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ADAS Remembers Bruce “Bruco” Thompson

Bruce Thompson, contributor to the establishment of ADAS, passes away at the age of 78 after a long and illustrious career in both military and commercial diving industries.

Bruce-Thompson_resizedBeginning his diving career at the age of 22, Bruce was an Army Instructor with the School of Military Engineering before being granted permission to apply for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Clearance Diving course. Bruce successfully completed this course, at the top of his class, and was posted to the RAN Fleet Diving Team. He later went on to complete Special Duty Officers training with the United Kingdom Navy and remained in the UK for two years on an exchange program, where he ran the Ship’s Diving Team and was involved in programs such as submarine rescue and deep air diving trials to 76m.

Bruce returned to Australia in 1972 and continued his RAN career until 1979 when he relocated to the UK to take up diver training with the Ford Bovisand Underwater Training Centre. While there he was involved in writing course material and the creation of dive tables.

In 1981 Bruce was recruited by the Sultan of Oman’s Navy and was appointed as an Executive Officer. Over the next eight years, Bruce was instrumental in diver training (many of whom could not swim!) and the implementation of improved training, diving medicals and development of standard operating procedures.

Returning to Australia in 1989, Bruce became the Inspector of Diving with the Victorian State Government’s Department of Energy and Minerals. It was during this time that Bruce became the manager and administrator for ADAS, which had been launched in 1988.

During Bruce’s role as ADAS manager, Australian commercial divers were formally recognised and certified for the first time. Bruce was also the driving force behind developing a process for the accreditation of diver training establishments, which was overseen by the National Occupational Diver Training Committee made up of industry representatives and the Maritime Union of Australia.

During his time with ADAS, Bruce also pushed to have ADAS recognised internationally and negotiated agreements with members of the current International Diving Regulators and Certifiers Forum (IDRCF), of which ADAS continues to be an active member. He was also strongly involved in the development of the AS 2815 Standards, which form the basis of ADAS training.

Bruce retired from ADAS in 1997 and sadly passed away in May 2015.

Bruce will be long remembered by all at ADAS for his drive and vision and for helping make ADAS and the diving industry what it is today.

For a more in-depth look at Bruce’s career, see the “Bruce Thompson – Diving Adventurer” article on Nektonix.

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