In 1967 Jaap Stenger founded the Benelux Diving Corporation in Antwerp, Belgium. In 2007 he retired after having been a diver and managing director for 40 years. But Jaap entered the under water world long before 1967. Initially Jaap built a hose with a mouth-piece to an inflatable beach-ball which buoyancy he compensated with a large stone. But the volume was not important enough to last much longer under water as with normal breath held diving so he had to improve the system. In 1959 Jaap constructed his first diving apparatus. The system was simple: at the surface an air pump meant to be used for inflating bicycle tires was coupled to a garden hose. This hose was connected to the inflatable beach-ball which was now placed in a wooden box that was carried on the divers back with a harness. At the beach-ball, that now served as a reservoir, one hose with a non-return valve went to the mouth piece from which a second hose led back to the wooden box with the exhaust valve, consisting of a ping pong ball right next to the beach ball. Thus equilising the pressure difference between breathing in and breathing out. To compensate the buoyancy of the diving apparatus Jaap made lead weights to put on a belt, these weights he casted himself in a cigar-tin. The apparatus, in many ways identical to the french Rouquayrol-Denayrouze apparatus, was tested by Jaap himself and other divers and functioned very well(!) Proper diving training Jaap got a few years later when he joined the army engineers divers unit. In 1967 he founded his own diving company.

Jaap is currently working as a consultant, check his website for info:

Jaap Stenger


the scrapbook of diving history