WATANABE, Riichi

By | 2017-08-17T22:45:00+00:00 March 17, 2017|Who's Who|

WATANABE, Riichi

Japan

Last updated: August 17, 2017 at 22:45 pm

Engineer; co-designed a mask-style self-contained underwater breathing device with Ohgushi Kanezo, a blacksmith, and Captain Kataoka Kyuhachi; the first model of the Ohgushi Peerless Respirator was patented in Japan in 1918; the system which used air cylinders carried on a diver’s back was adopted by the Japanese Navy after months of testing and a demonstration by the inventors to the depth of 60 m (197 ft); the Ohgushi Peerless Respirator was subsequently used by the Japanese Navy to salvage shipwrecks, including the S.S. Yasaka Maru off the coast of Egypt from which a shipment of gold was recovered by a team of 10 divers at the depth of 76 m (250 ft) over a period of three months; despite its groundbreaking success, the Ohgushi Peerless Respirator largely disappeared except in the Soviet Union after intense lobbying from the British Homeland Diving Equipment Manufacturers and Dealers, two decades before the invention of the first practical—and very similar—scuba device by Yves Le Prieur.

Honours and Awards:

Pioneer Award (International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, 2016)

Website(s):

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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.

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