This week we’re featuring an extraordinary diver that fearlessly pursued a sport that was, at the time, mainly dominated by men.
Meet Dottie Frazier, the first female hard-hat diver, first female instructor and the first female owner and operator of a dive shop! Born in 1922 she was swimming by the age of 3, rowing her own row boat at 5 and winning awards for swimming and board diving by age 7. At just 10 years old, she started using a mask, hand crafted by her father, with pieces of a fire hose, glass and an old inner tube. She became quite proficient in spear fishing and by her teens, was a worthy opponent in Diving Derbies.
Dottie grew up on the sea working on fishing boats and during this time she started competing and winning awards in skin diving competitions.
In 1940 she started teaching skin diving and in 1955 she became the worlds first female Scuba Instructor. Not only did she enroll in a course deemed to be too physically demanding for females to complete, she also got top honours in her class.
She then became the first female hard-hat diver. However, she gave it up two years later due to feeling too restricted and then went on to open her own dive shop called the Penguin. She also started her own line of wetsuits and dry suits.
Dottie was also the founder of a club called “Aqua Families” which consisted of diving couples with children who would meet up every weekend and take turns watching each other’s kids as they dived.
Breaking barriers and achieving impressive accomplishments, Dottie is a truly inspirational diver.