SCUBA Diving Experience

My first SCUBA Diving experience

Took place in 1987.

Captain Orin Oppermann
1010 Varela Street
Key West, Florida. 33040


World Ocean Diver
819 Peacock Plaza Suite 541
Key West, Florida. 33040

In June 1987, at the young age of 24 I went to Key West Florida on vacation and while there I wanted to get a certification in SCUBA diving. I was staying at the hotel "Ocean Key House" at Zero Duval Street. I went to the tourist booth in front of the hotel called "The Captains Corner" to get information. They gave me some literature on a few diving instructors. I called 3 or 4 of them to get prices and time schedules. I assume that the "The Captains Corner" gets kick backs from companies that they recommend.

Captain Orin Oppermann was able to accommodate my timing and was competitively priced at $175.00 Capt. Orin came right over to meet me and put me in the hotel swimming pool to see if I could swim.

Later I met Capt. Orin at his house and gave him a $100.00 cash deposit that I have the receipt from Capt. Orin for, thus leaving a balance of $75.00. For the next few days Capt. Orin took me diving on his sail boat, the "Loreley Express" that he kept at the Oceanside Marina on Stock Island near mile marker 5. (Tip, never pay cash! Always use a charge card this way you most likely can get your many back)

After days of diving I went to his house at 1010 Varela Street Key West there he showed me his P.A.D.I. Instructors card, then he gave me what I believed to be a P.A.D.I. test. Capt. Orin asked me not to write on the test paper, but instead use school notebook paper that he had because he only had one test left and may need it for the next student. I thought nothing of this at the time. I took the test and passed it. Then he used a Polaroid Camera to take my picture. Capt. Orin said, "come back tomorrow morning and I will have your divers certification card ready for you to pickup". The next morning I packed up my things to go home to Virginia stopped at Capt. Orin’s house to pick up my card, shook hands and thanked him for everything then left for home. I went away very happy with myself that I had passed a P.A.D.I certified diving course and now could go most any were in the would and go diving has Capt. Orin told me.

After a month or two a friend of mine asked me to go diving with him. We went to a quarry over 1 hour away that a lot of divers use. We got to the gate where we were asked for are certification cards. My friend showed him his card then I showed him the one that I got from Capt. Orin. The man said he would not except my card that it was no good and that I would not be allowed to go diving in the quarry. I told him I paid a diving instructor in Key West to get this certification card. He said "your not diving here with it!, you better go back to Key West and use it" this was a great inconvenience and I had to pay for the rental of the equipment I had picked up on the way there. Later I had anther experience when I went to a local dive shop to get some diving equipment, they asked me for my certification card so I showed them the one that I got from Capt. Orin, they said: what is this? This card is no good." "Did you make this yourself?" So I told the story and this is when I got the details about diving organizations like P.A.D.I, P.D.I.C., N.A.V.I. and YMCA. Then I came to the realization that I was ripped off by Capt. Orin.

At this point I had decided to investigate what my recourse of action could be. I called P.A.D.I. in California, they informed me that Capt. Orin used to be a P.A.D.I. instructor but no longer met their requirements and could not certify through P.A.D.I. Then I filed papers with the Better Business Bureau and Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Offices, only to be told that there were no government regulations on this and that there was nothing they or I could do.

After Capt. Orin was contacted by these organizations he sent me a letter saying and I quote. "I’m sorry for the problems you are having as time goes by & more of W.O.D cards are issued then hopefully the big guys will honor the card. I know your card is valid in Mexico & overseas. You have two courses of action. Challenge the P.A.D.I. N.A.V.I., S.S.I., P.D.I.C. or any of the other 20 certifications & explain the situation. I’m sure for a small fee another organization will see you are qualified & issue you one of their cards, Or come down & we’ll hook you up with a P.A.D.I. instructor & get you a card" I did not push the matter any further based on Capt. Orin's word in the letter.

In October 1992, I was finally able to make another approx. 1500-mile trip to Key West. On October 10, 1992, I called Capt. Orin from Miami Fla. and was told he now was an instructor with P.D.I.C. and all he would do is for $200.00 he would test and take me diving all over again to get me a certification card. I said I would be down there in a few hours I'll call you when I get there, he said ok. I stopped in and talked to several dive shops in the Keys on the way to Key West and explained what had happened back in 1987 and they all said this was not right he should give me a certification card for $25.00 to $50.00 and not retest me.

I called P.D.I.C. in Scranton, PA. at (717)342-9434 to make sure he was registered with them. The woman said yes and there were no complaints on file at their office at this time. I asked for Capt. Orin's current address, she gave me 819 Peacock Plaza.

I got to Key West about 3:00 PM and called Capt. Orin and told him I was now in Key West and would like to meet with him. Capt. Orin said he was at the movies and to give him my address and he would just mail me a P.D.I.C. certification card for free. I gave him my address, but I could tell that by how fast I was talking he was not really writing anything down. So I insisted on seeing him. He told me to call back at 6:00 PM that day. I had three hours to kill so I went to find out more about Capt. Orin. He now keeps a power boat at Murry Marina on stock Key Island and his 819 Peacock Plaza, suite 541 Key West, Florida 33040 address is nothing more than a mail room in a shopping center.

