Torpedo Rays Scuba Adventures

Exploring the Depths

One day every September, a group of approximately 200 scuba divers, snorkelers and family members gathers on Hubbards Beach for the Torpedo Rays’ Treasure Hunt. Attendees don snorkels and masks and venture out into the chilly water of St. Margaret’s Bay while kids take part in sandcastle competitions, fashioning forts and moats on the shore. There are contests and prize drawings as well as a free barbecue and a silent auction supporting a local charity.

Jason Weickert, Owner of Torpedo Rays Scuba Adventures, has organized the annual treasure hunt since 1997.While the event has grown significantly since then, Weickert says that the goal of the treasure hunt – to spread the joy of scuba diving in a way that betters the community – has remained constant.

“It’s very popular,” says Weickert. “We really like it because it helps local kids and we give away 100% of the money to Children's Trust Fund. We see a lot of the same faces every year, and it’s the largest organized dive in Canada.”

For nearly 25 years, Torpedo Rays has been the go-to facility for scuba and snorkeling training. Located in Dartmouth, it operates the largest recreational diving centre in Atlantic Canada and is one of two Five Star Instructor Development Centers in the Province, the highest achievable rating offered by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

“We introduce people to the wonders of the aquatic realm in Atlantic Canada,” says Weickert. “We take people from never having been on scuba equipment at all and turn them into certified divers.”

In addition to training, Torpedo Rays offers a comprehensive array of services for divers. It operates a retail store, rents and repairs scuba and snorkeling equipment, and organizes excursions and boat charters.

“If you want to be in the water, chances are we’re doing it,” says Weickert.

Born and raised in Ontario, Weickert relocated to Halifax 30 years ago. While he originally planned to stay in Nova Scotia for only a year or two, he says he was compelled to stay in the Province because of the pace of life, the friendly residents, and, of course, the proximity to the ocean. An experienced diver and a university graduate with a degree in business, Weickert decided to launch a business in his new home that allowed him to pursue his love of scuba diving full-time.

“I decided that it would be fun to combine my passion for scuba diving and the ocean with my knowledge of business,” he says. “I was doing 200 dives a year or more. I knew I definitely wanted to make it part of my life and livelihood.”

Weickert and his wife founded Torpedo Rays in 1997. He says that the early years of Torpedo Rays were challenging and that it was not uncommon for him to work around the clock to ensure that the business was running smoothly.

One of the challenges Weickert faced was finding a banking partner that could meet the needs of his growing business. After opening an account at one of the “Big Six” banks, Weickert says that he wanted something “with a little more personal service.” He decided to open a commercial account with CUA.

“We moved over to CUA a number of years ago and have been very happy with them,” says Weickert.  “We use CUA for our day-to-day business banking and bill payments. They have been excellent to deal with.”

CUA worked directly with Weickert to develop an individualized approach based on Torpedo Rays’ unique banking needs, allowing Weickert to grow his business and spread his love of scuba diving to more and more Canadians.

Today, Torpedo Rays has grown to a team of 31 dedicated individuals, including certified Master Instructors, Service Technicians, Divemasters, and Weickert’s daughter April, who manages the business. Torpedo Rays has become a foundational part of the scuba diving and snorkeling community in Nova Scotia.

“We know most of our customers by name because we see them all the time,” Weickert says. “It’s not like running some anonymous business where you don’t know the people coming in and out. It’s almost like an extended family. We have some customers that have been with us right from the very beginning, for almost 25 years.”

While the annual Torpedo Rays’ Treasure Hunt was postponed last year, the diving and snorkeling community was able to gather once again in September 2021 for the 23rd time, bringing both familiar and new faces to Hubbards Beach. As the business enters the new year, Weickert says that he is excited to expand the scuba diving community in Nova Scotia. Torpedo Rays offers diving opportunities throughout the year, including specialty courses such as deep diving, ice diving, and underwater videography and photography. For Weickert, the depths of the Atlantic hold a unique experience for anyone willing to explore them.

“In Atlantic Canada, we’ve got vast amounts of the ocean that no one has explored before,” he says. “We’ve got every manner of fish that you can think of: lobsters, crabs, skates and monkfish. There is a plethora of marine life out there to see. You will likely see something that no one has ever seen.”

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