Renowned diving expert Jim Stewart passed away last week at the age of 89.
Stewart was the chief diving officer emeritus at the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He served as the institution’s diving officer from 1960 to 1991, heading the United States’ oldest and biggest nongovernmental research diving program, according to his obituary on the Scripps website.
Christian McDonald, Scripps’ current scientific diving safety officer, said of Stewart:
“Jim was a true pioneer and a giant to those of us that work in the ocean realm. He was a mentor to generations of divers, diving scientists, and diving safety professionals around the world. I, and so many others, find it a great privilege to have learned from and to count Jim as a good friend.”
Stewart became an accomplished spearo while still in high school. A World War II veteran, he was also the youngest member of the Bottom Scratchers, the world’s oldest freediving and spearfishing club.
Since 1967, Stewart was involved with training scientists who would be conducting research dives in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans even beyond his retirement from Scripps in 1991.
During his life, Stewart was lauded with a bunch of awards, including the AAUS Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement in 2001. He was also one of the first members of NAUI’s Hall of Honor in 2000, according to his obituary.
In 1991, Stewart was elected to DEMA’s Diving Hall of Fame.
Read more about Jim Stewart’s remarkable diving career at the Scripps website.