Joseph W. Bereswill
Number of Dives Upon Induction:
Oceanside, NY, USA
The former executive director of the Senate Labor Committee, wire service reporter and editor and network TV correspondent, Joe Bereswill has been a diver since 1960 and certified diver since 1962.
As a prolific reader of underwater adventure stories and a staunch admirer of Mike Nelson on the weekly Sea Hunt IV series, he began diving as an Explorer Boy Scout in lakes and ponds located in New York City’s parks and recreation system Shortly thereafter, he "graduated" to saltwater, making his first sea dives in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Coney Island, Brooklyn, and Rockaway, Queens, beaches. Thirty-six years later, Toe Bereswill still continues to revisit these underwater sites, photographing and recording the ever-changing marine life and bringing students and first-time visitors to explore and marvel at New York City’s hidden natural undersea treasures.
As an award-winning reporter and editor with United Press International and ABC News, whose stones and assignments brought him across the globe, it was natural that he combine his journalism skills and love of the undersea world wherever possible. As a newsman, he dove with and reported on United States Special Forces training missions in Haiti; NATO Exercises in the Virgin Islands; Mel Fisher’s futile — and eventually successful — search for the remains of the Atocha and Santa Margarita galleons off the Florida Coast; underwater treasure hunting projects in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Chile; the U.S. government’s efforts to disarm dangerously live explosives in Truk Lagoon; preservatioriists’ efforts to protect and expand the Florida Keys Maxine Sanctuary; and numerous other undersea-related stones.
In 1977, he became a dive instructor and, eleven years later, a Course Director, or instructor trainer. From 1975 to 1980, and from 1983 through 1987, he was affiliated with Central SkinDivers in New York, one ofthe oldest and largest retail dive facilities in the U.S., where he taught and lectured, as well as crewed aboard the facility’s 55 ft. Honest Archie dive boat. Between 1980 and 1983, he moved to St. Croix, where he served as a full-time dive instructor, divemaster and underwater photo pro for several dive resort operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In 1988, he became managing director of his own successful retail dive operation in two southern states, which also included a catalog and wholesale and retail dive travel business. He sold the companies in the Fall of 1991, after personal business and family commitments required his relocating to the northeast.
He has been a regular contributor to Underwater USA, Tour & Travel News, Business Travel News, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Travel People, as well as Skin Diver Magazine, and was the publication’s author and photographer of the highly successful East Coast Diving cover series. One of Joe Bereswill’s Skin Diver Magazine feature stories, entitled “Diving The Valley of Wrecks,” became the basis for the highly popular “Wreck Valley” television series, and resulted in increased dive tourism and dive instruction in the northeast states. As a freelance diving journalist, his articles and photos also have appeared in a number of European and Asian magazines and numerous travel sections in major U.S. newspapers. He also is a longtime writer and photographer for Rand McNally’ s Annual North American Travel Atlas and authored the publication’s first feature story on dive travel.
As a published author, he wrote, co-wrote, or ghostwiite several best-selling books, including: The Dynamic Islanders by Doubleday & Co.; Treasure of the Atocha by Dodd Mead & Co..; and Underwater Paradise by Doubleday & Co. He also contributed to many others, including: Understanding Marine Biology by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Encyclopedia of American History by
Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, Encyclopedia of American Lives by Charles Scnbner’s Sons, and The Search for the Atocha Treasure by Dillon Press, Inc.
He also has served the dive industry as a business and marketing executive, working for DEMA on the United Nations Environmental Award Programme, the underwater weather broadcast with NBCTV newsman Willard Scott from Disney’s Living Seas Pavilion at Epcot Center, and introducing representatives of the major news media to diving through the highly successful DEMA Discover Scuba program, which resulted in positive major news coverage about diving and the dive industry for several years. He also served as a marketing consultant to Chronosport Watch Co., relationship which developed after he wrote and photographed a feature story on the company in Skin Diver Magazine, and to Henderson Aquatics, Inc.
