Are you aged between 21 and 26? Are you considering a career in an underwater-related discipline? Are you a Rescue Diver (or equivalent) with at least 25 logged dives? Have you not yet earned your graduate degree?
Then take note and get scribbling because everyone involved with the ‘Our World Underwater Rolex Scholarship’ programme agrees on one thing. This is the world’s best scuba diving scholarship!
Currently there are three Rolex Scholarships: North America, Europe, and Australasia. Each year one scholar is selected from each of the three regions and they are provided with a hands-on introduction to underwater and other aquatic-related endeavours, working side by side with current leaders in underwater fields.
These experiences may include active participation in field studies, underwater research, scientific expeditions, laboratory assignments, equipment testing and design, photographic instruction, and other specialised assignments.
The deadline for this life-changing scholarship is coming up. You have three days – until 31st *December – to apply.
Completed Scholarship applications must be RECEIVED via the online application no later than:
31st *December 2016 – North American Application
(to be considered for the 2017 scholarship)
31st *December 31 2016 – European Application
(to be considered for the 2017 scholarship)
31st January 2017 – Australasian Application
(to be considered for the 2017 scholarship)
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)
100 years ago today ‘Miss Unsinkable’ – Violet Constance Jessop – survived the sinking of HMHS Britannic.
On 20 September 2011 Jessop was on board when the Olympic sailed from Southampton. The first Olympic class liner collided with the British warship HMS Hawk. Luckily there were no fatalities and the ship made it back to port without sinking.
Just over six months later Jessop joined the crew of the second Olympic class liner on her maiden voyage: RMS Titanic. The loss of this supposedly ‘unsinkable’ ship during the early hours of 15 April 1912 had a huge impact on the owners of the White Star line and the British maritime industry. Harland and Wolff – the Belfast shipbuilder – quickly adopted a ‘safety-first’ approach, and amended the design of their third Olympic class liner.
Britannic was born at the wrong time because she was launched on 26 February 1914 – five months before the outbreak of WWI. She therefore did not see service as a transatlantic passenger liner. Instead the British Government requisitioned the last Olympian, refitted her and repainted her. Her hull was painted white complete with large red crosses. Britannic’s role was to carry sick and injured troops home from Gallipoli. Violet Jessop joined the crew as a nurse.
On 21st November 1969 Britannic was steaming along the Kea Channel in Greece. At approximately 08.12 a violent explosion rocked the ship. The ship had hit a German mine. Despite Harland and Wolff’s major modifications, Britannic sunk within 57 minutes.
“The white pride of the ocean’s medical world … dipped her head a little, then a little lower and still lower. All the deck machinery fell into the sea like a child’s toys. Then she took a fearful plunge, her stern rearing hundreds of feet into the air until with a final roar, she disappeared into the depths.” Violet Jessop
In September 2006 I joined a HMHS Britannic expedition led by Richie Kohler and John Chatterton. During the expedition I was asked to play the role of Violet Jessop for a re-enactment.
It was already a hot afternoon before I donned woollen stockings, a long dress, a big black woollen coat, long scarf and hat. The ensemble was topped off by a very bulky cork life jacket.
We quickly realised that the life jacket worked. A good thing you would think. However I had to be pulled underneath the surface to re-create the struggle that Jessop had gone through to survive the sinking. The solution. I wore my 20lb shot belt beneath the long dress.
Jumping into Kea Harbour was a blessed relief from the intense Greek sun. But the respite was short lived. Film work tends to be a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’ interspersed with some intense action. There was a lot of hanging around in the water, and I began to get cold.
And it was literally hanging around for me. I had to hold onto something solid for surface support as my weight belt proved to be most effective at pulling me under water.
This particular shoot took at least a couple of hours – I was filmed from all angles performing a variety of moves such as my feet kicking in the blue water. I was also shot from topside and underwater being pulled beneath Kea Harbour.
Evan asked that I jump into the water a number of times. He wanted to film me from below the surface as I replicated Jessop leaping out of the lifeboat and into the Aegean Sea.
