Dive legend promotes marine safety and conservation

Diving pioneer Dan Orr will be seen on local TV and cinema screens later this year campaigning for safety and conservation. 

Mr. Orr, who until recently was the driving force behind the Divers Alert Network, known commonly to divers simply as DAN, was in Cayman this month filming a public service announcement as part of Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s “Share Our Seas” campaign. 

The campaign will feature a series of public service announcements aimed at raising awareness of diver safety and marine conservation among residents and visitors – a subject close to Mr. Orr’s heart.  

The footage was filmed on location at Sunset House early this month, with the recognized industry ambassador for diver safety reminding locals and visitors to the Cayman Islands about basic safety in the ocean. 

“The PSAs are important because you have to continually remind divers about safety,” Mr. Orr said. “It’s important to have a regular physical, especially after 35, or any time there is a health-related change in your life.”  

In addition to staying physically fit for diving, Mr. Orr will be reminding divers to observe safety measures such as having proper scuba certifications, refreshing their dive skills, getting a proper medical clearance, ensuring their dive gear is in proper condition and doing complete buddy checks.  

“There’s no one even close that walks the walk that Dan does on diver safety,” said Sunset House General Manager Keith Sahm, who has been Mr. Orr’s dive buddy and knows first-hand how safety conscious he is. “Dan looked at me eye to eye, and we did a complete check list – he’s a true, true buddy.” 

Mr. Orr recently left DAN to form Dan Orr Consulting.  

After his departure from DAN was announced, Mr. Sahm and his wife Karin invited Mr. Orr and his wife Betty to enjoy a week of complimentary accommodations and diving at Sunset House.  

“This is our way to say ‘thank you’ to the pioneer of diver safety,” Mr. Sahm said. “Divers Alert Network and DAN Insurance are vital to resorts like Sunset House. If there are any questions about whether someone is at risk diving, we can call DAN and talk to their team of medical professionals who give us good advice and take away the guess work.”  

To raise awareness about ocean safety and marine conservation among visitors, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s water sports members decided earlier this summer to produce public service announcements. With Mr. Orr already in Cayman for his dive vacation, Mr. Sahm, a CITA board member, invited him to take part as the PSA host. 

The PSAs were shot by in-house videographer Tony Mark of the Cathy Church Photo Centre. 

“Through the PSAs, residents and visitors will also be reminded to respect the marine environment, not litter and clean up trash when they come across it. Divers will be asked to be responsible when culling lionfish and dispose of the fish properly. People will be reminded to stay within the 200-yard marker when swimming, use a flag when diving and snorkeling and remind those on powered watercraft to be respectful of dive flags and buoys,” a news release from Sunset House read. 

The association intends to launch the public service announcements at the Underwater Film Festival on Nov. 13 and hopes to have them aired in theaters, on local TV and radio, and on in-house TV channels at major hotels. CITA also plans to promote the PSAs through social media. 

Doing the PSAs in the Cayman Islands, which he first visited in 1960, Mr. Orr said, enabled him to continue getting the word out about diver safety. 

“I love the Cayman Islands,” he said. “Easy access, fantastic diving – as good as you are going to find anywhere else in the world.” 

Mr. Orr announced his retirement in February as president of the Divers Alert Network, with which he had been associated for more than two decades. 

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Dan Orr, suited up and ready to dive.
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