studios as well as news organizations including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Discovery, CNN, and PBS.
Joel’s knowledge and expertise continues to adapt to new challenges including authoring texts and web-based educational material. Also, he has designed equipment, software products for many of the industry’s best companies. Some notable projects include co-authoring four main chapters in the NOAA Diving Manual on mixed gas diving and safety procedures and a major Decompression Survey for the US Navy with his esteemed colleague Dr. Bill Hamilton. Shipwreck exploration includes the Return to Monitor Expedition Series 2004-2014, the discovery of the lost B-36 Bomber off the coast of San Diego. A leading expert on the famed shipwreck Andrea Doria, he has led fourteen expeditions, including the bell recovery in 2010. He holds the exclusive permits for exploration on the B-29 Superfortress at the bottom of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The B-29 expeditions have been highlighted in dozens of feature and news stories on PBS, CBS, FOX. NBC, and NPR.
One would think with such a full, and prolific career it would be time for a rest. Not content to become another veteran within his industry, the choice of returning to college at fifty-five to pursue a degree in communications was a conscious act. With new skills and ideas joined to an already extensive career future collaboration and consultation is inevitable. During this journey, passions evolved in the areas of communications, education, and the environment. Today all of these exciting discoveries and realizations are incorporated into his work.
“An object in motion remains in motion.”
— Issac Newton