World Oceans Day

Have you heard of Heritage Hard Hat Divers? They are divers who use vintage equipment. Tom Bell has been hard hat diving since 1968, and he co-founded Heritage Hard Hat Divers group in 2010. He will be talking about his experiences as a diver on June 8 at 4:00 p.m. in honour of World Oceans Day at a virtual presentation, The Romantic Era of Diving.

Bell will present a brief history of diving and cover some of the fascinating science related to diving and underwater activity such as the use of mass spectrometers in the modern world. He’ll also share images from diving in 1968 and images of diving artifacts like his 1943 Mark V diving helmet.

Bell will also share personal stories, such as a near-death experience in Lake Ontario. And he’ll talk about how and why the Heritage Hard Hat Divers group was formed and what they hope to accomplish.

Bell got his SCUBA certificate in 1967 and completed his hard hat diving training in 1968.  His skills landed him some interesting commercial diving opportunities. He poured concrete underwater in Lake Ontario and worked in the Toronto ship canal and Welland canal. In 1970 he stopped diving full time to take a job with the West Vancouver Fire Department. But he continued to moonlight as a diver, working for a local lumber company using SCUBA to salvage logs and boom chains and to check bundle booms for teredo worm infestations.

Bell’s passion for hard hat diving was rekindled when he joined the Historical Diving Society in 2006. Since co-founding the Heritage Hard Hat Divers in 2010, he has created displays on heritage diving for events like the annual Diver’s Weekend at the Vancouver Aquarium and for the VMM.

Bell’s unique diving experience and perspective is sure to make for an interesting presentation. Tickets to The Romantic Era of Diving are only $7.50 (free for members). To get your promo code for a free members’ access, email

If you have any questions about this event or have difficulty getting a ticket, please email