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Bret Gilliam - technical diving pioneer has passed away at the age of 72

Published: October 10, 2023 - 17:45
Updated: October 10, 2023 - 17:45
Bret Gilliam – technical diving pioneer has passed away at the age of 72

Sadly, the diving world has lost another of its icons as technical diving pioneer Bret Gilliam has passed away at the age of 72.

Bret Gilliam Unfortunately we have come to say goodbye to another legend and true pioneer of technical diving. We were deeply saddened to hear that Bret Gilliam has passed away from us at the age of 72. He was active in the diving industry for more than 50 years and during that time he led a life full of amazing adventures and explorations. Surely a great movie could be made based on his life and let’s hope it will be in some time.

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Brett Gilliam

Bret co-founded the training agencies Technical Diving International (TDI), Scuba Diving International (SDI) and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI). He has also contributed to the establishment of dive magazines such as Scuba Times, Deep Tech and Fathoms.

He started his journey with scuba diving in 1959 and since then has made more than 19,000 dives! Among his amazing achievements, the dive to a depth of 145m is certainly worth mentioning. This dive, which he carried out on 14 February 1990, was at the time the deepest dive using compressed air.

Being a man with an extremely colourful and adventurous life, he found himself perfectly behind the typewriter. The result was a total of 72 books of his authorship related to the exploration of the underwater world. In between books, Bret Gilliam also published 1500 articles for various magazines. Meanwhile, his photographs have made it to the cover of more than 100 magazines! All this made the American one of the most popular writers involved in the diving industry.

The Businessman

Bret Gilliam

Bret Gilliam also proved to be a great businessman. By creating, developing and selling various businesses, he became a millionaire. This includes brands such as Technical Diving International, V. I. Divers Ltd, AMF Yacht Charters, Ocean Quest Cruise Lines, G2 Publishing (Fathoms Magazine), Sea Ventures Ltd and Uwatec. He has developed some of these companies to an incredible level, which has resulted in the multi-million dollar sums he has received for their sale.

In 1971, he established the consulting firm Ocean Tech. It provided expert reports for over 400 of diving and maritime court cases. He has also acted as a consultant on numerous occasions for the US Navy, US Coast Guard (USCG), Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), FBI and CIA.

Bret Gilliam has also received many awards and honours that simply cannot be listed. His achievements have left a lasting mark and shaped the image of the modern diving industry. In his efforts, he always stuck to simple principles, to which he credited his lifelong success.

Rest in peace Bret.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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