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)

Sea Scouts, Scuba and Scholarships

Boy Scouts of America, youth diving, scuba diving, USA, Kathy Weydig, Keith Christopher, Sea Scouts, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, scuba diving PR, The Underwater Marketing Company
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is a great organisation for boys and girls aged 14 to 21 keen to learn and improve their skills in, on and under the water. There are Sea Scout units (called ships) established across the USA on oceans, bays, rivers, and lakes.

The program covers important leadership and life skills, and includes a healthy serving of fun activities, where young people can share interests. One such activity is scuba diving, where the next generation can earn valuable scuba training and certifications.

Boy Scouts of America, youth diving, scuba diving, USA, Kathy Weydig, Keith Christopher, Sea Scouts, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, scuba diving PR, The Underwater Marketing Company, DAN, Divers Alert Network, WDHOF, Women Divers Hall of FameIf you are curious about how you can integrate Sea Scouts into your diving training operation, come to Room S230 today (Thursday 17th November 2016) at the DEMA Show.

Kathy Weydig (WDHOF Founder, DAN Board Member), and Keith Christopher (National Director of Sea Scouts & Outdoor Programs with Boy Scouts of America) will share how interacting with these young and adventurous scouts helps encourage a lifetime love of diving and promotes conservation of the seas.

And there is funding available too! Did you know that PADI offers a multilevel scholarship program to introduce Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts to the exciting underwater world?

You can find out more today at 10.00.

#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."

Dr Dawn Kernagis Inducted Into 2016 Women Divers Hall Of Fame

Dr Dawn Kernagis, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Project Pink Tank, GUE, WKPP, Jarrod Jablonski, Casey McKinley, Duke University, DCS research, female scuba divers, WDHOF, Women Divers Hall Of Fame
Dawn Kernagis - Florida Diving Biomedical Researcher, Educational Outreach Advocate, Cave/Technical Diver (right) pictured with the author (left) Image Copyright: Karl Shreeves

On 8th March this year - International Women's Day - I posted the following about Dr Dawn Kernagis on my Facebook page.

"Bright bunny, great diver. Has much to offer to the world of diving on the research front. Her star will shine brilliantly."

Dawn has been scuba diving since 1993, primarily with GUE. Before she moved to Durham (USA) Dawn worked as GUE’s first Operations Manager. She was a Surface Manager and Team Member on the Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) from 1996 - 2007. She was also the Turner Project Manger on the WKPP Turner – Wakulla record breaking traverse on 15 December 2007. (Casey McKinlay and Jarrod Jablonski took 7 hours to complete the traverse, covering a distance of 36,000 feet or 11km. The decompression penalty on this dive was 15 hours).

In 2010, Dawn conceived and launched Project Pink Tank. The aim of this study is to improve understanding of diver health issues in breast cancer survivors.

Dawn completed her Ph.D. at Duke University in 2012, where she studied the genetics of decompression sickness and mechanisms of oxygen toxicity in divers. Dawn has worked on diving physiology research projects through IHMC, Duke, DAN, and Karolinska Institute in Sweden, including studies focused on decompression sickness, immersion pulmonary edema, oxygen toxicity and carbon dioxide retention in divers.

Dr Dawn Kernagis is a Mentor and Grant Writer with Water Women, Inc.

Simon Mitchell Receives DAN / Rolex Award

The 2015 winner of the DAN / Rolex Diver of the Year Award - one of the most prestigious honours in scuba diving - has just been announced by Divers Alert Network. For the last quarter of a century DAN has partnered with Rolex to acknowledge excellence in diving and dive safety. This year the prolific work that Associate Professor Simon J Mitchell has done, has been recognised.

