The Dive Pirates Foundation’s first dive trip was in 2005, assisted greatly by the Brandes family. At the time Mary Brandes owned and operated what is now the Cayman Brac Beach Resort, and she created an environment and financial incentives for the foundation to grow and flourish. 

Both Mary and Russ Brandes, as well as their son Tyler, have been steady contributors to the foundation. Tyler joined the Board of Directors, became an adaptive instructor, and been an integral part of the continued growth and success of the Foundation.

Past recipient Marlene Krpata approached the board with a proposal to assist former recipients who have not had the opportunity to return due to financial restrictions a chance to reconnect with the pirate crew. Approved in Feb 2018, the Brandes Family Scholarship aims to fund one dive crew a year during the annual trip to Cayman Brac Beach Resort.


Indeed, the purpose of the foundation is to provide a deserving past recipient certified by the Dive Pirates Foundation the financial means for air travel, resort, and diving during the Dive Pirates Foundation annual trip to Cayman Brac Beach Resort or other Dive Pirate Foundation destination. This is intended for those recipients who have been diving before but are financially unable to afford to continue to dive. The hope is to fund two or three adaptive divers each year. This depends on their buddies’ ability to pay or the volunteers’ availability to fill the adaptive dive teams.

Eligibility Requirements:

The ideal candidate for consideration will reflect the following:

  • Have completed an initial sponsored trip with DPF.
  • Can demonstrate that paying for a dive trip is not feasible (due to family obligations, job situation, etc. please explain in the hardship statement below).
  • Available to attend DPF scheduled trip to Cayman Brac Beach Resort or other DPF destination in 2024.
  • Willing to record a message of acceptance for Dive Pirates prior to the Dive Pirates Ball on Feb 17, 2024.

Application Process:

  • Recommendation letter from an instructor, Dive Pirates member, or from someone in the diving community.
  • Upload a current photo.
  • Complete a medical statement form download (Print, have completed by an M.D. or D.O. and return).
  • Provide a financial hardship statement.
  • Provide applicable personal health insurance for the recipient and buddy.

Applications will not be considered unless all elements of the application are included. All elements of the application must be provided by the close of business on Dec 31, 2023. All applicants will be notified of the results by Jan 15, 2024. The scholarship winner will be included in the 2024 Dive Pirates Ball program and announced during the event.

Applications will be reviewed by board members and vetted accordingly.


The recipient/buddy is responsible for five things:

  1. Acquiring a current passport. If the passport is out of date at the time of scholarship acceptance (Jan 15), the recipient must file and receive his/her passport before airfare is secured (must have a passport before Mar 1, 2024.) If the recipient fails this requirement, the next viable candidate will be chosen.
  2. Secondly, completing refresher courses as needed.
  3. Providing proof of Dive Insurance.
  4. Having their scuba equipment inspected. If any equipment needs servicing or replacing the recipient must contact Dive Pirate Foundation by March 1, 2024, and accept any donated equipment options available. (Replacement equipment will be on a case-by-case basis)
  5. To understand he/she cannot reapply for this scholarship for the next two years.

Should you have any inquiries on the Brandes Family Foundation, please do not hesitate to contact us at scholarship@divepirates.org