The following is a list of events in the history of Scuba Diving.
332 BC - The Greek philosopher Aristotle's Problemata describes a diving bell used by Alexander the Great at the siege of Tyre (a Phoenician town on the Mediterranean coast of what is now Lebanon).
1500s - Leonardo da Vinci designs the first known scuba. His drawings of a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus appear in his Codex Atlanticus. Da Vinci's design combines air supply and buoyancy control in a single system, and foreshadows later diving suits. There is no evidence that he ever built his device. He seems, instead, to have abandoned scuba in favor of refining the diving bell.
1535 - Guglielmo de Loreno developed what is considered to be a true diving bell.
1650 - Von Guericke developed the first effective air pump.
1667 - Robert Boyle observed a gas bubble in the eye of viper that had been compressed and then decompressed. This was the first recorded observation of decompression sickness or "the bends."
1691 - Edmund Halley patented a diving bell which was connected by a pipe to weighted barrels of air that could be replenished from the surface.
1715 - John Lethbridge built a "diving engine", an underwater oak cylinder that was surface-supplied with compressed air. Water was kept out of the suit by means of greased leather cuffs, which sealed around the operator's arms.
1776 - First authenticated attack by military submarine - American Turtle vs. HMS Eagle, New York harbor.
1788 - John Smeaton refined the diving bell.
1823 - Charles Anthony Deane patented a "smoke helmet" for fire fighters. This helmet was used for diving, too. The helmet fitted over the head and was held on with weights. Air was supplied from the surface.
1825 - An Englishman, William James, develops a system that several historians consider to be the first true scuba. It employs tanks of compressed air and a full diving dress with a helmet. Limits on useful depth and duration keep it from widespread adoption by commercial divers.
1825 - Charles Condert, an American, develops a compressed air reservoir consisting of copper tubing bent into a horseshoe and worn around the diver's body. The system includes a valve to inflate the diver's suit.
1828 - Charles Deane and his brother John marketed the helmet with a "diving suit." The suit was not attached to the helmet, but secured with straps.
1828 - Lemaire d'Augerville patents a "swimming belt" designed to enable divers to swim in mid-water and ascend or descend as needed for their work. We now call such devices "buoyancy compensators." But nineteenth-century salvage divers found little use for the buoyancy device, so d'Augerville netted little compensation.
1836 - Charles Deane publishes the first "how to" diving manual.
1837 - Augustus Siebe sealed the Deane brothers' diving helmet to a watertight, air-containing rubber suit.
1839 - Seibe's diving suit was used during the salvage of the British warship HMS Royal George. The improved suit was adopted as the standard diving dress by the Royal Engineers.
1843 - The first diving school was established by the Royal Navy.
1865 - Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouse patented an apparatus for underwater breathing. It consisted of a horizontal steel tank of compressed air on a diver's back, connected to a valve arranged to a mouth-piece. With this apparatus the diver was tethered to the surface by a hose that pumped fresh air into the low pressure tank, but he was able to disconnect the tether and dive with just the tank on his back for a few minutes.
1869: Jules Verne popularizes the concept of scuba in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. His central character, Captain Nemo, specifically cites the Rouquayrol/Denayrouze system and theorizes about the inevitable next step - severing the diver's reliance on surface-supplied air.
1869-1883 - New York's Brooklyn Bridge is built, but many of the workmen pay a high price. Emerging after extended hours in high-pressure caissons (dry construction compartments sunk into the riverbed) they become crippled by "caisson disease." Because of the cramped and frozen joints caused by the affliction, reporters dub it "the bends."
1876 - Henry A. Fleuss developed the first workable, self-contained diving rig that used compressed oxygen.
1880 - Dr. Paul Bert, a French physiologist, completes his pioneering work on breathing under hyperbaric (high pressure) conditions. He recognizes that "caisson disease" is identical to problems experienced by deep sea divers, and suggests that it is caused by the release of dissolved nitrogen from the bloodstream. He also shows that oxygen, even the oxygen in compressed air, can become toxic when breathed under pressure. (The oxygen in compressed air becomes toxic only at depths far beyond the 130-foot limit of recreational diving.)
