The St Pete Underwater Club (SPUC) is an private and exclusive Spearfishing organization which invites leaders in the diving and spearfishing community to join them in their mission which was defined in 1954, long before SCUBA diving or spear fishing became organized sports. In fact, Bill Jackson and his original founding members developed the SCUBA certification process in the state of Florida long before PADI, NAUI, or SSI were chartered. The SPUC and its membership still continue to lead and influence the SCUBA Diving, Free Diving, and Spear Fishing community by their own commercial ventures and SPUC events like the St Pete Open, “The World’s Largest Spearfishing Tournament”.
“The general nature of the object of this organization is to promote fellowship among underwater spear fishermen, underwater explorers, and underwater photographers, to sponsor outings, contests and related activities in furtherance of good sportsmanship and clean living among the members of this club, to learn and to teach underwater safety, to promote conservation of all marine life, and to observe courtesy and rights of any and all fishermen, and such other activities authorized by law and not inconsistent with the objectives hereinabove set forth.”
The SPUC, as it is known, was founded in 1952 by an avid group of divers who shared a great enthusiasm for the sport of spearfishing. The St Pete Underwater Club is one of the oldest and best-known dive clubs in the United States.
For over fifty years, club members have competed in and won National events, promoted and organized tournaments, and actively campaigned for fair legislation for divers and fishermen alike. We strive to educate the public, teaching that spearfishing is one of the most environmentally sound fishing methods. We continue to work with fisheries managers, lending our first-hand knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico and its denizens.
Our proudest endeavor is the St Pete Open, which is hosted and run by our all-volunteer membership. The St Pete Open is the world’s largest spearfishing tournament. Many of the largest fish ever entered in a spearfishing event have been brought in to the St. Pete Open. At a typical SPO, we enjoy the company of roughly 300+ participants, with spectators numbering in the thousands. We’d like to invite you to come out and participate, observe, and enjoy the party every August as we host yet another historic event!
1952 – A group of adventurous SCUBA divers and underwater explorers decide to form a group to support diving in the state of Florida and their efforts in developing the sport.
1954 – On December, 1st the St. Petersburg Underwater Club is formally incorporated in the State of Florida by the founding officers & Board members including:
William (Bill) Jackson – President
Dave Young – Vice President
John Campbell – Secretary
Sy Blumberg – Treasurer
Founding Board members:
William V. Bracken
Frank H. McFarland
Jack H. Jackson