Thursday, June 29, 2006

Scott Taylor Is the 2006 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year


From Divers Alert Network • 28 June 2006


Scott Taylor, co-owner of A-1 Scuba and Travel Center in Denver, Colo., has been named the 2006 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year. Dan Orr, DAN president and CEO, presented the award at the DAN Divers Day event held June 17 at Denver’s Downtown Aquarium.

The DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award is given each year to a person who has contributed significantly to diving safety or the mission of Divers Alert Network, either regionally or nationally. The award committee is made up of previous award winners, a representative of DAN and one from Rolex USA Inc.

Taylor was recognized for his enthusiasm, support and work for the safety of recreational diving. Inspired by Lloyd Bridges as scuba diving investigator Mike Nelson in the television series “Sea Hunt” and French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker and researcher Jacques Cousteau, Taylor became a scuba diver in 1969. Taylor embraced diving, eventually becoming a PADI Course Director, DAN Instructor Trainer and one of the first Instructor Trainers to be certified by the Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA).

In 1991, as a DAN Instructor Trainer, he began teaching the instructors and certified assistants at A-1 Scuba and Travel Center and at many of the PADI and SSI stores in Colorado. He took the program on trips and trained the dive crews on the Turks and Caicos Aggressor, Cayman Aggressor, Peter Hughes’ Wave Dancer, Anthony’s Key Resort and Dive Paradise in Cozumel.

One of the best compliments he ever received came from the owner of Dive Paradise, Renée "Apple" Applegate, who said, “Scott, you’ve cost me a lot of money!” She explained she had just purchased DAN Oxygen Units for all 13 of her boats.

Taylor joined other Colorado dive store owners in forming the Colorado Scuba Retailers Association in the mid-1990s, a group of full retail dive centers offering a variety of dive travel and other services for the diver or snorkeler. The CSRA developed the Colorado Scuba ExtaSea Expo.

In the 1970s, Taylor graduated from the University of Colorado Medical Center with a degree in physical therapy. While working at the spinal cord/head injury center at Craig Hospital in Denver, he began assisting with scuba classes. “It was awesome,” he said. “Suddenly people confined to a wheelchair could be independent for a period of time. I quickly discovered that water is a great equalizer that allows the physically challenged to escape their crutches, wheelchairs and prosthetic devices. I continue teaching the physically challenged to this day.”

Every six weeks, four patients from the hospital visit A-1 Scuba and try scuba. For many, it is their first time out of the hospital since their injury. Taylor also volunteers each summer at the Colorado Easter Seals Camp, introducing children with muscular dystrophy to scuba diving. “It’s a blast for the kids and for me,” Taylor said.

Taylor received a plaque and a personally engraved Rolex Submariner Dive Watch.

By Eileen Sahlin, DAN Chief Development Officer