Re: My take on the language

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Posted by Dr Samuel Miller,111 on January 16, 2010 at 07:08:31:

In Reply to: My take on the language posted by Ken Kurtis on January 14, 2010 at 16:17:20:

Some times I feel compelled to take the time to clarify a point...

Ken Kurtis wrote;

"... One is that the bill is very specific to mention self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA). It makes no mention of rebreathers which (IMHO) can be argued that - even though they are self-contained - are not considered "scuba" gear in the traditional sense.
As there's a good chance wrecks are going to attract technical divers who may be diving rebreathers, it might make sense to attempt to clean the language up even further on the Assembly floor and insert "rebreathers" into the mix so there can be no questions down the road.... "

- Ken
Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Owner,Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA


In 1941, an American, the late Dr Christian (Chris) Lambertsen designed a rebreather for the US Army. In order to distinguish between surface supplied units such as the Mark V, Jack Browne, Thompson,etc, he identified his unit as SCUBA 'Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus'. Therefore, with the advent of Dr Christensen's unit the term SCUBA entered the divers lexicon and has come to represent any form of diving in which the diver carries his air supply on their person.

During the short history of our recreational activity there has been numerous names for self contained diving with in the American diving community, to wit;

1) Hans Hass - his books and his B&W movie "Under the red sea" he and his divers were equipped with oxygen rebreathers and the activity was identified as
"Swim Diving"

2) The late James Dugan introduced the US to self contained air diving and called the activity
"Cousteau Diving"

3) When the Cousteau units were introduced to the west coast by Bussoz the locals identified the equipment and the activity by the label on the regulator, IE "Aqua lung" therefore the activity became "Aqua lung" or "Lung diving" in order to distinguish between the then popular free diving & spear fishing.

4) In the mid 1950s the term SCUBA was in the common domain so Dick Klein founder of the pioneer diving manufacturing company Healthways obtained exclusive rights to SCUBA and from that time forward his products were identified with a prefix of SCUBA.

In the ealy 1960s after Dick had passed away and Healthways had closed its doors, Gus de la Valle and Dick Bonin purchased the rights to the fledgling Healthways professional line called SCUBA Pro, which as you know is alive and well

In the 1970s Klein's cousin Don Bresco established a short lived company called SCUBA Master

5) In the late 1970s diving had expanded to the hinter lands of the US and the term SCUBA was embraced by the mid western and eastern diving community and soon became the standard name for self contained diving.

I sincerely hope that this post clarifies the term SCUBA and is benefit to you and other interested readers.

I wish you well in your ancillary activity of professional wittiness. It is an awesome responsibility.

I began my professional diving witnessing career in 1962 (48 years ago!) with the first defense of the then recently introduced and untested Divers Flag which involved a diver who was injured by a boat while flying the flag. We prevailed and the case forever established in a court of law the rights and privileges of a diver flying a flag .

Since I retired I have other interests and no longer perform professional witnessing, however if I can ever be of assistance to you please contact me.
Yesterday I received an invite as VIP to the NAUI 50th Anniversary party in Tampa. Are you going to attend? If so we can break bread and chat in to the dark of the night.

Cheers from the north county,

Dr. Samuel Miller, 111
LA Co U/W instructor #11
PADI 2241

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