Cultural Research Divers
We have been bringing our Research Diving Programs to schools and other educational venues since 1990. We've been instrumental in many of the positive changes in our community--environmental, economic, and development. We've brought our underwater discoveries to thousands of students throughout New York, in an effort to share knowledge of the oceans, estuaries and our love for our historic shorelines..
Captain Gene Ritter
Commercial diver and president of Research Divers. Gene holds a 100 ton USCG Master License, and has been diving in New York Harbor for over 40 years. He has discovered many historic underwater sites of New York’s past. Gene is passionate about history as well as diving; he has been featured in prime time newscasts for his underwater discoveries. He has appeared in numerous articles, the New York Times, NY Post, Daily News, in trade magazines, also net work news such as ABC, NBC, CBS, NY1, etc. Among Gene’s underwater discoveries are the sunken remnants of Fort Lafayette—a Civil War Fort under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. He discovered over two thousand anti- aircraft live shells possibly lost by the US Navy in 1954. He found a lost submarine built to explore the ill-fated Andrea Doria, he also discovered the historic Coney Island Dreamland Bell in the waters of Coney Island. On many occasions, over the years, Gene has brought hundreds of historic artifacts into schools, community events, and other venues. In 1998, former Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden awarded Gene with his first citation award for his Outstanding Contributions to the Preservation of Brooklyn’s History.
Retired Police Officer Captain Michael Carew has been a certified diver since 1973. During his Southampton College years, Mike worked as a salvage diver, doing underwater repairs and working on charter boats. He became a New York City Police Officer in 1982. The following year, he was assigned to the SCUBA Team, Harbor Patrol Unit. While on this team, Mike made many rescues and recoveries. During one rescue, Mike saved a commercial diver, who was trapped under a 60-ton concrete slab/pile.
On another rescue, his heroic efforts gained national attention in 1986, when he saved a three-year-old girl, who was trapped underwater in a car for an hour. Because he saved the child, Mike appeared on TV and newspapers, and was recognized as a national hero. Mike was there to respond to the aircraft disasters at La Guardia Airport in 1989, rescuing passengers out of the churning waters of Hell Gate.
Mike has been a Master Diving Instructor since 1987. In 1988, he was promoted to Detective Specialist. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100 Gross Ton Captain's License. Currently, he is the owner of on City Island, where he has a full dive- training facility, and operates dive boat charters..
Dr. Merryl Kafka
Dr. Kafka received her M.S. Degree in Biology and N.Y. State Certificate of Museum Studies from New York University, and received her Doctorate in Instructional Leadership from St. John’s University. In her capacity as Curator of Education (and a 30-year career history) at the New York Aquarium, Dr. Kafka has been instrumental in providing marine science programming to community groups, families, students, and teachers throughout the New York City area. She is also one of the co-founders of the Rachel Carson HS of Coastal Studies in Coney Island.
Dr. Kafka is the recipient of many awards; from the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency for “Project Creek”, an environmental partnership award on habitat restoration in C.I., to recently receiving the “Lifelong Devotion to Marine Education Exemplary Service Award” from the New York State Marine Education Association. She is an adjunct Professor for Brooklyn College’s AREAC (Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center) for the College Now program for high school students, co-teaching “Urban Marine Ecology”.
During the summer, Merryl can be found onboard the American Princess whale watching excursions as the their naturalist.
Beth J.P. Ritter
A writer, and Resident Artist of Cultural Research Divers. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, she's illustrated many children's educational publications and greeting cards over the years. Her articles, written mostly about personal experiences, convey her unique viewpoints of life. She loves drawing the historic artifacts, with all their details and imperfections". While drawing them, she feels more connected to their histories. As for drawing the vintage diving equipment? "That's just fun."
She enjoyed many opportunities to impart her love for all living things-- often expressed through art. "My Dad taught me early on that all animals are beautiful; none of them are ugly." These days, she's found a passion for drawing underwater artifacts and vintage diving equipment.
BRYAN J. JUNCOSA, PE, CAPTAIN
Mr. Juncosa has been diving on the east coast for 35 years as both a sport and commercial diver. He has visited many wreck sites on the east coast and throughout the world. Mr. Juncosa is a member of NJ Task Force 1 Urban Search and rescue team as a structural specialist. He has performed many rescue operations at disaster site including the World Trade Center on 9/11 where he received Civil Engineer of the Year.
As a professional engineer/diver and president of Atlantic Engineering, LLC he has inspected thousands of bridges both above and below water throughout the U.S. especially in the New York area. His firm performs underwater inspection of all types of marine structures including bridges, piers, ferry terminals, dams, culverts, repair design, and construction. Mr. Juncosa has a USCG Captains license and operates several boats for commercial purposes in NY and NJ waterways..
Lane Rosen earned his secondary education degrees at Brooklyn College receiving a B.S. in Biology and an M.A. in secondary science education. He has been teaching science for 18 years with the last 14 years at John Dewey High School(NYCDOE) teaching Marine Science. Currently he is the President of the New York State Marine Education Association(NYSMEA) and Director/Founder of the Brooklyn Marine Stem Education Alliance(BMSEA). He is this years recipient of Educator of the Year 2015-2016 Education Update for work in environmental science and the arts.