1892 - Frenchman Louis Boutan develops a variant of the closed-circuit
system. The Boutan scuba can be used for up to three hours at shallow
1893 - The first underwater camera is invented by Louis Boutan.
1910 - Dr. John Scott Haldane, a British physiologist, confirms that caisson disease is caused by the release of dissolved nitrogen when surfacing. To enable divers to avoid "the bends," Haldane develops a procedure that calls for gradually staged "decompression." His pioneering research culminates in publication of the first dive tables.
1911 - Sir Robert Davis, a director of Siebe, Gorman, refines the Fleuss system and comes up with the Davis False Lung. His reliable, compact, easily stored, and fully self-contained rebreather is adopted (or copied) throughout the world for use as an emergency escape device for submarine crews.
1912 - Germany's Westfalia Maschinenfabrik markets a hybrid dive system that blends scuba and surface-fed components with mixed gas technology.
1915 - An early film of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea marks the first commercial use of underwater cinematography. Cast and crew use modified Fleuss/Davis rebreathers and "Oxylite," a compound that generates oxygen through a chemical reaction. (Oxylite explodes if it gets wet, a trait that tends to limit its popularity as a scuba component.)
1917 - Draeger produces a true scuba system that combines tanks containing a mixture of compressed air and oxygen (oxygen-enriched air) with rebreathing technology. It is sold for use at depths to 40 meters (130 feet).
1918 - The Ogushi Peerless Respirator passes field tests at 324 feet. The Japanese device combines modified false-lung style closed-circuit rebreather technology with a compressed air reserve. It supplies air to the diver through a manually controlled on/off valve.
1919 - C. J. Cooke develops a mixture of helium and oxygen (heliox) for use as a breathing gas by divers. The mixture enables divers to avoid nitrogen narcosis while diluting oxygen to non-toxic concentrations. It allows commercial divers to extend their useful working depth well beyond previous limits.
1923 - The first underwater color photographs were taken by W. H. Longley.
1925 - Yves Le Prieur releases a very successful self-contained underwater breathing unit.
1926 - An officer in the French Navy, Yves le Prieur, patents the Fernez/Le Prieur diving system based on compressed air carried in tanks. Le Prieur's device feeds air to a full-face mask worn by the diver. Early models provide a continuous flow of air. Later models use a manual on/off valve to preserve the air supply.
Early 1930s - Guy Gilpatrick, an expatriate American writer living in France, waterproofs a pair of pilot's goggles by lining the edges with glazer's putty. Commercial versions of his window to the underwater world soon follow.
1933 - Jack Prodanovich, Ben Stone, and Glen Orr (later joined by Jack Corbley, Bill Batzloff and Wally Potts) start a skin diving club in San Diego - the Bottom Scratchers. This pioneering group, the first of its kind, helps define the sport and creates its own folk legends. (In an era preceding the availability of swim fins, would-be members are required to dive to 30 feet. They have to capture three abalone on one dive, grab a five-foot horned shark by its tail, and bring up a "good-sized" lobster) Those who pass the test include underwater filmmaker Lamar Boren and Jim Stewart, a diving officer at Scripps Institute. Across the country, many clubs followed in the years to come.
1933 - Louis Ce Corlieu patents the first swim fins in France and later in the US.
1935 - Louis de Corlieu patents a broadbladed fin to be worn on the feet by swimmers. The fins make a big splash among free-swimming "goggle" divers. With their help, skin divers and their sport really start going places!
1937 - The American Diving Equipment and Salvage Company (now known as DESCO) develops a self-contained mixed-gas rebreather. It uses a compressed mixture of helium and oxygen in combination with a fully sealed diving suit. Using the new system, DESCO diver Max Nohl sets a new world depth record of 420 feet.
1937 - Georges Comheines creates a scuba system by combining the Rouquayrol/Denayrouze valve with le Prieur's system of compressed air tanks. This breakthrough finally brings to reality the scuba device anticipated by Jules Verne in
1869. Comheines and a group of friends demonstrate the device in a "human aquarium" exhibit at the Paris International Exposition.
1938 - The Compleat Goggler by Guy Gilpatric is released. This book becomes a popular inspiration for skin divers.
