NUYTTEN, Phil, Ph.D.

Canada (1942- )

Last updated: March 22, 2020 at 22:10 pm

Sub-sea engineer; commercial diver; deep-sea explorer; author; carver and native advocate; entrepreneur; designer of the Newtsuit and the Exosuit; publisher of DIVER Magazine, the longest-established scuba magazine in North America; President of Nuytco Research; opened his first dive store in 1957; founded Can-Dive Service in 1966; co-founder of Oceaneering International in 1969; took part in the first saturation dive under polar ice; took part in the first mixed-gas dives under polar ice; given the name Tlaxwsam (Red Snapper) by the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe.

Official biography (Nuytco Research | 2018): An internationally recognised pioneer in the diving industry, Phil Nuytten has spent 40 years creating deepwater dive products that have opened the ocean’s depths to exploration and industry.

Through his companies, Nuytco and Can-Dive, he has developed the technology to allow longer-length diving expeditions with increased safety. Nuytten’s one-atmosphere systems – the hard-suits ‘Newtsuit’ and ‘Exosuit’, and his deep-diving ‘DeepWorker’ submersibles – are renowned internationally. This deep diving equipment, along with Nuytten’s military submarine rescue system (designated ‘Remora’ by the Royal Australian Navy and ‘PRMS’ by the US Navy), is standard in nearly a dozen of the world’s navies.

Contract work has taken him to oilfields, submarine construction sites and sunken wrecks around the world, including the HMS Breadalbane, the northern-most known shipwreck, where his record dives through icy Arctic waters earned him a place on the cover of National Geographic Magazine in 1984. Nuytten was one of the forces behind the ‘Sustainable Seas Expeditions’, a five-year initiative by the National Geographic Society and NOAA to study deep ocean environmental impact. During this project, DeepWorker micro-subs were used to explore and monitor National marine sanctuaries. The findings from this expedition have contributed significantly to scientists’ understanding of underwater ecology, habitats, and biodiversity.

Nuytten and his team are currently training astronauts from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency to pilot the DeepWorker Submersibles for the NASA Extreme Environment Operations (NEEMO) project, a multi-year research project. NEEMO presents an opportunity to advance the long-term objective of human exploration of near-earth asteroids by combining research on life in extreme environments with high fidelity training in an underwater, remote field setting. The information gained from this analogue project will help to improve the knowledge base, tools and techniques for future human space exploration.

Phil Nuytten has spent over forty years developing undersea systems that have the safety of the diving technician as their common theme. His goal has been to provide scientific, technical, military, and sport divers full access to continental shelf depths without the hazards of decompression, so that humans can explore, learn about, and – ultimately – protect the world’s oceans.

Order of Canada (Officer, 2016)
NASA Ames Honor Award (2014)
Blue Ocean Film Festival Legacy Award (2014)
Wyland ICON Award (2011)
Legend of the Sea (Beneath the Sea, 2010)
ROLEX Hero of the Sea Award (2009)
ROLEX Award for Enterprise (2008)
Jules Verne Society Jules Verne Award (2001)
BC Underwater Council Ocean Pioneer Award (2000)
NOGI Award (Science, 1997)
Order of British Columbia (1992)
Commercial Diving Hall of Fame (1988)
Canada Awards for Business Excellence (Invention, 1987)
BTS Diver of the Year (Science)

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