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Christopher Lemons

Chris Lemons is a deep-sea Saturation Diver who was involved in a catastrophic accident in 2012. Stranded 300 feet below the surface of the treacherous North Sea, with no light, heat or breathing gas for 35 minutes, his miraculous survival is the subject of the hit Neflix/BBC documentary ‘Last Breath.’ His leadership speeches are spellbinding and massively inspirational.


About Christopher Lemons

Chris has been a commercial diver for over 18 years, and currently specialises in deep sea saturation diving, operating almost exclusively in the oil and gas industry.

This highly specialised form of diving involves living in the claustrophobic confines of a decompression chamber for up to 28 days at a home, commuting daily to the seabed in a diving bell, and working at depths of up to 900 feet for 6 hours at a time.

In September of 2012, a freak failure of the dynamic positioning system of the vessel he was working under, resulted in the umbilical which provides him with breathing gas, light and heat being severed completely. He was left on the seabed, in complete darkness 300 feet below the surface, with only the 5 minutes of breathing gas he carried in the emergency tanks on his back, and no way to protect himself from the freezing temperatures.

It took his heroic rescuers over 40 minutes to come back and fetch him, and his miraculous survival story has baffled experts ever since. His extraordinary story was subsequently immortalised in the hit Neflix/BBC documentary ‘Last Breath,’ a version of which is currently being developed into a Hollywood movie starring Woody Harrelson, Simu Liu and Finn Cole.

Chris is happy to tailor his address to align with your specific theme or requirements, which may include focusing on the safety aspect and lessons learned from the accident, the human and emotional elements involved, or a more generic oversight of the offshore and saturation diving world.

Chris can offer you an insight into the relatively unknown world of saturation Diving, where those involved spend weeks on end confined to a compression chamber, whilst being lowered each day in a diving bell to the murky depths of the ocean floor to do their work.

He will also talk you through the lead up to that fateful day in 2012 and give you a very personal account of his thoughts and actions when he was left stranded 300 feet down in the icy darkness with no heat, no light and only 5 minutes of gas left to breathe, with his rescuers over 40 minutes away from being able to get to him.

Chris offers an acute, honest and emotional testimony of what goes through one’s mind when seemingly counting down the minutes to death, and how surprising and revealing one’s response to such a situation can be.

He also tentatively explores how staring death in the face can focus the mind on life, as well as force you to contemplate the very finite nature of time here on earth. Chris also discusses the practical and physiological reasons which may have contributed to his miraculous survival.

He moves beyond the miracle and communicates how teamwork, preparation, training, procedures, drills and practice played a huge role in his recovery and survival, and the way in which these are implemented can benefit your sphere of work or life.


Speech Topics

Leadership and Maintaining the Chain of Command 
Chris can discuss how strong leadership plays a vital role in all spheres of the work he does. From a robust chain of command, right through to individual leadership whilst working on the ocean floors, Chris is able to share how clear-cut but objective governance and accountability is key to the safe and efficient running of complicated and inherently dangerous offshore subsea operations. He can also describe how this same clear minded and well rehearsed structure of leadership played a pivotal role in saving his life, and how you can use these methods to enhance the organisational culture within your own place of work.

Crisis Management and Emergency Response
What happened to Chris is the very definition of a crisis, not only to him personally, but to his crewmates and the reputation of the company he was working for. Chris can discuss how detailed preparation, effective leadership, an effective chain of command, and proper training and drills allowed the team around him to remain calm under extreme pressure and fulfil the miraculous rescue which saved his life.

Procedures and the Power of Drills and Practice
Chris works in a world where procedures, checklists, training and drills are not just essential to the work he performs, but to the preservation of life itself. He can communicate how these are used to allow him and his colleagues to safely work and live in the dangerous environments of compression chambers and the deep sea, but also how they played an essential role in allowing his crew mates to act with the calm assurance needed to pull him back from the brink of death.

Chris is able to discuss how, despite the inherent dangers involved with working in such an extreme environment, the risks are calculated and managed to make them acceptable. Identifying hazards, dynamic risk assessments and management of change are fundamental in making what could potentially be the most dangerous job on the planet, into what is arguably the safest form of diving in the world. Chris can explain how this is implemented, and how the lessons learned can apply to your sphere of work or life.

