The DAN Board of Directors

Committed to safe diving

The DAN board of directors. From left: Lee Selisky, Joe Poe, Sylvia Earle, Wayne Massey, Kathy Weydig, Michael Lang, Harry Rodgers, Bill Anlyan and Doug Stracener

The members of DAN's board of directors are a passionate and motivated group. All volunteers, most of them have been involved with DAN® for more than 10 years, and they've been diving for an average of almost 40. Their breadth of experience is impressive, and their dedication to scuba diving and safety is abundantly clear.

Lee Selisky has been diving deep wrecks — from Lake Superior to Truk Lagoon — since 1967.

Tell me about your involvement with DAN.
I have been involved with dive safety initiatives for a long time, including early promotion of nitrox back when the industry was against it. If I'm going to spend my time and energy on something, I want to be able to see a positive impact, otherwise I'll do something else. I've been involved with DAN since its inception, first as a corporate sponsor and for the past 12 years as a board member, and I've never been as excited about the future of DAN as I am now.

Joe Poe, J.D., was a member of the first civilian team to dive the USS Monitor. He has done more than 40 dives on the wreck and has documented it and many other shipwrecks through articles and photography.

What brought you to the DAN board of directors?
In our lives we don't often have opportunities to make a difference, but diving is an activity that I and the other members of this board want to protect. We try to make certain that everything we do furthers DAN's mission, and I think we've been able to run this organization in a way that ensures DAN will always be here for divers.

Sylvia Earle, Ph.D., an ocean advocate and National Geographic Explorer in Residence, has led more than 100 scientific expeditions and spent more than 7,000 hours underwater.

Why do you dedicate your time to DAN?
The existence of DAN is a reflection of caring by people who have taken it upon themselves to create a self-sufficient organization that provides a vital service to the diving community and helps give a voice to the blue part of Earth. It is a privilege to work with people who are making aquatic exploration safe and to be able to have input on policies that affect the future of diving. DAN has served divers well — myself included — for many years.

Wayne Massey, M.D., gained significant experience treating divers with serious decompression illness as a doctor in the U.S. Navy and later as a doctor and professor of neurology at Duke University Medical Center.

What are the most important things DAN does?
I've seen how people's lives can be affected by dive accidents, and I think DAN's focus on prevention is crucial. It's important for divers to learn to perform field neurological assessments and recognize the signs of a heart attack and other cardiovascular emergencies. Most of us have certain things in our lives that we believe are worthwhile and want to put effort into, and for me DAN is one of those things.

Kathy Weydig is a tech diver, former dive shop owner and cofounder of the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

What drew you to the dive industry and to DAN?
I became a dive professional because I wanted to train people to a level of competence I'd want in a dive buddy. I later became an emergency medical technician (EMT) to improve my understanding of the medical aspects of diving to better teach them to my students. I also became a dive medical technician (DMT) and a certified hyperbaric technician (CHT) and ran a hyperbaric chamber for a while. I appreciate that at DAN, the revenue funds research, outreach and educational materials.

Michael Lang, Ph.D., directed the Smithsonian Scientific Diving Program for 21 years and the U.S. Antarctic Diving Program for 10 years.

How is DAN reaching various sectors of the diving industry?
DAN's educational programs have really made an impact in recreational diving, and it's great to see DAN being more involved in scientific diving, public safety diving and other types of diving. For example, there has been significant adoption of DAN training courses among the more than 130 member organizations of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. Our materials are getting better and more user friendly. DAN's impact and influence in recreational diving and beyond is stronger than ever before.

Harry Rodgers is a "fish head" — he's been an avid angler, aquarist and diver since he was a kid. He's also an expert in insurance.

What goals do you have for DAN, and what initiatives are you most excited about?
Beyond seeing DAN be the leader in dive safety and the No. 1 service provider for divers who encounter problems, I want to see DAN's efforts promote a renewed interest in diving, particularly among young people. If we can keep the sport safe and take care of divers, that helps diving grow. I'm really enthusiastic about the new professional liability program — it's a natural extension of our safety and risk-management efforts.

Bill Anlyan, former vice chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW), was very involved in the school's marine science program.

What are some highlights from your time in diving and at DAN?
Many of my best underwater experiences involve Aquarius Reef Base. UNCW ran Aquarius, and we would host researchers from around the world. Learning from them and seeing what they were working on are experiences I wouldn't trade for anything.

My time at DAN has likewise been inspirational. The subject matter — diving, safety, science, the marine environment — is inherently interesting, and everyone at DAN is so committed to the mission. During meetings we are always asking ourselves, "How do we make diving safer?"

Doug Stracener, J.D., is a solo private attorney and scuba instructor who also teaches motorcycle safety classes for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety. He works with law enforcement and public safety dive teams and has been accused of being a collector of instructor certifications.

What is DAN's role in the dive industry?
My predecessor on the board, Dick Long, told me to constantly ask myself, "What have we done today to save divers' lives?" In the dive industry there are multiple agencies with competing interests, but DAN is like the United Nations — we try to stay out of the politics and be a resource for everybody. DAN exists to save divers' lives; everything we do is geared toward that.

© Alert Diver — Q4 Fall 2016