Dr Simon Mitchell, Anaesthesiology, University of Auckland, New Zealand, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, DAN Rolex Award, Diver of The Year, Fourth Element, Dr Neal W Pollock, EUROTEK Advanced Diving Conference
Dr Simon Mitchell is an avid tech and rebreather diver Image Credit: Dr Neal W Pollock

This award is given to “an individual who has made significant contributions to dive safety and / or the DAN mission over the past year.” Without a doubt, Simon Mitchell fulfills this criteria.

I first met Dr Mitchell in 2008 when I co-organised the inaugural EUROTEK. During the run up to the event, the late Carl Spencer praised a diving doctor he had heard speak at OZTek. Carl was keen that this hyperbaric expert should also present at our international advanced and technical diving conference. At this time Simon Mitchell’s name was not that well known by northern hemisphere advanced and technical divers.

Simon was only meant to deliver two sessions at EUROTEK.08, a different talk each day, but because another speaker had been unable to attend at the last minute, he willingly stepped into the breach and gave four different talks over two days. I spoke to him on the Sunday night post-conference, and noted he was absolutely exhausted. It was obvious he had given his all, both educating and engaging an audience of European advanced and technical divers. Simon easily fulfills the wording for the DAN / Rolex Diver of the Year Award; “he goes beyond to ensure that all divers prepare smarter through proper dive education…

The diving forums went wild post EUROTEK.08. The northern hemisphere divers loved and appreciated the fact that Simon Mitchell didn’t dumb down decompression theory. Instead he took time to carefully explain quite complex information to them, in a non-patronising manner, communicating it in such a way that everyone in the audience left having learnt something useful.

Simon Mitchell, Decompression Theory, Rebreathers, The ICC, EUROTEK, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Leigh Bishop, Mark Dixon, The Underwater Marketing Company
Simon Mitchell speaking to a packed hall at EUROTEK Image Credit: Jason Brown


Dr Simon Mitchell is a fantastic speaker with a knack of explaining medical information to non medics, yet also keeping the medics engaged.” Mary Sinclair

After attending all of Dr Simon Mitchell’s lectures I feel like I’ve had a crash update in the latest decompression theory.” Sebastian Chander

Simon Mitchell was engaging and funny and has a knack for making complex subjects interesting and easy to understand for the layman.” Howard Payne

Dr Simon Mitchell is a physician with specialist training in anaesthesiology and diving medicine. He is the Head of the Department of Anaesthesiology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and divides his time between the operating theatre, teaching, research and lecturing around the world. Simon holds a medical degree, Diplomas in Occupational Medicine and Diving Medicine, and a PhD in medicine. He is board certified in anesthesiology and hyperbaric medicine.

The DAN / Rolex Diver of the Year Award is given to “an outstanding individual who has devoted their career to making diving safer for all of us.” Simon Mitchell has authored or co-authored 104 publications including books, text book chapters, scientific journal articles and papers, and workshop proceedings. He sits on three editorial boards (Journal for Extracorporeal Technology, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, and Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine) and is on the Medical Advisory Board for DAN South-east Asia / Pacific and the DAN USA Research Committee.

Since 2008, I have worked with Dr Mitchell on a number of international events. He has spoken at every EUROTEK; 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and he is slated again for 2016. He also talks and lectures throughout the world at many medical and diving conferences and events. He says (when asked) that he loves talking to divers because they are an involved hungry curious audience that absorbs information.

Rebreather Forum 3, RF3, AAUS, DAN, PADI, Dr Richard D Vann, Dr Petar J Denoble, Dr Neal W Pollock, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz LunnIn May 2012 Simon Mitchell beautifully accomplished what many of us on the Rebreather Forum 3 organising team thought to be an unenviable and challenging job, and made it look simple. Simon chaired the final two-hour session at Rebreather Forum 3, the purpose of which was to forge an agreement for consensus recommendations of the meeting. (This three-day safety symposium was hosted and driven by the AAUS, DAN and PADI).