1939-1940s - Owen Churchill helps popularize skin diving, making it a hot sporting craze among cool cats living in coastal areas of the United States.
1942 - The Duke Goes Diving. John Wayne stars as a hard-hatted salvage diver in Cecil B. de Mille's Reap the Wild Wind. Co-stars include Rita Hayworth, Paulette Goddard, Raymond Massey, Charles Bickford, Ray Milland, and the giant squid that does in The Duke at the end. Cinematographer Victor Milner is nominated for an Academy Award, but only the squid wins an Oscar (special effects).
1941-1944 - During World War II, Italian divers used closed circuit scuba equipment to place explosives under British naval and merchant marine ships.
1943 - The first Cousteau/Gagnan scuba device fails January testing in the
Marne River outside Paris and goes back to Gagnan's drawing board for
modifications. Subsequent innovations include a novel device that provides
inhalation and exhaust valves at the same level. Several months later, the
modified device passes tests in a water tank in Paris.
During the summer, Cousteau and two close friends, Philippe Tailliez and Frédérik Dumas, test production prototypes of the Cousteau/Gagnan scuba system in the Mediterranean Sea. The device proves to be safe, reliable, and remarkably easy to use. During July and August, the friends make hundreds of dives, thoroughly testing the system and seeking to determine its limits. (Cousteau's wife, Simone, and sons, Philippe and Jean-Michel, also try out the prototype Aqua-Lung® units. That makes the Cousteau family the first to discover that a dive trip makes a great family vacation.) In October, Dumas demonstrates the amazing reliability of the Aqua-Lung® with a dive to 210 feet.
That same year, Cousteau and Dumas complete Au DixHuit Mètres du Fond ("Sixty Feet Down"), their first underwater film. To overcome wartime shortages of movie film stock, Jacques and Simone Cousteau splice rolls of still film together. Lacking a darkroom, they work under blankets at night. Cousteau photographs some underwater scenes using a small camera housed in a modified fruit jar.
1946 - Cousteau's Aqua Lung was marketed commercially in France. (Great Britain 1950, Canada 1951, USA 1952).
1946 - Mar-Vel Underwater Equipment was founded and would become an early source for skin and scuba diving equipment as well as the commercial equipment that they specialize in.
1946 - Pat Madison and Everett Edmund incorporate M & E Marine in Camden, New Jersey, and create Mar-Vel Underwater Equipment as a division of M & E. Mar-Vel will import and retail diving equipment primarily commercial hardhat rigs, but also early skin diving and scuba gear. M & E will also manufacture specialized diving and underwater gear, and become a specialty supplier and contractor with major American corporations, the U. S. Navy, NASA, and other government agencies.
1947 - Dumas made a record dive with the Aqua Lung to 307 feet in the Mediterranean Sea.
1947 - Jordan Klein starts a small company, Marine Enterprises, Inc., to manufacture spear guns and housings for underwater cameras. His company evolves into a retail store. When he has difficulty finding a good air source, he goes into the business of repairing and modifying war surplus air compressors. In 1956, Klein will start importing parts from Germany's Bauer organization and packaging his own compressors under the MAKO name.
1948-1949 - Rene Bussoz imports the Cousteau/Gagnan AquaLung® (manufactured by L'Air Liquide through a subsidiary, Le Spirotechnique) for sale in his Southern California store, Rene's Sporting Goods. When the Hollywood film community discovers his new gadget, interest in scuba skyrockets. Bussoz returns to France in
1953. The store's new management, an executive team from Le Spirotechnique, transforms Rene's Sporting Goods into U. S. Divers which becomes a leading manufacturer of diving equipment.
1949 - Arnold Post starts selling the Aqua-Lung® and related scuba gear at "Richards Sporting Goods" (now "Richards Aqualung Center" and still operating at the same location) in New York. At the same time, Charlie Marshall offers the Aqua-Lung® for sale at the exclusive New York outfitter "Abercrombie & Fitch." In Chicago, Vem Pederson stocks the Aqua-Lung® at his medical gas supply business, "Chicago Oxygen."
1950 - The International Underwater Spear Fishing Association holds the first national skin diving competition at Laguna Beach, California. Organized by Ralph Davis, the competition pulls together many underwater activities. It is won by the Dolphin Club of Compton, California.
