Dr. José Jones
Dr. José Jones has gone deep and wide in the marine
world as a scientist, scuba diver, institution builder, and
public servant. His vision, commitment to excellence, and
dedicated leadership have enabled him to create opportunities
for many other people to experience the wonders of the sea and
expand their horizons.
Dr. Jones' career as an educator and scientist spans
thirty-seven years. For twenty-five years he taught at the
University of the District of Columbia as a professor of marine
biology and environmental science. He also served as Chairman of
the Department of Environmental Science, Dean for the
College of Life Sciences and Provost and Vice President
of the University. Dr. Jones holds a masters degree from
Howard University in Aquatic Biology and a Ph.D. from
Georgetown University in Marine Biology. He was a
three-time Fellow of the National Science Foundation. As
a Fulbright Scholar, he studied Marine Biology at the
University of Queensland, Australia and dove the Great
Barrier Reef for two years.
Dr. Jones began his diving career while serving in the
U.S. Army. Returning home as a Purple Heart Veteran from a tour
of combat duty, Jones enrolled in college and joined the
Atlantic Skin Diving Council (ASCD) where he served as vice
president, training officer, spearflshing chairman and scuba
rodeo director. While a senior in college, he formed the
Underwater Adventure Seekers (UAS) of Washington, DC in 1959.
UAS is one of the oldest dive dubs in the world, and it predates
most national certifying organizations.
One of the objectives of the Underwater Adventure
Seekers (UAS) is to enjoy safe diving and related activities.
Drawing on his military training and the Subaqua System, Dr.
Jones established high standards for dive training and annual
requirements for all members to complete checkout of their
diving skills. He emphasized the importance of maintaining a
firm foundation in baste skills including swimming, rescues, and
safety skills. If divers can swim well, they have the confidence
to perform better; and they are in a better position to assist
someone else. UAS club members are encouraged to continue their
dive education and to keep their DAN memberships and insurance
current. The annual checkout has kept the club focused on
diving competence and has kept UAS strong and vibrant.
As a master scuba instructor (PADI MSDT #1031), Dr.
Jones has amassed more than 6000 dives in more than 50 countries
where he has spread his message of swimming and diving safety.
Dr. Jones is a spearfishing champion, scuba rodeo champion, and
an underwater photographer/ videographer. He has been recognized by PADI for
his many accomplishments and his tireless resources to the
diving industry. Dr. Jones was honored to receive the Scuba
Schools International (SSI) Platinum 5,000 Award for logging
over 5,000 dives and contributing to the development of
recreational scuba diving in America.
Dr. Jones is co-founder, former president, and current
chair of the Science & Education Committee of the National
Association of Black Scuba divers (NABS). NABS, organized in
(Photo: Hilliard Dean)
1991 under his leadership, has formed over fifty dive clubs in
the United States and around the world, many of them are modeled
after UAS. NABS members and/or clubs can be found in Africa,
Australia, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Central and South
America, Fiji, Hawaii and the Maldives Islands as well as the
continental United States. NABS has already brought hundreds of
people to recreational diving and the association is destined to
introduce tens of thousands of more people to recreational
diving. Dr. Jones and NABS have been recognized in forty
publications including the Washington Post, New York Times and
the National Geographic, by NBC, BET, CNN, The History Channel
and many local television stations. Dr. Jones was inducted into
the Washington, DC Hall of Fame in April 2008, and he was the
recipient of the highly DAN/Rolex International Diver of the
Year Award for 2005. He was also selected as Sport Diver
Magazine "Diver of the Year" in 2008 and selected as
Beneath the Sea, Diver of the Year, 2009.
Through UAS and NABS, Dr. Jones and his team have
trained and certified over 2,000 divers free of charge. In
forty-five years he has taught over five thousand people, mostly
children, to swim. His commitment to volunteerism comes from his
belief that people who have something to give should give to
others, whether it is knowledge, skills, or support. Dr. Jones,
as an orphan himself, is aware that there is a world of people
who just need someone who has faith in them and will show them
how to accomplish. Not only did he grow up in a close knit
community where many people taught him things and encouraged him
to excel, but his teachers and coaches at Dunbar High school and
Howard University trained him and students to be leaders who
would shape the world and give back to the community.
Another way that Dr. Jones fulfills this commitment is
by visiting schools and colleges to speak with students about
careers in oceanography and environmental sciences and about the
sport of diving. He easily identifies with the students whose
eyes light up as their curiosity and excitement remind him of
himself, when he was a junior high school student, listening to
a guest speaker talk about oceanography. The young Jose Jones
decided that he too would become a Marine Scientist and explore
Dr. Jones, a seventh degree black belt in TaeKwon Do,
also applies his standards for excellence and volunteerism to
the marital arts. For thirty-eight years, he has trained
thousands of adults and children in the Washington, DC area free
of charge. His commitment to a high standard for training can be
seen in the confidence and tournament record of his students.
The Wheel Kickers TaeKwon Do club was featured in Ripley's
Believe It Or Not as "The Winningest Martial Arts School in
America." It is not unusual for his students to be accomplished
in both the martial arts and scuba diving.
Dr. Jones' love for diving and swimming extends to
family. Both his wife, Paula, and his daughter Kendall are
swimmers and divers.
Dr. José Jones serves as a role model and mentor for
many people of all ages, creeds and backgrounds. His leadership
and standards for excellence have shaped many divers and