NOGI Awards

The NOGI Awards is an award presented annually by the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (AUAS) to diving luminaries[2] and is "considered the Oscar of the ocean world."[3][4] Selection of recipients is based on their record of accomplishments and excellence in the diving world. NOGI awards are given out to world-class standouts of the diving community who have distinguished themselves and made a global impact on diving in one or more of four general categories: Science, Arts, Sports/Education, and Environment. A fifth NOGI is given for Distinguished Service.[5]

The NOGI Awards
Awarded forRecognition as belonging to "a select cadre of divers and undersea luminaries who rank at the top of their fields in one of four categories:
Arts, Science, Sports/Education, Distinguished service".[1]
CountryUnited States of America
Presented byAcademy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (since 1993)
Underwater Society of America (1960-1992)
First awarded1960
2012 (Environment)


The NOGI awards originally came in existence as part of the trophy system offered during the 1950s for the underwater division of the New Orleans Grand Isle Fishing Tournament. NOGI is the acronym for the first four words of the tournament's name. In its current form, the NOGI awards date back to 1960 when Jay Albeanese and Louis Cuccia of New Orleans approached the Underwater Society of America for its sanction of an "award to annually recognize leaders in the field of skin and SCUBA diving in four categories." Since 1993, the NOGI awards scheme has been the responsibility of the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. In 2013, a fifth category "Environment" was added to the awards scheme.[6][7][8]

Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences

The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (AUAS) was formed in 1993 for the purpose of administering the NOGI Awards. It has status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Its mission is to be:[1]

a 501(c)3 non-profit, international, multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to recognizing pioneers and leaders who have had a significant impact on the exploration, enjoyment, safety, and preservation of the underwater world. The AUAS is committed to supporting its members as they pass on the stewardship of the sea to future generations.

NOGI categories

There are five categories of NOGIs.[5]

Science: Recipients in the Science category include renowned underwater archaeologists such as E. Lee Spence and George Bass, inventors like Edwin Link, undersea explorers like Sylvia Earle and Robert Ballard, doctors involved in hyperbaric medicine such as Joseph MacInnis, as well as marine biologists, and other marine scientists.

Arts: Awardees in the Arts category have included internationally known filmmakers such as James Cameron and Stan Waterman, marine artists like Guy Harvey, and photographers such as National Geographic's Emory Kristof.

Sports/education: The Sports & Education category recognizes distinguished diver athletes like Ron Taylor, educators like John Christopher Fine and even actors like Lloyd Bridges and Zale Parry who were pioneer scuba divers and portrayed divers on TV's Sea Hunt, and thus helped to encourage and grow the public's interest in diving.

Environment: The newest category of NOGI which was added in 2013 is for Environment and its first recipient is Dr. G. Carleton Ray. It is meant to recognize divers who, well beyond their normal employment, have led efforts to protect the world's underwater heritage.

Distinguished service: Distinguished Service recipients have typically included world-renowned divers like Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Astronaut/Aquanaut Scott Carpenter but they have also included lesser known people whose professional, volunteer and/or private work has truly had a major impact on the diving industry and/or the global diving community in general.

The statuette

The original NOGI statuettes were designed by New Orleans sculptor Vero Puccio, who hand carved them out of mahogany (one report says balsa) and later cast them out of polywood. Since 2005, when the statuette, which shows a pedestal mounted skin diver standing with upraised arms holding a plaque reading "NOGI," was updated by marine wildlife artist Wyland (who is also a NOGI winner), the statuettes have been made of cast lucite.[9][10]

NOGI Award recipients

The following is a listing of all NOGI recipients since its creation in 1960.[11]