Early 1950s - Entrepreneurs in coastal cities all around America launch dive retail operations. In California, Bob Lorenz opens "Water Gill," presumably the first specialty retail store for scuba divers, in Venice; Mel Fisher opens "Mel's Aqua Shop" in a Torrance feed store; and Bill Hardy and Bill Johnston open "San Diego Divers Supply." In Florida, Paul Arnold opens "Aqua-Lung, Inc." and Jordan Klein opens "Underwater Sports" (originally named "Marineland") in 1951. They soon face competition from Lou Maxwell's "Florida Frogman." Back on the West Coast, Bob and Bill Meistrell start "Dive 'N' Surf" in Hermosa Beach, California, in 1953. That makes "Dive 'N' Surf" the West Coast's oldest diving specialty retailer in continuous operation. In Boston, James Bliss starts retailing scuba gear at his marine products wholesale distributor in 1954. Gustav dalla Valle, the émigré scion of an aristocratic Italian family, begins importing scuba and skin diving equipment made in Italy by Eduardo Cressi to the United States. Dalla Valle later sells the Cressi distribution contract to Dick Kline at Healthways.
1950 - The International Underwater Spearfishing Association was founded. The primary person responsible in the United States was Ralph Davis. The first U.S. National Underwater Spearfishing Championships were also held that year.
1951 - Skin Diver Magazine was formed by Chuck Blakeslee and Jim Auxier. The magazine became the central source for information on the industry. Chuck and Jim were both avid divers and put much of the magazine's profits toward improving the sport. Among the projects they funded or created over the years were the first sport diving museum, The National Diving Patrol, NAUI, The International Underwater Film Festivals, the Hannes Keller dive, and many other early projects and events. Note, post 911 (Sept 2001) economics helped bring this magazine to an end.
1951: A European manufacturer, possibly Le Spirotechnique, produces a new tank valve that can be set to reserve part of the air supply. The "reserve" can be used by the diver after the main supply is depleted. The first U. S. Divers catalog, published in 1953, designates the reserve valve with the letter "J," and it becomes known throughout the industry as the "J-valve." Its catalog companion, the "non-reserve" device, is still known as the "K-valve."
1951 - Hans Hass publishes Diving to Adventure and inspires many newcomers to the underwater world.
1951: Rachel Carson publishes The Sea Around Us. Her scholarly yet poetic book about the oceans wins several prestigious awards and tops bestseller lists for almost seven months. Today, more than 40 years later, The Sea Around Us continues to win new friends for the marine environment.
1952 - Silent World was released by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Frédéric Dumas, and James Dugan. Silent World tells the story of the invention and underwater adventures of the early Aqua-Lung and becomes one of the most influential books in bringing new people to the sport of SCUBA diving. Many skin divers decide to buy an Aqua-Lung based on this book.
1953: Dr. Eugenie Clark publishes Lady With a Spear. It becomes a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and will be translated into eight languages, plus Braille. The popular book gives women divers a role model of their own.
1953: Robert Wagner, Gilbert Roland, Peter Graves and an antagonistic rubber octopus star in Beneath the 12 Mile Reef, a film about diving for sponges off the Florida coast. The critics say it's a sinker. But crowds flood the theaters, and the underwater cinematography of Edward Cronjager receives an Academy Award nomination.
1953 - Popular Science gives directions on how to make your own scuba equipment using surplus military parts.
1953 - E.R. Cross publishes the immensely popular Underwater Safety.
1953 - Los Angeles Sports Director Al Tillman and Lifeguard Bev Morgan are sent by Los Angeles County to attend a scientific diver course taught by Connie Limbaugh at Scripps Institute. Connie was famous in the diving industry and was even called the "Greatest Diver in History" by Skin Diver Magazine. The informal course covered everything from surfing and underwater explosives to SCUBA and first aid along with the scientific aspects of diving.
1954 - Al Tillman and Bev Morgan develop the first public skin and scuba diver education program in the United States. The Los Angeles County program quickly becomes the template for all programs that were to follow.
1954 - The Science of Skin and Scuba Diving is published by the Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics. This becomes the cornerstone textbook for diver education.
