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.”
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 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
- 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)
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)