Legends of Diving Articles
'Keeper of the
Flame' Nick Icorn Featured at Legends Dive Festivals
Nick Icorn has appeared at Legends
Nick was born in Hollywood, California. He always had an
interest in the ocean. From the age of eight he would go tent
camping on southern California beaches. He learned to swim in
the Huntington Beach surf and in the pool by the pier. He
entered high school in 1943. He was kicked out of the Merchant
Marines when they found out he had lied about his age and was
only 14. His mother helped him enlist in the United States
Marines in 1944. He served in the Philippines and Saipan in the
aftermath of WWII.
He married Marilyn in 1950. His diving career began one day at
her uncle’s home where in a pool he donned a mask and fins for
the first time.
Nick was part of the first formal Underwater Instructors Course.
holds Instructor certifications from the YMCA, Los Angeles
County, NAUI, SSI, PADI and NASDS. In 1969 he became the first Executive
Director of PADI developing programs and standards. Under his leadership
their instructor base went from 234 to over 12,000 worldwide. He wrote
numerous training manuals for the industry including the first,
“Standards and Procedures Manual,” and the “Basic Scuba Course,” and
the, “Course Director’s Manual.”
He worked for many of the US diving manufacturers including US Cavalero,
Ocean Dynamics, Healthways, US Divers, and Sherwood Selpac as an
engineer helping in the design evolution of diving equipment.
His honors include two NOGI awards, the DEMA Reaching Out Award, The
California Scuba Service Award, the Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award and
is a member of the NAUI Hall of Honor.
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Maldives, Belize, Hawaii and of
course Southern California are some of the places he has been diving.
His only diving accident was in the 1970’s in the Bahamas when he
suffered the bends.
Nick is also in known for his help in the design of commercial technical
diving equipment, considered an expert in hardhat, semi-closed circuit,
and mixed gas diving. His love of the sport turned to collecting
memorabilia and to writing. He appeared at the Third Annual Legends of
Diving Festival at the Portage Quarry in Bowling Green, OH where he
displayed the Commeinhes Scuba unit manufactured in 1937. It was
considered to be the first SCUBA breathing device, manufactured by
Georges Commeinhes in France.
Nick Icorn - Experience for
the Hall of Fame
Nick Icorn attended
the first instructor’s course in the U. S. at Scripps Institute in
Mr. Icorn has been
with the L. A. County Instructors Program since 1954.
He is qualified as
an instructor with NAUI, SSI, YMCA and NASDS.
Was the first
Executive Director and one of the founders of PADI, Project Director
for NAUI, and program Director of NASDS.
He has been a design
engineer for US Divers, Healthways, Cavalero, Airco Cryogenics,
Sherwood Selpac, and Ocean Dynamics.
He has twice been
presented with the NOGI Award from Academy of U/W Arts and Science,
and the Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award.
Mr. Icorn was
presented with the DEMA Reaching Out Award and inducted into the
Diving Hall of Fame.
He currently serves
as the Director of the National Underwater Museum.
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