1954 - The television program Kingdom of the Sea starring Zale Parry is aired. Parry becomes a national celebrity, especially within the diving industry. That same year Parry also broke the depth record by diving to 209 feet near Catalina, CA - only stopping because she hit bottom. After the show and the record dive she becomes a hero to women around the world and many new female divers join the sport.
1954 - Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre star in Walt Disney's popular remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It wins Academy Awards for art direction and special effects.
1955 - Jane Russell, Richard Egan, and Gilbert Roland star in a Howard Hughes film, Underwater! Promotional posters feature scantily-clad Hollywood newcomer Jayne Mansfield. The film premieres at a Florida spring. Some of the guests wear scuba gear to watch divers search for sunken treasure. Or maybe they just watch Jane and Jayne.
1955 - Due to the massive popularity of the Los Angeles County program Tillman and Morgan create the first formal instructor certification program. Many famous divers were brought in to both teach and become certified.
1955 - Sam Davison, Jr., introduces the "Dial-A-Breath," a double-hose, double-diaphragm regulator, complete with a built-in low-pressure reserve and variable breathing resistance. It helps touch off a competitive frenzy, as other manufacturers seek special features to distinguish their own lines of equipment. Davison goes on to build his own equipment manufacturing company, Dacor.
1956 - The first wetsuit was introduced by researchers at the University of California. Edco produces the first suits.
1956 - Ted Nixon introduces a distinctive red and white "diver down" flag to warn boaters to stay clear or slow down to avoid injuring nearby divers.
1957 - Al Tillman and Zale Parry organize the first International Underwater Film Festival. Subsequent festivals were held in various cities around the world.
1958 - Sherwood Manufacturing purchases the patent for the piston regulator. (The price asked and received by the inventor is that he be taken to lunch once a year.) Sherwood engineers modify the regulator for use in scuba equipment, as a replacement for the diaphragm regulator originally created by Rouquayrol and Denayrouze in 1864. Sherwood will manufacture pistonvalved regulators in various configurations for sale by U. S. Divers, Voit, Healthways, Swimaster, Scubapro, Dacor, Nemrod-Seamless Rubber, and others, for many years. Various versions of the device are still widely used throughout the industry.
1958 - Sea Hunt airs and becomes the driving force in bringing in unprecedented numbers of new divers to the sport. The show stars Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson and is produced by veteran producer Ivan Tors. Famous divers including Zale Parry, Lamar Boren, and Al Tillman work in front of or behind the cameras on the show.
1959 - Jacques Cousteau chaired the organization of the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques the first international dive training association made up of Federations from fifteen countries including France, England, Germany and the United States. It has now grown to over 100 countries worldwide.
1959 - Hollywood's love affair with the underwater world bottoms out with Jerry Lewis on scuba gear, some wayward Weeki Wachee mermaids, and a wimpy, wacky octopus in Don't Give Up the Ship.
1959 - The YMCA develops the first national diver certification program.
1959 - The Underwater Society of America was formed.
1960 - Al Tillman (Founder of the Los Angeles County Underwater Unit) and Neal Hess (Columist and Director of the of the National Diving Patrol for Skin Diver Magazine), with help from Garry Howland and John Jones, create the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) and hold its first instructor certification course in Houston during the Underwater Society of America Convention. Tillman adapts the Los Angeles County course to be taught to individuals from any diving venue and NAUI incorporates as a non-profit agency. NAUI becomes the first international certification agency. Early financing and administrative assistance for the agency came from Skin Diver Magazine.
1960 - Diving pioneer Connie Limbaugh drowns while diving in a cave in France. Limbaugh, the first chief diving officer at Scripps Institute, is among the most admired divers in the world and a leading marine scientist. His death saddens everyone in the industry and makes divers everywhere feel vulnerable.
1960 - Dick Birch opens the four-room Small Hope Bay on Andros Cay in The
Bahamas the earliest known dedicated dive resort. Small Hope Bay offers
a remote location sheltered by the Andros Barrier Reef, less than 200
miles from Miami. Now with 20 rooms, it is still in business.
