Submissions Close Today for 2017 DAN / Rolex Diver Of The Year Award

Since 1989 Rolex and Divers Alert Network have collaborated to award a prestigious honour in scuba diving: the DAN / Rolex Diver of the Year Award.

Originally this began as a grant to DAN in the late 1980s and, over time, has evolved into an annual award that acknowledges excellence in diving and dive safety. It is given to “an individual who has made significant contributions to dive safety and / or the DAN mission over the past year.

DAN, Divers Alert Network, DAN Rolex Award, diving safety, Roz Lunn, Rosemary E Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
DAN was founded in September 1980 | Image Credit: Rosemary E Lunn

Do you know an individual who:

  • Is passionate about diving
  • Promotes and supports DAN's mission to prevent and manage diving incidents
  • Demonstrates exceptional dedication to establishing a culture of dive safety
  • Is committed to the highest level of care for the environment

Submit your nomination by 17.00 EST today - 16th December 2016 - by emailing Garrett Broyles at Divers Alert Network.

If you are wondering who has won this award in the past, there is a full list of winners at the bottom of this article.

Earlier this year Kirk Krack - CEO and Founder of Performance Freediving International (PFI) - was announced as the 2016 DAN / Rolex Diver Of The Year.

Kirk is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on freedive safety, instruction and education. This aspect of diving has grown enormously because of Kirk and his contribution to safety. He has successfully incorporated technical rescue divers into competitions and lead the culture of "no diving without a buddy".

Kirk Krack, DAN Rolex Award, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, diving safety, freediving expert
2016 DAN / Rolex Award Winner Kirk Krack | Image Credit: Rosemary E Lunn

Krack received his award at the 2016 Beneath the Sea Dive Show in Secaucus, New Jersey on 2nd April 2016. He was presented with an Oyster Perpetual Rolex Dive Watch and a commemorative wall plaque.

Kirk made the following speech after receiving the award.

"Thank you Bill. And thank you to DAN and Rolex for honouring me with this prestigious award.

It’s truly a privilege to be with you all tonight and be recognized for my work in a field that has really been my life’s passion.

I knew from a very early age when I was skin diving off the family sailboat, that I would spend my life in the water. My career has had many steps in diving. It has spanned life guarding, commercial diving, recreational dive instruction and technical dive instruction. Little did I know that this path would lead me full circle back to my first true passion. Freediving.

16 years ago I founded Performance Freediving International because I could see there was a lack of proper education in our sport, in particular a lack of safety education.

The human body can adapt in some quite amazing ways when we freedive. I am still in awe of the unbelievable things we can do underwater on a single breath of air. But these physiological adaptations used to be little understood. I am proud to say that today we now have a lot more understanding of this form of diving. I feel lucky that we have been able to contribute significantly to these advancements.

Along the way we also proved the success of our methods, and I would be very remiss in accepting this award tonight if I did not credit my wonderful wife Mandy-Rae, who I coached to 7 world freediving records. In 2009 she was inducted into the Woman Diver’s Hall of Fame. She inspires me every single day. Thank you honey!

For 16 years we have working towards a greater acceptance of freediving in the world of underwater sports. I have always said that freediving is to SCUBA what snowboarding was to skiing—an alternative way to enjoy and express yourself underwater and a vehicle for bringing new generations of divers into our underwater world.

But freediving also has very specific nuances that set it apart from other underwater pursuits which, much like technical diving, require specialized training and education, so it is very gratifying to me that DAN and the diving community as a whole have positively embraced our sport and the need for proper safety education.

And I am excited that we are now building industry alliances that will forward PFI’s mission of helping divers Explore Their Potential Safely, Through Education.

You know, we all share the oceans. We have a common duty to protect and preserve them. I’m grateful to be in a room full of people that understand that truth, and I am proud to be among you all and to receive this fantastic award. Thank you!"

