The European Underwater Federation has today announced a new award to recognise individuals who enthusiastically contribute to the European diving community.
The award is named after Jack Lavanchy. Jack - known as ‘Jacky’ by many - was one of the early pioneers of the European Scuba Diving Industry. This award is a wholly fitting tribute to a man who advocated positive co-operation within the scuba diving industry.
My goal has always been to make the manufacturing and selling of diving equipment a serious professional and honourable business. I did everything I could to bring the Diving Industry closer together, instead of spending money, time and energy in quarrelling and lawsuits! Jack Lavanchy
Jack Lavanchy was born in Switzerland. He was an active member of Switzerland’s oldest dive club, ‘Glaukos’. Over the years Lavanchy held several posts within Glaukos, including Head of the Technical Committee and President. He worked with the Swiss Diving Federation as the Glaukos delegate and supported the development of the CMAS Scientific Commission.
In 1956 Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s pioneering documentary ‘The Silent World’ was released. It inspired many people including Jack Lavanchy. Lavanchy established and co-owned JWL (Jack William Lavanchy) for thirty years. It later evolved into JWL Aqualung AG and was a major scuba gear distribution company.
I have always fought for unity and collaboration. It does not matter if you are a member of SSI, CMAS or PADI. The main thing is that you are a diver who dives safely and motivates other people to dive. Jack Lavanchy
In 1983 Jack Lavanchy and his business partner Jürg Beeli were granted the European and Maldives franchise from PADI. Lavanchy and Beeli had recognised the potential for PADI to improve diver training and grow scuba diving in Europe. They founded PADI European Services (PES) and established the PADI European College in 1984. PES transitioned into PADI Europe in 1988, before becoming part of PADI EMEA.
Jack Lavanchy passionately believed in conserving and protecting the underwater environment. To this end in 1996 he established the Project AWARE (Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility and Education) Foundation as a registered charity in Switzerland, to support ocean conservation initiatives throughout Europe. (Project AWARE was originally founded in 1992 as a global organisation to encourage diver participation, ie beach clean ups). Project AWARE (Europe) grew to become an active and influential marine environmental organisation. Today Project AWARE is a global movement.
Jack always tried to see and do things together so that both parties benefited. A lot of people only look at their own profit margin. Jack Lavanchy always made sure the that he brought everyone along with him.
During his long career Jack Lavanchy was a valuable member of many boards which influenced the European diving industry. His contributions were recognised as he received numerous honors and titles, including: the Historical Diving Society Advisory Board and the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.
He made it possible for dive centre and shows like this (Boot) to get established. He built bridges. He was the nicest person in the diving industry. Dick Lucas, NAUI Europe
On 18th June 2016 the 'European Underwater Federation's General Assembly unanimously agreed to create a new award in honour of former EUF Honorary Vice President, Jack Lavanchy. The award will be presented at the beginning of each year to an individual who the members of the EUF feel has made a significant and sustained contribution towards the responsible development of the European diving community.
“Jack always spoke with passion of the importance of everyone in diving working together to grow and promote the sport. He was personally instrumental in establishing diving in Europe so this award will be a fitting way to honour his memory and to further the goals he always advocated with such passion.”
Mark Caney, President of the EUF