1960s - Mel Fisher, Burt Webber, Kip Wagner, Fay Feild, and others find scattered treasure from wrecks of Spain's 1715 fleet and create new technology for the hunt. By the end of the decade, they recover much of the salvageable treasure from the 1715 and 1733 fleets. But new finds will continue to be uncovered in the 1990s, and, perhaps, beyond.
1961 - John Gaffney founded the National Association of Skin Diving Schools (NASDS).
1961 - Maurice Fenzy patents a device invented by the underwater research group of the French navy. The device includes an inflatable bag with a small attached cylinder of compressed air. It rapidly becomes the first commercially successful buoyancy compensator. Within a few years, divers throughout Europe, and a few well-traveled Americans, are wearing "Fenzys."
1961 - Ed Replogle invents a "sonic alarm" that automatically warns its user (and everyone else in the vicinity) of low air pressure. The device, manufactured by Sherwood and sold by Healthways, signals that safety remains a major concern in the recreational diving industry.
1962 - Two highly publicized experiments give the world a glimpse of underwater experimentation and research. E. A. Link becomes the "Man in the Sea" with an experimental 24hour dive(on heliox) to 200 feet. And Jacques Cousteau conducts "Conshelf One," with a habitat housing six men breathing oxygen enriched air (nitrox) at 35 feet for seven days.
1963 - Equipment importer and distributor Gustav dalla Valle and his partner, former Navy diver and dive equipment retailer Dick Bonin, start their own diving equipment manufacturing company, Scubapro.
1963 - Art Stanfield and Charlie Jehle (Voit), Dick Bonin (Scubapro), Sam Davison, Sr. (Dacor), John Culley (U. S. Divers), and Randy Stone (Healthways) revive the idea of a national trade association. They form the Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association (DEMA) "to promote, foster and advance the common business interests of the members as manufacturers of diving equipment."
1963 - Flipper, a movie featuring Chuck Connors and Luke Halpin, but starring a tail walking, playfully squeaking bottlenosed dolphin, wins modest box office success. The film, its sequels, and the popular television series that follows will change popular attitudes toward marine mammals and toward the oceans.
1964 - The U. S. Navy launches Sealab I for a different kind of live-aboard diving experience. In the first experiment, four divers stay underwater for 11 days at an average depth of 193 feet.
1965 - Al Tillman develops the UNEXSO Diving Resort at Freeport in The Bahamas. Created with the dawn of the jet age, it soon becomes a major attraction for teaching diving and a magnet for traveling divers. Programmed to protect the environment, the resort promotes hunting with cameras instead of spear guns. UNEXSO becomes the prototype of a complete dedicated dive travel destination.
1965 - U. S. Navy Sealab II team leader Scott Carpenter, living and working in the habitat at a depth of 205 feet, speaks with astronaut Gordon Cooper in a Gemini spacecraft orbiting 200 miles above the surface. No longer will humanity be able to view space, sea, and land as separate entities. Instead, we are learning to view Spaceship Earth as a single system. This is the real dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
1965 - Thunderball, starring Sean Connery, glamorizes and updates the image of scuba with waves of diving extras and starlets galore. Agent 007 saves the world but gives diving retailers fits as customers demand to buy scuba gear "just like James Bond's." The special visual effects win an Academy Award.
1966 - John Cronin and Ralph Ericson found the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
1967 - The Undersea Medical Society (now the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, UHMS) is founded in Maryland. UHMS and its members will significantly advance knowledge of the medical aspects of diving.
1968 - John J. Gruener and R. Neal Watson dove to 437 feet breathing compressed air.
1970 - Scuba Schools International (SSI) was founded by Bob Clark.
1971 - Peter Hughes opens the first full-service dive business on Roatan at "Anthony's Key Resort," then a 17-room resort hotel catering to the sailing crowd. Hughes' remarkable and rapid success demonstrates to beach resort operators throughout the Caribbean that "underwater treasure" can take many forms.
1971 - Scubapro introduces the Stabilization Jacket, a combination backpack and jacket style buoyancy control device (BCD). The "stab jacket" and its imitators increase diver acceptance of BCDs. Jacket-style BCDs become the industry standard for most uses. ("Horse-collar" BCDs will continue to be popular with cave divers and others who use multi-tank dive rigs.)
