How DiveWise Began
On April 19, 2008 Walter and Julie Richardson received a call telling them their two oldest sons had been involved in a freedive accident and were in trouble. Both boys had blacked out on the ascent following a 90 ft freedive. David, 16, blacked out 30 ft below the surface. Robert, 20, returned to rescue his brother without time to get another breath, and blacked out in the effort. The motionless pair, floating face down in the water, caught the attention of their three young buddies, who launched a rescue. After successfully reviving the brothers, they contacted the Coast Guard, and the pair was airlifted to hospital where they later made a full recovery.
Nearly losing two sons together to freediver blackout compelled Julie to become a voice for change in freedive safety. She talked to the top experts in the industry, many of whom shared her concern and pledged their support in her effort to promote freedive safety education.
Julie Richardson’s background is in nursing. She has served on the Family Advisory Council at Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH) and as a consultant to MCH’s hospital administration on projects including her proposed development and implementation of an Electronic Medical Record, and the development and installation of the first pediatric barcode medication administration system.
A sixth generation Miamian, Julie's articles on freedive safety have been published in several industry publications around the world.
The Richardson family has a close relationship to the sea. Walter is a yacht surveyor who loves to spend his free time spearfishing with their three sons. In his younger years, Walter worked as a treasure diver on a three-masted schooner and survived being shipwrecked from this vessel after spending three days at sea on a rubber raft.
Julie and Walter have three sons, Robert, 25, David, 21, and Jason, 7. Robert and David have been freediving since they were small, are spearfishermen, and are also scuba certified. Robert is a trained intermediate freediver and a Firefighter/Paramedic. Both boys are experienced at operating vessels up to 48’. Together, this family has cruised Florida’s Okeechobee Waterway, Alaska’s Inside Passage, the Bahamas, the Florida Keys, and local South Florida waters.
Julie and her family are passionate about sharing their experience with freediver blackout and in furthering education about this killer so that others might not suffer.