Scuba Hall of Fame announces 2020 inductees

Four divers will be first to be honoured in hall's new home

Jim Gatacre was honored by a Korean diving group during a recent meeting in Cayman of members of the Handicapped Diving Association.

Four new members of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame were announced over the weekend.

Tom Ingram, Jill Heinerth, Jim Gatacre and Avi Kapfer will be inducted at the Hall of Fame’s annual dinner, 25 Sept. 2020. The inductees were announced during a livestreamed broadcast co-hosted by Stephen Broadbelt, ISDHF Chairman and owner of East End-based dive operator Ocean Frontiers.

The dinner will mark the hall of fame’s 20th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell has announced a permanent home for the hall at the Pedro St. James next year. The Cayman Compass has reached out to government about the planned hall of fame but no details about the new facility have been made available.

Established by the Ministry of Tourism in 2000, the hall of fame celebrates dive industry leaders who have contributed to the success of recreational scuba diving worldwide through innovation and advancements made in the areas of dive tourism, equipment design, dive safety, inclusivity, exploration, adventure, innovation and more.

Ingram, of the United States, served on the board of the Hall of Fame from 2005 to 2019 and has been president of the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) since 2002. He has become the “face” of the US diving industry, developing strategic alliances with international diving groups around the world.

Heinerth, of Canada, is a pioneering underwater explorer and filmmaker. Her photography and writing have been featured in prominent publications around the world. She is also a motivational speaker and the author of numerous books on technical diving.

Gatacre, a native of Canada and longtime California resident, is the founder of the Handicapped Scuba Association, a non-profit corporation that has allowed handicapped people around the globe to enjoy the wonders of the underwater world. As the leading authority on recreational diving for handicapped people, the HSA has trained and certified over 10,000 handicapped divers. A freak accident in 1972 left Gatacre’s right arm partially paralyzed. The following year, he earned his NAUI open water scuba certification and has since devoted himself to helping other disabled people do the same.

Klapfer, an Israeli underwater photographer based in Costa Rica, has explored and protected the remote Cocos Island since 1990. Klapfer co-authored Costa Rica Blue, a comprehensive dive guide for Costa Rica with an emphasis on Cocos Island. As part of the Cocos Island’s preservation efforts, her company, Undersea Hunter Group, has since declared the island as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, providing visual evidence of illegal fishing practices within its boundaries. Cocos Island is now one of the best protected dive sites in the world.