Melestarikan Sejarah: Leslie Leaney

Torrance Parker mempersembahkan penghargaan HDS USA E.R. Cross Award kepada Leaney.

LESLIE LEANEY TERKENAL for his dive history research and preservation. He has done this work through organizations such as the Cayman Islands’ International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (where he has been the executive director for nearly 20 years), the Commercial Diving Hall of Fame, the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the Historical Diving Society USA, and other educational organizations. Acquiring a circa 1850 copper and brass dive helmet handmade by the legendary Augustus Siebe stoked his interest in dive history more than four decades ago. Siebe is considered the father of diving and created the equipment that launched the trade internationally.

“There are about six or seven of these known to exist in the world,” he noted. “Mine is the only one that’s in its original condition.”

Selain mengoleksi peralatan selam bersejarah dan antik, ia mulai menyusun perpustakaan selam yang luas. Pada tahun 1992, Leaney bermitra dengan Skip Dunham untuk mendirikan Historical Diving Society USA (HDS USA). Dalam tiga dekade sejak pendiriannya, organisasi nirlaba HDS USA telah berkembang dari beberapa lusin anggota menjadi sekitar 3.000 anggota di seluruh dunia. Dia juga meluncurkan Majalah Historical Diving Magazine, yang sekarang dikenal sebagai The Journal of Diving History.

Leaney has received numerous awards, including DEMA’s Reaching Out Award (2016), the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences NOGI Award for Education (2003), Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year Award (2013), the Wyland Foundation ICON Award (2010), and most recently the 2022 California Scuba Service Award for “turning his passion for diving’s history into a way for thousands to understand and discover theirs.” In addition to the contributions he’s made to our knowledge of dive history, Leaney has also had a highly successful career in the music industry.

Dalam banyak hal, pencapaiannya di industri scuba diving dan musik terkait langsung dengan tantangan yang dihadapinya saat masih muda. Lahir di London pada tahun 1947, ia berjuang sebagai remaja.

“I grew up in the East End of London,” he said. “I didn’t have a great education. I left school when I was 15 and worked three jobs — I worked days and nights because money was so scarce. I was out on the streets and in a motorcycle gang. The future didn’t look particularly bright.”


To escape those circumstances, he joined the Royal Air Force in 1967, but it wasn’t military service that changed his life’s trajectory. It was scuba diving, which he tried at age 22 when he was posted to Singapore.

“In Singapore there were a lot of things to do that you wouldn’t normally get to do where I came from,” Leaney recalled. “The first thing I did was join a scuba club. As soon as I went underwater, it was a different world. It changed my life. Diving was a leveler. Underwater, I was the equal of anyone and better than most. I was really good at it.”

He always had a fascination for the creatures that lived underwater, which started with the ponds near his childhood home. “There was a forest where some of the German bombers would dump their bombs during World War II when they couldn’t find their targets,” Leaney said. “A lot of bomb holes turned into ponds. I was mesmerized by seeing things splash on the surface. You couldn’t see what they were, but they’d splash — newts, salamanders, frogs.

“I was fascinated by what was under the water. It really changed my life when I first started diving and saw marine life face-to-face.”

While in Singapore, he became a scuba instructor and dive officer through the British Sub-Aqua Club, the U.K.’s national governing body of recreational diving. He was responsible for the curriculum and training of dozens of instructors and recreational divers.

Pada tahun 1970-an, jauh sebelum infrastruktur wisata menyelam menjadi hal yang biasa, Leaney memimpin puluhan ekspedisi menyelam ke Kepulauan Perhentian di Laut Cina Selatan, Samudra Hindia, Maladewa, dan menyelam di Australia dan Selandia Baru.

During these years, King Hussein of Jordan asked him to explore if a dive center could be established in the Red Sea port of Aqaba, Jordan. “That’s a bottle-of-wine story,” he said. He was transported aboard the king’s boat to explore the Red Sea every day. “It was a pristine location with pristine sites.”

Leaney has approached his life as one of daring adventures. “I took a lot of risks,” he said. “I believed I could. If you believe you can, you can because you’re already halfway there.”


Pada tahun 1980, Leaney pindah ke California, di mana ia mulai bekerja di industri musik dan menjelajahi toko-toko buku lokal untuk mengumpulkan buku-buku tentang menyelam.

“My interest in music started when I was very young,” he said. “I was inoculated with a jukebox needle. I was around when the Beatles started. When I came to America, I wanted to get involved in it. I knew I didn’t have the talent to get into a band, but the drive to be associated with music was so special to me. I started supporting what I call the ‘baby band circuit.’ I liked the challenge. Could I get a band signed to a major label to which I had no connection? I went out seven nights a week with these bands, trying to bump them up to where a band like the Pretenders was. I was driven in both music and diving to succeed.”

Leaney saat ini sedang mengerjakan The Journal of Diving History’s 112th issue, which will go to subscribers in about 30 countries. “If you find something you like to do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I still live on the edge to some degree, but now I have safety nets, and DAN is a big one.” AD


Pelajari lebih lanjut tentang Leslie Leaney dalam video yang dipersiapkan untuk DEMA Reaching Out Award pada tahun 2016 ini.

Leslie Leaney

Leslie Leaney

Kampung halaman:
Santa Maria, California

Usia: 74

Bertahun-tahun Menyelam: 53

Mengapa saya menjadi Anggota DAN:
My friends have always had my back during my adventures. DAN has had that covered, along with my left, right, and front. I’ve always had DAN as a traveling companion.

Leaney dikelilingi oleh helm selam yang langka

Leaney dikelilingi oleh helm selam langka yang berasal dari sekitar tahun 1850 hingga 1970-an, dengan helm Augustus Siebe di depannya.

Leaney bersama Jacques-Yves Cousteau dan Hans Hass

Leaney terlihat setelah memperkenalkan pelopor penyelaman Jacques-Yves Cousteau dan Hans Hass pada acara DEMA Show 1997.

Leaney dengan penghargaan RIAA-nya

Leaney menampilkan beberapa penghargaan RIAA-nya untuk penjualan domestik sebanyak 34 juta album.

Aktor Lloyd Bridges dalam Sea Hunt tampil di sampul buku The Journal of Diving History karya Leaney.

Aktor Lloyd Bridges sebagai Mike Nelson dalam Perburuan Laut appeared on the cover of issue 68 of Leaney’s Jurnal Sejarah Penyelaman.

He always had a fascination for the creatures that lived underwater …

© Penyelam Siaga — Q3 2022