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Mike Wiltshire

Santa Barbara Waterfront Director

"The generous donation of such a meaningful piece of art, will benefit the Waterfront community in so many ways for years to come.

This statue will help share an important piece of history within our working harbor to those that visit, along with those who call the Waterfront home.

I look forward to continue supporting the project team, the sculptor and all those involved, to help bring this vision to reality and fully trust in their commitment to quality and detail"

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Greg Gorga

Greg Gorga

Executive Director

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

"Deepwater commercial diving began right here in the Santa Barbara Harbor, and this statue helps honor and celebrate the divers who took mankind to deeper and deeper depths.

Their hard work and innovations benefited all of us, especially the Santa Barbara Community, and I believe it is important that we recognize their achievements".

Phil Newsum
Executive Director
Association of Diving Contractors International


The ADCI understands the importance of recognizing and preserving the rich commercial diving history and impact that the early deep diving pioneers in Santa Barbara had on the underwater industry then and now. It is for this reason alone that we elected to house our Commercial Diving Hall of Fame monument at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

The Deepwater Diving Monument will only reaffirm the fact that Santa Barbara is the birthplace of deepwater commercial diving.  The Kirby Morgan Superlight 17 Diving Helmet is appropriately worn by the diver as the helmet was born and developed in Santa Barbara by industry pioneers Bev Morgan and Bob Kirby.

The monument will be a true testament to the men and women in the Santa Barbara area who embraced the difficult challenges with working underwater, and who have made positive impacts to our industry.

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Connie Morgan


Kirby Morgan Dive Systems International

On behalf of the Kirby Morgan Corporation, we are delighted to endorse and support this important cultural recognition of the contributions of our company founders, Bob Kirby and Bev Morgan, and their Santa Barbara colleagues who pioneered the development of deep-water mixed gas diving.

As these acknowledged pioneers pass on, this Monument will be the permanent tribute in recognition of how this very small group of dedicated divers changed the trajectory of diving history and opened the world’s great depths for the benefit of all nations. Bravo Leslie and Don! 

Merit McCrea


Santa Barbara  Harbor Commission

"It will be an honor to have The Deepwater Diving Monument grace our harbor -- a testament to our town and waters as the birthplace of technology and to the ingenuity of the Santa Barbarans who developed it."

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Michael Hanrahan

Santa Barbara Harbor Commissioner

"Knowing the rich and deep history of ‘hard-hat diving’ in Santa Barbara, I think the proposed monument celebrating the internationally-recognized birth of this important industry is a welcome addition to the harbor.”

Chris Swann

 Diving Historian

Author “History of Oilfield Diving”

"The Deepwater Diving Monument will be a permanent record of the importance of Santa Barbara in the development of modern commercial diving.


It was in 1962 in the Santa Barbara Channel that Hugh “Dan” Wilson, a local abalone diver, made a demonstration dive to 400 feet, breathing a mixture of helium and oxygen rather than compressed air, eliminating the problem of nitrogen narcosis and changed the way deep diving was done.


It was also in Santa Barbara, in 1965, that Bob Kirby and Bev Morgan joined forces in the design and production of commercial helmets and masks: what by any measure was one of the most effective collaborations in the history of modern diving equipment.

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Chuck Davis

Tidal Flats Ltd.

Thanks very much for sending the wonderful news regarding the Deepwater Diving Monument that will honor diving legends, Bob Kirby and Bev Morgan as well as the history of the phenomenal Santa Barbara diving community that is, imho the Fertile Crescent of diving technology.

The proposed statue is beautiful and downright inspiring. Kudos to Don Barthelmess & Leslie Leaney, as well as Paul Guiver, Tony Sexton and all parties involved who are helping to make this very worthwhile tribute a reality.

This will be a gem overlooking Santa Barbara harbor for generations to come. 

Ted Roche

Aqueos Corporation

I am a proud supporter of the Deepwater Diver Monument for many reasons.

First, as a Santa Barbara native and a working diver for many years, I know firsthand the enormous impact on our industry made by several legendary pioneers.

These men and women were true innovators who had the vision and courage to develop equipment and procedures to dive to depths where men had never worked before.

Their courageous acts, hard work, and can-do attitude set the foundation for the commercial diving industry worldwide, and their legacy will last forever.


This monument will be a lasting tribute to them.

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James R. Holm
Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Physician

As the Medical Director of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, my career has been dedicated to evaluation and treatment of all sorts of divers, from recreational to commercial.

Santa Barbara is the epicenter for deepwater commercial diving and has a long and storied history.  I was lucky enough to do my pre-medical education at UC Santa Barbara and teach diving there in the late 70’s and have met many of the “legends” that this monument pays tribute to.

I am honored to support the Deepwater Diving Monument project that will stand to tribute these great individuals.  My statuette is arriving soon and will serve to remind me of those who have paved the way for modern commercial diving.

Patrick Lahey

Triton Submarines LLC

It is a privilege and an honor to support the cause of establishing this important monument in the city of Santa Barbara to acknowledge the pioneering and inspirational group of divers who did so much to advance the technology and safety of deep commercial diving.

I was fortunate to work as a diver in Santa Barbara in the early 1980's. My mentor and dear friend, Laddie Handleman was one of those early pioneers and I will be forever grateful for his friendship, leadership and guidance.


Laddie was and will always remain an inspiration to me and countless others.


This monument commemorates him and so many truly remarkable individuals who now have a place that recognizes them and their important contributions to the history of diving. Thank you.


Commander Victor Vescovo

Given that seventy percent of our planet is ocean, it is fitting to honor those who pioneered not just exploring, but working in the deep areas of our oceans.


As anyone who has been down there knows, it is a very unforgiving, harsh, but extremely wonderful and important place for humans to be.


Paying proper homage to the very first of us that braved these cold, dark depths is absolutely warranted and I can think of no better place than a key location where it all started, beautiful Santa Barbara, California.

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