Paul Toomer Joins RAID International

It is with immense pleasure that RAID (Rebreather Association International Divers) announces the appointment of Paul V Toomer as Director of Diver Training. Paul is a force of nature in the diving world and his unique approach is legendary. It is no surprise that since he became a Pro in 1997 Paul has reached the pinnacle of two of the World’s leading diver training agencies; teaching divers, instructors and instructor trainers.

Paul turned tech in 2000. After a decade of teaching rebreather and technical courses, he was headhunted by Scuba Schools International, where he worked with some great people as SSI’s Director of Training.

Paul Toomer_RAID_Rebreather Association_International_Divers_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing Company_RF3_Rebreather Forum 3_Barry Coleman
RAID's new Director of Training; Paul V Toomer
Photo courtesy of Jason Brown -

“I had an incredible time at SSI and I wish them well with the new merger”, stated Paul Toomer.“I just want to do something different and I relish challenges. Joining RAID is hugely exciting because we have so much potential. We are looking outside the diving industry to source ideas on how to kick it up a level. I have just read an article in a surf publication and found it inspirational. The magazine piece discussed how the ‘suits’ (big business) had sucked the life out of the sport and the way the ‘salts’ (the surfers) were trying to regain control. The parallel with the diving industry is striking. People would rather not pay to be lectured to; they pay to have fun. I see RAID as the vehicle to do this through its comprehensive online training system. Divers want 'state of the art' training where they have total control through a transparent online system, at whatever time or location is convenient for them.

Divers training with RAID ( benefit from the most advanced online system in the World. RAID quickly adapts to new developments and diver requirements creating programmes for the latest innovations in equipment, such as the Poseidon SE7EN rebreather. The agency has some of the most advanced training and proactive QA systems I have ever seen. I am impressed by founder Barry Coleman and the exciting techniques he has developed for training divers, both in and out of the water. RAID has a future like no other.

A good friend of mine once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”. I believe RAID provides the solid base for the excitement and adventure to grow in diving. It is the ideal vehicle to bring the ‘rock and roll’ back into our incredible sport.”

Barry Coleman, founder of RAID stated, “I am excited to have Paul on board as a major stakeholder. His enthusiasm and adventurous nature coupled with a solid business head is needed by our sport. Ironically in its attempt to be more ‘professional’, diving seems have moved away from the free spirit that defined it. Paul has always refused to be constrained by diving ‘suits’.

Paul views life as one big adventure. It is obvious to anyone who meets him that he eats, sleeps and breathes diving. But you can also see that he never forgets his professional attitude to training divers. When you combine this ethos with a relevant knowledge base, plus an understanding of the modern business environment, you have the personification of what is needed to drag the dive industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century.”

PADI® Open Water Diver Course Evolution Unveiled

 PADI_Open Water Diver course_Ralph Erickson_Drew Richardson_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing Company


PADI unveiled the latest evolution of their popular PADI Open Water Diver course at the 2013 DEMA Show. The revisions include changes to knowledge development, confined water and open water training, as well as new media training materials such as the highly anticipated PADIOpen Water Diver Touch, a tablet app.  

The PADI Open Water course was built on a solid instructional foundation, and it is probably the most popular global entry-level diving course. However content updates were due, as well as opportunities for superior student-centered learning and confidence-building through refinements to in-water training. The revisions grew from comments and suggestions gathered from the entire PADI family, from the top five percent of PADI Members internationally (those who certify the most divers), from those conducting beta trials, from evaluation of diver incident reports, and from 13,700 surveys of new Open Water Divers.  

PADI Open Water Touch app_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing CompanyBesides changes to the course itself, the revised course introduces revolutionary student training materials, specifically the Open Water Diver Touch. The Touch integrates the manual text, learning objectives, video clips, and progressive self quizzes into an interactive learning experience. In addition, the new PADI Skill Practice and Dive Planning Slate provides PADI Instructors a new way to assess student confidence. The slate also guides students in dive planning.

"The PADI organization is dedicated to teaching diving in ways that are effective, engaging, and enjoyable," says Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. “The revised Open Water Diver course revision applied instructional design, research and experience, along with new state-of-the-art media, keeping PADI Members on the leading edge of diver training.”

PADI Members participating in the revised beta trials shared their thoughts about the revised course:

·         “Students are more confident when it comes to their dives.”

