History of SECONN
Founded by Fred Gale and friends in 1963, SECONN Skin Divers is one of the oldest continually running scuba clubs in the United States. To put it in perspective, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) wasn’t founded until 1966.
The term SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) was coined in 1952 and referred to a rebreather designed by Christian James Lambertsen. It eventually became synonymous with Jacques Cousteau’s Aqua-Lung. We are SECONN Skin Divers because the term SCUBA wasn’t yet popular in 1963. Skin Diving was the term used before wetsuits/drysuits were commonly available to non-military personnel.
They called it the “Wild West” of diving. The days when pre-dive prep included a six-pack of beer and a pack of cigarettes. Days when it was a boys only club rife with adventure and exploration of the unknown. In those days, neoprene suits you could purchase right off the rack were a thing of the future. Even their buoyancy compensators were a far cry from what we expect to see on every diver today. Back in the 60s, you went to visit Charlie for a custom suit…created by laying down on a piece of material and having your outline chalked onto it – custom suits before custom suits were cool (and expensive!).
New wrecks were found by convincing some local draggers to let you tag along…when their gear got snagged, you jumped into the water to free the gear and hope to find a new fun wreck. Many of the members who participated in these activities are still active within the club today! Though now they use sidescan sonar technology, drysuits, and rebreathers to explore the depths.