More than 20 years ago, a charming young man from the UK showed up to Utila with the goal of teaching people how to dive. For all intents and purposes, he was an ordinary man with an ordinary life, with one major distinction – the extraordinary and uncompromising ambition to be the best.

For 20 years, Andy Phillips developed and fostered both the diving community and industry on Utila and by extension, Central America. Utila as we know it – unique and exuberant – exists as it does because of him.

Fast forward two decades, tens of thousands of students, countless professional designations & accolades and the carcasses of nearly as many Lionfish, Andy was an unsurpassed ambassador and icon for an industry he helped pioneer.

Andy made an immeasurable impact to the community, the conservation and preservation of marine environment and notably the development of professional scuba divers throughout the world. The impact that leaves our hearts broken is the one he made on everyone who had the privilege to know him. He was a thoughtful dive buddy, meaningful mentor, and best friend to so many that will now miss him dearly.

Andy Phillips passed following a tragic diving accident on Tuesday, June 11th 2019.

He asked us to “be the difference”. Over the years, that simple request has developed into a wider mantra, but the goal was always the same: to challenge ourselves and those around us to be better; to find within ourselves that sense of ambition to be the best, as he did.

For those fortunate to have met him and for those who both admired and loved him, this is the occasion that we must now rise to.

To be the difference.

To be the best versions of ourselves.

For Andy.