Divers Alert Network, the international scuba diving safety and training organization, this morning announced the 2013 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year is Frank Chapman. One of the most prestigious awards in the recreational scuba diving industry, the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to diving safety and/or the mission of Divers Alert Network.
Chapman, who has been diving since the late 1950s, has helped certify more than one thousand scuba divers in his role as a faculty member at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. A NAUI instructor, Chapman helped provide diving safety support to UNCW and developed diving safety plans for scientific, archeological and recreational diving. In 1974 and again in 1978, he served as a researcher and aquanaut in NOAA’s Hydrolab underwater habitat missions.
In 1977, Chapman became a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Underwater Scientists (AAUS) and was very active in developing AAUS Diving Standards. In 1978 he became the Science Director and later the Director of Operations for the UNCW/NOAA Undersea Research Program. Chapman worked closely with the DAN team to incorporate DAN’s mission of diver safety and training into all of his programs and courses.
Dan Orr, President Emeritus of The DAN Foundation said in announcing the Award, “For more than four decades, Frank Chapman has been working to certify new scuba divers in a safe, enjoyable manner. He has spent his career promoting diving safety in all aspects of diving. DAN is pleased to recognize him as the 2013 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year.”
Chapman has previously received the NAUI Outstanding Contribution to Diving Award and remains actively involved in teaching recreational scuba diving to students in the greater North Carolina region. Many of Chapman’s students have stayed active in recreational scuba diving, with some moving in full-time professional roles. Chapman’s former students include a current member of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame, a multiple free-diving record holder and a prominent NOAA research scientist who credits Chapman with inspiring him to a career in marine science.
“This year, we are pleased to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award,” said William Ziefle, President and CEO of DAN, Inc. “We look forward to working with our title sponsor, Rolex USA, in the future as we continue to honor individuals worthy of this special recognition.”
Chapman will receive his Award, which includes a specially-inscribed Rolex Sub-Mariner watch, during the Awards Banquet at the Beneath the Sea Show in Secaucus, New Jersey March 22-24.