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Part 1 - Diving History Time Line

Men and women have practiced breath-hold diving for thousands of years. We know this because undersea artifacts have been found on land and there are depictions of divers in ancient drawings. This type of diving is still practiced today.

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.

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.

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.

1876 - Henry A. Fleuss developed the first workable, self-contained diving rig that used compressed oxygen .

1878 - Paul Bert published La Pression Barometrique, a book length work containing his physiologic studies of pressure changes.

1908 - John Scott Haldane, Arthur E. Boycott and Guybon C. Damant, published "The Prevention of Compressed-Air Illness", a paper on decompression sickness.

1912 - The U.S. Navy tested tables published by Haldane, Boycott and Damant.

1917 - The U.S. Bureau of Construction & Repair introduced the Mark V Diving Helmet. It was used for most salvage work during World War II. The Mark V Diving Helmet became the standard U.S. Navy Diving equipment.

1924 - First helium-oxygen experimental dives were conducted by U.S. Navy and Bureau of Mines.

1930 - William Beebe descended 1,426 feet in a bathysphere attached to a barge by a steel cable to the mother ship.

1930s - Guy Gilpatric pioneered the use of rubber goggles with glass lenses for skin diving. By the mid-1930s, face masks, fins, and snorkels were in common use. Fins were patented by Louis de Corlieu in 1933 .

1933 - Yves Le Prieur modified the Rouquayrol-Denayrouse invention by combining a demand valve with a high pressure air tank to give the diver complete freedom from hoses and lines.

1934 - William Beebe and Otis Barton descended 3,028 feet in a bathysphere.

1941-1944 - During World War II, Italian divers used closed circuit scuba equipment to place explosives under British naval and merchant marine ships.

1942-43 - Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan redesigned a car regulator that would automatically provide compressed air to a diver on his slightest intake of breath. The Aqua Lung was born.

1946 - Cousteau's Aqua Lung was marketed commercially in France. (Great Britain 1950, Canada 1951, USA 1952).

1947 - Dumas made a record dive with the Aqua Lung to 307 feet in the Mediterranean Sea.

1948 - Otis Barton descended in a modified bathysphere to a depth of 4500 feet, off the coast of California.

1951 - The first issue of Skin Diver Magazine appeared in December.

1953 - The Silent World by Cousteau was published chronicling the development of the Cousteau-Gagnan Aqua Lung.

1950s - August Picard with son Jacques pioneered a new type of vessel called the bathyscaphe. It was completely self-contained and designed to go deeper than any bathysphere.

1954 - Georges S. Houot and Pierre-Henri Willm used a bathyscaphe to exceed Barton's 1948 diving record, reaching a depth of 13,287 feet.

1957 - The first segment of Sea Hunt aired on television, starring Lloyd Bridges as Mike Hunt, underwater adventurer.

1959 - YMCA began the first nationally organized course for scuba certification.

1960 - Jacques Picard and Don Walsh descended to 35,820 feet in the bathyscaphe Trieste.

1960 - NAUI was formed.

1962 - Beginning in 1962 several experiments were conducted whereby people lived in underwater habitats.

1966 - PADI was formed.

1968 - John J. Gruener and R. Neal Watson dove to 437 feet breathing compressed air.

1970s - Important advances relating to scuba safety that began in the 1960s became widely implemented in the 1970s, such as certification cards to indicate a minimum level of training, change from J-valve reserve systems to non-reserve K valves, and adoption of the BC and single hose regulators as essential pieces of diving equipment.

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.

1983 - The Orca Edge, the first commercially available dive computer, was introduced.

1985 - The wreck of the Titanic was found.

1990s - An estimated 500,000 new scuba divers are certified yearly in the U.S., new scuba magazines form and scuba travel is big business. There is an increase of diving by non-professionals who use advanced technology, including mixed gases, full face masks, underwater voice communication, propulsion systems, and so on.

by Melissa Rodriguez

Part 2 - History of Training:

Many times I have been asked; "What do I need to know as a new diver and whom do I talk to about it?" "How was training started and where do I go for information?"

Working in the dive industry for 18 years and in and out of the dive shop retail sales part of it, I have a lot of suggestions.

