Fathoms Dive Shop

An American in Okinawa

Richard Ruth has been living on Okinawa since 1987, when he was in the US Marine Corps. In April of that year, he took up diving, as many other military personnel were wont to do. But Ruth didn't give it up after his initial stint on Okinawa. In August of 1998, he opened Fathoms Dive Shop.

"No one was doing anything for all the foreigners living in Okinawa that weren't connected to the military," Ruth says, "so I thought I could make a living and continue living in Okinawa, which I love so much."

So far, business has been booming and Ruth finds there is definitely a niche for his business.

"I specialize in meeting people with strange schedules," Ruth grins. "I believe customer service is the number one thing in this kind of business. Diving is a very personalized sport and the instruction and service provided from any dive shop should be personal."

Photo Photomann
Ruth considers the waters off the Sunabe Seawall to be Okinawa's best diving spot, although other divers may contest that. "The soft corals are incredible there!" Ruth exclaims.

Elsewhere in the world, Ruth says Palau is one of the best diving spots in the world, and the most lucrative for him - he found a very expensive camera lens that still works.

Although diving can be fun, it can also be dangerous, especially if fellow divers don't take the sport seriously. "I had someone rip my regulator out of my mouth while diving in Hawaii," Ruth says. "I could have been seriously injured or drowned because someone thought they were being funny."

He advises that new or beginning divers, "Dive, dive, dive - experience is the best teacher."

But there can be a humorous side to diving, especially when it comes from the sea life in the ocean. "Triggerfish are territorial during egg laying season and will attack anything in their vicinity," Ruth laughs. "It's pretty funny to see this fish trying to look angry and dangerous, when they look more like a clown." trigger.gif - 11495 Bytes

Although Ruth spends his spare time with his bird "Skylar" or shooting archery, diving is his first and foremost hobby. . .and business.

"Every dive is different," he exclaims. "Every time I go down, I see and learn something new, even if it's a spot I've visited many times before."

You can visit Fathoms on the web at www.fathoms.net or send e-mail/questions to Richard Ruth.