Last updated: January 4, 2020 at 3:48 am
Co-founder of Kirby Morgan, a manufacturer of commercial diving helmets, with Bob Kirby in 1966; surfing pioneer; commercial diver (abalone and oil fields); writer; underwater photographer; did his first dive circa 1949 using a WWII frogman’s mask rigged with a tilt valve regulator from a B-29 bomber oxygen unit; purchased an Aqua-Lung and founded the Los Angeles County Instructors program in 1953, which led to the first public scuba instructor program in 1954; author of the first diving textbook Underwater Safety for L.A. County; founded Dive ‘n Surf in 1955; developed and manufactured the Dive ‘n Surf Thermo Cline wetsuit; sold his interest in Dive ‘n Surf to Bill and Bob Meistrell—who would later rename the company Body Glove—to pursue a career in commercial diving in 1958; senior editor and writer for Surfer magazine and Skin Diver magazine; began designing and manufacturing underwater life-support systems and photography equipment with Bob Kirby in the 1960s, including traditional copper helmets; co-founded the Kirby Morgan Corporation with Bob Kirby in 1966; co-designed and manufactured the revolutionary Kirby Morgan Band Mask (KMB-7), which incorporated an adjustable demand regulator, an equalizing device, an oral nasal mask to reduce the level of carbon dioxide, communications, and a removable neoprene hood connected to the mask by a band; co-designed and manufactured the first lightweight surface-supplied fiberglass helmets; supplied helmets and training for the film The Deep in 1976; continued designing and improving lightweight helmets including the Superlite series, which quickly became a household name in the commercial diving world.
Bret Gilliam. Diving Pioneers and Innovators. 2007
International Legends of Diving
International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (2011)
Hans Hass Diving to Adventure Award (HDS, 2007)
DEMA Hall of Fame (1996)
NOGI Award (Sports & Education, 1995)
NOGI Award (Arts, 1990)
Commercial Diving Hall of Fame (1982)
Before commenting, please be aware that the Diving Almanac is not an award nor a hall of fame. It is simply a listing of individuals, past and present, that have made a significant contribution to the world diving community. Also note that comments are moderated: (1) Stay on topic (2) Be respectful (3) Refrain from vulgarity and abusive language (4) Do not make personal complaints about a person’s character, business, work or associations (5) Do not publish materials that violate copyright. OFFENDING COMMENTS WILL BE DELETED.
If you would like to nominate someone to our Who’s Who, please complete the form on the nomination page. For details on existing profiles, please contact the Editor.
In order to ensure your browsing experience is as enjoyable as possible, banners are kept to an absolute minimum, which means that advertising revenues alone cannot sustain this 100% FREE publication. Researching and updating the Diving Almanac requires a lot of time and dedication. If you believe the diving community needs a central body of information to record, validate and make available our shared history and accomplishments, please show your support by making a contribution to the Diving Almanac via PayPal (Porbeagle Press). Thank you!
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.