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DAN Founder Peter Bennett has passed away

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Peter Bennett, PhD, DSc, passed away on Tuesday in the company of his wife, Margaret, and son, Chris. Bennett was a passionate researcher and entrepreneur who founded Divers Alert Network in 1980 and led the organization for 23 years.

Born in Portsmouth, England, on June 12, 1931, Bennett studied chemistry and biology at the University of London, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951. After university he worked at the Royal Navy Physiological Laboratory and in 1964 earned his doctorate in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Southampton.

Bennett loved diving medicine and physiology and was a charter member of the Undersea Medical Society at its founding in 1967. He was later its president (1975-1976), the editor of its journal (1976-1979), and its executive director (beginning in 2007).

In 1972 Bennett moved to the United States, where he was first named deputy director and later director of the F.G. Hall Laboratory hyperbaric chamber facility at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. In 1980, Bennett submitted a proposal to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for a grant to fund an emergency hotline for injured divers. Thus Bennett and his colleagues at Duke undertook responsibility for the hotline that would eventually grow and become Divers Alert Network.

During his 23-year tenure at the helm of DAN, Bennett oversaw introduction of the organization’s membership program, dive accident insurance program, research department, continuing medical education program, training department, and more.

An emeritus professor of anesthesiology at Duke University, Bennett published more than 100 journal publications, 31 book chapters, and several books, including Physiology and Medicine of Diving, a definitive work in the field. He also published numerous reports, workshop proceedings, and abstracts. Among his areas of interest were trimix, deep stops, and high-pressure nervous syndrome.

Over the years Bennett received many awards, including the 1980 NOGI Award for Sciences by the Underwater Society of America. He also received recognition from DEMA, SSI, the Underwater Society of America, the National Academy of Scuba Educators, NAUI, the British Historical Diving Society, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and many others.

“In founding DAN, Dr. Bennett accomplished something truly remarkable,” said DAN president and CEO Bill Ziefle. “It is because of his vision and action that divers all over the world now have the support of an organization that stands ready to assist in the event of an emergency. Dr. Bennet’s inquisitive mind and drive to achieve were gifts to divers everywhere.”

“Peter Bennett dedicated his life to the advancement of diving,” said DAN medical director Jim Chimiak, MD. “Few equal his combined accomplishments as a researcher, organizer, and leader in diving medicine. He will remain a profound influence on everyone working in this increasingly important area of human endeavor. He displayed an infectious, pioneering spirit that rallied expert, worldwide collaborations that routinely accomplished the impossible. He was a great mentor and friend who will be truly missed.”   

Join the DAN community or learn more at www.DAN.org.

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Deptherapy charity to close in August 2023

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Scuba Diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy has announced its forthcoming closure. Last month, the Board of Trustees met to discuss the future of the Deptherapy & Deptherapy Education Charity. A path to closure was sadly agreed that will see the charity formally end its operation with effect from midnight on 31st August 2023, the end of the charity’s 2022–2023 financial year.

The reasons for closure, and the plans for the operation of Deptherapy over the interim period, are covered in a statement issued on behalf of the Deptherapy Board, which was made available on the charity’s website today, 3rd October 2022.

Two major issues have forced the difficult decision to close: 1, the inability to recruit sufficient beneficiaries to maintain a viable graduated diving qualification pathway; and 2, the lack of a sustainable income stream, in which public giving has been replaced by an increased dependency on grant funding. The charity also cites the negative impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on both recruitment and fundraising.

Until their closure at the end of August next year, Deptherapy is committed to continuing the charity’s scheduled programme, which includes a training expedition to Roots Red Sea in October 2022 for new beneficiaries, as well as those already on developmental courses. The charity is also hosting a Deptherapy Retreat in Sheffield in November 2022 for beneficiaries, partners and relatives. The Retreat will see the launch of the Deptherapy Mental Awareness Course, an important part of the legacy that the charity will leave when it finally closes its doors next August.

Deptherapy Chair, Richard Cullen, said:

“I speak for the Board when I say that we are immensely proud of all that Deptherapy and its beneficiaries have achieved since the charity’s formation in 2014. As an organization and individuals, we leave a huge footprint in terms of Adaptive Teaching on the Scuba Diving industry globally. Most importantly, we leave a legacy of lives saved and transformed. Our beneficiaries will remain front and centre of our work over the coming period as they have always been. Deptherapy is also committed to ensuring the benefits of our programmes and experience will remain accessible and sustainable for the future.”

Subject to residual funds, the charity hopes to run a further ‘core’ expedition to the Red Sea in May/June 2023, and a liveaboard expedition in Summer 2023 for existing beneficiaries. All fundraising activities will cease from 31st December 2022.

The Board is also actively looking at ways of ensuring that our expertise, experience and resources are made available to other charities supporting those in the Blue Light Services who have encountered mental and physical injuries.

Further details about Deptherapy’s progress to closure will be available in due course.

To read the full statement about the closure or for more information, visit www.deptherapy.co.uk.

Images: Dmitry Knyazev for Deptherapy

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Announcing the Winners of Scubaverse’s September 2022 Underwater Photo & Video Contests

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Another bumper month packed with amazing images and videos from around the world! It has certainly been another great month for entries in both contests – your underwater photos and videos are just getting better and better! Thanks to all who entered.

To find out who the winner of Scubaverse.com’s September 2022 Underwater Photo Contest is, click here.

To find out who the winner of Scubaverse.com’s September 2022 Underwater Video Contest is, click here.

If you’re not a winner this month, then please do try again. October’s photo and video contests are now open.

To enter Scubaverse.com’s October 2022 Underwater Photo Contest, click here.

To enter Scubaverse.com’s October 2022 Underwater Video Contest, click here.

Good luck!!!

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