Award Year Science Arts Sports/Education Distinguished Service Environment
1960Eugene J.D. Vezzani, Ph.D.[11]Jim Auxier / Chuck Blakeslee[11]George Youmans[12]Carl H. Hauber[13]x
1961Jim Christiansen / Jack FaverxxC.B. "Ben" Davisx
1962David M. Owen[14]James DuganGustav Dalla Valle[15]John J. McAniff[11]x
1963Edward Lanphier, M.D.[11]Luis MardenMary Edith "Mel" Lillis[11]Joseph D. Albanese, Jr.x
1964Capt. George BondColes PhinizyWilliam "Bill" HighAlbert Tillman[11]x
1965Edwin LinkEugenie Clark, M.D.John Ernst[16]Pablo Bush Romerox
1966Robert Workman, M.D.Dimitri Rebikoff[17]Ron Taylor[18]Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteaux
1967Hon. Jacques Piccard, Ph.D.Bill Barada[11]Ralph Davis[19]Louis R. Cucciax
1968Andreas B. Rechnitzer, Ph.D.[11]Stanton A. WatermanTerry Lintz[11]David R. Stith[20]x
1969Albert Behnke, M.D.Paul Tzimoulis[11]James R. Stewart[21]Glen H. Egstrom, Ph.D.[11]x
1970Harold Edgerton, Ph.D.Richard Anderson[22]T.F. "Duke" PawlowiczOscar Asturias[23]x
1971Christian J. Lambertsen, M.D.Peter GimbelHarold DrakeWalter Feinbergx
1972Joseph MacInnis, M.D.Al Giddings[11]Harold DrakeFrank Scallix
1973Arthur J. Bachrach, Ph.D.Ron ChurchBernard "Bernie" EmpletonZale Parryx
1974George Bass, Ph.D.Lamar BorenWheeler North, Ph.D.Nick Icornx
1975Robert D. Ballard, Ph.D.Ernest H. Brooks, II[11]Ellis E.R. Cross[24] / Charles NicklinMelvin Grosvenor, Ph.D.x
1976Sylvia A. Earle, Ph.D.Bates LittlehalesArthur H. UlrichRobert F. Marxx
1977Robert Dill, Ph.D.Phillippe Pierre CousteauDewey BergmanJack McKenny[25]x
1978Conrad Limbaugh[26]David N. Doubilet[27]Mel FisherGeorge Benjamin, Ph.D.x
1979Roger W. CookLee Tepley, Ph.D.Jim BrownCharles Wesley Shilling, M.D.[11]x
1980Peter B. Bennett, Ph.D.Valerie Taylor[18]Louis M. FeadHarry Shanks[11]x
1981Glen H. Egstrom, Ph.D.Rick Freshee[11]Jefferson Davis, M.D.[11] / John GeiszlerNixon Griffisx
1982Richard A Cooper, Ph.D.Genaro HurtadoLloyd BridgesDick Boninx
1983Capt. Otto Van Der Aue, M.D.Mendel L. PetersonHelen Turcotte Davis[11]Elliott Finkle, Ph.D.x
1984Gene Shinn[11]Nancy Sefton[28]J. Morgan Wells, Ph.D.[29]Ralph Osterhoutx
1985George RuggieriCathy Church/Jim Church[30]Walt Hendrick, Sr.John Croninx
1986James W. Miller, Ph.D.Charles Nicklin[31]xJohn H. Perry, Jr.[32]x
1987Eugenie Clark, Ph.D.Emory KristofBert Kilbride[33]Richard M. Sammonx
1988Richard A. Slater, Ph.D.[11]Jack McKenny[25]Jon Hardy[34]Andre Galerne[11]x
1989Don Walsh, Ph.D.Ivan TorsJon Gaffney[11]Andreas B. Rechnitzer, Ph.D.[11]x
1990Robert I. Wicklund[35]Bev Morgan[36]Dennis K. GraverIan G. Koblick[37]x
1991William "Bill" HighJordan Klein, Sr.Richard W. LongE.B. "Teddy" Tucker, M.B.E.[38]x
1992Christopher Nicholson[39]Ralph White[40]Frank FennellEllis E.R. Cross[41]x
1993Jean-Michel CousteauHoward W. Hall[11]John Christopher FineGov. Lowell P. Weicker, Ph.D.x
1994Alfred Bove, M.D., Ph.D.Flip Nicklin[42]Lee H. Somers, Ph.D.[43]Mary Edith "Mel" Lillis[11]x
1995R.W. Bill Hamilton, Ph.D.Bob TalbetBev MorganScott Carpenterx
1996Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D.Ricou BrowningDan OrrSurgeon Vice Admiral John Rawlinsx
1997Phil Nuytten, Ph.D.Lt. Col. John D. CraigRobert Clark[11]Capt. Phillippe Tailliezx
1998Hans Hass, Ph.D.WylandRichard Murphy, Ph.D.[44]Hans Hass, Ph.D.x
1999Richard W. Grigg, Ph.D.[45]James CameronAndreas B. Rechnitzer, Ph.D.[11]Albert Falcox
2000John E. Randall, Ph.D.[11]Ada RebikoffTom MountFrederic Dumasx
2001Bob Hollis[11]Geri Murphy[46]John Cronin[47]Hillary Viders, Ph.D.[11]x
2002Anatoly M. Sagalevitch, Ph.D.John Stoneman[48]Edward C. Cargile[49]Émile Gagnanx
2003Jim CahillChris Newbert[50] / Birgitte Wilms[51]Leslie Leaney[52]x
2004Richard Pyle, Ph.D.[53]Guy C. Harvey, Ph.D.Armand Zigahn[11]Henri G. Delauze[54]x
2005Paul Dayton, Ph.D.Peter BenchleyBob Evans[11]Lee Selisky[11]x
2006Paul S. Auerbach, M.D.Bill Curtsinger[55]Bill Meistrell / Bob MeistrellWilliam "Bill" High[56]x
2007Charles Birkeland, Ph.D.[11]Wes SkilesCarl Roessler[57]Dee Scarr[58]x
2008Hannes Keller[11]Bonnie Cardone[11]Walt "Butch" Hendrick[59]Mike Gower[11]x
2009Michael Lang[11]Michele Hall[11]Paul Humann[60]Hillary Hauser[11]x
2010Patrick Colin, Ph.D.[11]Bernie Campoli[11]William Hamner / Peggy Hamner[11]Frank K. Butler Jr., M.D.[11]x
2011Phillip Lobel, Ph.D.[11]Nick Caloyianis[11]Ed Stetson[11]Mike deGruy[11]x
2012–2013E. Lee Spence, M.H.D.[11]Michael Aw[11]Bret Gilliam[11]Dave Parker[11]G. Carleton Ray, Ph.D.[61]
2014Richard D. Vann, Ph.D.[62]Richard Ellis[62]Mike Hollis[62]Lad Handelman[62]Bill Macdonald[62]
2015Dr Richard A. Lutz[63]Clive Cussler[63]Bob Kirby[63]Rodney Fox[63]Dr Gregory S. Stone[63]
2016Mike Cochran[64] Stephen Frink[64] Bob Croft[64] Bonnie Toth[64] Hardy Jones[64]
2017Dr Gerald R Allen[65]Chuck Davis[65]Jill Heinerth[65]Tom Ingram[65]Dr. Eric Sala[65]
2018Dr Michael Gernhardt[66]Marty Snyderman[66]Sally E. Bauer, M.D.[66]Peter A Hughes[66]John C. Ogden, Ph.D.[66]
2019Dr Tom Neuman[67]Brian Skerry[67]Eric Hanauer[67]Jerry Greenberg[67]Dr Wallace Nichols[67]
Award Year Science Arts Sports/Education Distinguished Service Environment


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