The History of CMAS

The vision of underwater diving and sports without border. Two divers, one in a diving suit, the other hunting under sea. Worldwide association is represented by the globe on the 1st to 4th issue of Bulletin of CMAS. Can it become true?

Nothing would have been possible without the passion and strong friendship that brought to life the first association of fishermen, underwater hunters and divers within the organisation of the International Confederation of Sport Fishing which was founded on 22nd of February 1952.

In 1958 several members of CIPS had an idea in mind to create a purely underwater organisation. This important decision was handled on the 6th congress of CIPS that was held in Bruxelles, on 28th of September 1958. Ten federations made a decision to create an international confederation of underwater activities that would take over the assignment of the underwater sport committee of CIPS. CMAS became the successor to the "Comité des Sports Sous-Marins" (Underwater Sports Committee) of CIPS. This confederation, the new international standards would give the possibility to people of different cultures to get know each other and work together in harmony.

Commander Cousteau and the delegates of the 15 federationsCommander Cousteau and the delegates of the 15 federations

The decision to create an international federation is taken unanimously - Luigi Ferraro, J.Y.CousteauThe decision to create an international federation is taken unanimously - Luigi Ferraro, J.Y.Cousteau


From 9th to 11th of January 1959 the World Underwater Federation has been established by the delegates of 15 countries unanimously. 

The delegates were from the following Federations:
Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, Brazil, France, Greece, Italy, Monaco, Portugal, Switzerland, the United States of America and Yugoslavia. Cdt Jaques-Yves Cousteau, the underwater pioneer was present as the delegate of Monaco and was elected president.

The Executive Bureau of CMAS consisted of the following:

  • President, Cdt Jacques-Yves Cousteau (Monaco)
  • Deputy President, Serge A. Birn (USA)
  • Vice President and the President of the Sport Committee, Pr. Luigi Ferraro (Italy)
  • Vice President and the President of the Technical Committee, Oscar Gugen (United Kingdom)
  • Confederation Secretary, Sebastian Vergonox Boix (Spain)
  • Treasurer, Robert Métraux (Suisse)
  • Member, Vittorio de Berredo (Brasil); Paul Bailly (Begium); Jacques Dumas (France); V. Krizanec (Yugoslavia)
  • Advisors: Gustav Dalla Valle (USA); Francois Clouzot (France)

Several months later Mr. Jaques Dumas was assigned Secretary General.

"In memorian of the historical creation of C.M.A.S. 12-01, Monaco" -words of  J.Y.Cousteau on on magazine L'eau et la vie sous-marine"In memorian of the historical creation of C.M.A.S. 12-01, Monaco" -words of J.Y.Cousteau on on magazine L'eau et la vie sous-marine


As it was presented in the 1st issue of Bulletin , the aim of CMAS is to use all appropriate means to develop and encourage the understanding and conservation of the underwater world as well as the practice of aquatic and underwater sports and activities. The new federation acknowledged two committees: Sport Committee and Technical Committee. CMAS was a non-profit organisation of course. Paris became the center of the federation chosen from three candidates: Monaco, Rome and Paris. Success was knocking on the door.  From 14 members in January 1959 the membership had grown to 38 members till 1965.

Jaques Dumas, president of CMAS from 1973-1985 wrote to the 20th anniversary of the Confederation: "The objects which we fixed for the world Federation in the first congress have been largely attained - to UNIFY, COORDINATE AND DEVELOP. The CMAS has asserted itself as a unique organisation representing the great international community of divers. Its influence covers the whole world and is effective in representing 3 million divers in 51 countries!"

Today CMAS has more than 100 members that represent more than 3 millions divers. The aims haven't changed. CMAS is still a strictly civil non-profit making organisation. The aim of CMAS is to use all appropriate means to develop and encourage the understanding and conservation of the underwater world as well as the practice of aquatic and underwater sports and activities.

In general terms the Confederation aims:

  • to promote the creation of new national underwater federations or associations in countries when non such exist;
  • to organise or grant the right to organise on its behalf relevant exhibitions, congresses, competitions , international championships and courses;
  • to support all relevant events in relation with the CMAS aims;
  • to seek the Confederation's admission to all world sports or cultural organisations and the International Olympic Committee in particular;
  • to do everything possible to co-ordinate underwater activities world-wide

Sources

  • Alain Foret&Pierre Martin-Razi: Histoire de la plongée
  • The Statue of CMAS