Dive pioneer dies at local hospital

| 18/03/2015 | 8 Comments
Cayman News Service

The late Bob Soto

(CNS): Bob Soto, the man credited with creating the Cayman Islands’ recreational dive industry, has died. The legendary diver died yesterday (Tuesday 17 March) at the George Town hospital after being taken there early in the morning. Soto, who was 88-years-old, opened Cayman’s first dive shop in 1957, before the islands had become a tourist destination. A member of the Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, he was awarded the Marine Conservation Award in 1996 and had also received an MBE.

Born in Cuba in 1926 to a Caymanian mother and Cuban father, Soto settled in Cayman in the 1950’s after serving in the US Navy, where he learned to dive. He began as a diver tender on a salvage tug, progressing to assistant diver and then to hard hat diver. After the war, Soto joined the Merchant Marines, giving him the opportunity to dive in many places, such as the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and the waters off South America.  Returning home, he realized that the underwater scenery in Cayman was “second to none”.

Known as the “father of diving”, Soto was active in marine and environmental conservation and played an important part in the establishment of the local marine conservation law in the 1980’s, long before many others appreciated the need.

Soto is survived by his wife, Suzy, and a large family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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Category: Local News, Obituaries

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS, you said that he died on Tuesday, 17th March. The 17th of March is not even here yet. Today is Wednesday, 15th March.

    RIP Sir!

    CNS: This article is two years old.

  2. L. W says:

    My condolences to the family; May you find peace at this most difficult time and may you look to the future with hope and confidence that death, mourning, outcry and pain will be no more. [Revelation 21:3,4]

  3. Anonymous says:

    Amazing

  4. Anonymous says:

    I never knew he was a Caymanian until my (Caymanian) wife told me. An amazing person.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Rest in peace Mr. Soto.
    We need more of our youngsters to show this entrepreneurial spirit

    • Sharkey says:

      The lost of a pioneer of the Islands like Mr Soto, should not be forgotten in our history, and in our hearts . The love Mr Soto had for the Islands, and the environment, and the people should always reminds us of what great man he was. I know he will not be forgotten by a lot of people, and I give my condolences to all the family.

  6. Appreciative says:

    RIP Bob Soto. His contributions to his country and to the world of sport diving are unquestionable and, thankfully, were acknowledge during his lifetime. Hopefully the Diving Hall of Fame will be re-named in his honour.

  7. Having worked for Bob for about 6 years in the dive industry I cannot say enough about the man and his dream of getting Cayman put on the map as a world class dive destination.He was like my second father and he often refered to me as his “oldest son”and I will be forever grateful for his teaching me so much about the underwater world which is now a part of my daily life in my own business and there are several others who have gained much from his guidance and foresight.My condolences to the whole family and R.I.P.my good friend and Mentor.

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