In July 2016 the European Underwater Federation announced that a new award would be launched to recognise individuals who enthusiastically contribute to the European diving community.
The new award was to honour of former EUF Honorary Vice President, Jack Lavanchy. It would be presented annually to an individual who EUF members felt "had made a significant and sustained contribution towards the responsible development of the European diving community."
The inaugural winner in 2017 was Deric Ellerby.
Earlier today - Saturday 20th January 2018 - Martin Parker received the 2nd Jack Lavanchy Award at the Boot Show in Dusseldorf. (Follow this link to watch the award ceremony).
Jack was a friendly colleague. We worked together on the first CEN Committee TC136 WG7 in the 1990s. This was the BCD standard EN1809. Martin Parker
Martin Parker’s name is well known globally within the diving community as a respected manufacturer, expert witness and active diver.
The award criteria was specific - "the nominee’s actions should generally encourage cooperation with the community "
- Martin is an active member on a number of CEN and European Committees, ie TC136 WG7 and TC79/SC7 (Technical Committee 79, Sub Committee 7). (This creates and revises the EN250 regulator standard, the EN14143 rebreather standard, as well as standards for umbilical supplied breathing apparatus.) He has been involved in the EN250 Regulator Standard right through to the latest EN14143 Rebreather Standard. In fact Martin was the instigator for the British rebreather standard which then went into the CEN system to become the EN14143.
- He has worked on the BSI PH4 / 7 Committee and European committees since 1992, and been involved with the instigation, development and revision of diving equipment standards for the last 24 years.
- He instructs / lecturers at the FFESSM (French diving federation) biennial rebreather instructor events. He has done this since 2006.
- Martin Parker is a co-founder of RESA (Rebreather Education and Safety Association)
- Martin ensures that loan units are available for research purposes and to train OWUSS Rolex Scholars.
Jack and I also worked on standards for depth gauges, timers, masks, snorkels, fins and combined rescue and buoyancy control devices. Martin Parker
The award criteria also stated that - "the nominee’s actions should have consistently shown a willingness to advance the sport"
Martin Parker has
- Designed and developed of a number of BCDs and the Auto Air enabling divers from many communities / backgrounds to work or enjoy their underwater adventures in safe, comfortable equipment
- Designed and manufactured the life support system, main and emergency systems for James Cameron’s ‘Deep Sea Challenger’
- Developed and manufactured the Inspiration and Evolution rebreathers. (Dave Thompson originally invented the ‘Buddy Inspiration’. For a time it was nicknamed the ‘Perspiration’ by Thompson's significant other because of the amount of research and development it required.)
It is worth noting that AP’s rebreathers have inspired other companies to begin manufacturing rebreathers.
The Inspiration Changed Diving Forever
The Inspiration is considered the first mass-produced, mass-marketed affordable closed circuit rebreather for the recreational and technical diving market. This ‘sport’ rebreather significantly changed diving exploration across the globe for the better when it was unveiled in 1997. It has given thousands of divers across the globe a tool to push their diving and exploration further, deeper and longer.
To put this into context HMHS Britannic lies in the Greek Kea Channel. Her hull is at approximately 86 mt / 282 ft and the seabed is 116 mt / 380 ft.
In 1998 when Kevin Gurr led an open circuit expedition to dive this Olympic class liner, a typical bottom time was approximately 25 minutes. Just five years later, the late Carl Spencer led the first CCR expedition to dive the same wreck. This time the divers were on average racking up double that amount of bottom time because the Inspiration gave them incredible gas duration and delivered the best gas mix to the diver at all stages of the dive, including all the decompression.
Mark Caney, the President of the EUF presented the award and stated “Martin exactly fulfils the requirements of the award: he has made a major positive difference to the European diving scene and has always acted in the best interests of the diving community. He has been particularly influential in advancing the cutting-edge technology that has enabled divers to push the boundaries of exploration."