For the past 25 years, Divers Alert Network and Rolex have collaborated to award one of the most prestigious honors in scuba diving, the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award. This year, Simon Mitchell, Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand was selected by committee as the 2015 winner of this coveted award that recognizes excellence in diving and dive safety.
Mitchell, former Vice President of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society (UHMS), is widely published and has 104 publications including books, text book chapters, scientific journal articles and workshop proceedings to his credit. Mitchell holds a medical degree, Diplomas in Occupational Medicine and Diving Medicine, and a PhD in medicine. He is board certified in anesthesiology and hyperbaric medicine.
In addition to his academic achievements, Mitchell earned the 2010 Albert R. Behnke Award and the Fellow of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Award from UHMS in 2011. He was also the recipient of the 2014 Eurotek Discovery Award and he devotes large amounts of his time to diver education in his specialist area of diving physiology and medicine.
Mitchell is an avid technical diver who has been exploring underwater since 1972. He has completed over 6000 recreational, scientific, military, and occupational dives and regularly uses rebreather technology to facilitate the exploration of shipwrecks and deep reefs. The Explorer’s Club of New York named Mitchell as a Fellow in 2006 to recognize his work surrounding the sunken AHS Centaur and other deep water exploration.
“We are very pleased to name Dr. Mitchell as this year’s DAN/Rolex Diver of The Year Award winner,” said Bill Ziefle, President and CEO, Divers Alert Network. “Simon’s academic and diving achievements are impressive and his accomplishments stood out amongst a field of worthy nominees. His life-long dedication to diving has made a significant impact on safety and has advanced our great sport,” added Ziefle.
“I am delighted and honored to receive the DAN / Rolex Diver of the Year Award. Like a number of my colleagues who perform similar roles, I enjoy being immersed in the diving community and need little more than this to motivate me,” said Dr. Mitchell. “I am deeply appreciative of the recognition this award brings, and my wife Sian and I are very excited to be attending the Beneath the Sea Show and Awards Banquet. My sincere thanks to DAN, Rolex and the selection committee,” added Mitchell.
Dr. Mitchell will receive his award at the 2015 Beneath the Sea Dive Show in Secaucus, New Jersey, that runs from March 27-29, where he will be presented with an Oyster Perpetual Rolex Dive Watch and a commemorative wall plaque. In addition, Rolex will donate $15,000 to DAN to support essential safety initiatives such as medical research, safety education and first aid training.