Letter: Officials salute Ron Kipp

Widely regarded as one of the pioneers who placed Cayman Islands diving on the map, Mr. Ronald (Ron) L. Kipp was a true visionary and his story, like our waters, is one of a kind.

Ron was first introduced to diving in 1971 and became a certified dive instructor soon after. His eagerness to explore the waters of the world led him to the Cayman Islands, where he instantly fell in love with our impeccable marine environment and would become a repeat visitor. A successful businessman with IBM, Ron left his position in 1980 and relocated to the Cayman Islands to become the owner of Bob Soto’s Diving Ltd.

Ron’s earnest passion for the sport, coupled with his foresight of the sport’s potential, led him to begin modernising and expanding his business while marketing the Cayman Islands as a world-class dive destination. Ron quickly became one of the largest dive [operators] in the Cayman Islands, building a PADI five-star operation and influencing scuba diving marketing at home and across the Caribbean region.

A natural leader, Mr. Kipp sought avenues to sustain the growth of the sport worldwide. He was an original member of theDiving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Industry Organizing Committee and was elected to the DEMA Board of Directors, where he served continuously longer than any other member in the organisation’s history. At home, Ron was instrumental in creating the first local scuba diving association and would later help to create the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.

Ron was a formidable businessman softened with a love for laughter, and [he] had a big heart through his active community and tourism efforts. His commitment to developing the sport for future generations cannot be trivialised. Because of his efforts and achievements, Mr. Kipp was inducted into International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame in 2012. Ron received one of the nation’s highest recognitions in the Cayman Islands as a pioneer in Tourism at the 2017 Heroes Day celebrations.

The Ministry and Department of Tourism join the people across the Cayman Islands and around the world in mourning the loss and celebrating the life of one of the great tourism pioneers of our time.