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DAN Founder Receives Honors

The DEMA Board of Directors has selected Peter B. Bennett, Ph.D., D.Sc., founder and president of Divers Alert Network, as one of its 2002 DEMA Reaching Out Award recipients.

The DEMA Board selected four honorees for their services to the scuba diving industry. Others named to receive the 2002 Reaching Out Award are Jon Hardy (posthumously), Charlie Jehle and Ronald Kipp. The honorees were chosen from a slate of 23 individuals nominated by the DEMA Membership.

"Dr. Bennett has made significant contributions to this industry, not the least of which is the founding of DAN in 1980," said Dan Orr, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at DAN. "For more than 20 years, Dr. Bennett has provided the vision and guidance necessary to turn a single telephone on his desk at Duke University Medical Center into the world’s largest diving medical, health and safety organization.

"DAN, a non-profit, member-supported organization, has been responsible for providing vital emergency assistance to tens of thousands of divers worldwide as well as providing important medical, health and safety information to hundreds of thousands more. Without Dr. Bennett’s steadfast devotion to DAN’s motto, ‘Divers helping divers,’ this essential part of the industry would not exist.

"Dr. Bennett has also been singularly responsible for conducting and

initiating international research in areas that have directly and indirectly benefited both the recreational, commercial and military diving fields over the past 45 years. This includes such areas as nitrogen narcosis, oxygen toxicity, deep diving (high-pressure nervous syndrome — HPNS), decompression illness, ascent rates and flying after diving."

Hardy, whose diving activities spanned more than 40 years in commercial, military, and scientific diving, was probably best known as the driving force behind Rodale’s Scuba Magazine’s "ScubaLab," evaluating dive gear for the magazine and then writing about it. Jehle, one of the original founders of DEMA, also founded Sea Quest. Kipp, a former member of the DEMA Board of Directors, owned and for many years operated Bob Soto’s Diving in Grand Cayman.

In the announcement, Regina Franklin, executive director of DEMA, said the diving industry is privileged to have had the professional and personal contributions from the individuals being honored.

"Each of the award honorees has made his mark on our industry, and the results of their dedication can be seen today," Franklin said. "Whether the contribution was through research, education, diving safety, equipment manufacturing or improving tourism, the DEMA membership recognizes that our industry is positively altered because of their presence in it."

The four will receive their awards at the Annual Diving Industry Gala as part of the 2002 DEMA Show. The Historical Diving Society and the Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences Awards will also present awards.

To purchase tickets, visit or call DEMA at +1-858-616-6408. For information, email Michelle Metter at

The Dive Industry Awards Gala is held during the annual trade event, The DEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, to recognize outstanding individual contributions to the scuba diving industry. The Gala is presented by the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, the Historical Diving Society and the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences.

Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelan
Stephan is the Founder of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.