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Deepwater Diving Monument

Santa Barbara, California, has long been known in international diving circles as the home of deepwater diving. Starting 60 years ago in November 1962 with Dan Wilson’s successful 400-foot, mixed-gas dive, the equipment and methods designed and developed in Santa Barbara by companies such as Kirby Morgan Diving Systems, Oceaneering, Cal Dive, DIVCON, and others, gradually revolutionized the international trade of the diver.

These historic accomplishments will now be recognized by a 10-foot­tall bronze statue of a diver wearing a Kirby Morgan Superlite 17 helmet, confirming Santa Barbara’s place in international diving history as the birthplace of deepwater diving.

The statue will be located in the Santa Barbara harbor near the Maritime Museum and has already been approved by the Waterfront Department at Santa Barbara harbor, plus various other local government organizations. It will honor the divers and people who made Santa Barbara the home of Deepwater Mixed-Gas Diving.

The project team is co-chaired by former HDS USA Presidents Leslie Leaney and Don Barthelmess and endorsed by HDS USA sponsor company Kirby Morgan Diving Systems.

The Monument will be a gift to the City of Santa Barbara on behalf of the professional and military divers of the world.

Members will probably be familiar with the very successful project headed up by retired USN Master Divers Bob Barth and Dave Sullivan that erected a Mark V Monument at the USN Diving & Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida, as recorded in The Journal of Diving History.

Last year Leslie and Don met with the team that created the US Mark V Monument and partnered with them to create the Deepwater Diving Monument. The project will be funded in exactly the same way as the Mark V, by the sale of 300 22″ certified, fine art, numbered, limited edition bronze statuettes mounted on a black granite base which are an exact replica of the main Superlite® Monument.

As we all know, the work of the diver and the unheralded industry they work in, is out of sight and out of mind of the public and, therefore, basically unrecognized when compared to other major industries.

The Deepwater Diving Monument is the “giant leap” for the diving industry that provides a visible reminder to the general public of the service which divers perform, and continue to do so, to the nation’s infrastructure and security. If you are a commercial or military diver, this is the Monument to your career.

The Superlite® diver statuettes are available for pre-order now and, like the US Mark V statuettes, are expected to sell out fairly quickly. For more information, log on to

For questions regarding a specific number of the 300 statuettes, and further information, please email Paul Guiver and Tony Sexton at:

Article from The Journal of Diving History, Third Quarter 2022, Volume 30, Number 112

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