As a commercial diver and spearfisher, Logan Guy spends a great deal of his life underwater.
To his thousands of social media followers, Logan Guy is known as the Man with Gills. As a commercial diver, the 37-year-old’s underwater job is never dull. Below the surface, Guy is all business, maintaining boats, changing propellers, searching for lost items and salvaging sunken ships. Catch him on land, however, and you’ll find he’s a thrill seeker with a zest for his job and for life itself.
A native of Jacksonville, Guy grew up surfing and fishing along the shores of Topsail Island. With family who worked in the commercial fishing industry in Sneads Ferry, he spent most of his youth in and around water. As an adult, his path led him to work as a carpenter in Beaufort, which is where he was also first introduced to scuba diving.
“A connection of mine owned R & R Dive Services and was looking for a diver to join his team,” Guy says. “I came on, got certified and learned a lot about the dive business. A little while later I moved back to Jacksonville to be closer to family and went back into carpentry, but I realized I was immediately missing diving.”
In 2015 Guy launched his commercial diving company, High Tide. Most of his day-to-day business comes from boat maintenance and cleaning. On a monthly or bi-monthly basis, both private boat owners and commercial fleets contract Guy to tend to their boats’ undersides, areas that are crucial to keep clean yet nearly impossible to reach for most watermen.
“When boats are kept in the water, they sit and accumulate hard and soft marine growth, like slime, barnacles and oysters, which will rob a boat of its efficiency and create more drag in the water,” he says.
Depending on each boat’s location, frequency of use and condition of its bottom paint, the average cleaning job takes Guy less than two hours. With multiple jobs each day, he estimates he spends about six total hours underwater, with the rest of his time spent moving gear between boats, driving to different locations or going back to his truck to change out his air tanks.
At the start of his business eight years ago, Guy used a hand scraper for all his work. He’s since upgraded to a high-power underwater pressure washer to blast off any hard growth from the metal, then follows up with his hands to remove slime and other softer deposits.
“I end up touching every square inch of every single boat, every single time,” Guy says.
Because of the murky, silty waters of the Intracoastal Waterway and along the river, Guy says he works with almost zero visibility when underneath the water. Much of what he does is by feel alone as he can only see between four to eight inches in front of him at any given time.
“We don’t have very clear water here to begin with, then once I start cleaning, all that stuff coming off the boat clouds up the water and eliminates my visibility,” he says. “Over the years I’ve learned how to know where I’m at under the boat and what I’m feeling for, because I can’t rely on my vision to tell if something’s cleaned correctly.”
In addition to making sure he does a thorough job without being able to see, Guy says another challenge is figuring out how to appropriately position his body at all times. When using the pressure washer, Guy must actively kick his fins to cancel the momentum from the gun. He’s also fighting the effects of buoyancy, as well as the force he’s creating while scraping or scrubbing against the boat hull.
“You’re pushing yourself away while trying to stay close, so there’s a big learning curve on how to orientate your body so you’re not fighting the buoyancy and swimming the whole time,” he says.
When he is not cleaning and maintaining boats, Guy is busy doing propeller changes, line or net disentanglements, locating items lost overboard and his favorite job — salvage. When someone has a sunken vessel needing recovery, they reach out to Guy to help lift it back above water using floatation pillows, straps and the assistance of another diver.
“You secure the deflated air bags to the hull, then feed the straps all the way underneath the boat, trying to find a little space between the rocks that you can fit your hand in and hope the diver you’re diving with is on the exact same spot on the other side to grab the strap from you,” Guy says. “Then you slowly start airing the bags up in sequence, until the boat surfaces.”
Guy admits he has always been an adrenaline junkie and loves doing things like surfing in hurricanes, downhill skateboarding, skydiving and his current passion, spearfishing. A big part of his social media content is centered around videos of his underwater hunts, some of which have been sponsored by local companies. Over the past two years, Guy has grown his online presence and says more than 90 percent of his business now comes about through social media.
“I’ve learned I actually enjoy the creative process of being a digital creator and finding new ways to express what I do and make it entertaining,” Guy says. “My job is something cool for people to look at, and it gets me more business. I’ll obviously always have bottom cleans going on, but I’d eventually love to hire someone to do that and then go salvage boats and shoot fish and make really cool videos documenting what I do and expressing myself over digital content.”
When asked why he loves his job so much, Guy says he believes it is a combination of the action and craziness of it all, as well as the interesting people he gets to meet each day. Just like himself, his customers are boaters, captains and salt life enthusiasts with stories to share and lessons to pass along. He also loves the freedom being a commercial diver offers and says he can’t imagine doing anything else.