The DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award

For the past 25 years, Divers Alert Network® and Rolex have collaborated to award one of the most prestigious honors in scuba diving, the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award. Beginning as a generous grant to DAN® in the late 1980s to recognize the good work DAN was doing for dive safety, the award morphed, in 1989, into a specially engraved Rolex Submariner watch that was given to an individual who had made significant contributions to dive safety and/or the DAN mission.

Walt “Butch” Hendrick, the first recipient of the award, came from a career teaching diving and rescue in Puerto Rico beginning in 1960 and running the first and only civilian hyperbaric facility in the Caribbean at the time. Since that first award, the list of winners became a who’s who of dive physicians, educators and scientists of professional renown and altruistic character.

Carrying the torch forward is this year’s recipient, Frank Chapman. In keeping with the DAN legacy of divers helping divers, Chapman, who has been a diver since the late 1950s, has helped certify more than 1,000 divers in his role as a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW), where he helped the school develop safety protocols for their archeological and scientific diving programs. In 1977 Chapman joined the board of directors of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS); a year later he became the director of operations for UNCW’s National Undersea Research Center, which is funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In this capacity he worked closely with DAN to incorporate their training and dive-safety programs.

“Through this award, DAN and Rolex have identified those worthy individuals who have devoted their careers to making diving safer for all of us,” said Dan Orr, president emeritus of The DAN Foundation. “DAN has been proud to partner with Rolex to make this award the most prestigious of its kind in the diving world.”

Peter Nicholson, vice president and director of communications at Rolex, said, “Rolex has a deep appreciation of dive safety and education. There is no greater personification of delivering on these goals and others than the Diver of the Year Award. We are honored to be able to present the recipient with a Rolex Submariner to wear in good health and good diving.”

The DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award is given each year during a banquet at the Beneath the Sea dive show in Secaucus, N.J.

DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award

  • Walt “Butch” Hendrick (1989)
  • Jim Corry (1990)
  • Michael Lang, Ph.D. (1991)
  • Drew Richardson, Ed.D. (1992)
  • Karl Huggins (1993)
  • Glen Egstrom, Ph.D. (1994)
  • Marjorie Bank (1995)
  • Dick Long (1996)
  • Lee Somers, Ph.D. (1997)
  • Richard Dunford (1998)
  • Hillary Viders, Ph.D. (1999)
  • Greg Mackay (2000)
  • Bill Hamilton, Ph.D. (2001)
  • Marc Kaiser (2002)
  • Andrea Zaferes (2003)
  • Thomas Jaskulski (2004)
  • Albert José Jones, Ph.D. (2005)
  • Scott Taylor (2006)
  • Jeff Bozanic, Ph.D. (2007)
  • Ivan Montoya, M.D. (2008)
  • Paul Auerbach, M.D. (2009)
  • Gene Hobbs (2010)
  • Tom Neuman, M.D. (2011)
  • Alex Brylske, Ph.D. (2012)
  • Frank L. Chapman (2013)

© Alert Diver — Q3 Summer 2013