René Théophile “Phil” Nuytten, OC OBC born August 13, 1941, passed away at age 81. He was a Canadian entrepreneur, deep-sea explorer, scientist, Newtsuit inventor, and Nuytco Research Ltd founder.
He pioneered diving equipment designs and worked with NASA for over 25 years on applications related to undersea and space technologies.
His equipment is now used by a variety of organizations, including the National Geographic Society and NASA, and is the standard for nearly a dozen navies.
Nuytten was a Métis who was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was later formally adopted into the Kwakiutl tribe. He began designing diving equipment while still in his teens and opened Western Canada’s first dive shop.
Nuytten worked as a commercial diver in a number of countries. He has developed equipment and deep-water diving, as well as technical diving techniques, for the commercial, scientific, and military industries.
Nuytten was involved in the development of mixed-gas decompression tables in the 1960s and 1970s. On Project Nesco, he was part of a team that completed the first 600 FSW (feet of seawater) ocean “bounce” dives.
He co-founded Oceaneering International, Inc. in the 1970s. This company grew to become one of the world’s largest underwater skills companies.
He developed the technology to allow longer-length diving expeditions with increased safety through his companies, Nuytco and Can-Dive. Nuytten’s one-atmosphere systems – the hard suits ‘NewtsuitTM’ and ‘Exosuit ADSTM’, as well as his deep-diving ‘DeepWorker’ submersibles are world-renowned. This deep diving equipment, along with Nuytten’s military submarine rescue system (dubbed ‘Remora’ by the Royal Australian Navy and ‘PRMS’ by the US Navy), is standard in nearly a dozen navies around the world.
On Canada Day 2016, the Governor General’s office announced that Phil Nuytten had been named an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country’s second-highest civilian honour, for his innovations in deep-sea exploration, which have improved safety and made Canada a leader in underwater development and commerce.
Phil Nuytten – one of Canada’s most famous scuba divers. He will be greatly missed.