Simon successfully got the various communities to ratify consensus on 16 safety points. During the session, Simon actively listened and carefully took into consideration every argument delivered from the floor, amalgamating the relevant issues into acceptable form. As a result many recommendations have already been adopted by the worldwide rebreather community in the hope that they will reduce rebreather accidents and fatalities. Simon Mitchell’s action at RF3 demonstrated beautifully he is “a leader in the dive community.”

Inner Space 2014, Divetech, Georgia Hausserman, prebreath, PADI TecRec, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Nancy Easterbrook, rebreather diving
PADI TecRec Consultant Georgia Hausserman doing a pre-breathe during Divetech's Inner Space Image Credit: Rosemary E Lunn

The DAN / Rolex Diver Award is given to “a diver who actively promotes and supports DAN’s mission and dedication to incident prevention, management and protection.” Evidence of this was confirmed by a paper entitled ‘The five minute prebreathe in evaluating carbon dioxide absorption in a closed-circuit rebreather: a randomized single-blind study’ published in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine, for which Dr Mitchell was the senior author. He worked with colleagues from various key institutions including Duke University.

This research had been inspired by the rebreather community. This is a ‘hungry for knowledge’ community, and this thirst is partially driven by technology. Equipment continues develop and evolve allowing deeper and / or longer dives to be conducted that just a few years ago we used to consider improbable. At the turn of the century 100 metre / 300 foot technical dives were considered cutting edge. Today these kinds of depths are the norm for many divers. It is of little surprise therefore that extreme divers and explorers are asking quite challenging physiology questions.

In 2014 Simon Mitchell therefore set out to answer a controversial topic - just how effective is the five minute pre-breathe that all rebreather divers undertake prior to entering the water? A minimum pre-breathe period of five minutes is usually prescribed, on the basis this timeframe allows the diver to recognise elevated carbon dioxide levels in the scrubber, ie shortness of breath. Simon, along with Dr Neal W Pollock, devised a research study to confirm whether the five minute prebreathe is an appropriate sensitive test and does reveal CO2 scrubber problems, or whether it is actually a waste of time.

Simon shared this key research with the recreational and technical diving community, presenting it at EUROTEK.2014 and OZTEK.2015.

Simon Mitchell, Pete Mesley, Lust4Rust, Bikini Atoll, Truk Lagoon, AP Diving, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Simon Mitchell about to jump in Bikini Image Credit: Pete Mesley

Simon’s current research interests include the pathophysiology and treatment of decompression illness and, in particular, the pathophysiology of inner ear decompression illness. He is also interested in the incorporation of CO2 monitoring in closed circuit rebreathers, and the use of checklists to improve safety in the operating room and during diving.

Simon not only talks diving, he an avid technical diver. He began diving in 1972 and he is still an active current diver today, usually diving a closed-circuit rebreather. He has completed over 6000 recreational, scientific, military, and occupational dives and regularly uses rebreather technology to facilitate the exploration of shipwrecks and deep reefs. Simon's notable underwater achievements include helping to positively identify the SS Cumberland and working with Pete Mesley to identify and then recover the Port Kembla ships bell. He was also part of a team that helped confirm that the wreck of hospital ship AHS Centaur was mis-identified, and is often the diver medic on extreme remote rebreather and technical diving expeditions to Truk and Bikini Atoll.

DANeLogo11“We are very pleased to name Dr Simon Mitchell as this year’s DAN / Rolex Diver of The Year,” said Bill Ziefle, President and CEO, Divers Alert Network. “Simon’s academic and diving achievements are impressive and his accomplishments stood out amongst a field of worthy nominees. His life-long dedication to diving has made a significant impact on safety and has advanced our great sport."

“I am delighted and honored to receive the DAN / Rolex Diver of the Year Award" stated Simon Mitchell. "Like a number of my colleagues who perform similar roles, I enjoy being immersed in the diving community and need little more than this to motivate me. I am deeply appreciative of the recognition this award brings and I are very excited to attend the Beneath the Sea Show and Awards Banquet. My sincere thanks to DAN, Rolex and the selection committee."