When first deciding on where to get certified, its good to ask just what am I getting into and what's it going to cost and who can offer me the best training? Diving is like any other activity and life experience - "You need to ask questions!"

There are many different certifying agencies out there, almost as many as there are dive shops. In the past 10 years, we seem to have more agencies than dive shops. Most dive shops certify under multiple agencies. It seems that most agencies seem to want to push sales vs. training. But, all agencies say they are the best. I am not going to give a ranking nor will I suggest what agency to go to for your certification. What I will do is give you some ideas to think about and some questions to ask.

In the early days of diving, a person found few places offered training and equipment was made out of someone's garage. The initial equipment came from Europe and there were just a few outlets offering gear. People, bought their gear, maybe went to a pool to try it out, or just went down to the local watering hole or ocean and jumped into the water. The first wetsuits were just made out of rubber and the parts were glued together. Retailers started opening up shops and there became a need for some sort of training. LA County, YMCA, Red Cross, NAUI and PADI were some of the first such training groups.

Taken from the website of NAUI Worldwide:
In 1948 Rene Bussoz of Rene's Sporting Goods of Westwood, California was convinced by Jacques-Yves Cousteau to import a new design for a self-contained underwater breathing unit known as the Aqua-Lung which would allow divers to stay under water for extended periods of time. Rene imported 10 of these units and once these "bubble machines" were sold everyone thought the market had been saturated. Within just a few years, however, Aqua-Lungs could be found in several shops across the country and a new breed a diver was entering the water that didn't need to have the great physical stamina required of breathe hold divers. The Aqua-Lung created a swell of new divers and Rene's Sporting Goods became U.S. Divers.

The Aqua-Lung was sold to anyone with enough money and came with training little more than a warning to "not hold your breath." The only formal training programs were found in the military, scientific institutions such as Scripps and Woods Hole, and in the dive clubs. In 1951 Jim Auxier and Chuck Blakeslee started a magazine called The Skin Diver (later renamed Skin Diver Magazine). They hired a man named Neal Hess to write a column called "The Instructors Corner" to cover teaching techniques for this blossoming sport. Hess soon began "certifying" divers to become instructors by reviewing their course outlines and then running their names in the column. This new program was called the "National Diving Patrol."

During this same time Al Tillman, the sports director for Los Angeles County pushed through the idea of a county sponsored training program for skin and scuba divers. In 1953 Tillman and a Los Angeles County lifeguard by the name of Bev Morgan went to Scripps Institution to study under famed diver Conrad Limbaugh. When they returned they created the world's first public dive training agency and a year later held the world's first civilian Underwater Instructor Certification Course, known as UICC1. The County program began getting requests from across the country and they began granting Provisional Certification to instructors nationwide.

The rest of the 1950's saw an amazing growth in the sport diving field spurred on by books by Cousteau and Hans Hass and the television series Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges and Zale Parry. Other public certification agencies followed Los Angeles County including the Broward County, Florida Red Cross program under John C. Jones, Jr. and the YMCA's national program.

In 1959 Blakeslee and Auxier sat down with Hess and they formulated an idea to hold a major instructor certification course the following year. The right time and place became the August 1960 meeting of the Underwater Society of America that would be held in Houston, Texas. Hess contacted Tillman, Director of the Los Angeles County Underwater Program, to design and direct this course. Jones from Broward County was contacted to assist them in the project. The National Diving Patrol was renamed the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) and it was incorporated as a non-profit educational organization. Tillman became the first President and Hess became Executive Secretary.

The course was finally set and 72 of the best candidates and eight instructors descended on the Shamrock Hotel in Houston from across the United States and Canada. The course was grueling, lasting six days, and only 53 of the candidates graduated but it was the first international instructor certification course in history and marked a whole new era in sport diving. These new instructors went away with a pride of accomplishment and wore their instructor patches and numbers like badges of honor in their hometowns.

Following the Houston Course a full Board of Directors was elected consisting of Al Tillman (NAUI#1), John C. Jones, Jr. (NAUI#2), Neal Hess (NAUI#3), Garry Howland (NAUI#13), Jim Auxier and James Cahill. A Board of Advisors was also created and consisted of Captain Albert Behnke, Jr., Commander George Bond, Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and Dr. Andy Rechnitzer.Written by Tom & Al Tillman


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