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