Ed Stetson was 1 of 9 children and raised in Southern California. He made his first surface supplied diving system at age 8 using a manual bilge pump, garden hose and Voit mask with a hole in the faceplate (where the purge valve fell out). His uncle, Cliff Cameron, was a commercial heavy gear abalone diver in Morro Bay. He taught his brother Dan how to use scuba in his pool. Ed saw Dan swimming at the bottom of the pool and immediately knew that some day, he would become a diver. He learned to dive and has not stopped since. He has taught dive classes for 32 years at UCSB.
In 1985, Ed became a licensed captain with the United States Coast Guard and works for the Harbor Patrol. He has been named the California Boating Safety Officer of the Year twice. For over 25 years, Ed has volunteered at the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, and has traveled extensively training others how to capture and care for distressed marine mammals.
By teaching at a university rather than a dive shop, he was not anyone’s competitor. So he used his unique position to encourage everyone to volunteer for the best of the diving community. Ed created annual Dive Refresher and Rescue Workshops starting with 54 volunteer instructors who trained over 120 divers in one weekend. The student cost was minimal to encourage participation. All proceeds were awarded as scholarships at UCSB, SBCC and Brooks Institute. Ed created the annual Santa Barbara Underwater Film Festivals. Everybody was a volunteer and the proceeds were donated to the scholarships. He is currently the director of the Zale Parry Scholarship for the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences.