The scope of Canadian diver Jill Heinerth’s contributions to the underwater world is defined by the magnitude of her work. She is a cave diver, explorer of the deep, writer, photographer and film maker. PBS, the National Geographic channel and BBC have broadcast films that were created by Jill. The directors who have consulted her include James Cameron. She has written books and produced documentaries.
Heinerth received the NOGI award this year for her work in sports and education. Cameron likens a NOGI to the underwater equivalent of an Oscar.
Selection of recipients is based on their record of accomplishments and excellence in diving. NOGI awards are given out to divers with high-level skills in diving, as well as having made a global impact on in one of four categories: science, arts, sports/education, and environment. There is also a NOGI for distinguished service.
NOGI’s current form, which dates back to 1960, began when when Jay Albeanese and Louis Cuccia of New Orleans asked the Underwater Society of America to sanction an annual award for top skin and scuba divers in four categories.
Heinerth has been inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame and was the first Christopher Ondaaji medal winner for exploration by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. In June 2016, Heinerth became the first Explorer-in-Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Other Winners to receive a NOGI this year at DEMA were:
- Arts Category: Chuck Davis
- Distinguished Service: Tom Ingram
- Environment Category: Dr. Enric Sala
- Science Category: Dr. Gerry Allen
The Historical Diving Society’s Pioneer Award was given posthumously to Georges Beuchat for his lifelong contribution to the diving world.