Jr. Scientists in the Sea


Ron Boyce

Chapter Mentor for Panama City, Diving Control Board

Ron Boyce was born on the island of Terceira in the Azores islands in the Atlantic Ocean. His family moved to Seville, Spain and when they moved the United States later he had to learn English. Ron loved swimming and playing shark in the apartment complex swimming pool in Maryland and then later when they moved to Florida, going to Playalinda Beach and swimming far out away from the shore so that he could play with the dolphins. Little did he know he was training for his future job.

Right out of High School in 1981 Ron joined the United States Marine Corps. He served at 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in Okinawa Japan. Not long after arriving in the unit in 1983, he was sent to US Navy Dive School in in Pearl Harbor Hawaii to become a Scuba Diver. Ron earned his PADI Dive Master rating at this time and helped teach civilian dive classes in Okinawa and the Philippines in the 1980’s. Ron served until 1988.


After the Marines Ron became certified as a PADI Open Water Instructor and worked with local dive shops in Beaufort SC, specializing in trips to dive with the manatees in Crystal River and the many fresh water springs in North Central Florida. He also dove extensively in the dark tidal marsh rivers in the Low country for fossils and artifacts. He authored a column in the local newspaper on diving and supervised the excavation of a paleo Indian canoe from the Beaufort River which is now on display at the museum of natural history in Columbia SC. From this extensive experience Ron wrote a PADI Specialty Course call River Diver which teaches safe and ethical techniques for diving in tidal low visibility environments.

Ron started his career with AMIkids, in 1988 as a scuba instructor at the Beaufort Marine Institute in Seabrook, SC. Ron has worked for AMIKids since 1988, working his way up to executive director. Throughout his 35 year career with AMIkids, Ron had taught scuba to the youth in his programs. He has always been intent on progressing students from basic diving to using scuba to work in environmental projects and marine science. He has supervised dozens of overnight dive trips to fresh water springs, offshore Panama City and the Florida Keys. Over the years Ron has certified dozens of disadvantaged kids that would never had a scuba experience if it were not for them being in his program. On weekends he worked teaching scuba locally especially the local springs where he has logged over a hundred cavern dives. Ron is cave certified and has conducted cave dives in the Vortex, Morrison and Marianna systems in Northwest Florida.

In 2022 Ron opened a Charter High School in Panama City Florida called the Maritime Academy which  specializes in scuba and marine science classes. Here he added underwater ROV operation and full-face  mask diving to the certifications he offers to the students. Ron has partnered with JSIS on Dori’s garden,  the Aquatics series, and the Underwater Habitat summer camp. Ron loves working with Les Burke as  they both share a love of diving and introducing young people to the world of scuba.  

Ron has a BS in Maritime Studies with a minor in Anthropology from the University of West Florida. He  is married to Regina Boyce and they have two children, Riel and Regan. Riel is a 2nd Lt in the Marines and  Regan is a marine biology student at FSU.