Legends of Diving Articles

 

Harry Ruscigno
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 Spear guns.

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 DEMA.

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, windsurfer, traveler).

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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