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Technical Diving Pioneer Bret Gilliam Passes Away at 72
By Ian Bongso-Seldrup, October 9, 2023 @ 07:00 AM (EST)


Trailblazing technical diver, deep diving record holder and prolific author Bret Gilliam has died, aged 72. In a professional career spanning more than five decades, Gilliam co-founded dive training agencies Technical Diving International (TDI), Scuba Diving International (SDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI), as well as various dive magazines, including Scuba Times, Deep Tech and Fathoms.

Gilliam was involved in a great many dive-related pursuits, including military and commercial projects; scientific expeditions; film projects for movies and TV; hyperbaric dive treatment facilities; cruise ships, liveaboards, resorts and dive shops; and gear manufacturing (UWATEC). One of the most popular writers in the dive industry, Gilliam authored or contributed to dozens of books, penned more than 1,500 magazine features, and had over 100 magazine covers to his name.

Since forming consulting service Ocean Tech in 1971, Gilliam provided expert witness testimony in hundreds of diving and maritime related legal cases. He was also involved in criminal trials and military court martial proceedings for the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a special consultant to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), FBI, and CIA.

Among his many awards, Gilliam was the recipient of the NOGI for Sports/Education in 2012; NAUI’s Outstanding Contribution to Diving award (twice); the Medal of Excellence from Beneath the Sea diving conference (six times); and the Legend of the Sea award from Beneath the Sea (nine years in a row). A true pioneer in the world of diving, Gilliam left a legacy that is sure to inspire future generations of divers, writers and entrepreneurs.

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