Bill Tant

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Bill Tant

William L. Tant (born c. 1929; died August 2, 2013), also known as Cap'n Scuba, was a dive instructor and promoter, and the founder of Southern Skin Divers Supply.

Tant grew up swimming at the Cascade Plunge in East Lake and was a competitive springboard diver while serving with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. He bagan SCUBA diving in the 1940s and pioneered many of the sites and techniques for diving and certification which gained wide acceptance in later decades.

Tant founded "Bill Tant's School of Scuba" in Avondale in 1953, establishing one of the first scuba instruction programs in the Southern United States. He tirelessly promoted recreational diving and organized travel tours and special programs for spear fishing and wreck diving. For a while he operated the Hatchcover Lounge next door to the dive shop, serving up his own "Yucatant Chile" seasoned with South American spices.

Tant retired in the late 1980s, leaving the shop to his partner, Steve Phillips, and nephew Mark Tant. He and his wife, Eloise, moved to St Andrew's Bay, Florida. He became known there for blowing a conch shell horn each evening to mark the setting of the sun.

Publications

  • Tant, Bill (1993) I Lived and Loved the Great American Dream. Seacoast Publishing. ISBN 9781878561152

References

  • "William L. Tant" obituary (August 3, 2013) The Birmingham News
  • Stein, Kelsey (August 5, 2013) "Bill Tant, diving pioneer and founder of Birmingham scuba school, dies at 84." The Birmingham News