GUE was formed by Jarrod Jablonski and gained early prominence in association with the success of its well-known Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP), which now has the status of a nonprofit affiliate of GUE. Jablonski, the president of GUE, promoted the ideas of "Hogarthian" gear configuration and the "Doing It Right" (DIR) system of diving to a global audience. Following the WKPP's introduction in 1995 of a standardized approach to gear configuration and diving procedures, there was a significant reduction in diving incidents within the Woodville Karst Plain cave system.
The standardized approach is the basis of the diver training program of GUE, marking an important difference from the programs of other diver training organizations. GUE also focuses on protecting the maritime environment. The most popular GUE course is GUE Fundamentals, which is designed to introduce the GUE system to non-GUE divers and is the pathway to technical courses. Further courses are offered in recreational, technical, and cave diving, as well as instructor courses.
GUE is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization formed to promote education, conservation, and exploration of the aquatic realm. The organization was formed by Jarrod Jablonski and a small group of educators, explorers, and diving instructors. The founding members sought to build upon the history of the Cousteau Society by creating a diverse network of satellite organizations. In this way, local advocates help GUE establish detailed diver training, vibrant exploration, and sustainable conservation initiatives. When GUE was formed it was co-located with Extreme Exposure dive store. However, Extreme Exposure has subsequently changed locations, which has allowed for further growth of GUE.
Among the diving community, GUE is known for a rigorous style of training that diverges from other diver training organizations[clarification needed] and seeks to establish high levels of diver proficiency by extending training time, establishing objective performance criteria, and requiring requalification among its instructors and divers. GUE diver training started with technical cave and technical diving classes, expanding into recreational training while refining its most popular class known as GUE Fundamentals. GUE also adheres to a standardized equipment and procedural system, which it claims enhances diver safety and efficiency by reducing confusion and helping divers act as a team. This latter training component is a controversial aspect of GUE training, as it stipulates a fairly strict set of guiding principles. GUE's founder, Jarrod Jablonski, was a long-time proponent of a standardized system known as Hogarthian diving and also a key architect in the Doing It Right (DIR) system, which extends the scope of standardized diving equipment and procedures.
In February 2016, the British Sub-Aqua Club confirmed that a review has been completed on how to integrate GUE divers into BSAC branches.
As of May 2017, GUE offered 26 courses in four subject areas.
The best known of GUE's satellite organizations is the Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP), which is a non-profit affiliate of GUE. GUE members are engaged in science and exploration projects conducted by the WKPP. This collaboration helped encourage the state of Florida to budget more than 200 million dollars toward the development of enhanced wastewater treatment practices as means to enhance ground water protection and support the conservation of Wakulla Springs State Park. GUE has launched a global conservation project known as Project Baseline to document the condition of global aquatic environments.
Some of the organization's notable outreach projects have included:
In 2011, three members of the GUE and Projecto Espeleológico de Tulum dive team, Alex Alvarez, Franco Attolini, and Alberto Nava, explored a section of cave known as Hoyo Negro for their work with the Quintana Roo Speleological Survey. The divers located the remains of a mastodon as well as a human skull that may be the oldest evidence of early man in the area to date.
GUE instructors regularly host "Introduction to GUE" workshops aimed at promoting the Global Underwater Explorers approach to diving.
GUE publishes a quarterly journal, Quest, as well as a number of books and videos related to their philosophy of diving. These are generally available through their website, other online retailers and bookshops.
GUE also began publishing annual reports in 2016 to provide the public with a better overview of community dive projects, Project Baseline activities, and GUE training and operational information.
Jablonski, Jarrod (2001). Doing it Right: The Fundamentals of Better Diving. Global Underwater Explorers. ISBN 0-9713267-0-3.
Jablonski, Jarrod (2003). Beyond the Daylight Zone: The Fundamentals of Cave Diving. Global Underwater Explorers.
Jablonski, Jarrod (2003). Getting Clear on the Basics: The Fundamentals of Technical Diving. Global Underwater Explorers.
MacKay, Dan. Dress for Success. Global Underwater Explorers.
Berglund, Jesper. Beginning With the End in Mind - the Fundamentals of Recreational Diving. Global Underwater Explorers.
GUE (2004). DIR 2004 (DVD). Global Underwater Explorers. Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
GUE (2005). Pantelleria 2005 (DVD). Global Underwater Explorers. Archived from the original on 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
GUE (2006). The Mysterious Malady: Toward an understanding of decompression injuries (DVD). Global Underwater Explorers. Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
GUE (2006). The Woodville Karst Plain Project: Chip's Hole Exploration 1996-2005 (DVD). Global Underwater Explorers. Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
^Global Underwater Explorers. "GUE Course Descriptions". Archived from the original on 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
^Global Underwater Explorers. "GUE Membership". Archived from the original on 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
^Global Underwater Explorers. "Contact GUE". Archived from the original on 2009-08-22. Retrieved 2008-10-13.