The Future is 2020: The Cayman Islands Announces New Inductees for 20th Annual International Scuba D

Cayman Islands 15 November 2019
Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Finds Permanent Home at Grand Cayman’s Pedro St. James
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (November 15, 2019) – The International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF) and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) today announce the four new members who will be inducted into the prestigious 2020 Hall of Fame. To commemorate the IDSHF’s 20th anniversary, Hon. Minister of Tourism, Mr. Moses Kirkconnell, has announced the Hall of Fame will see its permanent home at the historic Pedro St. James starting in 2020.
Hand-picked by the ISDHF board of directors, the latest inductees include Tom Ingram (United States of America), Jill Heinerth (Canada), Jim Gatacre (Canada) and Avi Klapfer (Israel for Cocos Island), who will officially join fellow esteemed dive industry pioneers taking the plunge to help cultivate and revolutionize the sport of scuba diving in the Cayman Islands and throughout the world. On September 25, 2020, the newest ISDHF members will be inducted into the 2020 Hall of Fame during an official ceremony and dinner held on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.
“In honour of the 20th anniversary of The International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, it makes perfect sense to announce its permanent home at the historic Pedro St. James in Grand Cayman. The ISDHF strives to celebrate key dive industry leaders and Pedro St. James provides an opportunity to honour these individuals while spreading awareness of the sport to diversifying target markets,” said Hon. Minister of Tourism, Mr. Moses Kirkconnell. “For twenty years and beyond, the Cayman Islands continues to highlight the ever-growing achievements of the world’s greatest leaders in the international dive industry through the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.”
Established by the Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism in 2000, the ISDHF 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.
The following individuals have been selected for induction in 2020:
Tom Ingram (United States of America)
With more than 40 years of experience in the recreational diving industry, Tom Ingram has served as the President of the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) since 2002. His leadership of DEMA has elevated his profile globally and has become the “face” of the USA’s diving industry, developing strategic alliances with international diving groups around the world. As the longest-servicing president in the history of DEMA with more than 17 years of service, Ingram’s managerial skills have brought a much-needed stability to the association. Additionally, he was recognized by the members of the Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences with the 2017 NOGI Award for Distinguished Service.
Once the Department Head of the Sport Diving Operations Program at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), Ingram established the first four-year degree program in Recreational Diving Management (RDM) at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., solidifying the recreational diving professional career. At FIT, Ingram worked as Manager of the East Coast Shipwreck Project, coordinating the efforts of Mel Fisher’s treasure salvors, the State of Florida, and Marine Archaeologists to recover and catalog treasure from the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet as well as recovering the Nuestra Senora de Atocha off Key West, Fla.. Ingram also served on the Board of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame from 2005-2019. His contributions to the diving community has marked him as one of the most influential executives in the global diving industry.
Jill Heinerth (Canada)
As a pioneering underwater explorer and filmmaker, Jill Heinerth’s passion lies beneath the surface. Heinerth’s photography and writing have been featured in prominent publications around the world, and she has received the KEEN Footwear-STAND Award for environmental photography. Her work in environmental filmmaking has been recognized with countless awards including: International “Deffie” for the Best HD Documentary, Best Educational Film - Explorer’s Club Film Festival, Cine Golden Eagle’s and others. In recognition of her lifetime achievement, Heinerth was awarded the inaugural Medal for Exploration, recognizing singular achievements and the pursuit of excellence by an outstanding Canadian explorer.
Jill Heinerth has dived deeper into caves than any woman in history, holding the women’s world record of deep cave penetration in 1998. She became the first person to dive the ice caves of Antarctica, penetrating further into an underwater cave system than any woman ever. In 2001, she was part of a team that “discovered wondrous life and magical vistas" and experienced the calving of an iceberg, documented in the film Ice Island. Recognizing a lifetime devoted to water advocacy, Heinerth has since become a motivational speaker, prolific author of numerous books on technical diving, and a pioneer in the field of technical rebreather diving.
Jim Gatacre (Canada)
Jim Gatacre is the founder of the Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA), a 501(c) 3 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 ten thousand recipients, expanding Gatacre’s vision of an international organization that promotes enhanced self-image and social interaction through the unifying sport of scuba diving.
Gatacre’s diving journey began after an accident in 1972 that left his right arm partially paralyzed. In 1973, while attending the University of California Irvine (UCI), with the use of only his left arm, he earned his NAUI Open Water Scuba Diver certification. Gatacre’s vision, commitment and dedication made the impossible a possibility for handicapped people by broadening the inclusivity of the sport of scuba diving.
Avi Klapfer (Israel for Cocos Island)
Avi Klapfer is an Israeli underwater photographer based in Costa Rica who 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, the first book of its kind for the country and an important step in drawing attention to protecting the waters in a country under constant fishing pressure. As part of the Cocos Island’s preservation efforts, Klapher’s 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, using his “Deep See” submarine.
To Klapfer, one of the most important elements in keeping Cocos Island protected has always been spreading word of its novelty through video and media images. His dedication to submarine exploration and service to researchers has aided making Cocos Island one of the best protected dive sites in the world.
To learn more about the 2020 ISDHF inductees, please visit the following link:
About the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame
The International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame was founded in 2000 by the Ministry of Tourism of the Cayman Islands. Since the Cayman Islands is a leading pioneer in dive travel and is a premiere world destination for divers, it seemed only natural that the Cayman Islands should be home to a hall of fame honouring those people who have contributed the most to the sport of Scuba diving.
The mission of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame is to honour those people who have helped to make the sport of Scuba diving possible, safer, more popular and more enjoyable. The annual induction ceremony takes place in the Cayman Islands every year during the annual induction ceremony.
About the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands features some of the world’s best diving excursions, with each of the three islands offering different diving adventures for all skill levels. Having received countless awards for Best Overall Dive Destination in the Caribbean and Atlantic, the Cayman Islands is also home to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, recognising dive industry pioneers since its inception in 2000. The destination is also renowned for its calm clear waters, which offer superb visibility for snorkelling and other underwater experiences.
Located 480 miles south of Miami in the vibrant tranquillity of western Caribbean, this trio of tiny islands is a premier destination for discriminating travellers, divers, honeymooners and families. World renowned for its idyllic beaches and recognised as a sophisticated, diverse and memorable tourist destination, the Cayman Islands offers spectacular recreational opportunities along with warm, impeccable service. To learn more about the Cayman Islands, please go to or or call your local travel agent.
This material is distributed by Coyne PR on behalf of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, DC.
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