The buzz (November/December 2007)

A conference for black American divers in Tobago

  • Illustration by James Hackett

Tobago’s waters will be in for some extra traffic this November, as divers from all over the United States congregate on the island for the National Association of Black Divers’ (NABS) annual summit. Since 1991, the organisation has hosted an annual four-day summit at some of the Caribbean’s top diving sites, such as Curaçao, Barbados and Bonaire. The 2005 summit in Barbados attracted about 300 participants, with 170 individual divers taking to the water. That was a record number in the summit’s history. Tobago is a new destination for the association.

Apart from allowing members to dive at exotic locations while socialising with each other, the summit, which will be held at the Tobago Hilton, will serve as a forum for the annual general membership meeting, and meetings for the executive and board of directors, presidents and committees.

NABS is one of many outdoor sports associations catering to black Americans, although it is open to anyone regardless of race. Dr Jose Jones, known as the “black Jacques Cousteau” for his military background and underwater activities, started the organisation 15 years ago. NABS, headquartered in Washington DC, now has 50 clubs across the United States.

A non-profit organisation, NABS aims to promote scuba diving, water sports skills, environmental awareness and conservation; develop educational programmes to raise interest in scuba diving; provide scholarships for college students studying marine and environmental sciences; sponsor scuba trips; and serve as a clearinghouse for scuba safety, training and technical information. During the four days in Tobago, activities will include group dives, a gala awards dinner, and sightseeing.


The National Association of Black Scuba Divers’ Summit runs from November 7 to 11. For more information visit

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