Bob Hollis took up scuba diving in the late 1950s, and his love for diving led to an interest in underwater photography, a hobby that required him to create his own specialized equipment.
Educated as a mechanical engineer, Bob Hollis designed and manufactured underwater photography equipment in the machine shop behind his Hayward, California sporting goods store. Before long, divers were asking Mr. Hollis to make equipment for them, and a successful mail order business started. In 1972, Mr. Hollis founded Oceanic, starting out with a dozen diving products, including the original photography equipment. He then acquired a manufacturer in nearby Belmont, instantly giving Oceanic a full line of diving equipment, with an innovative line of instrumentation products. The company introduced the DataMax, the first mechanical depth gauge with automatic digital timer, propelling Oceanic to the forefront of dive equipment suppliers.
Bob Hollis helped introduce the concept of an electronic dive computer, revolutionizing diving safety and which is now a mandatory piece of equipment for all divers. Mr. Hollis considers his role in developing this technology his proudest professional accomplishment.
A true pioneer in the industry, he led the first dive travel tours, introduced scuba equipment into many resort locations, and explored and filmed the wreck of the Andrea Doria, with his efforts rewarded with induction into the Diving Hall of Fame. Mr. Hollis served as a past president of DEMA (Diving Equipment & Marketing Association).