 – Crystal Dive, Koh Tao, Thailand

·         “…confident students by the end of the course – more confident than students in the past.”

– Northwest Scuba, Ltd., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

·         “Love it. I want to start integrating [course revisions] right now.”

– International Scuba, Carrollton, Texas, USA

·         “In open water, students were excited to try out what they did in the pool. … They knew the skills well, so it was a breeze in open water.”

 – Pavilion Dive Centre, Dubai, UAE

Ralph Erickson, PADI co-founder and wise teacher once said, “The future of diving is based upon changes in instruction. Those who are unwilling to change are going to be left behind by those who are willing to change.” 

There will soon be three options for completing the knowledge development portion of the PADI Open Water Diver course: 1. the Open Water Diver Touch (English available in January 2014), 2. the modernized Open Water Diver Online (English available in April 2014), and 3. the completely updated Open Water Diver Manualand Video featuring all new images, illustrations and video footage and available now in English in the United States and Canada. A limited release of English language materials are now available in the United States and translated course materials are anticipated mid-year 2014.

A complete list of new and revised course materials was in the fourth quarter 2013 editions of The Undersea Journal and Training Bulletin. PADI Members can also visit the PADI Pros’ Site and contact their PADI Regional Manager or Sales Consultant.

Juergensen Marine appoints new distributor; SubGravity

Inner Space 2013_Juergensen Marine_Hammerhead rebreathers_Randy Thornton_SubGravity_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing Company_Divetech_Josh Thornton,_Michael Thornton
Juergensen Marine Hammerhead rebreathers prepped, ready to dive at Divetech's Inner Space
Image Copyright: Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company

Juergensen Marine, Inc. - a leading supplier of advanced expedition-grade rebreathers - is proud to announce an exclusive distribution deal with Utah based SubGravity. SubGravity will be taking over the sale and distribution of the "Hammerhead" line of closed circuit mixed gas rebreathers.

Juergensen and SubGravity owners; Randy, Josh and Michael Thornton have long co-operated in sales as well as training, and see many benefits for the rebreather community. "It is really great to extend our relationship with the Thorntons" said Juergensen Marine President, Kevin Juergensen. "They have become our 'go-to guys' for the majority of our training for many divers and instructors from all over the globe. Having them handle our worldwide distribution makes perfect sense when you consider how extensive their diving and business experience is."

"We have been diving Hammerhead rebreathers since they were first introduced, and we feel that they are a phenomenal product," stated Randy Thornton, CEO of SubGravity. "We are excited about this and intend to extend formal distribution to Europe and Asia."

SubGravity will be handling Hammerhead CCR sales and service. Meanwhile Addison based Juergensen will cover replacement products and upgrades for the Hammerhead line of products, and the Optima rebreather for DiveRite.

For further information please email Juergensen Marine or SubGravity direct.

Dr. Richard D. Vann to be awarded prestigious NOGI

Dr Richard D Vann_Rebreather Forum 3_RF3_NOGI Award for Science_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing Company_flying after diving reserach_Dr Neal W Pollock_diving physiology
Dr. Richard Vann gave a number of safety and physiology talks at the 2013 DEMA Show
Photo Copyright: Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company

The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences has announced that Dr. Richard D. Vann has been selected for induction into the 2014 Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (AUAS) Fellow Program.

Dr. Vann’s work and lifetime dedication to dive science earns him a place alongside industry icons.

This coveted award is widely recognised as the oldest and most prestigious in the diving industry. The NOGI has been awarded on an annual basis since 1960 to a select group of divers and undersea visionaries who rank at the top of their fields in arts, science, sports / education, environment, and distinguished service. In 1993 the AUAS was created to administer the NOGI award.

Dr. Vann, Vice President of Research for Divers Alert Network (DAN) (1990-2010), current consultant to DAN and Assistant Professor Emeritus at Duke University Medical Center will be inducted into the AUAS in the Science category and will receive a NOGI Award for his efforts and contributions to the underwater world.

Dr. Vann’s work in diving and environmental physiology spans nearly 50 years with Ocean Systems, Inc., US Navy Underwater Demolition Team-12, Duke Hyperbaric Center and Divers Alert Network. His work includes accomplishments such as the Johnson Space Center’s Group Achievement Award from NASA in 2011, and the Albert R. Behnke Award from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. Dr. Vann was awarded this in 2012 for outstanding scientific contributions to undersea biomedical activity. His most recent work was on Rebreather Forum 3. Dr. Vann was one of key drivers behind this safety symposium and he is the lead editor on the subsequent conference proceedings. These are due to be published shortly.

