Industry Pioneers and Lifelong Divers Recognized for their Achievements and Contributions to the Underwater Sport at Annual Ceremony in Grand Cayman
The International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF) has announced four new members that will join the prestigious ranks of the 2019 Hall of Fame. As selected by the board of directors, the latest inductees include Jonathan Bird, Lee Selisky, Dr. Adel Mohamed Taher and Hussain ‘Sendi’ Rasheed, joining fellow esteemed dive industry pioneers who are taking the plunge to help cultivate and revolutionize the sport of scuba diving. On October 4, 2019, the new ISDHF members will be officially inducted into the 2019 Hall of Fame during an awards ceremony and dinner held in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
Each year, the Cayman Islands welcomes new inductees as part of its ongoing support of the ISDHF. Established by the Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism in 2000, the ISDHF celebrates those who have contributed positively to the success of recreational scuba diving worldwide through innovation and advancements made in the areas of dive tourism, equipment design, dive safety, education, exploration, adventure, innovation and more.
“After another record breaking 2018 for Cayman Islands tourism overall, our dive operators and partners project 2019 to be another exceptional year for the industry, which can be credited, in part, to the scuba diving pioneers and their historic legacies that have helped maintain our destination’s reputation as the leading spot to practice the sport of recreational diving,” said Hon. Minister of Tourism, Mr. Moses Kirkconnell.
“For nearly twenty years, the Cayman Islands continues to showcase some of the world’s greatest dive leaders through the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, highlighting their achievements and innovation for the industry, while allowing visitors to create long-lasting diving memories.”
The complete list of 2019 Inductees, along with a description of their unique contributions earning them the prestigious ISDHF accolade, is below:
Jonathan Bird (United States of America)
An Emmy Award-winning underwater cinematographer and producer, Jonathan Bird is best known as the founder of Oceanic Research Group, a non-profit environmental organization focused on educating people on the conservation of the world’s oceans. Working from this non-profit, he created “Jonathan Bird’s Blue World,” an educational family-friendly underwater science/adventure series that first aired on PBS in 2008. Now transitioned to YouTube, the series has become the most widely-watched scuba-themed program in the world with more than 109 million views, and 320,000 subscribers.
Along with his digital series, Bird has created and produced over 30 films for broadcast and education, which appeared on networks across the world including National Geographic Channel, PBS, ABC, USA Network, Discovery and the SciFi Channel. His productions, along with numerous books, have promoted ocean conservation efforts and made ocean research accessible and interesting to people across the world.
Lee Selisky (United States of America)
As a pioneer in manufacturing dive retail products, Selisky started his career in his garage building six-pound lead weight molds, which successfully evolved into Sea Pearls, the first company to introduce die-cast and vinyl coated weights into the industry. As a result of his successful business, Selisky gave back to the diving community by serving on many nonprofit boards, including being President of Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA), Founding Director of the ISDHF, multi-term Chairman of the Historical Diving Society (HDS), Director of the Original Ocean Futures Society, Director of the Hans Hass Award and Chairman of Divers Alert Network (DAN).
Using his personal philanthropy to “lead by example,” Selisky donated considerable amounts of money to these organizations as well as regional dive show fundraisers, marine environmental programs, and marine medical programs. In 2017, he also established the Lee Selisky Future Leaders in the Diving Industry Mentorship Program, for which Selisky legacy of service continues to inspire and support the recreational diving industry around the world.
Dr. Adel Mohamed Taher (Egypt)
Considered to be one of the top world experts in hyperbaric medicine, Dr. Adel Mohamed Taher is best known for establishing the most sophisticated diving medical facility in the Red Sea, which continues to provide a foundation of safety for the expanding dive tourism industry in the region and beyond. As a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor since 1982, Dr. Taher has played a vital role in promoting diver safety in the Red Sea region by managing diving emergencies, participating in medical research projects and conferences, and acting as an advisor for governmental and non-governmental agencies.
Helping to catapult dive tourism in Egypt, Dr. Taher and his team worked with fellow dive professionals and local authorities to set and enforce diving safety regulations such as having oxygen onboard diving boats and worked closely with Divers Alert Network (DAN) to unify systems and protocols and establish the organization’s Egypt branch. In addition to Dr. Taher opening the first recompression chamber at the Hyperbaric Medical Center in Sharm el-Sheikh, which to this day has never refused a patient, he also served as the chief executive officer of Sharm Medical Group at Sinai Clinic Hospital.
Hussain ‘Sendi’ Rasheed (Republic of Maldives)
Known as “the Godfather of the Maldivian diving industry,” Hussain “Sendi” Rasheed was the first PADI Instructor Trainer in the Republic of Maldives and has since become a key figure in the region’s developing regulations surrounding marine health and diving tourism. Along with his extensive lobbying of all marine protected species and dive sites in the Maldives, Sendi received international media attention for organizing an underwater Cabinet Meeting, chaired by the President of the Republic of Maldives, to bring attention to the threat of global warming.
Sendi’s 37-year career shows his deep love of the ocean that he actively works to protect, as well as the impact of his educational efforts that has produced a continuing stream of savvy Maldivian Ocean Ambassadors. In recognition of his ongoing dedication and many efforts on behalf of diving and the marine environment, Sendi has also received both the Maldive Tourism Award and the Presidential Award.
To learn more about the 2019 ISDHF inductees, please click here.