Stephen Frink, Beneath The Sea, Secaucus, New Jersey, Dr Neal W Pollock, Dr Simon J Mitchell, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Jean-Michel Cousteau, DAN Rolex Diver Of The Year Award
Dr Simon Mitchell with Dr Neal Pollock and Rosemary (Roz) Lunn at 2015 Beneath The Sea Gala Dinner Image Credit: Stephen Frink

Dr Simon Mitchell received his award at the 2015 Beneath the Sea Dive Show in Secaucus, New Jersey. He was presented with an Oyster Perpetual Rolex Dive Watch and a commemorative wall plaque. In addition, Rolex donated $15,000 to DAN to support essential safety initiatives such as medical research, safety education and first aid training.

High Profile Diving Educators Join RAID UK

***BREAKING NEWS***BREAKING NEWS*** Overnight training agency RAID has issued the following statement; "RAID UK along with RAID International is excited and very proud to announce two of the most prominent UK diving educators have joined the RAID Team. We welcome Paul Haynes and Charles Hawkes to RAID and as RAID Instructor Trainers.

Paul Haynes, Haynes Marine, Royal Marine Commando, technical diver, RAID UK, RAID International, HMS Prince of Wales, Bell recovery, MoD, BSAC, PSAI, Rebreather Forum 3, Paul Toomer, James Rogers, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving PR, diving event management
Paul Haynes

Paul and Charles need no introduction to the dive world and their respective resumes read like an encyclopaedia of diving. For example, Paul first dived in 1989 while serving as a Royal Marine Commando and quickly developed a passion for sports diving. As Director of Haynes Marine (, a specialist diving consultancy, with a strong background in sport, occupational and military diving, he is an enormously experienced Technical diver. Known for his North Sea deep shipwreck exploration, amongst his other credentials, Paul holds several rebreather instructor trainer qualifications with BSAC and PSAI. He has worked on many diving expeditions including on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the race to recover the ships bell from H.M.S. Prince of Wales, which was sunk in a depth of 75 meters / 225 feet in the South China Sea during WWII. Consequently Paul is a well sought after international speaker and because of his outstanding reputation within the Technical diving community and interpersonal skills, he will deliver an exceptional level of technical instructor development training for RAID UK and RAID generally.

On the other hand, Charles first started diving in 1976 in Fiji. He became a PADI instructor in 1986 and a PADI Course Director in 1998. He is a DSAT Tec Rec instructor Trainer. He also holds qualifications with DAN, TDI, ANDI, BSAC and IANTD. Charles has extensive dive retail experience, having managed and owned a busy five star IDC centre in Scotland for a number of years before becoming a freelance Course Director. More recently Charles has gained substantial experience working within the offshore and marine training industry, developing various training programmes and training systems including evaluating training techniques to include a variety of survival, marine, medical, radio and firefighting programmes.

Charles Hawks, RAID UK, PADI, DSAT Tec Rec Instructor, Paul Toomer, James Rogers, RAID International, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company,
Charles Hawks

Together Paul and Charles are proven people trainers with versatile skills in sales, marketing and communication. They bring unique training techniques to RAID’s growing online training platform and will work closely with RAID UK Directors James Rogers and Paul Toomer in educating divers and instructors to the RAID diver training system. Paul Haynes said; "The highly innovative approach to online learning and documentation management pioneered by RAID, combined with elevated diving standards, low carbon footprint and a comprehensive suite of training programmes offers divers and diving Instructors an exciting and progressively structured personal development path.  As a consequence I am delighted to be asked to join the RAID technical training management team and feel privileged to be part of what I feel is the most exciting development in the sport diving industry for a generation". Charles Hawkes said; “In the world of global training and instruction more and more industries are choosing computer based training systems for their in house and remote training programs. It is refreshing to see the way RAID have collaborated with industry experts to produced their suite of outstanding diver programmes. I’m looking forward to helping them roll out their refreshing ideas and concepts”. RAID International CEO, Jim Holliday, says, “We’re not going to brag about the achievements we’ve made at RAID in such a very short time since our relaunch earlier this year. We just want people to consider us as a serious alternative to other training agencies by taking a look at the quality of instructors, stores and diving personalities that have come on board since our relaunch. These highly creditable dive industry personalities know we have something special and I would like to personally add my congratulations and welcome Paul and Charles to our team”. Visit:



