Divers Cove LLC of Essex, Connecticut has been a mainstay in northeast scuba diving for over 35 years. A full-service scuba shop, Divers Cove offers scuba diving instruction, a full line of scuba equipment, accessories, and apparel, and serves and repairs the gamut of diving equipment from suits to masks to regulators. In addition to these in-house services, the family-operated business offers charter trips in-state and abroad; Divers Cove recently returned from a trip to the Philippines.
By John Tapley; photos courtesy Divers Cove LLC
Divers Cove LLC is owned and managed by founder Ed Rosacker and his wife Chris. We spoke to Ed about the humble origins of his business, its impact on the dive community, and what his longstanding experience in scuba means to him.
John Tapley (JT): Thanks for meeting with me today, Ed. Let’s get started. What was the inspiration for founding Divers Cove LLC? What were your early days like?
Ed Rosacker (ER): Good question. The straight-forward answer is that we had a local shop that had an issue getting stuff taking care of. I loved it all in the first place. I started diving in ’71 and took my original course in ’75, and I helped my instructor teach, making my way to assistant instructor. Around ’81 I decided to become an instructor and signed up for my ITC (instructor training course) at Brown University.
On my birthday, August 23, in 1981, I began selling stuff out of the back of my truck and continued with it, building it. It got bigger and bigger, I built a basement shop and made it into a regular shop with a compressor. I still remember calling around to get my first dealerships: Sherwood; Hobie’s Wetsuits.
Eventually I outgrew the basement. I got a new place started up, and it was quiet, but I stayed in the green. Five years went down the line, bringing us to about 1989 when the economy dropped drastically; the military cut back and I lost business from them; the place turned into a ghost town. The common thing to do would say, “get a real job”, but no, I ended up buying a second shop. In ’91, I took them and moved them to Essex.
It took me seven years to pay that off but I quadrupled business overnight so it was worth it! It was a pleasant surprise. We held a midnight madness sale and at a quarter to 12, I looked and there was nobody there – one car. At 12, I opened the doors and the place filled with people! They bought all kinds of small stuff and God Bless them all!
JT: How has Divers Cove expanded since then?
ER: I had one storefront, one slot, and a trailer out back to teach classrooms. Now it’s expanded three times with three storefronts all put together: about 3500 square feet. I needed room for repairs: I do a huge amount of repairs, mostly drysuits, from all over (and out of) the country. We do hydros, suit repairs, regulators, BCs… all normal stuff, and we service a lot of equipment from other shops. We’ve developed a good reputation.
We certify anywhere from basic scuba all the way to assistant instructor. We typically don’t do instructor classes but are looking into the possibility; I have avenues to send people to ITCs. Including myself, we have three instructors and we’re all very busy. They’re top notch guys: certified with SDI/TDI and NAUI. It’s a lot of sweat equity.
JT: What about dive trips? What charter operators do you work with?
ER: Our main charter operator, locally, retired this year so we’re in the process of looking. We run charters out to the Boston, Massachusetts and Cape Ann area. There’s local places closer to shore but we are looking for a reliable captain this year. We also travel and our next run is to the St. Lawrence River, which only about six-and-a-half hours, and it’s gorgeous and absolutely stunning: 30 to 50 foot of visibility and water temperatures 72 to 80 degrees top to bottom. The St. Lawrence run is scheduled July 31 through August 4.
JT: Beyond these services, how is Divers Cove connected to the dive industry? Do you participate in scuba events like conferences?
ER: We always have a booth at DEMA (Diving Equipment & Marketing Association show) and some local stuff like Beneath the Sea and the Boston Sea Rovers show.
JT: You’ve had a lot of experience over the years. What’s your takeaway from scuba diving?
ER: I started diving when I was about 21 years old and got certified when I was 26. When I got out of my first dive, the first thing that came to mind was, “you’re screwed.” I found my place and kept on going from there. I absolutely love it. And now here I am: 30-some years later.
JT: Thanks for interviewing with me, Ed. Is there anything you’d like to share with our readers before we wrap things up?
ER: We are well known across the country and well respected. It’s a big deal for us; we pride on our customer service. The neat thing about us is that we’re like a mom and pop shop but we’re bigger; it’s a family operation and we all love what we do.
Through hard grit and determination, the Rorsackers have made long-lasting waves in their local scuba diving community; and in destinations abroad. For more details on Divers Cove LLC, including upcoming trips and course schedules, visit www.diverscove.com.