“Receiving a NOGI is exciting and quite an honor,” said Dr. Vann. “Understanding diving safety, particularly fatalities and decompression sickness, has been my major professional interest. I am most pleased by this recognition.”

This NOGI award will be presented to Dr. Vann at the 54th Annual NOGI Awards Gala held during the DEMA Show in November 2014.

“DAN is proud to have one of our own inducted into this elite group of dive industry professionals,” said Bill Ziefle, President and CEO of Divers Alert Network. “Dr. Vann has spent a lifetime advancing dive safety research and it is exciting to see him receive this great honour. His scientific contributions have made a significant impact in our sport.”

Associate Professor Simon J Mitchell stated, “Dr. Vann has devoted much of the latter part of his career to identifying unresolved issues of substantial practical importance to the diving community, and has set about resolving them. Frequently this has involved the exhausting task of organising and orchestrating workshops to weigh evidence and generate consensus. It is unquestionably fair to say that no individual in the diving science community has contributed more time and effort in this regard than Dr. Vann. I believe our community owes this archetypal ‘scholar and gentleman’ a huge debt of gratitude and I am thrilled to see him recognised in this way.”

The Academy Fellowship and the Underwater Society of America are responsible for the nomination and selection of all NOGI Award winners. Each year, AUAS invites Academy fellows to recommend nominees for a prestigious NOGI Award. To recommend future NOGI recipients, simply explore the roster of NOGI Fellows on the AUAS website ( to determine the most appropriate contact person.

Joining Dr. Vann are four other NOGI Awardees: Lad Handelman (Distinguished Service); Richard Ellis (Arts), Bill Macdonald, (Environment), and Mike Hollis, Sports & Education.

Otter Gators

Otter Gators, X-Ray Mag, drysuit accessory, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Undewater Marketing Company, JJ Womack, John Womack
Respected UK drysuit manufacturer - Otter - has recently launched Otter Gators.

Some drysuit dives, especially cave divers, want to reduce drag and /or limit excess air flow into their legs and boots. This lowers the potential risk of inversion.

A simple way to achieve this is to wrap a gator around the lower leg. They are easy to fit and adjust and Otter state their gators are comfortable to wear.

These Otter Gators are constructed from cordura and are secured by super grip double vecro closures. The result is a rugged, functional drysuit accessory.

Available in Small and Medium.

First published: “Equipment in the news” X-Ray Magazine, January 2014, Issue 58, Page 41


January 2014 Edition of X-Ray Magazine is out

XRay Magazine_scuba diving_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing Company_cave diving death_fluro diving_Doug Allan_Steve Lewis_Simon Pridmore_Poseidon SE7EN
The latest issue of X-Ray is out. Main highlights in this international diving magazine include;
  • Mouthwatering wreck diving; Norway's Frankenwald
  • Profile of BBC Wildlife Cinematographer Doug Allan
  • Fluorescent Night Diving
  • Steve Lewis Tech Talk feature on Exposure
  • Cuba's Gardens of the Queen
  • Indonesia's Bunaken
  • Solomon Islands' New Georgia
  • Simon Pridmore discusses Oxygen in Scuba Confidential

Plus news and discoveries, equipment and training news, books and media, underwater photo and video equipment, turtle news, shark tales, whale tales and much more...

Download your free copy of X-Ray Magazine here (file format: pdf)

►► X-Ray Magazine Hi-Res iPAD Version

►► X-Ray Magazine Lower Resolution Version

After the file downloads in your browser, XRay recommends that you save it to your desktop, drive or some storage media for off-line browsing. On iPads, the file can be saved directly to iBooks app.

Alex Mustard to speak at UK's Natural History Museum

Alex Mustard, HM The Queen of England, scuba diving, Natural History Museum Lectures, Roz Lunn, Rosemary E Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving pr and marketingThe Natural History Museum in London, England runs a number of daytime and evening talks and events to offer insight and practical advice through the run of the 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013' exhibition.

World-class photographers share tips on how to become an award winner and reveal the challenges of working on location at these free drop-in talks.