CCR Divers at Inner Space Assist Decompression Research

DAN, Divers Alert Network, Dr Neal W Pollock, Jenna Wiley, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Dr Stephen Thom, Microparticles, Decompression Stress, Divetech, Inner Space, Nancy Easterbrook, Cobalt Coast, Lighthouse Point, Jay Easterbrook, Steve Tippetts, rebreather diving in Cayman, tech diving in Cayman, deep diving in CaymanHave you attended Divetech's Inner Space and wondered why the blood samples were collected by the DAN team led by Dr Neal W Pollock?

They were used to see if microparticles (MP), fragments of cells that accumulate in the blood in response to a variety of stressors, are a good indicator of #decompression stress. The MP measures are compared with the bubble data collected onsite with ultrasound techniques.

The MP assays are completed by Dr Stephen Thom at the University of Maryland. Dr Thom gave a presentation at the ONR-NAVSEA Progress Review Meeting that took place in Durham on 15 to 17 July. He summarised the current status of his research on circulating microparticles (MPs). These are small fragments shed by various cells that have been exposed to stress and can be found in divers after diving. Here is a report on Microparticles and Decompression Stress from 'The Dive Lab'.

Pictured here is Divers Alert Network Research Associate I, Jenna Wiley. She is taking blood from a deep trimix CCR diver during Divetech's Inner Space.



Rebreather Forum 3 Conference Proceedings Now Available

The RF3 proceedings are now available, online and free to anyone to download!

Rebreather Forum 3 Proceedings, RF3, 2014, Rebreather Forum 3, RF3, Dr Nick Bird, Mark Caney, Dr Petar Denoble, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Christian MacDonald, Dan Orr, Dr Neal W Pollock, Dr Drew Richardson, Karl Shreeves, Dr Richard Vann, AAUS, DAN, PADI, The Underwater Marketing Company, rebreather diving, scuba diving, American Academy of Underwater Sciences
RF3 Proceedings are available for free online

The Rebreather Forum 3 Proceedings have been published in both print and electronic format following the safety symposium held from 18 - 20 May 2012 at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Two years in the planning and two years in the writing, the 324-page rebreather publication showcases state-of-the-art and science of rebreather diving through the experience and knowledge of some of the world’s leading specialists in education, operations, physiology, medicine and safety. This meeting followed the Rebreather Forum 2 conference which was held in 1996.

The goal of Rebreather Forum 3 was to positively impact the safety of recreational, professional, scientific, media and military rebreather divers by sharing latest developments and best practices. Educational sessions took place in seminars that discussed history and evolution, medicine and physiology, business and operations, incidents and their investigation, design and testing, and training and operations. Safety was the key theme and participants were informed about the most common causes of rebreather incidents and fatalities in hopes of reducing their future occurrence. To round out the meeting, participants were able to gain hands-on experience through various pool sessions.

The 11-member, Rebreather Forum organizing committee comprised Dr. Nicholas Bird (DAN), Mark Caney (PADI), Dr. Petar Denoble (DAN), Michael Lang (American Academy of Underwater Sciences), Rosemary E Lunn (The Underwater Marketing Company), Christian MacDonald (American Academy of Underwater Sciences), Dan Orr (DAN), Dr. Neal W Pollock (DAN), Dr. Drew Richardson (PADI), Karl Shreeves (PADI) and Dr. Richard Vann (DAN).