1972 - The U. S. Congress passes the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act. The Act seeks to extend the kind of protection afforded by national park status to estuaries and coastal waters. It recognizes that marine sanctuaries are "part of our collective riches as a nation" and charges NOAA with managing the program. The first National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1975, protects the remains of the Civil War ironclad Monitor. Today, the system embraces 13 sites including the three newest: Monterey Bay, California; Stellwagen Banks off the New England coast; and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
1972 - "Captain Don" Stewart of Bonaire starts setting concrete "sea tethers" (now known as mooring buoys) at popular dive sites. The buoys successfully prevent damage to fragile reefs caused by failing and dragging boat anchors. In 1979, to further protect the reefs for and from divers, Bonaire designates its surrounding waters as a marine park. Tom van't Hof, head of the Caribbean Marine Biological Institute (Curaçao), formalizes the mooring buoy program. The reef protection idea gradually (actually, far too gradually) takes hold at other popular dive destinations.
1975 - Hollywood rediscovers the underwater world in a fearsome way with the box office blockbuster, Jaws. Stephen Spielberg's bodacious beast makes a bunch of bucks for novelist Peter Benchley but takes a big bite out of the diving business. Shark-o-phobia chases people out of the water in droves, ending 15 consecutive years of industry growth. Aftershocks echo in 1977 with The Deep and in 1978 and 1983 with. Jaws 2 and Jaws 3.
1977 - The first DEMA trade show convenes in Miami. The show establishes itself as "neutral ground" where the entire industry can meet. The trade show becomes remarkably successful, and within a few years, DEMA makes itself a potent force for professionalism and unity within the recreational diving industry.
1980 - Divers Alert Network was founded at Duke University as a non-profit organization to promote safe diving.
1981 - Record 2250 foot-dive was made in a Duke Medical Center chamber.
1981 - DEMA designs and tests its GEM program of streamlined diver training in cooperation with NAUI, PADI, and a group of diving retailers. The program suggests a kinder, gentler philosophy of dive instruction along with courses that require less pool and classroom time. The certification programs that follow in GEM's wake make diving more accessible to busy professionals, entire families, and other new participants.
1982 - The Institute of Diving opens the "International Diving Museum" (now the "Museum of Man in the Sea") in Panama City, Florida. The museum's collection will become one of the most comprehensive in the world. It includes the U. S. Navy's Sealab I and the Deep Dive System Mark 1. The museum also houses diving equipment from England, France, Germany, and Japan, as well as a research library of rare books, video tapes, photographs, and films.
1983 - Co-inventors Craig Barshinger and Carl Huggins, and ORCA Industries founder Jim Fulton, introduce The Edge®, the first commercially successful American electronic dive computer, at the DEMA trade show. The device automatically tracks dives and continuously calculates remaining "no decompression" time and depth limits. It helps spark a new era in dive instrumentation.
1984, 1985: American popular culture shows a revived affection for the underwater world. Two movies Splash and Cocoon portray the ocean as a revitalizing, nurturing environment and feature lovingly photographed underwater scenes. Rising sales throughout the recreational diving industry reflect the appeal of the new image.
1985: Mel Fisher's team finds the main body of the 1622 wreck Atocha, along with its fabled $400 million in gold, silver, emeralds, and priceless historic artifacts. The event marks the ultimate fulfillment of the treasure hunter's fantasy. Publicity given Fisher's find (not to mention the lawsuits that follow) helps fuel America's reviving fascination with recreational diving.
1985 - The wreck of the Titanic was found.
1998 - NASDS merged with SSI.
May 2002 - The FBI issued a nationwide alert saying that it has received information about a possible terrorist threat from underwater divers. The threat was serious enough for the agency to contact several scuba shops, seeking information about students and customers.
November 2002 - "Skin Diver" magazine ceased publication.
July 2003 - John Cronin, co-founder of PADI, died.
July 2003 - Tanya Streeter, a world champion freediver, broke both the men's and women's variable ballast freediving world records. She descended 400 feet (122 meters) to capture the variable ballast record and become the first person to ever break all four deep freediving world records.
Know about some recent history? Let us know at Info@ScubaDiver.cc
Credits for much of the information on this page goes to works of Mark Dorfman &
Lawrence Martin, M.D.
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