This Saturday, Dr Alex Mustard will be giving two talks and showing a selection of his successful images and some behind the scenes video. Each talk runs for 30 minutes.

18 January 2014: 12:30 - 13:00 and 14:30 - 15:00

UW Journal is out; Goliath Groupers and the Kiss Spirit Rebreather

The Underwater Journal, Walt Stearns, 2013 Beneath The Sea Dive Show, Kiss Spirit rebreather, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Image Copyright © : Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company

The latest edition of the on-line magazine, the Underwater Journal is out.

Stories in this issue include Goliath Groupers, an in depth piece on the Kiss Spirit rebreather, an article on the Pygmy Seahorse, and an overview of the 2013 Ocean Art Photography Contest winners.

Pictured here is the Editor-in-Chief of the Underwater Journal - Walt Stearns - at last year's 'Beneath The Sea' Dive Show.

A Deceptively Easy Way to Die by Rosemary E Lunn

It is late Sunday night - the 29th December 2013 if you want me to be precise - and I am writing this article with my head and heart full of mixed emotions. I keep on thinking back to a dive that took place a mere four days ago. It was not a special or significant dive. It was not carried out by a leading explorer nor a diving personality. No one found a new species of fish or discovered a wreck, yet this dive has made international headlines. It has been discussed around the World on many newspaper and diving forums. Leading members of our community have spoken out and commented about it, just because of the outcome of this dive.

Cave divers, Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, safe diving practices, Florida cave diving
Prepared, experienced cave divers at the Wes Skiles Peacock Springs Park
by Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company

On Christmas morning a 35-year-old man took his 15-year-old son for a dive. They were trying out new scuba equipment excitedly unwrapped earlier that day. It all sounds quite normal until you add in the fact that the father was not a diving instructor, the son had no scuba training, and neither of them had cave diving training. Why do I mention this? The site chosen was Eagles Nest.

Eagle's Nest is a deep (94 m / 310 ft) sink cave based in Florida, USA. The NACD (The National Association for Cave Diving) and the NSS-CDS (National Speleological Society Cave Diving Section) clearly state that this is a very advanced dive and the minimum qualification to dive this site is a ‘Full Cave’ certification, a Trimix ticket and the diver should have appropriate experience with deep cave dives. Neither diver met these key criteria.

It was a ‘Silent Night’. The two bodies were recovered before Midnight on Christmas Day. This day will never ever be the same for the family, the officials who attended this scene and the cave divers who were called out to do the body recovery.

Eagles Nest, Diving Warning Sign, diving safety, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving, cave diving, rebreather divingThe cave and diving community is currently suffering two conflicting emotions - huge anger and deep sorrow. These were two needless and unnecessary deaths. They should not have happened. Eagles Nest has a number of signs above and below water graphically warning of the dangers of diving the site without proper training, equipment and experience. Unfortunately it seems that certain individuals go through life believing that the rules just do not apply to them. Now the family is commenting that the site should be closed to prevent further deaths.

I can understand the family’s grief, but this knee jerk reaction will not make one jot of difference to safety. It will merely restrict access to a quality cave diving site that took a long time to gain. Cave divers in the main are responsible and disciplined. They take their sport very seriously and respect site access. They plan, they are properly equipped, and they are trained. Closing Eagles Nest will not make it safer, because the people likely to break into this site to dive it will be the ones who think the rules don’t count. They will probably be ill-equipped, have little or no relevant training and will probably also end up in a body bag. If the family truly want to make a positive difference to stop unnecessary deaths, perhaps they could campaign to remind divers of the dangers of diving beyond their training and experience.

A little good has already come about as a result of these deaths. In 1997 the cave community came together to write and film a short documentary called ‘A deceptively easy way to die’. Because of the Eagles Nest fatalities, this film is once again being watched.

I hope that the double fatality will make open water divers tempted to ‘check out kit’ or ‘just see what is down there’, think twice before entering a cave they are not equipped for. That they will read and respect the signs saying ‘there is nothing in this cave worth dying for’. So pass the message on. Please watch ‘A deceptively easy way to die’. Then share it, and talk about it with new divers and remind them that we are not setting rules to ruin their fun, but to keep them safe so they can enjoy many more Christmas Days.


Exactly four months on, Friday 25th April 2014, CBS Miami has published this update on the double Christmas Day fatality.