Rebreather Forum 3, RF3, Dr Nick Bird, Mark Caney, Dr Petar Denoble, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Christian MacDonald, Dan Orr, Dr Neal W Pollock, Dr Drew Richardson, Karl Shreeves, Dr Richard Vann, AAUS, DAN, PADI, The Underwater Marketing Company, rebreather diving, scuba diving, American Academy of Underwater Sciences
The Editors of the RF3 Proceedings (from l to r); Dr Neal W Pollock, DAN Research Director | Dr Richard D Vann, Professor Emeritus Duke Anesthesiology | Dr Petar J Denoble, Vice President DAN Research

“We planned this Forum to introduce divers without rebreather experience to the equipment as well as to assist experienced rebreather divers in refining their skills. This was the ideal format to share ideas and listen to some of the world’s most respected experts on rebreather diving," stated Dr. Richard Vann, former Vice President of Research, Divers Alert Network.

Publishing the Rebreather Forum 3 proceedings is a significant accomplishment by the AAUS, DAN and PADI. All three partners are very pleased to share this invaluable resource with the diving community, in order to help make diving safer. It is hoped that the knowledge gained will reduce incidents and fatalities among rebreather divers.

PDF copies of the complete RF3 Proceedings can be downloaded immediately at no-cost from the DAN website. Print copies will be available in the near-future through a print-on-demand service. More detailed information can be found at the Rebreather Forum 3 website;


TEKDiveUSA.2014 Attendees To Receive A PADI Rebreather Checklist

PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) has today confirmed that TEKDiveUSA.2014 attendees will receive a 'Type T' rebreather checklist in their conference bag.

PADI_Rebreather Checklist_RF3_Rebreather Forum 3_Dr Drew Richardson_Christian McDonald_AAUS_DAN_Dr Petar Denoble_Dr Neal W Pollock_Dr Richard D Vann_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing Company_TEKDiveUSA_EUROTEK_RF3 Consensus Statements_safety_rebreathers_checklists_Mark Caney_Karl Shreeves_scuba diving
PADI 'Type T' Rebreather / CCR Checklist

Two years ago this month PADI, along with the AAUS and DAN, hosted Rebreather Forum 3. This three day safety symposium was convened to address major issues surrounding rebreather technology, and its application in commercial, media, military, scientific, sport and technical diving. Experts, manufactures, instructor trainers, training agencies and divers from all over the world discussed this technology and shared information.

The programme included dedicated sessions covering topics such as medicine and physiology, closed circuit rebreather (CCR) orientation, business and operations, CCR familiarization, training, design and testing, and incident analysis.

Associate Professor Simon J Mitchell chaired the final session at RF3 and, as a result, 16 key consensus statements were agreed and ratified by the global rebreather community. You can hear this presentation by clicking here.

Two of the 16 consensus statements agreed at Rebreather Forum 3 concerned the use of checklists. RF3 acknowledged the overwhelming evidence demonstrating the efficacy of checklists in preventing errors and two recommendations were made. These are listed below.



The forum acknowledged the overwhelming evidence demonstrating the efficacy of checklists in preventing errors in parallel fields that share similar technical complexity. Two recommendations regarding checklists were consequently agreed:


The forum recommends that rebreather manufacturers produce carefully designed checklists, which may be written and / or electronic, for use in the pre-dive preparation  (unit assembly and immediate pre-dive) and post-dive management of their rebreathers.

– Written checklists should be provided in a weatherproof or waterproof form.

– The current version of these checklists annotated with the most recent revision date should be published on the manufacturer’s website


The forum recommends that training agencies and their instructors embrace the crucial leadership role in fostering a safety culture in which the use of checklists by rebreather divers becomes second nature.




The forum applauds and endorses the release of pooled data describing numbers of rebreather certifications by training agencies, and encourages other agencies to join ANDI, IANTD, and TDI in this initiative


The forum endorses the concept of making minimum rebreather training standards available in the public arena.


