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International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Announces 2018 Local Honourees

The International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF) is pleased to announce that Wayne Hassen, Daniel Tibbetts and Darryl Bud Walton Jr. will be inducted for their contributions to the sport during a gala ceremony on 14 September, 2018.

“It is an honour every year to recognize the work of individuals who have had a tremendous positive impact on our local dive industry and by extension, placed the Cayman Islands at the forefront of diving globally,” shared Hon. Minister of Tourism, Mr. Moses Kirkconnell. “This year I am particularly proud that a young Caymanian will be inducted as the first emerging honouree. I trust that this recognition will encourage more young people to join the sport and benefit from the wealth of experience available through local pioneers and prior honourees.”

Hosted annually in the Cayman Islands, the gala dinner and induction ceremony are open to the public and all are encouraged to support the global and local dive community by attending. Tickets are CI$75 per person and are available from the Department of Tourism.

To learn more about the 2018 ISDHF inductees and local honourees, please visit: www.isdhf.ky.

For more information on the gala dinner, please contact events@caymanislands.ky.

 

Wayne Hasson

Wayne Hasson has been leading divers to the sea for most of his life and has probably spent more time underwater than above. Along the way, he has had a significant impact on how we see and explore our world. An avid diver since 1967, Mr. Hasson began his love affair with the sea during an eight-year stint in the Marines, where he certified scores of his fellow warriors and their family members. After departing the Marine Corps in 1978, he immediately began to furrow a deep trough in the dive world. Among his myriad accomplishments, Mr. Hasson founded Aggressor Fleet in 1984 and captained the first Cayman Aggressor. His approach to the luxury live-aboard concept has literally changed the way we explore the world. Today there are 12 Aggressor-franchised live-aboards.

While in the Cayman Islands, Mr. Hasson helped install the first 112 permanent moorings and took the concept and idea to Belize, Turks and Caicos, the Bay Islands, Kona and Truk. He also invented SASY (Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth) and his award-winning photography has been featured in publications worldwide. Mr. Hasson has been a major voice and influence in the world of diving for over 40 years, accumulating more than 10,000 dives along the way, and he still spends several hundred hours a year underwater. When not diving, he’s one of the world’s greatest advocates and most vigorous promoters of scuba diving as the ultimate activity and lifestyle. Most recently, he has put together a program of marine science, diving and awareness, called Oceans for Youth, to inspire the next generation of divers.

 

Daniel Tibbetts

Dan Tibbetts was the son of the late Linton and Polly Tibbetts. He grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida but he cherished his Caymanian heritage from an early age and when he wasn’t living in the Islands, he visited often. He attended Stetson University where he studied business and then went to work at his father’s lumber company, Cox Lumber. In the early 1990s, he began focusing his efforts on developing a dive resort in Little Cayman.

Mr. Tibbetts completed the Little Cayman Beach Resort in 1993 and launched Reef Divers, a valet dive operation on both Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Over the course of his career, he also built the Conch Club Condominiums and The Club Condominiums in Little Cayman, Lakeshore Villas in Grand Cayman and numerous other building projects on all three islands. He acquired Bob Soto’s Diving in the early 2000s and expanded the operation, but the fleet was devastated by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and he decided to refocus his efforts in the Sister Islands. Dan passed away at the age of 52 in 2006. He was survived by his children, Michael Tibbetts, Emily Tibbetts, Allenbach and Jessica Tibbetts Buchanan, who have continued their father’s legacy by expanding resort operations across all three Islands.

 

Darryl Bud Walton Jr.

Darryl Bud Walton Jr., was born at Faith Hospital, Cayman Brac on 7 December, 1987. He completed his primary education at Spot Bay Primary School and secondary education at Layman E. Scott Snr. High School (formerly known as Cayman Brac High School). During high school, he fell in love with the watersports option available through the school’s vocational programme. He used the opportunity to become certified and went on to gain employment at Divi Tiara Beach Resort, climbing to the qualification of Dive Master.

BJ as he is affectionately known, is the only remaining "true" Caymanian; Bracker to be more specific, serving at any rank in the Sister Islands’ dive industry. His greatest asset is his personality. He just loves people and will go out of his way to help them. He has even taken visitors on island tours to show off Cayman Brac. He has excelled in his chosen career and is the epitome of Caymankind.

BJ worked at the Divi Tiara Beach Resort from 2003 - 2006 until its closure and was hired by Reef Divers where he is currently employed. He not only dives, he also repairs dive moorings and dive boats, assists with lionfish culls, participates in turtle releases, annual turtle sea swims and various community events. He is certified by PADI and has passed several dive courses offered through his work. He has been honoured twice during the Heroes Day celebrations.

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