Oceaneering / Bob Ratcliffe

Bob Ratcliffe started his career in the nineteen fifties as an Abalone diver in California. In the early sixties he started working for ‘Ocean Systems’. There he built helium demand systems to DESCO and Japanese helmets. In 1965 he co-founded ‘California Divers Corporation’ which became known as ‘Cal Dive’. With Cal Dive he built his first fiberglass helmet was based on the design of a USAF high altitude aviation helmet which he used as an example. That helmet was named the ‘Cal Dive F100’. Bob Ratcliffe established a new company called ‘Ocean Development Corporation’ where he developed his fiberglass diving helmet which was later called the ‘Rat Hat’. In 1966 Bob Ratcliffe met with Phil Nuytten and they formed ‘Canadian Diving Services’ ( known as ‘Can Dive’ ) Phil designed the cartoon of the rat holding the helmet ( see images here below ) The Rat Hat soon got the reputation of being the most reliable diving helmet on the market. In 1969 Can Dive and Cal Dive together formed ‘Oceaneering International Inc.’ A few months later ‘World Wide Divers’ joined them. Today Oceaneering is one of the largest companies in this branche in the world.


the scrapbook of diving history

Photo above: shows Peter John Richardson in Jan 1984 on the drillship ‘Seacrest’ diving to 225fsw, (on air) wearing the Rat Hat and using the video camera to observe bubbles coming from a well head. Photo: courtesy Peter John Richardson.