Richard H. Stewart IV
Ocean explorer, publisher and editor, photojournalist, artist, television producer and founder of
Sport Diver, Ocean Realm, Dive Travel and Planet Ocean.
Richard with daughter Sascha
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Richard was transplanted to Miami, Florida at five where his father, Thomas W. Stewart, attended the University of Miami. By the age of eight he had learned scuba from his father, also a YMCA swimming and diving instructor, making his first open water dive off Virginia Key in Miami. After his mother Jean gave him a Kodak Brownie box camera, also at age eight, he later learn to process film and make prints from his uncle Terry - from that point on diving and photography became his passion.
At 16 Richard formed his first business, Stewart Photography, specializing in children, wedding and industrial photography. By 22 he had opened up a full service camera store, Stewart Camera Center, and a full service dive store, Central Florida Divers. In 1974, then 24, he opened the Andros Beach Dive Centre on the Bahamian island of Andros and created Grand Am International Tours to facilitate groups to the Bahamas operation. Richard also formed, with photographer Rick Frehsee, the Underwater Photography Instructors Association.
Throughout the early seventies Richard began traveling extensively throughout Europe and the Caribbean in pursuit of his passion…travel and underwater photography. In 1974 he began his career in journalism and publishing as the co-founder and travel editor of Florida Diver magazine. In 1976 he went on the create the nationally circulated magazine, Sport Diver, as publisher and editor until 1980 when the title was then sold to the New York City special interest group, Ziff-Davis Publishing.
After spending a year with ZD as the organization's youngest publisher, Richard departed to found Ocean Realm Television. In 1980, ORT pioneered the design and construction of the television industry's first underwater ENG (electronic news gathering) underwater video camera system for Sony Video Products and in the mid 80's for Panasonic's RECAM video production system. Subsequently throughout the 80's, Richard and his Ocean Realm Television team provided field producer and underwater video production services for ABC's Good Morning America and 20/20 with Hugh Downs and Geraldo Rivera (who he also certified in scuba); HBO, PBS and CNN. Stewart is also credited with co-designing and building, along with famed Canadian underwater housing manufacturer Val Renik, the first consumer underwater video system.
Richard then launched the first ocean nature magazine entitled Ocean Realm and remained publisher and editor. During those same years he founded and was executive producer of OceanFest, an annual consumer expo in Miami, Florida featuring headliners such as Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jimmy Buffet, Scott Carpenter and other notables; was co-founder of the Ocean Wilderness Society; co-founder and president of the Survival of the Sea Society, and an executive committee member of Save The Manatee with Jimmy Buffet.
From 1988 to 1992 Richard created and was publisher and editor of several publications including; the Sport Diver Trade Journal, Sport Diver Traveler, Sport Diver Underwater Photography Annual and co-publisher of Aqua Corps, the industry's first technical diving magazine.
In 1992 Richard founded the Dive Travel Association, a networking trade organization for travel agents, dive stores, resorts and liveaboard charter companies. Richard also created and was executive producer of the annual Dive Travel Conference, lectures nationwide on the subject of dive travel marketing and media, and serves as a marketing consultant to the resort industry worldwide.
In 1993 Richard was once again contracted by Panasonic with the U.S. Olympic Committee to design and build the underwater video monitoring system used for training the U.S. Olympic swimming team at the Olympic Training Center's pool in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 2000 Richard created Big Grouper Media to publish specialty titles that include Splash Adventures, Destination Adventures, Out Island Adventures, and the trade journals Adventure Travel Specialist, Scuba Industry Professional, Dive Travel Specialist and Watersports Retailing.
In 2001 Richard founded the Planet Ocean Society.
In 2003 Richard co-founded the Dive Industry Association. Richard also founded Ocean Realm Media to resume publishing the Ocean Realm Journal, now co-branded as Wyland Ocean Realm with famed marine artist Wyland.
Richard has spent 44 years traveling the world: the Caribbean, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Hawaii, Western and Eastern Europe, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Venezuela, Peru and Equador.
Other career highlights include; PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Open Water Instructor, PADI Gold Master Instructor, SSI (Scuba Schools International) Open Water Instructor, SSI Pro 5000 (5,000 career dives), NOAA Certified Aquanaut; APA Master Photographer, Pro Videographer, musician (his band performed with the Allman Brothers Band) and is an accomplished windsurfer and kayaker.
Richard is the founder of EcoWeek Florida Keys and EcoWeek Costa Rica, the State of the Oceans Summit (Florida and Costa Rica) and the World Eco Summit (Costa Rica).
Richard currently resides in New Smyrna Beach, Ocala and Islamorada in the Florida Keys where he publishes the Wyland Ocean Realm Journal, the EcoGuide Travel Series , Scuba Lifestyles, the DivingGuide Series and a dozen other magazines (www.StewartDigitalMedia.com).
Contact Richard at Richard@StewartDigitalMedia.com or call 352.817.5893.