 

Previous DAN / Rolex Diver of the Year Award Winners

 

Drew Richardson, PADI, DAN Rolex Award, diving safety, diving education, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Drew Richardson won the DAN / Rolex Award in 1992 | Image Credit: Rosemary E Lunn
  • Jim Corry (1990)
  • Michael Lang, Ph.D. (1991)
  • Drew Richardson, Ed.D. (1992)
  • Karl Huggins (1993)
  • Glen Egstrom, Ph.D. (1994)
  • Marjorie Bank (1995)
  • Dick Long (1996)
  • Lee Somers, Ph.D. (1997)
  • Richard Dunford (1998)
  • Hillary Viders, Ph.D. (1999)
  • Greg Mackay (2000)
  • Bill Hamilton, Ph.D. (2001)
  • Simon Mitchell, Neal Pollock, Roz Lunn, Rosemary Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Stephen Frink, DAN Rolex Award, diving safety, diving medicine
    Simon Mitchell (centre) won the DAN / Rolex Award in 2015. He is pictured here with colleagues Neal Pollock (left) and the author, Rosemary E Lunn | Image Credit: Stephen Frink

    Marc Kaiser (2002)

  • Andrea Zaferes (2003)
  • Thomas Jaskulski (2004)
  • Albert José Jones, Ph.D. (2005)
  • Scott Taylor (2006)
  • Jeff Bozanic, Ph.D. (2007)
  • Ivan Montoya, M.D. (2008)
  • Paul Auerbach, M.D. (2009)
  • Gene Hobbs (2010)
  • Tom Neuman, M.D. (2011)
  • Alex Brylske, Ph.D. (2012)
  • Frank L. Chapman (2013)
  • Karen VanHoosen (2014)
  • Simon Mitchell, M.D. (2015)
  • Kirk Krack (2016)

#TBT – "Make A Meaningful Difference" says PADI's Drew Richardson

The 'Beneath The Sea' show celebrated a major birthday earlier this month.

Beneath The Sea Show, 40th anniversary, Scuba diving show, Armand Zigahn, Chris Sasso, Robert Ricke, JoAnn Zigahn, Robert Schrager, Maria Hults, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Women Divers Hall of FameThis USA based scuba diving event was founded in 1976, making this the 40th year Beneath The Sea has recognised divers who have made significant and lasting contributions in the fields of the arts, education, environment, service and science.

Included in the 2016 'Diver Of The Year' Class was Dr Drew Richardson for Service. Drew is PADI Worldwide's President & CEO.

Here is Drew's acceptance speech.

"Thank you. I’m honored and humbled to receive this recognition as there are so many other more worthy recipients out in the world.

I’m passionate about diving and I've dedicated most of my life to it – to improving dive training to help make divers confident, competent and comfortable underwater.

Many of you may not know this, but I lost my brother in a diving accident when I was eighteen. My brothers and I were all experienced watermen- competitive swimmers, water polo players, lifeguards and divers. In large part, his passing was a catalyst in my decision to dedicate my life to diving education and exploration and contributing to helping make it safer for all who choose to try it.

I owe this honor to the many people who have worked with me over the years to make diving more than diving. To make it about changing lives.

As I see it, when we bring people into diving, going underwater is just the start. We’re not just in the dive business, we’re in the life transformation business.

Think about all of the amazing leaders who, through diving, change lives every day. A lot of these folks are in this room right now.

Look at the women recognized here tonight in the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame. Cody Unser, you are a shining light and a rock star! Congratulations on this recognition. You open new doors every day for those who may have long thought them shut.

WDHOF, Dawn Kernagis, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Beneath the Sea, scuba show, dive show, Drew Richardson, Project Pink Tank, EUROTEK, Women Divers Hall of Fame, Dr Neal W Pollock
Dr Dawn Kernagis

And, Dawn Kernagis, well done to you, as well. Your contributions in diving physiology, research and exploration in diving are for the betterment of all divers.

Margo Peyton isn’t here tonight, but she’s inspiring the next generation to become divers and join the ranks of dive professionals, leaders and ocean advocates. All of the Women Diver Hall of Fame members are all special and remarkable in their own right as leaders and role models. They change lives every day.

