Beneath the Sea owes its existence to the fertile creative mind of Armand “Zig” Zigahn. Zig made his mark in the scuba diving sports community as the Founder and Executive Director of Beneath the Sea the largest consumer ocean exposition, dive, and travel show in America. For over forty years, it was Zig's management of Beneath the Sea where he demonstrated the command leadership that created this legacy. In recent years, Zig had the assistance of his wife, JoAnn, as President managing the day-to-day operation of Beneath the Sea.
JoAnn married Zig, the founder of Beneath the Sea. Soon she realized she had married both Zig and Beneath the Sea. JoAnn’s caring created family-oriented programs at Beneath the Sea such as Ocean Pals, an ocean environmental art program that featured an international poster contest for grade school children, she often referred to the Ocean Pals Education by art poster contest as: “what we learn from our children.” In addition to her Ocean Pals program, she later created the Beneath the Sea Marine Careers program devoted to high school and college students seeking marine careers. JoAnn also created a Scholarship Program that would award funds to students interested in pursuing a career in the marine industry.
R. T. "Phil" Nuytten
August 13, 1941 - May 13, 2023
Beneath the Sea joins the dive industry in mourning the
passing of Phil Nuytten; Phil was Beneath the Sea's Diver of
the Year in Science in 2003; he was awarded Legend of the Sea in
2010 at Beneath the Sea.
An internationally recognized pioneer in the diving industry,
Phil Nuytten has spent 50 years creating deep-water dive products
that have opened the ocean's depths to exploration and
industry. Through his companies, Nuytco and Can-Dive, he
has developed the technology to allow longer-length diving expeditions with increased safety. Nuytten's
one-atmosphere systems – the hard-suits 'Newtsuit' and 'Exosuit', and his deep-diving "DeepWorker"
submersibles – are internationally renowned. This deep diving equipment, with Nuytten's military
submarine rescue system (designated 'Remora' by the Royal Australian Navy and 'PRMS' by the US Navy),
is standard in nearly a dozen of the world's navies. Contract work has taken him to oil fields, submarine
construction sites, and sunken wrecks around the world, including the Breadalbane, the northern-most
known shipwreck, where his record dives through icy Arctic waters earned him a place on the cover
of National Geographic Magazine in 1984. Nuytten was one of the forces behind the 'Sustainable Seas
Expeditions' in the 1990s, a five-year initiative by the National Geographic Society and NOAA to study
deep ocean environmental impact. During this project, DeepWorker micro-subs explore and monitor
National marine sanctuaries. The findings from this expedition have contributed significantly to
scientists' understanding of underwater ecology, habitats, and biodiversity.
Nuytten and his team trained astronauts from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency to pilot the
DeepWorker Submersibles for the Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP), a multi-year research project. The
PLRP presents an opportunity to advance the long-term objective of human exploration of the Moon
and Mars by combining research on life in extreme environments with high-fidelity training in an
underwater, remote field setting. The information gained from this analogue project will help improve the
knowledge base, tools, and techniques of future human missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
Phil Nuytten has spent fifty years developing undersea systems that have the safety of the diving
technician as their common theme. His goal has been to provide scientific, technical, military, and sports
divers full access to continental shelf depths without the hazards of decompression so that humans can
explore, learn about, and - ultimately - protect the world's oceans.
Phil will be dearly missed for his professionalism, his service to the dive industry, his support of Beneath
the Sea, and as a friend.