Incident Investigation
Following Chris’ life-threatening incident, which would have profound professional and personal implications for all involved had the rescue not been affected, it was essential that a far reaching and detailed investigation be conducted. Chris can recount the processes that the company went through to ensure that this was not only completed in as comprehensive manner as possible, but also in a fashion that was sensitive to the needs of those involved, as well as managing and protecting the public image of the company. This all culminated in a successful return to work just three weeks later, with the company using the incident as an industry wide learning tool and success story.

Resilience and Overcoming Adversity
The very nature of Chris’ work requires a character and mindset that is resilient and attuned to overcoming adversity. The ocean floors are possibly the most inhospitable working environments that this world has to offer, and simply to commute there on a daily basis requires Chris and the team to overcome numerous obstacles of both practical and psychological nature.

Chris can discuss how this resilience has been forged not only through adversity, but by fostering a culture and mentality amongst the team which allows them to problem solve quickly and calmly in difficult situations. He can also describe how this resilience enabled the team to overcome extreme pressure and the unknown to successfully carry out his rescue, and also to return to work just three weeks later, and how this same mindset of resilience can be applied to your sphere of work.

Teamwork and Workforce Diversity
Both Chris’ work, and his miraculous survival, rely heavily on the strength of the teams he works within. From the three-man unit that ventures to the depths for its working days, to the hundreds of colleagues supporting that unit, above, onboard the vessel and ashore, their successes and failures are very much defined by their ability to work cohesively as a team. Saturation diving is a global enterprise that draws a broad range of characters together from a wide range of ethnic, cultural and educational backgrounds. Chris can discuss how these diverse teams are brought together to work towards their very singular goals, and how this diversity works in their favour when channelled and managed effectively. He will also relate how cohesive teamwork played a crucial role in saving his life, when the crew aboard the vessel came together to defy the overwhelming odds and extricate him from a seemingly impossible situation.

Chris’ extraordinary brush with death gave him an opportunity to contemplate his own, seemingly imminent, mortality. He is able to share how in accepting the inevitability of his own death in those final conscious minutes on the seabed, he was able to find a state of calm and reflect on what was most important in his life. The miracle of his subsequent survival has given him an acute sense of what death really means, and he is able reflect with audiences on how these insights are as important in life, as they were when facing death.

Booking Information


"Chris is a remarkably powerful speaker with a tremendously valuable story. He also happens to be a genuine gentleman. Highly recommend."

Robin Sharma #1 Bestselling Author of the 5am Club

"I’ve had the honour of hearing Chris’ story on several occasions now, each time with a fresh angle or nuance. Articulate, knowledgeable and surprisingly dispassionate (given his subject matter), he is able to spin a riveting yarn which will have the audience gripped. It’s an incredible story of survival, told with genuine flair by its humble protagonist in true edge-of-your-seat style. Hear him if you dare!"

The Royal Society of Medicine, London - Dr. Oliver Firth MBBS, Bsc, MRCGP

"Thank you so much for speaking to the Shell Energy network this week - it was a great presentation and we’ve had so many comments about it being the ‘event of the year’!"

Rebecca Watson - Finance Advisor at Shell

"Chris is a very friendly, down to earth and engaging speaker whose story is hard to believe. He took the audience of ~160 through the story of that fateful night in a clear manner, using clips from the Netflix documentary to emphasise the story at certain points. Prior to the event, we had discussed with Chris the themes we wanted him to focus on in his talk and he was very accommodating with this request. We received great feedback from the audience who found the talk incredibly interesting - many went on to watch the Netflix documentary after."

Reinsurance Group of America, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London

"Chris joined us in Kuala Lumpur for our annual conference designed to bring together OPITO’s global network of training centres, industry partners and colleagues. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback on Chris’ presentation and ability to translate the importance of safety training into the real-life emergency situation he experienced while diving in the North Sea back in 2012. His humble delivery, sense of humour and lived experience of the challenges of working in a remote and hazardous environment really resonated with our audience and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him."

Alex Spencer – Director at OPITO, Kuala Lumper

"In a challenging time period during the COVID-19 pandemic, DeepOcean wanted to bring in a key note speaker from our industry that had a fascinating story to tell, could draw parallels between their own experiences and the global pandemic lock-down and who could connect and resonate with our onshore and offshore communities. Boy did Chris deliver! His presentation was funny, engaging and deeply touching."

Erik Bergh - HSEQS Director at DeepOcean, Norway

"Thanks once again for your time last week. I have had really positive feedback from your sessions and also heard from many who also tuned in to watch the Netflix documentary."

