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)

Rebreather Forum 3 Lecture; 'Thermal Physiology and Protection'

Rebreather Forum 3 - an international safety conference about rebreathers - was held in May 2012. Over the course of three days a number of presentations were given on many aspects of rebreather diving.

Dr Neal W Pollock, Neal Pollock, diving physiology, thermal physiology, breath hold diving, ice diving, thermal stress, DAN, Duke Dive Medicine, Divers Alert Network, Research Director, Rebreather Forum 3, RF3, Roz Lunn, Rosemary E Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, diving, scuba diving, technical diving, Fourth Element, Antarctic diving, ice diving, drysuit undergarments, thermal underwear, diving health, technical diving, HALO 3D, SITA, SITA Show, 2012 UK Diving Trade Show, Scuba Industries Trade Association

Dr Neal W Pollock, a diving physiologist from Divers Alert Network / Duke University gave a lecture on thermal physiology and protection.

THERMAL PHYSIOLOGY AND PROTECTION
Dr Neal W Pollock
9:15, Friday 18 May 2012, Boca Room III

“Diving is carried out in a wide range of environments and conditions. Thermal stress can be an important issue, particularly for the long exposures often associated with technical diving. Proper preparation can improve comfort, performance and safety. This presentation will discuss thermal stress, thermal protection, and implications for diving health.”

Dr Pollock's biography can be found here.

Photo Credit: Professor Simon J Mitchell

"RF3 is the premier worldwide CCR event" states Tony Davis

Tony Davis, Aqua Tech Australia, CCR Technologies, Dive Rite Australia, The Underwater Marketing Company, TUMC, Roz Lunn, Rosemary Lunn, Rosemary E Lunn, RF3, Rebreather Forum 3, CCR physiology, Simon Mitchell, Petar Denoble, Neal PollockTony Davis, CEO of Aqua Tech Australia & CCR Technologies is flying in from down under to attend RF3.  We asked him why.

“When I read the agenda I knew I had to attend.  RF3 is the premier worldwide CCR event, and I want to learn more about the CCR’s I distribute in Australia, whilst making business contacts to grow the CCR component of my company. I also want to learn more about CCR specific physiology, and the business of CCR’s in recreational diving.”

The three day programme is divided into sessions to cover different aspects of rebreathers.   Topics up for discussion include;

- Hazard Analysis and Human Factors
- CO2 Scrubber Technology
- CO2 Sensors
- O2 Sensors and O2 Control
- Pre-Market Testing
- Post-Market Monitoring
- Post-Incident Testing
- Semi-Closed Systems
- Operations and Training

If you want to join Tony, book your tickets now by logging onto www.rf30.org and be part of this key rebreather event.

 

What's Rebreather Forum 3 all about? Neal W Pollock explains

“The main aim of RF3 is to evaluate the state of the art”, stated Dr Neal W Pollock, DAN’s Research Director and one of the organisers behind RF3.  “In a nutshell the theme of RF3 is to improve understanding, which we hope will translate to improved safety across the board.  We can always do things better.  So it is a rationality check to see if we can make things safer.

Rebreather Forum 3, RF3, Rubicon Foundation, DAN, Divers Alert Network, Research Director, Neal W Pollock, Neal Pollock, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, AAUS, PADI, Rebreather safety, Simon Mitchell, Jill Heinerth, APD, Ambient Pressure Diving, Martin Parker, Cognitas, Incident reporting, diving safety, BSAC Incident ReportWe’re therefore going to assess the current situation re manufacturing, testing, training and diving protocols to check that we are doing this as safely as we can, and highlight areas that need improving so that we can move forward.  Hence we’ve convened this Conference to put a lot of opinions into the room, rather than relying on a set of interpretations from one particular organization or company.  Doing it this way allows us to pull together all the different views and we then analyse the results through one lens.

The training agencies all say we are doing it right, so therefore why do we still have a number of fatalities every year?  At RF3 we intend to be as honest as we can about issues and address every one of them.  This may sound to some divers that we are suggesting current standards are dangerous.  We are not.  Our ethos is more along the lines of ‘how can we do it better and safer’?

So why will RF3 be useful to the Industry?  When you understand where something is failing; be it manufacturing, training or diving protocols, then everyone benefits from knowing how failures can occur.  Then we can see and evaluate how to successfully improve performance.”

You can be part of this important peer review, just log onto www.rf30.org, check out the agenda and book your tickets to the most significant rebreather conference this decade; Rebreather Forum 3.  You’ll kick yourself if you miss it!