The Cayman Islands is pleased to announce the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF) International Inductees and Early Pioneer for 2014. Based in the Cayman Islands, the ISDHF annually recognizes members of the dive community whose contributions have been outstanding to the world of scuba diving. This year’s inductees share distinguished backgrounds and notable achievements, including elevating the worldwide prominence of international dive destinations, promoting a safer and friendlier dive community and capturing the underwater world through images and film.
The following individuals have been selected for induction in 2014:
Neal Watson – Among the fields Watson has worked in over his varied career are commercial diving, stunt coordination for the film and television industries, hotel management, and diving-related franchises. He holds several Guinness World Records, including the compressed air diving depth record. In addition to appearing on various television shows and in magazines and newspapers, Watson has worked with numerous celebrities including teaching Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, to dive and hand-feeding sharks with Jean-Michel Cousteau.
Bill Acker – The island of Yap’s prominence as a world-class dive destination is in part due to Acker, whose impact on the local economy has brought jobs and prosperity to the local community. The owner of the first dive shop in Yap, Acker helped turn the destination into one of the top international dive spots.
Chuck Nicklin – With extensive background in underwater photography, as well as pioneering efforts to building the San Diego dive scene, Nicklin has contributed greatly to the international dive community. He has captured underwater scenery for catalogs, magazines, and films, including ‘The Deep,’ ‘For Your Eyes Only,’ ‘The Abyss’ and ‘Never Say Never Again.’
Dan Orr – Most recently the President Emeritus of the Divers Alert Network Foundation and the former CEO, Orr has been involved in the diving industry for more than 40 years. His continued efforts to promote dive safety include authoring and contributing to many books and magazine articles.
The Early Pioneer in 2014 will be Decima Mas, the world’s first underwater combat unit using scuba equipment. Hailing from Italy, the unit came to prominence during WWII and is the forerunner of all international underwater combat units.
Alese and Morton Pechter – Among Alese and Morton Pechter’s notable achievements include documenting the underwater experience for numerous publications, educating children about the marine environment and advocating for ocean conservation. They have received honors by the United Nations Environment Programme and recognized by the US Navy as Honorary Deep Sea Divers.
“We are honored to recognize such outstanding individuals who have contributed significantly to the international dive community,” Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell said. “As scuba diving is intrinsic to Caymanian culture, the Cayman Islands strives to distinguish those who make the sport better for all.”
“As the Cayman Islands is the birthplace of recreational diving, it only makes sense that the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame would reside in here in Cayman,” Acting Director of the Department of Tourism Oneisha Richards added. “Our dive scene is unparalleled with 365 distinctive experiences around three islands and we are delighted to identify those that continue to draw newcomers to the sport.”
For more information on the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, visit www.scubahalloffame.com. To learn more about the unparalleled diving in the Cayman Islands, visit www.caymanislands.ky/divecayman.
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