Honorees to be Recognized at the Mardi Gras-themed 2015 DEMA Awards Party Held at the Hard Rock Live Coliseum in Orlando, F
The Dive Industry will take a trip to The Big Easy at the 27th annual presentation of the prestigious Reaching Out Awards on November 6, 2015, where we celebrate New Orleans style at this year’s Mardi Gras-themed evening in honor of Jim Gatacre and Dr. Richard Vann, recipients of the 2015 DEMA Reaching Out Award (ROA). The newest inductees to DEMA’s Hall of Fame will be honored at this year’s DEMA Awards Party taking place at the Hard Rock Live Coliseum in Orlando, FL. First presented in 1989, DEMA’s Reaching Out Award honors leaders in the diving community whose significant contributions to the sport have elevated the industry on all levels. This year’s recipients will be joining an extraordinary list of distinguished past Honorees.
Jim Gatacre has spent his career dedicated to creating awareness and opportunities for divers with disabilities. Gatacre founded The Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA) in 1981, and shortly thereafter, collaborated with several diver training organizations to develop the Physical Performance Requirements and Multi-Level Certification systems which enable scuba instructors to train and safely certify people with a wide range of physical capabilities.
In order to make diving more accessible worldwide, in 1984 Gatacre developed the HSA Resort Evaluation Program which has resulted in the creation of accessible dive destinations in remote areas throughout the world.
In 1986, Gatacre developed and implemented the HSA Instructor Training Course and wrote the HSA Instructor Manual, which has been translated into 10 languages. Over 2,000 SCUBA instructors in 45 countries have received training through the HSA Instructor Training Course. Seeing a need to increase the understanding of the unique needs of divers with different physical abilities, Gatacre developed and wrote the HSA Dive Buddy Manual and HSA Dive Buddy Certification training program in 1994. These training programs heighten the awareness of issues relevant to several disability types and help develop the skills required to assist and safely dive with physically challenged divers.
Gatacre is also responsible for creating the HSA Training Center Program, producing centers that offer support to HSA instructors and challenged divers, as well as diver education and certification programs from Open Water Diver through Course Director (Instructor Trainer). The HSA has 10 training centers internationally and 12 centers in the US.
Gatacre has also supervised and participated in the making of two films. Freedom in Depth (1985), filmed in California, features 19 handicapped divers and Jean-Michele Cousteau. To Fly in Freedom (1992), filmed in Fiji, features challenged divers from 6 countries, along with Jean-Michele Cousteau and his father Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Gatacre has been a true pioneer in opening the world of diving to those with disabilities.
Dr. Richard Vann is a well-respected diving researcher, contributing to the sport of diving for the last 50 years through education, environmental physiology and undersea biomedical science. Dr. Vann has been affiliated with Ocean Systems, Inc., the US Navy Underwater Demolition Team-12, Duke Hyperbaric Center and has been the Technical Director of Divers Alert Network (DAN).
Dr. Vann’s accolades have included accomplishments such as the Johnson Space Center’s Group Achievement Award from NASA in 2011 and the Albert R. Behnke Award from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society in 2012 for outstanding scientific contributions to undersea biomedical activity.
Well known amongst the diving community is Dr. Vann’s work on the NOAA Diving Manual; Dr. Vann has been a contributor and editor of the chapter on Physiology in an attempt to both educate and keep divers safe. In addition, he has been a regular presenter at the NOAA/Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) Diving Physicians Course for many years. He has personally trained many of the hyperbaric physicians who are available to respond in the event of a diving accident. His contributions on decompression sickness knowledge have guided NASA extra-vehicular activities as well as post-dive flying procedures for recreational divers.
Dr. Vann has maintained a constant flow of high quality peer review conference and publication papers on diving related topics and has ensured that the technical aspects of diving have been made available to the diving community at large. Such is the case with his dedication and commitment to running and organizing two major diving conferences that have been open to all SCUBA divers: the DAN Technical Diving Conference (January 2008) and DAN’s Re-Breather Forum 3 (May 2012).
Dr. Vann has played a pivotal role in the active sharing of diving safety knowledge by leading DAN Research for many years, writing and lecturing for all levels, directing, developing or co-developing many special topics workshops.
Dr. Vann has worked tirelessly on behalf of the diving community, dedicating his career to improving the safety of others.
DEMA congratulates Jim Gatacre and Dr. Richard Vann for their exemplary, life-long service to our Industry.