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Michael Emmerman Receives Prestigious DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award

For decades, Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Rolex have collaborated to award one of the most prestigious honors in scuba diving: the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award. This year, Michael Emmerman, lifelong researcher and former president of the Northeast Chapter of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), was selected by the committee as the diver who best exemplified DAN’s mission to promote dive safety.

Through his work at UHMS and his broad base of self-driven research, Emmerman has become an authority on dive safety and diving technology. Throughout his career, Emmerman has delved into topics from the safety of flying after diving, to the implementation of the first dive computers. His research has served as a foundation for modern safety protocols, and driven research to improve decompression algorithms. Emmerman is a Board Certified Forensic Examiner, a Fellow of the Explorers Club, a board member and past president of the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society, and has previously served as a board member of DAN, a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) and Special Advisor to the NYPD Scuba Team. During his free time, Emmerman volunteers to teach first-aid and emergency response courses to thousands of lifeguards and divers across the United States.


Emmerman has also been a keynote speaker at numerous dive safety research workshops, and his contributions have helped to create the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) Diving Manuals, and materials for the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR). His research

into dive computer technology held the first manufacturers accountable in the interest of diver safety, and became the basis for the industry standard technology in use today.

“There was a tremendous range of remarkable individuals in this year’s nominee pool” said DAN President and CEO Bill Ziefle. “Among them, Michael’s lifelong dedication to the advancement of dive safety and research into dive science made him particularly remarkable. His drive to make diving safer, and to educate and train the next generation of divers in support of DAN’s mission makes him a credit to the industry. We are delighted to name him DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year.”

“I am truly honored and humbled to be recognized by DAN and my colleagues in the diving community at large,” said Emmerman. “I am also grateful for having been allowed to play a role in DAN’s mission to foster an environment of safety in diving and care for our fellow divers.  I am accepting this award as an individual, but the award truly recognizes all of my colleagues within the diving community that have shared in keeping the ‘flame of concern’ burning brightly.  None of us ever get anything done without the support and collaboration of like-minded colleagues.  The quest to find scientifically supportable answers to questions we are faced with in diving physiology and diving safety is never ending.  My hope is that the ‘flame of concern’ continues to burn brightly within the diving community!”

Emmerman will receive his award at the 2017 Beneath the Sea Dive Show in Secaucus, New Jersey, on March 24-26th, where he will be presented with an Oyster Perpetual Rolex Dive Watch. In addition, Rolex will donate $10,000 to DAN to support essential safety initiatives such as medical research, safety education, and first-aid training.