Day in the Life of a Dive Operator: Captain’s Corner

Photo credit: Jen Siracusa

Written by: Cortney Benson, Marine Debris Removal Stewardship Coordinator at the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, in conjunction with Jen Siracusa, Miguel Ramirez, and Justin Benson from Captain’s Corner Dive Center

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is excited to congratulate Captain’s Corner Dive Center on becoming the newest Blue Star Dive Operator in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary! This wonderful team of ocean enthusiasts is eager to make an impact in their community. The team is especially eager to join the marine debris removal efforts of Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys!

Let’s hear from a few members of the Captain’s Corner Dive Center team:  

Meet Jen – Shop Manager 

Why did you want to see Captain’s Corner become a Blue Star Dive Operator? 

“Coral reefs everywhere are under great stress, and we need to do whatever we can to inspire others to care about our reefs. We all need to do our part to help preserve and support the recovery of this incredibly important ecosystem. At Captain’s Corner, we hope to help our community and visiting divers understand the importance of the marine ecosystem and continue to do our part by educating divers and protecting our local environment. We’re looking forward to offering cleanup dives, increasing awareness, and having the opportunity to bring the community together for a positive change.”

Meet Miguel – Dive Instructor and Blue Star Liaison 

Photo credit: Cortney Benson

What makes Captain’s Corner special? 

“At Captain’s Corner, we genuinely care about our marine environment here in Key West. The great majority of our staff has been diving these waters for numerous years. Some, for over a decade. Others have received formal training and academic education in the fields of coral restoration and marine science. We have always been committed to conservation, but we decided it was time to make that commitment official by becoming a Blue Star Operator.” 

How do you educate divers on the importance of conservation and environmentally responsible diving practices? 

“When I teach my students to dive, I emphasize the importance of proper breath control, body position, and propulsion techniques, all of which, in my opinion, are not only the foundation of an environmentally responsible diver but also of a competent diver in general.” 


Meet Justin – Captain and Instructor

Photo credit: Justin Benson

What inspired you to lead Captain’s Corner to becoming a Blue Star Dive Operator? 

“Personally, I wanted to become a Blue Star Operator in order to share my passion and lead by setting a good example for all our divers on reef etiquette and taking care of our ocean. Given that a high percentage of our divers are students or newer divers it gives us the opportunity to educate them on protecting our fragile marine ecosystems at the beginning of their dive experiences.” 

How do you convey the importance of conservation to other divers? 

“On a daily basis I try to instill a sense of urgency for conservation in our dive staff and customers. I enjoy having discussions with our divers about the benefits to them, and to the future of our reefs by adhering to the Blue Star dive standards.” 

Are those conversations making an impact? 

“Hearing and seeing our divers’ reactions to the corals we discussed before the dive is always a highlight of the day. I feel as though they have a new-found understanding and respect for the corals and aquatic life by giving back a little bit.” 

A final note from Jen:  

“I think it’s always important to remember that even making small changes in your daily life can make a big impact on the environment. We can all make a difference together through even seemingly small actions. “  

To learn more and book a Goal: Clean Seas dive with Captain’s Corner (or one of our many other Blue Star dive operators in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary) please visit

Photo credit: Cortney Benson