Good customer service, great equipment, and Cayman’s superb reefs combine to provide the ultimate dive vacation, says guest who was there at the beginning and, three decades later, is still choosing Red Sail Sports and Grand Cayman
In January, Red Sail Sports customer John Nagy from Jacksonville, Florida completed his 13th dive vacation with Red Sail Sports — he made his first dive with the company 30 years ago, shortly after Red Sail Sports opened its doors for business. Nagy, a first-time visitor to the Cayman Islands, checked into the then-open Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman and boarded Red Sail’s dive boat for an experience that he found hard to leave.
“My friend and I were booked for a 5-day stay at the Hyatt, but we were so excited about our diving that we stayed for 21 days!” said John Nagy. “Great reefs, no current, great visibility, short boat trips, friendly staff, and those big, comfortable Red Sail Sports boats – that’s what’s kept me coming back.”
Red Sail Sports opened its doors for business in 1987 with two dive boats and a small but enthusiastic staff. Today, the spacious dive boats that impressed John Nagy on his first dive, have consistently earned the appreciation of other divers during the past 30 years. The boats are custom designed with large, well laid-out decks, and feature camera tables, dry storage for personal items, marine heads, fresh water showers, camera rinse buckets and plenty of shade. Wheelchair-bound divers can easily be accommodated so that no one is left behind on the beach.
Nagy also noticed the friendly and accommodating staff during his first experience, something he says has not changed. Red Sail Sports Operations Manager Rod McDowall says good customer service is something the company cultivates as a work ethic, especially on their dive boats.
“We make sure there is enough staff on each boat to ensure a more intimate experience for our divers. They are divided into small groups and each group is led by a divemaster who knows Cayman’s dive sites well,” said McDowall. “They point out ‘hidden treasures’ at each dive site so that our guests can fully appreciate Cayman’s incredible reefs and marine life.”
Red Sail Sports operates six locations in Grand Cayman, including the latest luxury resort to open, the Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa on Seven Mile Beach. Watersports concessions are also located at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton, Morritt’s Tortuga Club & Resort and the Rum Point Club.
John Nagy was there in those early days and he’s seen a lot of changes in Grand Cayman and with Red Sail Sports during the past 30 years. Although he’s been diving all over the world, he says Cayman is still tops. And so is Red Sail Sports.
“I still love the diving in Cayman and I always go out with Red Sail Sports,” he said. “I’ve seen them grow into a big company —they’re in most of the major resorts— but that tells me that the hotels know a good thing when they see it because I personally know Red Sail Sports is reliable, they have great boats and a professional staff.”
A recent first-time visitor from England agrees with Nagy – he posted these comments about Red Sail Sports on the travel website TripAdvisor.
“In 20 years of diving … probably the best dive company I have come across. Everyone from Walter at the Rum Point booking office to Sarah who led the dive were excellent. High safety … superb dive boat … best equipment. Fantastic dive in the coral caves. Superb.”
This is what Rod McDowall likes to hear. “I am very proud of Red Sail Sports developing over the years and continuing to provide the most complete and quality dive, watersports and retail product in Grand Cayman with a fun and professional staff,” he said. “Maintaining our position as an industry leader over a span of thirty years in a competitive tourism segment is very rewarding.”
Thousands of visitors have experienced Cayman’s excellent diving with Red Sail Sports, and the company has introduced many new divers to the sport. Over 30 years, it’s estimated they’ve done about 50,000 Discover Scuba Diving resort courses. Red Sail Sports has also completed scuba certifications for an estimated 10,000 new divers.
The company also operates eight retail centers in Grand Cayman. Its fleet includes seven dive boats, five 65’ catamarans, and several smaller boats. The operation employs 165 people in a variety of jobs, from frontline boat captains, shop attendants and hotel concierges to management, sales and marketing professionals.
Red Sail Sports has continued to grow and adapt to changes on the island. In 1987 the company opened its flagship dive shop on the property that used to be the old Hyatt Regency beach club, and later the Grand Cayman Beach Suites. The property has changed hands, so Red Sail Sports recently moved its shop and ended an era.
“This was our operational center for many years and to have it close was sentimentally a loss given the relationships we have developed with the property and the nearby condominium complexes, but we adjusted quickly and all services offered from this location continue through an alternate venue,” said McDowall. “It was a great ‘home’ for 29 years.”
McDowall says Red Sail Sports never loses sight of the fact that Cayman helps make the company a success, so they always try to give back to the local community. Red Sail Sports currently supports the Cayman Islands Special Olympics, The Lighthouse Special Education School, the local Cancer Society, Heart Foundation and other local charities. The company also recruits and trains Caymanians, and it is a big supporter of school and youth programs in tourism.
2017 is expected to be a big year for Cayman’s tourism industry with the opening of the Kimpton Seafire Resort, the Margaritaville Resort, airport renovations and new air service from Southwest Airlines. Red Sail Sports plans to continue being a leader in the tourism industry.
“Our goal for the next thirty years is to maintain our quality of product and staff so as to provide visitors quality, memorable and fun vacation experiences with Red Sail Sports,” said McDowall. “We will continue to keep up with trends in the industry, look for new opportunities or activities to ensure we have sufficient variety of experiences to entertain all visitors, singles, couples and families.”
John Nagy says Cayman’s unbeatable tourism product is why he keeps coming back.
“Cayman’s proximity to the U.S. is so convenient, and it’s easy to bring my family here because they don’t dive,” he said. “They’ve got Seven Mile Beach and a variety of watersports. When I’m done diving, I can hang out at the beach with them, and then we’ve got great restaurants to choose from – there’s so much to do here.”
Red Sail Sports is celebrating its 30th birthday with a special dive package that offers great discounts
Back to the 80’s Dive Package
January 3 – December 20, 2017
3 Days $307
4 Days $382
5 Days $447
Additional 2-tank $85
• Daily 2-tank dives
• Sunset Sail aboard 65’ catamaran
• Commemorative t-shirt
• Entry to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Museum
• Discounts off additional diving!
50% off afternoon one-tank dives (one tank kittiwake not included)
25% off night dives
25% off Stingray City Dive