And then there’s my fellow Diver of the Year and Diving Pioneer award recipients. Wayne [Hasson], congratulations to you on receiving the 2016 Diving Pioneer award - this award is well deserved.

Fabien Cousteau, congratulations to you, as well, and thank you for carrying on your family’s legacy.

Richard [Lutz], congratulations and thank you for sharing the impact and importance of a perceived alien world with millions, influencing them to care.

Wendy [Benchley], thank you for standing up for shark protection to ensure future generations will have the opportunity to experience these majestic creatures.

And, to my friend, Bill Ziefle, thank you for standing up for diver safety through the efforts of DAN to ensure there’s help divers when they need it the most.

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the Beneath the Sea steering committee . . . Zig and JoAnne, Bob and Maria -- along with all of the show volunteers who have humbly supported and served the dive community for 40 years. Their efforts have changed hundreds of thousands of lives over the years and provided new opportunity to our diving youth. They are the lighting rod in bringing us all together as a community. Thank you.

Dr Drew Richardson, PADI CEO, RF3, Rebreather Forum 3, Beneath the Sea Awards, Diver Of The Year, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, acceptance speech, award speech,
Dr Drew Richardson

As divers, this is what we do. Through many ways, means and methods, we change lives. Some of us change lives in big ways, and others in small ways. But, it’s all significant.

I am honored to be among you all.

When I think about the future, I think about the ways we can inspire the global family of divers to stand together to pay it forward. To care about something much larger than ourselves, this includes adaptive scuba and also about as a community paying it forward by about turning around to the next person in line and helping them along on their journey.

This includes ocean conservation, underwater cultural heritage and preservation, and defending and protecting our ocean. While, as individuals, we all touch lives for the better, together we can make a meaningful difference.

There’s no group better positioned to accomplish these things than divers.

Success depends upon you – and every diver around the world – taking action. Let’s work together to unite a global force of divers to drive forward as agents to change. Let’s join together to take care of this gift that takes care of all of us. Now that’s life transforming.

I never get tired of seeing the PADI family change lives with diving. While this is reward enough, I deeply appreciate this recognition of my contributions to the industry and sport. I will use it to help inspire other to change lives and band together to save our oceans.

Thank you."

Yes! You Should Still Do Your Rebreather Prebreathe

Beneath The Sea Show, Dr Simon Mitchell, DAN Rolex Diver of the Year, Dr Neal W Pollock, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Pod Diver Radio, Joe Cocozza, rebreather, prebreathe, diving safety
Joe Cocozza (sat to the left) interviews Dr Simon Mitchell on pre breathing a rebreather

 

In July last year I wrote a LinkedIn blog calling for Auckland based divers to take part in a rebreather study that was being conducted by Dr Simon Mitchell and Dr Neal Pollock.

The results of this useful research were first unveiled to the world in September 2014 at EUROTEK, the European Advanced Diving Conference. Dr Simon Mitchell presented 'The Five Minute Prebreathe: Sensitive Test For CO2 Scrubber Problems Or A Waste Of Time' to a packed hall of international delegates.

Since then there is some mixed messaging about should rebreather divers do a prebreathe? Or is it just a waste of time? If you didn't attend either EUROTEK or OZTek and hear Simon Mitchell's talk, what should you be doing?

Joe Cocozza of Pod Diver Radio interviewed Dr Simon Mitchell at this year's Beneath The Sea show about this hot topic.

During the interview Dr Mitchell stated, "this study has been mis-interpreted by some people to suggest that the prebreathe is completely useless. We are not staying that. We absolutely believe that a prebreathe should be still be done for the other reasons. Checking the loop function is correct, adding oxygen and maintaining a set point. These are all critical things.

What we are saying is that you should not do a five minute prebreathe in the expectation that it will reveal any carbon dioxide problems. Or put it another way, if your five minute prebreathe is ok or appears ok from a CO2 point of view you cannot rely on that. That is the point we are making. Of course you should always do a prebreathe."

To hear this interview in full, click here.