Legends of Diving Articles
Founder of SeaTec / Inflatable systems
December 8, 1933 to
December 6, 2008
He was a very active diver, a respected engineer who adapted
his talents to the diving world over forty years ago.
Still a teenager Harry Ruscigno was a founder and driving
force in the pioneer diving club the San Jose Barbs in
California, one of the oldest clubs in the world.
After graduation from college he moved to San Diego area
where he became active in competitive spear fishing
competing in many local and regional
spearfishing meets. He
also served a term as president of the San Diego council of
divers. During this time in San Diego he entered into the
diving manufacturing business by producing small items for
Bob Mitchell who had founded the original diving accessory
company "Aqua Craft." Harry's first love was spearfishing so
he also began producing custom made one of a kind Adict
A few years later he moved Orange California into a small
out building adjacent to Joe Lamonica (JBL) in where he
established his company Sea Tec/Inflatable
Systems. His very first product was
the first American made large diameter oral inflator which
revolutionized the design of primitive BCs. He then began developing a total inflation systems. He
introduced the "dual bag inflation system" to the industry
which became an industry standard and was adapted by most
the major manufactures of that era.
Sea Tec's initial line was horse collars, later the BCs, &
BIUs, were introduced. After much testing and
experimentation he introduced the very popular rugged
"Manta." Sea Tec moved to Corona enlarged their line to
became a full line company marketing and producing fins
masks, regulators and the very powerful and at that time the
standard of the world the Sampson "World Record" spear gun.
Harry eventually removed him self from the recreational
diving manufacturing a number of years ago -- the
recreational diving industry just would not support the type
and quality inflation systems he wanted to produce, so he
concentrated on the military and the law enforcement sector
. Harry sold the SeaTec/Inflatable Systems several years ago
but had been on a retainer as a consultant to the new owners
of Sea Tec until his untimely death.
He served on the Board of directors of DEMA from 1978 to
1990 and was acclaimed as the first director Emeritus of
I first met Harry on the beach in a deserted cove in Baja
California, Mexican in the mid 1950s. I was shooting a
highly modified extended Arablete, Harry was
shooting a wood
gun of his own design favored by the San Diego dives. Nether
one of us won bragging rights that day but it did cemented a
life long friendship.
We didn't come personally come in contact again until he
established Sea Tec in Orange in the early 1970s.
We entered into a very interesting business/diving
relationship. I would test dive and evaluate his prototype
units and he would supply me with my choice of production
units, which eventually was the never equaled Manta.
I recall so clearly one meeting when we
Here with (from left) old
buds Chuck O’Grady (diver, surfer), Verne Fleet (competitive
spearfisherman, lifeguard, fire captain), Chuck Nicklin (owned
Diving Locker, SDUPS cofounder), Harry, and Larry Blackburn (spearfisherman,
were discussing a particular SeaTec model which I had made a number of
suggestions for modifications. His response was that "The
modifications were needed but it would not be accepted by
the general public since there were a lot of people who dove
but only abut 100 in the US who were divers."
I send my and my families' personal condolences, along with
all of those past and present divers who have benefited so
much from Harry's many contributions to his family; His wife
Paula, his children Stephanie, Jeff, Valerie, Jack, Matt,
Becky Toby and numerous grand and great grand children, too
numerous to list and his many business associates and diving
friends who also share in this great loss.
By Dr. Samuel Miller,111.
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