Through his contacts with the nation’s foremost manufacturer of man-made fibers and designers of man-made fiber apparel, Joe Bereswill was instrumental in revolutionizing the underwater apparel manufactuiing industry, ultimately attracting more women, young urban executives and children to the sport. This was first accomplished through the introduction of brightly colored wetsuits and other underwater apparel; then by utilizing confidential fashion industry intelligence about next year’s “in” colors and “in” styles, and confidential fashion industry demographics about upcoming apparel purchasing decisions, in designing and marketing underwater apparel.
Accompanied by multimedia sound/slide presentations, which he photographs, writes and produces, Joe Bereswill also has been a featured speaker, including evening presenter, at many of the dive industry’s premiere underwater symposia and conferences, including DEMA, Our World Underwater, Underwater Canada, The Boston Sea Rovers and Beneath The Sea. In 1980, he received wide acclaim for his one-man, month long picture exhibit on underwater photogiaphy at the prestigious Nikon House Photo Gallety at Rockefeller Center in New York City. His work also has been featured in galleries and museums in Paris, Greenwich, Hamburg, Hong Kong and Toronto.
As a Fellow of the Explorers Club and one of its flag-carrying members, he was project leader of the well-known EC Expedition, which was cosponsored by Royal Dutch Shell, to search for and map the lost 1871 Arctic Whaling Fleet in the Chukchi Sea. He co-led, with Mendel Peterson, chief underwater curator of the Smithsonian Institution, the Explorers Club Expedition to rediscover and survey the 18th century H.M.S. Looe shipwreck in the Florida Keys, and he was Expedition Project Co-Leader, along with Explorer Nash Ogden, to search for El Dorado in the northern Amazon rainforest.
-Project Coordinator of The National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) Expedition to discover John Holland’s historic submarine, the “Fennian Model”, in NYC’s East River
-Project Coordinator of NUMA’s 1998/1999 Expedition to discover the USS Savannah, off Fire Island, New York
-Team Leader of the LaMer Red Sea Expedition, accompanied by Dr Eugenie Clark, to identify, photograph and study new species of the blenny
-Board Member, National Center for Shipwreck Research, Key West, FL
-Board Member, Christopher Columbus Quincentennial Jubilee Commission’s Florida program for 1989 and 1990
-Board Member, International Maritime Festival of the Americas
-Advisory Board Member, The Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler
-Recipient, State University of New York Excellence in Training Award
-Recipient, New York Press Club Big Apple Award for outstanding journalism
-Recipient, two New York Newspaper Guild’s Page One Journalism Awards
-Recipient, numerous National Press Photographers Association photojournalism awards
-Recipient, numerous Underwater Photographic Society awards
—Lecturer and Trainer on Underwater Archaeology and Shipwreck Preservation:
Florida Keys Community College
State University of New York Maritime College
Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler
International Underwater Contractors
-Lecturer and Dive Trainer:
Air/Sea Rescue-Air National Guard
New York City Police Department
City of New Rochelle Police Department
New York State Maritime Academy
Webb Institute of Naval Architecture
-Featured Speaker and Underwater Multimedia Sound/Slide Show Presenter:
DEMA, Las Vegas, NV and Orlando, FL
Our World Underwater, Chicago
Beneath The Sea, New York
Boston Sea Rovers Annual Dive Symposia, Boston, MA
Underwater Canada, Toronto, Ontario
Inward to the Sea, Washington, DC
Atlantic Alliance for Maritime Heritage and Conservation Annual Conferences, Annapolis, MD, and Atlantic City, NJ
Long Island Divers Association Film Festivals, Hempstead and Farmingdale, NY
Dive New Jersey! Annual Symposium of the New Jersey Council of Diving Clubs
92nd Street Y Underwater Exploration Series, New York City
Various Explorers Club symposia and conferences, New York, California, France and Alaska
New York State Divers Association Annual Archaeology Conference, Lake
George Historical Museum
South Carolina Historical Society annual conference, Hilton Head Island and Columbia Numerous university symposia and conferences throughout the U.S and Europe.