We are grateful to Dr John Bevan for writing the following article about Michael Cocks and allowing us to share it.
Following 20 years as a London stockbroker and eight years trying to get into Parliament for the SDP, Michael Cocks found a new challenge in commercial diving. He had his first dive in a Falmouth dive tank in 1989. Since that time he has been on a personal crusade to promote commercial diver safety and at the age of 54 qualified as a HSE Part 1 Diver.
At the time he was concerned that the onshore diving industry was almost unregulated. So he began working for the Professional Divers trade union and, with the support of the late Cdr Jackie Warner, Dr John King and Dr John Bevan, launched onto his crusade to ensure there were the same controls for onshore diving as in the North Sea.
After an unacceptably high number of diving deaths in the early 1990s, and vigorous personal lobbying, the HSE expanded the authority of the highly experienced Offshore Diving Inspectors to cover onshore operations. As a result, UK onshore diving has become amongst the safest in the world.
In 1994 he began writing on diving safety issues for the Commercial Diver magazine, the forerunner of Underwater Contractor International, and has been a regular contributor to the latter. With a view to improving global diver training standards, he has visited and dived at 40 commercial diver training schools around the world.
He continued his international diving school visits and advised divers and their families in their fights for compensation following accidents. He was a strong campaigner for the facts of diving accidents and incidents to be made public so that lessons can be learned.