Summer company dives for lost treasures
By Sue Tiffin
Published July 23, 2019
Dustyn McCready-DeBruin is going from snow and ice, to water.
The recent Grade 12 Haliburton Highlands Secondary School graduate might already be known by readers as part of Haliburton’s Winterdance dogsledding tour family, or as a curling team skip on the Red Hawks boys curling team.
Now, he’ll head underwater as the entrepreneur behind Dusty Dives, a summer business offering dock repair, underwater weeding and retrieval dives for missing items, including phones, rings and keys.
McCready-DeBruin’s proposal for Dusty Dives was one of seven business start-ups chosen to be supported this year by the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Business Advisory Centre through the Government of Ontario’s Summer Company program. The Summer Company provincial youth entrepreneurship program provides students aged 15 to 29 with training, mentorship and up to $3,000 in funding to open and operate their own summer business.
“I thought it sounded really interesting and decided that I would apply for it in hopes of starting a small business doing something that I love while also helping me save up for school,” he said.
An interest in diving began when McCready-DeBruin saw a documentary about the importance of sharks.
“I watched this documentary called Sharkwater,” he told the Echo. “I thought it looked really cool to go diving so I kind of begged Mom and Dad to let me try it out.”
Through a training facility in Peterborough, McCready-DeBruin was able to have a practice dive, in which students dive in a pool for an hour to see how they like it.
Over the past four years, he’s trained, certified and graduated to open water diving, exploring the St. Lawrence River and North Carolina waters, where he dove with sharks.
“It’s just really calming. It’s just a really cool experience,” he said. “Just the thought of being able to breathe underwater is really cool.”
The Summer Company program has enabled McCready-DeBruin to purchase the equipment he’ll need for the business, which is solely owned and operated by him, though his dad will help as a spotter during dives.
“The service of a diver has been long needed in this area,” reads his business proposal. “My diving instructor, who is out of Peterborough, often gets calls from the Haliburton area looking to hire a diver to help them with docks, weeding or retrieval. He finds Haliburton too far to travel to be worth his while.”
Though this year’s program just began at the beginning of the month and McCready-DeBruin has been sorting out his gear and advertising plan, he already has a request to find a ring that was dropped off the end of a dock, which he’s hoping to recover. He also expects to be retrieving quite a few phones this summer, and hopes to connect with golf courses looking for someone to retrieve and resell golf balls that are hit into ponds.
“Through this summer business I hope to contribute to the local economy as well as use my business to save money for my post-secondary education,” he said in his proposal. “This business will also give me a lot of real world experience. It will give me experience in the business sector and will allow me to improve a large array of skills, including but not limited to people skills, time management, marketing, business skills, money managing, organization, etc.”
The other six businesses chosen alongside McCready-DeBruin’s this year include the following services: window cleaning; property maintenance; professional workout and fitness programming; mobile foot reflexology; landscaping; and math and science academics.
“We are excited to kick off another season of Summer Company,” said Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development’s director of business development, Suzanne McCrimmon in a press release. “This program allows enterprising, young professionals to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty as they learn the fundamentals of owning and operating a business.”
For more information about Dusty Dives, call 705-457-0486.