On Friday, January 29th the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum honored two pioneers in the field of Commercial Diving, Lad Handelman and Bob Kirby. Lad started out as an abalone diver here in Santa Barbara, and went on to start two international diving companies, CalDive and Oceaneering. Bob teamed up with Bev Morgan to form Kirby Morgan Diving Systems, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 and continues to be the world leader in the manufacture and sale of commercial diving helmets.
Both men received NOGI Awards from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, an honor James Cameron says is more difficult to win than an Oscar. Neither Lad nor Bob were able to attend the NOGI Award ceremonies, so the Maritime Museum invited 200 of their closest friends to celebrate their great achievements here in their home town. To learn more about these two pioneers visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. KKFX News video