Lane is one of the key organizers of several marine education events annually collaborating with many schools and partners. Lane helps lead a coastal cleanup, seining, marine species identification, marine environmental awareness, microscopy, great fish count and local stewardship. Many educators and over 100 students show up repeatedly to the 3 events called International Coastal Cleanup, It's My Estuary Day and City of Water Day.
As a marine science teacher Lane takes his students on several field trips letting the students experience NYC treasures. They go to the American Museum of Natural History, NY Aquarium, Kingsborough Community College, service gardening project, marine careers, estuary trips and oyster monitoring. His classes participate in raising oysters, horseshoe crabs
and trout besides maintaining a variety of aquariums. His students volunteer as docents and marine biology teaching assistants annually.
Lane Rosen has a passion for marine science and believes since NYC has 570 miles of coastline education should be aligned with local schools. He is dedicated to sharing marine science education to High School students. Through his role in NYSMEA, NYCDOE and BMSEA he is able to provide many opportunities in the marine science field for educators and students.
Lou Siegel is currently an adjunct professor at both Dowling College in the Department of Earth and Marine Sciences and at S.U.N.Y. Farmingdale in the Biology Department. His teaching load includes such courses as Biology, Physical and Environmental Sciences and Marine Biology. In June of 2003 he retired from 36 years as a teacher and Science Chairperson on the high school level. During this time he was: anearly author and teacher of the New York City Marine Biology curriculum which was offered at the experimental John Dewey High School in Brooklyn; Chairperson of the Department of Science and Oceanography at Beach Channel High School in Queens; and Chairperson of the Science and Technology Department at Oceanside High School on Long Island. At each site Lou not only met students during the school year but also moreoften than not, organized and taught summer ecology and marine science courses. Lou was a founder, past president and active board member in the 30 year old New York State Marine Education Association. He has chaired several of their annual student and teacher conferences and is currently web master of the http://nysmea.orgweb page. Lou edited "Learning in the Estuary," a compilation of lesson plans, in 2002. Lou has long been involved in pre- and in-service teacher education. Most recently, his course Shipboard Marine Science has been taken by a large cross-section of teachers and environmental educators. Research projects have included studies of marsh grass, (Spartina alterniflora) and the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus.) Lou's interests include photography, sailing, and kayaking and he has reportedly been seen fishing for striped bass.B.S. Biology, Hunter College, C.U.N.Y. M.S. Marine Science, C.W. Post, L.I.U. P.D. Educational Administration, C.W. Post, L.I.U.
Lisa E. Breslof
Lisa Breslof has taught science at the American Museum of Natural History for the past 26 years and is a Supervising Museum Science Instructor in the Department of Education. She has focused on the implementation and alignment of science programs through science outreach programs and professional development in science instruction to New York City Department of Education K-12 grades and college institutions. She has served on the judging panel for the Museum’s Young Naturalist Awards contest and coordinated a high school science program funded by the Howard Hughes Foundation at Hunter College. She currently is the Department’s manager of the Teaching Collection for the Gottesman Center for Science, Teaching and Learning.
She taught environmental education with the National Park Service and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation as a park ranger.
Lisa is a board member of the John Burroughs Association where she manages conservation and stewardship programs for its Hudson Valley nature sanctuary and oversaw restoration efforts for its National Historic Landmark cabin, Slabsides, built by the famous naturalist. Lisa is a board member and has co-chaired the New York State Marine Education Association’s annual and National conferences. She served in the Peace Corps where she developed a marine algae aquaculture program for a local Chilean cooperative.
She received her B.S. degree in Marine Science from Stockton State College, Pamona, NJ and her M.S.Ed degree in Museum Leadership from Bank Street College of Education in New York City.
Captain Bob Hayes
Retired NYPD Deputy Inspector and former Commanding Officer of theNYPD SCUBA Team with 50 years experience as a diver and 38 years of Dive boat Experience. He is a PADI Master Instructor and has been a SCUBA instructor for 35 years. He is a former 1st lieutenant, US Army Corps of Engineers, Jan/1966 to Nov/1968. I have extensive training and experience in the use of military explosives. I also possess a USCG masters license for 100 gross tons and 100 miles since 1980. He has a total of 50 years of diving experience. Captain Bob currently runs dive charters off his vessel Dive Boat Karen II.
He is internationally known as the author of the award winning,
non-fiction book, The Last Dive (Harper Collins), which has been translated into ten foreign languages. He is the founder and
publisher of “immersed: the international diving magazine”
which is now in its ninth year of publishing. Bernie is an active
scuba instructor, a cave and wreck diver who has specialized in cold water diving over the past twenty years. He has led recreational and expedition diving in local (NE USA) waters, as well as overseas. His underwater explorations have taken him around the world. He has explored such diverse sites as caves in Iceland,
the wreck of the “Andrea Doria,” Mexico’s caves, wrecks in the Norwegian arctic, and to depths of over 300 feet, to name only a few of his underwater accomplishments. Bernie has been a Fellow of the Explorers Club since 1995, and is on the Board of Directors of the Historical Diving Society. In 2001, he was named “Diver of the Year for Education” by Beneath the Sea, which holds North America’s largest consumer scuba diving conference and exhibition (in NJ’s Meadowlands). He is a hyperbaric medical technician, and is regularly featured on ScubaRadio’s “Tech Talk with Bernie” segment. Bernie Chowdhury is also a popular and engaging speaker who presents at diving venues around the world.