“To my horror, I saw Britannic’s huge propellers churning and mincing up everything near them – men, boats and everything were just one ghastly whirl.” Violet Jessop
The lifeboat that Violet Jessop was in was being pulled into Britannic’s still rotating propellor. The only way to survive this giant mincing machine was to jump from the lifeboat. In doing so Violet struck her head on the keel and suffered a fractured skull.
All in all it was a great experience working with Evan and Joe on this shoot. When it was complete I climbed out of Kea Harbour with new respect for Violet Jessop. She must have been a remarkable lady.
There have been a number of documentaries and books about HMHS Britannic. The latest book – ‘Mystery of the Last Olympian‘ – has been co-authored by Richie Kohler. Richie has dived this Olympic class liner in 2006, 2009, 2015 and 2016. He answers the century-old question as to why all the engineering solutions built into the mighty Britannic could not save her from sharing the same fate as Titanic.
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.
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.
TV adventure personality and Brit scuba diver – Monty Halls – received Sport Diver’s 2016 ‘Outstanding Contribution’ at last month’s Sport Diver Awards.
Mark Evans, editor of Sport Diver Magazine, explained how the judging team had made their difficult decision, because there were a number of worthy names on the list.
“Monty is not doing epic diving expeditions. Instead he brings diving to the masses and into our homes. He has probably done more for diving in mainstream television programmes than any one else at present. The programmes may have been seen as a bit ‘cheesy’ by hardened divers, but they were watched and loved by the general public. This award was quite special for Monty Halls. It is the first time his work has been recognised and he got quite emotional when he received it.”
Robert Parrington from Wakatobi made the announcement at the award ceremony.
“This is an award recognising a person or company that has gone above and beyond in the name of diving.
For 2016, the judges chose a truly worthy winner, someone who has arguably done more than anyone to get scuba diving in front of a mainstream audience on our TV screens.
Over the past ten years, he has taken viewers around the world, from exotic destinations such as Indonesia, Japan, South Africa and the Great Barrier Reef, to closer-to-home but no-less-beautiful locations like Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall. In between these televised adventures, he has found time to pen several books, write numerous magazine articles and do the odd spot of motivational speaking.
Along the way he has been upstaged by his faithful dog Reuben (sadly now departed), met and married his lovely wife, and had two wonderful children.
This year, the Outstanding Contribution Award goes to Monty Halls.”
2015: Fourth Element and Ocean Positive
The engaging documentary Of Shark and Man has won another award for the British film maker David Diley.
Of Shark and Man isn’t a movie about diving, it is a film about a diver who has a love affair with sharks.
On Saturday 29th October 2016 Diley won the Best Cinematography award at the International Filmmaker Festival Berlin!
Earlier that evening Diley had posted on Facebook, “its the awards gala in Berlin tonight. I’ve given up on the cinematography award, seeing as I’m up against a multi million dollar budget Subaru commercial featuring Robert Redford which looks spectacular”.
The film has now won six awards at international film festivals on several continents.
Many congratulations David!
In May 1937 the Systematics Association was founded as the “Committee on Systematics in Relation to General Biology”. The idea was to provide a forum to discuss theoretical and practical problems of taxonomy.
Today the Systematics Association furthers all aspects of Systematic biology. This includes organising conferences, training courses and awarding grants to support systematics research.
In the last few days it has been confirmed that Dr Sonia J Rowley, a deep CCR diver and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Hawaii has received the prestigious Sir David Attenborough Award for Fieldwork from the Systematics Association and the Linnean Society of London.
Sonia is only the second person to receive this award. It was given for her for her work during the 2015 Pohnpei Expedition. Her report was entitled the “Exploration and Systematics of Twilight Reef Gorgonian Corals at Pakin Atoll, Micronesia.”
Other members of the 2015 diving expedition team were Brian Greene and Dr Richard Pyle.
“I am delighted to have received such a prestigious award, and that we can continue to implement advances in rebreather technology in research that not only reveals new discoveries to science, but also assists local community marine resource conservation [in low-lying atolls being perhaps the most vulnerable to sea level change.”