From almost the moment she drew her first breath Margo Peyton's
life was intertwined with the ocean. Growing up she spent countless
hours exploring the waters off Cape Cod. After college, armed with
a degree in travel and tourism and a C-card, she widened her H2O
horizons to encompass the world. Having a family didn't dampen this
ocean obsession; on the contrary, her desire to have her two
children embrace the ocean as enthusiastically as she did motivated
her to create one of the most highly regarded programs in diving,
Kids Sea Camp. This program, together with another Margo
creation---Family Dive Adventures--has introduced thousands of
children and their families to the beauty and wonder of the world's
oceans, while instilling an appreciation and respect for Planet
Earth that will last a lifetime. Innovator, educator, dive
instructor, inductee in the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Margo Peyton
is a force of nature, and when it's time to go diving, her gear
brand of choice is, and always has been, SCUBAPRO.
An Interview with Margo Peyton:
Share with us a little bit about yourself and your background.
"I grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in a small seaside town inhabited mostly by Portuguese families that lived off the sea. My father started diving in the '50s and my mom was an avid swimmer, so I've spent virtually my entire life in the ocean. I earned my college degree in travel and tourism which has been the conduit to feed my travel bug and my love of diving. In the late '80s while working as a travel agent I started my diving career with Captain John Beyer of the Vast Explorer. During this time I got to both dive and witness the excavation of the wreck of the Whydah, a pirate ship that went down in a storm off the coast of Cape Cod in 1717. Spending many of my early dive days in the company of treasure salvagers was a sure recipe for getting hooked on diving. Be it Barry Clifford, my dad or watching Jacques Cousteau films, I knew my life was going to include exploring the world's oceans.
"With my degree in travel and my love for diving there was really only one thing for me to do--move to the Cayman Islands. I worked in international travel for five years and dove with Bob Soto's Diving, earning my PADI Divemaster rating. It was the good life, for sure. Diving with Bob Soto's I logged over 2,000 dives in the Cayman Islands. I also spent many years leading tours throughout the Caribbean, including trips to Cuba, Jamaica, Antigua, Honduras, and Belize, to name just a few."
And then you started a family, and that changed everything.
"Having children definitely changed my life. My son Robbie was born in 1994 and my daughter Jen in 1996. They, like me, were destined to be of the ocean. Robbie was swimming at six months and Jen was never far behind. Inspired by them, in 2000 I started Kids Sea Camp, a program designed to keep kids safe while introducing them to the underwater world. PADI and SCUBAPRO were there to support me from day one. SCUBAPRO provided me with my first SASY (Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth) unit as well as shorty wetsuits for the kids.
"With Kids Sea Camp and Family Dive Adventures I have
contributed to over 5,000 youth certifications, and have brought
families together from around the globe to be a part of the world's
largest migration of divers. Each year 350 families travel
with me over 13 weeks to learn about the ocean and share
unforgettable dive experiences and adventures as a family. I have
introduced kids to the Galapagos, Costa Rica, Curacao, Bahamas,
Yap, Palau, Fiji, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Utila, Roatan, and we
keep expanding each year."
What does diving mean to you?
"It means everything. Diving is in my DNA, it's as much a part of my life as breathing. It doesn't matter if it's work or play, if I'm in the ocean blowing bubbles life is good. The ocean and diving are so important to me that I wanted to share my experiences not only with my husband and my own children, but with the world's children. Kids Sea Camp makes that happen, enabling other families to share in my passion. Diving bonds families and builds character. Teaching kids about the ocean, being an educator and advocate of the sea, has allowed me to inspire and motivate so many young lives. And this has had a tremendous impact on not just me but my entire family-- I am a PADI MSDT instructor, my daughter is a divemaster and my son a dive instructor."
If you had to pick your most amazing experience underwater, what would it be?
"My most amazing recurring underwater experience is watching kids during their first open water dive. To see the excitement and awe in their eyes, the glee as they explore a zero gravity world with vigor and confidence, this is something you never forget. Diving with kids is like diving in a bait ball! Watching them confidently and passionately embracing the underwater world on their first exploration is amazing.
"But if I had to pick just one 'best' experience, I would say it
was taking a group of families to the Galapagos this past year. The
Galapagos Sky was our floating classroom for two weeks.
Watching the kids interact with giant mantas and whale sharks, and
seeing their excitement as they were surrounded by hundreds of
hammerhead sharks, this is something they--and I--won't soon
forget. Helping kids as well as adults get involved and become
aware of their responsibility to protect and preserve these marine
environments for future generations, that was and is the most
amazing experience for me."
If you could make one statement about the oceans, what would it be?
"I would challenge people, all people, to care, to do their part, no matter how small, in protecting our oceans. Be it cutting back on fish consumption, using less plastic, promoting clean water by watching what they pour down their drains, writing a letter about long lining or by just staying informed. We are all connected and it's our responsibility to think globally, and act locally, on behalf of our oceans."
Of all your accomplishments in your diving career, what are you most proud of?
"I am most proud of all the little lives I've touched over the
past 26 years, and most appreciative of all the parents and
children who have thanked me for motivating, inspiring and
educating them in ways that have changed their lives and helped
their families to bond while creating friendships and memories that
will last a lifetime."
What would be your advice to someone considering getting into diving?
"Diving will simply change your life. It's relaxing, liberating, promotes health, and beneath the surface of the ocean is the only place on this earth where you can actually experience another world. Diving offers many paths, from recreational to technical to research, and there are so many incredible careers associated with diving. Anyone who loves adventure will love diving."
Why do you think we should all encourage more people to dive?
"There are lots of reasons, but most importantly, our oceans are
in trouble, and people need to know that. The more people that
become aware of how crucial healthy oceans are to overall life, the
better off we are all going to be. And no one is more attuned to
the ocean than a diver. More knowledge of our oceans spread among
more people will increase our chances that we can work together to
make a difference. Diving is the gateway to this awareness."
What is your favorite gear item in your dive bag?
"I love my Ladyhawk BC, I've been diving with it forever! Its supports my back comfortably, and makes me feel streamlined and flawless in the water. Either that or my Galileo Luna computer. It's amazing how far we have come with gear in the 26 years that I've been diving."
Why is SCUBAPRO your choice for dive equipment?
"SCUBAPRO is the Rolls Royce of dive gear. The SCUBAPRO slogan is perfect: "Deep Down You Want the Best." For my kids and myself, I want the confidence of knowing we're using the safest and best gear made. I've been diving SCUBAPRO for 26 years and have outfitted thousands of kids and families in this gear, and it has proven time and time again to be the best choice for all. When it comes to these kids and these families, and to my family, I want dependable. I want SCUBAPRO."
The Deep Elite Team