Since its inception, the Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year Award Program has honored men and women whose presence in the Dive Industry has made significant and lasting contributions to diving. By selecting for honor only those divers of eminence who rank in the top of their field Beneath the Sea created a fraternity of men and women whose visions are fixed on the future and whose future is tied to each other. It is with immense pride that Beneath the Sea presents the Divers of the Year: Class of 2019. 

Jonathan Bird … Diver of the Year for Art
 
Jonathan Bird is an Emmy award-winning cinematographer specializing in underwater production. He is the host and producer of Jonathan Bird's Blue World. On YouTube, it has become the most widely watched scuba themed program in the world. Throughout the 1990s, Jonathan expanded his ocean career, both as an assignment still photographer and a cinematographer. He won his first Emmy in 1995. In 2004, he produced his first film for National Geographic Television (Sharks of the Ocean Desert). Today, Jonathan’s Oceanic Research Group has just celebrated its 29th anniversary and expanded its mission to include marine scholarships and educational television productions.
Margo Peyton… Diver of the Year for Education
 
When she started Kids Sea Camp 18 years ago Margo Peyton didn't set out to become the industry’s leading provider of child and youth diver certifications. Margo simply wanted a way to include her children in her dive travel adventures and give them the opportunity to learn about the world. Margo shared her wishes with friend and then Publisher of Sport Diver magazine, Carolyn Pascal, she embraced the vision of creating family dive travel adventures. Kids Sea Camp was launched in Curacao in 2001 with just seven families. Eighteen years later, Kids Sea Camp is in 13 countries, with more than 350 families participating over the program’s 24-week run. Today, Kids Sea Camp has issued more than 7,000 PADI youth diver certifications - with a perfect safety record.  And in the almost two decades since its inception, Margo Peyton and Kids Sea Camp have become the gold standard in reaching out and growing the dive market, one family at a time. Margo's passion for underwater photography, reef protection, and marine life is also contagious and led her to achieve PADI Elite Master Scuba Diver Trainer status. Through specialty diver courses, she is teaching the next generation to love, protect and share their underwater experiences, personally certifying more than 200 youths in one year. Margo and husband Tom also created Ocean Wishes Foundation, a non-profit that provides scuba scholarships to children worldwide.
Kathy Weydig… Diver of the Year for Science
 
For more than three decades Captain Kathy Weydig has been a leader in almost every aspect of the scuba diving industry with a primary focus on leadership, education, safety, and exploration. Kathy is widely recognized as an Instructor and Instructor Trainer for many significant organizations, including Divers Alert Network, Scuba Diving International/Technical Diving International, National Association of Underwater Instructors, the National Safety Council and the American Red Cross. She also has special expertise in training disabled divers. Licensed by the US Coast Guard as Merchant Marine Captain with a 100-ton Master Inland rating, she served as Deputy Harbor Master in Bridgeport, CT. and since 2005 as a Boating Safety Officer for the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department. Kathy also worked treating divers as a EMT, DMT and a Certified Hyperbaric Technologist and served as Training Director for The City Island Hyperbaric Center during the mid-1990s. She cofounded The Women Diver's Hall of Fame and was instrumental in establishing the WDHOF scholarship program. Kathy has devoted the last eight years to working with the Boy Scouts of America in expanding the Sea Scout Program in developing Scuba Ships. She has explored the Andrea Doria, USS Wilkes Barre, USS Monitor, and other deepwater wreck sites. She has been a lead diver, organizer, and permit holder of four USS Monitor Expeditions and has been an exclusive permit holder for the B-29 Bomber in Lake Mead.  Kathy carried an Explorer Club Flag # 155 to the 2004 Monitor Expedition. Kathy is President of Scuba Training and Technology, Tech Diving Limited and an educational consulting company, Sea Wonders LLC.  Kathy has served on the Board of Directors of Divers Alert Network, since 2004. In 2018 Kathy was elected Chairman of the Board of DAN, elevating her to the highest position held in the dive safety and education field.  

 

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