The National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI Worldwide) invites divers and leaders across the industry to celebrate NAUI’s 57-year history of defining diving during NAUI Week. The week of August 20-26 marks the timeframe in 1960 when the first NAUI Instructor Certification Course (ICC) was held in Houston, Texas.
“NAUI Week celebrates NAUI’s past and present – from ‘The Quality Difference’ to the ‘Definition of Diving,’ NAUI has upheld its core value of Dive Safety Through Education for nearly 60 years. And in looking to the future, NAUI is poised to continue its role as an industry innovator and leader,” said NAUI Executive Director Dallas Edmiston.
During NAUI Week, social media and other industry outlets will be used to tell the NAUI story and bring NAUI members and divers together to not only honor the rich history of the Association, but to look ahead and work together to grow NAUI’s reach and influence across the industry. Beginning in 2018, NAUI Week activities will include the debut of a NAUI Week Dive Getaway, as well as Show Your NAUI Pride media campaigns.
The idea for an association of underwater instructors dedicated to diver safety and quality training was first conceived in a simple memo written by Al Tillman (NAUI #1), Sports Director of the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department, in 1952. Known as The Memo That Started It All, Tillman wrote, “A new sport – skin diving – is becoming popular in the area. …This activity falls into the sports category and I propose that my department get involved in this sport and provide training classes. I believe that diving will grow in the future and we have an obligation to make the sport as safe as possible.”
That first ICC in Houston began with 72 instructor candidates and after what was described as “Hell Week,” with 53 graduating; along with their staff instructors, they became the very first instructor members of NAUI. NAUI incorporated in 1960 in California as a not-for-profit 501 (c) (6) educational association with Al Tillman (NAUI #1) serving as the first president and Neal Hess (NAUI #3) as executive secretary. NAUI ICCs were conducted throughout North America in the 1960s, including the second one ever in Toronto in 1961. NAUI then began significant international expansion in the ’70s. NAUI Worldwide continues to expand globally, with active members and regional representatives in more than 102 countries. This includes NAUI Enterprises Japan and NAUI Service Centers firmly established in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Brazil, and Asia Pacific.
As a membership association focused on diver safety, instructor training and leadership development, innovation is at NAUI’s core. Throughout its 57-year history, NAUI and its members and industry partners have developed many of the programs and concepts accepted throughout the industry. Whether in the establishment of scuba instructional standards, equipment development, advancements in diving research or dive training innovations, NAUI leaders have paved the way for scuba divers around the world.
“NAUI has experienced more positive change and growth in the past 18 months than at any time in its last two decades. NAUI is now fully engaged in the diving industry and is re-asserting its role as an industry leader and innovator. NAUI now has more communications, marketing and business support capabilities and materials than at any time in its history,” said Edmiston.