Andy Phillips, a British dive professional who called Utila, Honduras home for nearly two decades, passed away last week in a dive accident in Canada.

A PADI Platinum Course Director and technical instructor trainer, Phillips was diving with a buddy in the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ontario on June 11 when he went missing. A multi-day search proved fruitless.

News of his passing brought an outpouring of grief in the dive community.

Mark Evans, editor of Scuba Diver Magazine, wrote of Phillips:

“It is always hard to write about diving fatalities, but especially so when the person in question is a good friend. I had known Andy Phillips from when I first started in the industry way back in 1999, and he was hugely supportive from the get-go. I always looked forward to catching up with him at dive shows around the world, and his infectious personality and massive perma-grin will stay with me forever.

“I will always remember one particular DEMA in Las Vegas where late into the evening Andy, myself and now-RAID supremo Paul Vincent Toomer presided over the ‘Table of Doom’ drinking far too many sambucca shots, inebriating anyone who joined us, and putting the world to rights. You will be sorely missed, my friend.”

The management at Utila Dive Center wrote:

“For 20 years, Andy Phillips developed and fostered both the diving community and industry on Utila and by extension, Central America. Utila as we know it — unique and exuberant — exists as it does because of him.

“Fast forward two decades, tens of thousands of students, countless professional designations & accolades and the carcasses of nearly as many Lionfish, Andy was an unsurpassed ambassador and icon for an industry he helped pioneer.

“Andy made an immeasurable impact to the community, the conservation and preservation of marine environment and notably the development of professional scuba divers throughout the world. The impact that leaves our hearts broken is the one he made on everyone who had the privilege to know him. He was a thoughtful dive buddy, meaningful mentor, and best friend to so many that will now miss him dearly.”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I will always remember going to Thailand to meet andy when he was a dive master at gecko divers I will never forget turning up to the dive shop and there was andy just returning from a dive on a long tail with that massive grin on his face I did my open water course and as soon as we could we went off for a dive at shark island together the current was really strong and I’m a rubbish swimmer and could not make it back to the boat so andy had to swim and get the boat and bring it to me once in the boat we couldn’t stop laughing on yet another sticky situation we had got ourselves into
    Andy Phillip’s was my friend from around the age of 16/17 and I’m proud to say that we always laughed about the things we got up to when we were younger I will never forget that big smile rip brother

  2. Very Sad he was My IDC course instructor at UDC in Honduras as well as many other certs, He instilled confidence and inspired me in many ways related and unrelated to diving. he was down to earth and a very beautiful man. He will be missed by many in the diving community a very sad day.

  3. So sad to hear this. I did my divemaster with Andy in his real early Utila days when he was working at Underwater Vision. He must have only been instructing about a year and was already a fantastic mentor and role model. Always the professional but always keeping it fun. Memory of his random spice girl renditions in the middle of my DM exams and the endless discussion with Pete over who “was the man” still make me smile. He encouraged me to take my IDC and I’ve spent many happy years teaching diving. He was a positive pivot point in my life and I’m sure in many hundreds or even thousands of others. RIP Andy. You’re the man.

  4. RIP Andy, I did the nearby site 2 days earlier (Lock 23) as part of a Drift certification, and the current was exceptionally strong due to the flooding locks being open

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