I called Capt Orin back at 6:00 PM he was very nasty and would not have anything to do with me unless I was going to pay him $200.00. He said "you better go back up to Homestead and make some money, and just leave me alone". I said, money is not the issue, then he hung up on me. So I left Key West. (Another costly trip)

I have since called Business Licensing departments in Florida, County and the City of Key West to see if World Ocean Divers was a real company. The answer was "NO, not on file real or factious." According to the state of Florida, World Ocean Divers does not exist.

I feel I was part of a scam and my rights have been violated and Capt. Orin Oppermann has committed fraud and breech of contract. I would assume that in 1987 and while working under the allies of World Ocean Diver, that Capt. Orin did not have any required insurance, or paid any applicable taxes on his income.

My student number on the card is 00133 which leads me to believe that Capt. Orin has done this to 132 other people before me and many others for a few years after me since it has only been a short time that he has been an instructor with P.D.I.C. Capt. Orin's has records at his house that should be looked at so that the many others of unsuspecting people he had committed these crimes to could located.

This type of business practices taking place in Florida should not be allowed and would not go over very well with the tourist industry.

I have pictures, receipts, and copy of certification card, brochure, and the letter from Capt. Orin Oppermann.

I hope others will learn from my mistake and not make the same! I did not see it coming it is just one of many tourist traps a person can fall into!

William J. Baumbach II
11612 Fairfax Station Road
Fairfax Station, Va. 22039
Work: (703) 250-4200
Fax.: (703) 425-4294

Reply's I have gotten to this letter

Thank you for taking the time to respond and for caring!

My goal is not revenge, but to assure that my story is made known so that others can prevent this from happening to them.

My story is not necessarily to keep people away from Capt. Orin Oppermann But others like him who may be offering unrepeatable SCUBA Diving services.

I would like to see my letter published in national SCUBA Diving magazines changing the names if necessary just so long as the story gets to the People it needs to…

From: Jim []
Sent: Friday, September 12, 1997 7:14 PM
Subject: Captain Orrin

Dear Mr. Baumbach:

While executing a search of different Scuba Certifying Agencies, I happened to come across your article about your experience with Captain Orrin. I do not know him but I was embarassed and horrified by your experience.

I have been certified as Master Instructor with PADI since 1985 and am distressed to hear that someone like that can not only take advantage of people financially, but can actually put their very lives at risk. Since you have become certified properly I am sure you know what I mean. I am not saying that Capt. Orrin necessarily provided you with unsafe or erroneous information, but what if he had?

While I am also sure you have written everyone you can think of about this, I do have one suggestion. Since Capt. Orrin showed you his PADI Instructor Certification Card, he therefore made a representation to you that he was certified by PADI to teach PADI sanctioned courses. Since he never has been so certified, is that not fraud? Or perhaps misrepresentation? Can you not file suit against him for representing to you that he was qualified to teach PADI sanctioned courses when in fact he was not? While Florida may have no laws governing the training of scuba instructors, I am sure there are laws against the type of fraud and misrepresentation to which you were a victim. Perhaps though, enough time has passed that you are no longer interested in pursuing any legal recourse you may have.

I have no other suggestions for you other than to congratulate you for your certification as a diver and I hope you will continue your diving education. I am not trying to sell you anything here, I live in Utah anyway and I would not recommend you coming here to dive for fun as you live closer to other places more renowned for diving. Please though, continue your vigilance in investigating those people with whom you are thinking about doing business.

Jim Brimley
Master Instructor #24389


Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 1997 8:00 PM
Subject: Re: I would like to share my first SCUBA Diving experience

Since you are in the Plumbing business, you should have hit him over the head with a copper pipe.

Good Luck and thanks,



Sent: Monday, June 23, 1997 7:11 AM
Subject: Re: Captain Orin

Dear William,

Thank you for your email regarding Capt. Orin. It is unfortunate that your first experience with diving was that.

I do not know if Capt. Orin is still active with any organisation, but if he is you should contact that organization and inform them of your problem and ask them what they are going to do about it.

Today those things are more difficult to happen. Most major organisations belong to an umbrella organisation known as the RSTC. When something like this happens, it is very difficult for one fraudulent instructor to go to other organisation member of the RSTC.

If the organisation to which Capt. Orin belongs does not take any action, you could try contacting the RSTC directly. They might be able to help you.

As far as ACUC is concerned, we have informed our Head Office in Canada, who looks after our business in USA, of your problems, in case Mr. Orin tries to contact ACUC.

