International Scuba Diving Hall of Famer Wayne Hasson has passed away.
Hasson, 70, who lost his battle with renal cell cancer over the weekend, founded the Aggressor Fleet and the Oceans for Youth organisation, and was an avid diver who started his underwater love affair with the sea in 1967.
He was one of the most well-known names in the diving industry, not just in Cayman, but worldwide.
Local divemaster Peter Milburn said he and Hasson had been friends for more than 30 years and he was saddened by Hasson’s passing.
He said he had been hopeful that the international diving expert would have made a full recovery from his illness.
“It’s a very sad time, obviously, that he passed away. I did know that he was sick for quite a long time, but I was hoping for the best, but sometimes these things don’t work out. He was a very nice, great person. [He was] easy to work with,” Milburn told the Cayman Compass Monday.
Milburn said Hasson was a part of the Cayman Islands Watersports Association, then called the Watersports Operators Association.
He lauded Hasson’s contribution to the local diving industry.
“He’s done a tremendous amount of work to publicise the Cayman Islands as one of the world’s leading dive areas,” Milburn said.
Hasson, through stewardship of the Cayman Aggressor, led dives around the Cayman Islands and elsewhere.
“He was very good at what he did, highly respected by many, many people,” Milburn added.
In 2018, Hasson was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.
Hasson is credited with helping to install the first 112 permanent moorings in the Cayman Islands 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).
In addition, Hasson was known for his award-winning photography, which has been featured in publications worldwide.
A number of international dive magazines paid tribute to Hasson, describing him as a “sea hero”.
Aggressor CEO and Hasson’s friend, Wayne B. Brown, and the Aggressor team also paid tribute to the hall of famer on the Aggressor Adventures website.
“The dive industry has lost a true legend. Aggressor Adventures would not be where it is today without Wayne Hasson. He will be missed so much by not just our work family but the dive community around the world. We at Aggressor Adventures will do everything possible to keep his vision alive,” the tribute read.
Brown, in his message, described Hasson as a mentor, innovator, dedicated family man, lover of all things oceans.
“His passion for the scuba diving world was clearly evident to everyone that met him. In the 35 years with Aggressor, he never once wavered in his dedication to the company and its staff. We are all blessed to have crossed paths with him. May his memory and accomplishments be remembered forever,” he said.