The forum endorses the concept of a currency requirement for rebreather instructors. We recommend that training agencies give consideration to currency standards in respect of diving activity, class numbers, and unit specificity for their instructors.


The forum recognizes and endorses the industry and training agency initiative to characterize “recreational” and “technical” streams of sport rebreather diver training. These groups will have different operational, training and equipment needs.




The forum recommends that training agencies provide rebreather divers  with a simple list of instructions that will mitigate common errors in evidence preservation after a serious incident or rebreather fatality.

– These instructions will be developed under the auspices of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society Diving Committee in consultation with the relevant RF3 presenters.


The forum endorses the concept of a widely notified centralized “on-call” consultation service to help investigators in avoiding errors or omissions in the early stages of a rebreather accident investigation, and to facilitate referral to expert investigative services.


The forum recommends that in investigating a rebreather fatality the principal accident investigator invite the manufacturer of the incident rebreather (or other relevant equipment) to assist with its evaluation (including the crucial task of data download) as early as is practicable.


The forum endorses the DAN worldwide initiative to provide a means of on-line incident reporting with subsequent analysis and publication of incident root causes.




The forum recommends that all rebreathers incorporate data logging systems which record functional parameters relevant to the particular unit and dive data, and which allow download of these data. Diagnostic reconstruction of dives with as many relevant parameters as possible is the goal of this initiative.

– Footnote: An ideal goal would be to incorporate redundancy in data logging systems, and as much as practical, to standardize the data to be collected


The forum endorses the need for third party pre-market testing to establish that rebreathers are fit for purpose. Results of a uniform suite of practically important unmanned testing parameters such as canister duration, and work of breathing (qualified by clear statements of experimental parameters) should be reported publicly. Ideally, this testing should be to an internationally recognized standard.


The forum acknowledges recent survey data indicating a poor understanding of rebreather operational limits in relation to depth and carbon dioxide scrubber duration among trained users, and therefore recommends:

1. that training organizations emphasize these parameters in training courses.

2. that manufacturers display these parameters in places of prominence in device documentation and on websites.


The forum strongly endorses industry initiatives to improve oxygen measurement technologies, and advocates consideration of potentially beneficial emerging strategies such as dynamic validation of cell readings and alternatives to galvanic fuel cells.


The forum identifies as a research question the issue of whether a mouthpiece retaining strap would provide protection of the airway in an unconscious rebreather diver.


The forum identifies as a research question the efficacy of a full face masks for use with sport rebreathers.


Myths and Misconceptions of Thermal Stress and Physiology" at TEKDiveUSA

Dr Neal W Pollock_Thermal Stress_Environmental Physiologist_DAN Research Director_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing Company_TEKDIveUSA_EUROTEK_RF3_Rebreather Forum 3
Environmental Physiologist, Dr Neal W Pollock

There is now a reasonable choice when it comes to heated vests. They are also becoming more affordable and in reach of every day divers. It would seem that DIY torso heating solutions are not always a wise move however, and a surgeon has just advised against the use of heat packs after an accident; Irish Examiner

When it comes to 'off the peg' heated devices, are they the magic bullet for solving thermal stress? Dr Neal W Pollock, an environmental physiologist will be speaking about the “Myths and Misconceptions of Thermal Stress and Physiology" at TEKDiveUSA in Miami on the 17th May 2014.

“Diving is carried out in a tremendous range of thermal environments and conditions. The extremes demand extra consideration, but, ultimately, a well- equipped polar diver can be more comfortable than some tropical divers. Potentially more important than comfort, though, is the fact that thermal status can dramatically influence decompression risk.

This presentation will consider the impact of thermal status on comfort, performance and decompression safety. One of the hot areas (pun intended) for diving equipment is ‘active heating.’ Technological improvements are providing divers with more options, but it is important to be mindful of risks as well as benefits.”

To hear this and 39 other talks, book your place at North America's advanced and technical diving conference now.