Thank you for letting us know and good luck

Juan Rodriguez,
Director of International Operations, ACUC


You should only dive to the depth of your experience *

Debes bucear solo a la profundidad de tu experiencia * *


From: Mike Sheppard <>
Newsgroups: rec.scuba.locations
Subject: Re: I would like to share my first SCUBA Diving experience
Date: Sunday, June 22, 1997 7:56 PM

Er,....... Bill.

It’s too bad what the evil Cpt Orin did to you, but....... Get over it.

There’s plenty of legit DM’s all over the place. Forget Orin, get C’d and go divin’. The negative energy your "Orin hunt" isn’t worth it. It’s an energy sink and it’s now time to go by it & on to bigger and better things.


06-18-97 10:33pm

William, I'm sorry to hear what happened to you. There are many instructors (affiliated and Independent) who are wonderful and the certification cards you end up with are accepted in most parts of the world.

IT seems that Florida has some very strange laws . . . years ago, I also ended up on the "bad end of the stick," but, my experience was with a motel in Ft. Lauderdale . . . I called the Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General of Florida. After the contact, I had a stack of very nicely written letters, but the problem was never really resolved (the motel had suddenly "changed hands" so there was absolutely no recourse . . . funny, I was in Ft. Lauderdale - - now, nearly 20 years later - - and that motel hasn't even changed names! H m m m m Guess the thing to learn here is "BUYER BEWARE!"

WE ALL have to do our "homework" and know what we are getting ourselves into. In your case, this is why I've always suggested that when LEARNING to DIVE, use a local dive operation . . .that way, you don't have to spend the extra thousands to get back there if there are problems. Hope you are able to resolve the problem! I'm glad that you posted the names, addresses and affiliations of those involved! Hopefully others will learn from previous mistakes! : ) from Newgroup rec.scuba


From: Robert Wood [SMTP:robert_wood@Mitel.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 1997 10:39 AM
To: William J. Baumbach II
Cc: woodr@kan1
Subject: Re: I would like to share my first SCUBA Diving experience

Boy, That’s quite a sorry tale. I can understand your anger. I notice the story started in 1987 and the last date is 1992.

Why the delay? Have you taken a real diving course yet?

[\] Robert Wood


The St. Lawrence river - fresh, warm, visible diving.

Yes when in the Keys in 1992 trying my last attempt with Capt. Orin I did go to another dive shop and get certified though PADI

The delay was because of Capt. Orin word he would fix me up the next time I was their witch was in 1992.

The reason for making my story known now is I now have Internet access and it is the 10 year anniversary.


From: Keith Sliman []
Sent: Monday, June 16, 1997 9:07 PM
To: William J. Baumbach II

Subject: Re: I would like to share my first SCUBA Diving experience

William, I am sorry to hear your tale. Unfortunately, there are no boundaries in our sport that would keep people like this from preying on good people like yourself. If you have not yet, you should contact
Florida Association Of Dive Operators
335 Beard St
Tallahassee, FL 32303-6281

I don’t know if there is anything that they can do, but they are a significant force in Florida and at least should know about this person.

I wish I could say that NAUI could help you out, but as a reputable Association we cannot simply hand over a card to you (although you probably dewserve one) without pool, classroom and openewater training and experience.

I would appreciate hearing of any advances you might have in this matter and how you achieved them. We sadly must deal with our own members at times and it would help me in the future if I knew how you were able to get to him.

Good luck, thank you for sharing your experience and please feel free to contact me if there is anything that I can do.

Good luck.


From: Robert Cronkwright []
Sent: Monday, June 16, 1997 2:02 PM
To: William J. Baumbach II
Subject: Re: I would like to share my first SCUBA Diving experience

William: Thank you for giving an account of your poor experience with someone teaching you scuba. Unfortunately, there are individuals out there who have no regard for taking peoples money and not giving value in return.

We at ACUC have filed this gentleman’s name in our computer and if he chooses, in the future to attempt to cross over to ACUC we have a copy of your Email message on file.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to let people know about this. I hope we will be able to rid our sport of this type of person.

Yours in safe diving,

R. W. (Bob) Cronkwright
President, ACUC International


Sent: Monday, June 16, 1997 2:26 PM
Subject: I would like to share my first SCUBA Diving experience -Reply

Dear Mr. Baumbach: Thank you for your e-mail received 16 June 1997. We apologize for the unpleasant experiences you had with Mr. Orin Oppermann. You were informed correctly that Mr. Oppermann is not authorized to conduct PADI training. In fact, he has not been a PADI member since 1991 and was never a PADI Instructor, only an Assistant Instructor.

The information which you have provided to us will be placed in his professional file so that in the future, should he attempt to renew with PADI, he will be detoured by this information.

May we suggest that in the future, before planning a dive trip, you consult the current PADI Dive Center listing (available on the PADI Web Site) so as to avoid disappointing scenarios such as the one you relayed to us.

Again, we regret when situations occur which give Scuba Diving a bad name and hope that you continue to dive despite your unfortunate experiences with Mr. Oppermann.

Kari Scadron
Quality Assurance Consultant