Nicola Porter – Tracerco

"The most gripping and unique story I have ever heard, our audience was gobsmacked."

Grant Rawlinson - Royal Geographical Society Singapore and founder of Powerful Humans

"Our society represents an extremely specialist allied health profession. Clinical perfusionists are responsible for keeping patients alive by artificially taking over the role of the heart and lungs. We deal closely with aspects such gas oxygen delivery and cerebral protection which is the reason why we invited Chris to speak at our annual congress. Chris was eloquent and engaging throughout. He had clearly researched our profession and was highly respectful to our knowledge and expertise, allowing him to tailor his presentation to make it all the more relevant to his audience. It is a truly remarkable story and Chris does an amazing job of bringing to the stage."

A Nichols. Clinical Perfusion Scientist

"We had the great pleasure of having Chris speak at our General Assembly, to which we invited all the member companies of our association. His testimony as a feedback from experience touched the audience very much. Several aspects were important to us through the conference we wanted to organize: the preparation of the interventions (to anticipate), the organization, the definition, the implementation of the means and the strength of the "collective" (shared vigilance). It is with simplicity & humility that Chris knew how to address these aspects and "captivate" the public with his story. I can only recommend him for your professional and associative seminars. Congratulations and many thanks to him!"

Maxime Lomme - MASE Hauts-de-France

"Chris delivered an enthralling account of his dramatic personal experience at our recent Scottish Society of Anaesthetists Winter Meeting in Aberdeen. His story not only offered a fascinating description of the world of emersion diving but Chris was able to blend his unique experience with the core physiology which was of particular interest to our meeting attendees. Thank you!"

Dr. David Nesvadba – NHS Grampian

"The "Last Breath" presentation by Chris Lemons should be considered as a deep inquiry into the meaning of life and a remarkable look at not only Chris's personal experience, but the precise world of saturation diving. His presentation profoundly shifted the way I look at my own inner world. The comments from the sold-out crowd of several hundred were all impressive. Chris is bold and compassionate; he brings his extensive knowledge and unique British/Scottish edge to the floor. Thank you Chris for culminating your wisdom and teachings into this extraordinary approach and expanding the work of The Emily Dahl Foundation."

Sherman Dahl, President of The Emily Dahl Foundation, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

"We used our annual award ceremony to hear from a truly inspirational character, Chris Lemons. Chris's story and his talk on the day certainly helped to reinforce issues surrounding the need for competency and the adherence to Health and Safety. We want to thank him for sharing his experiences and thoughts in such a meaningful manner."

Stuart Hunter. CEO, Advance Global Recruitment Ltd

"What can I say? Absolutely brilliant! I'm getting text after text after email from all who attended, who enjoyed your talk so much."

Peter Wilson - National Police Diving School, Northumbria Police

"Chris is a truly inspirational and humble chap. His story is a shining example of triumph in the face of immense adversity and one that demonstrates the importance of training and teamwork. No one from our conference had a bad word to say and in fact wanted to hear more than what Chris fitted into his 2-hour slot."

Brett Ward, Fendercare Marine

"Chris's story is absolutely breathtaking, and touches even the toughest people out there. I had been recommended to watch the documentary and really enjoyed the way that Chris was telling his side of events during a Boskalis masterclass. I knew within 10 minutes that this must be shared with more safety professionals and therefore reached out to Chris resulting in a fantastic and very engaging webinar for the IOSH offshore group. Members from around the globe joined for this live webinar and would still thank us for weeks afterwards for making the session possible."

Caroline Kannwischer, Vice Chair of the IOSH Offshore group and SHE-Q

"Chris is a very skilled and charismatic speaker; he delivered an inspirational presentation and kept the whole audience (more than 200 people) glued to their seats for more than 2 hours. He can explain saturation diving to anyone, even to colleagues with no technical background. The presentation ended and people would still stay because they wanted to hear more from him. Everyone left the presentation amazed with him and his story."

Luciana Roda, Risk Manager with Boskalis Offshore Energy

"Your presentation demonstrates the trust that we have for each other, unconditional within small teams. The courage to continue when most would simply give up, deep below the surface in an extreme environment where the inky black sea turns your thoughts inside, the passion to dare and survive is yours alone."

Karl Price, President Hyperbaric Technicians and Nurses Association, Australia

"In front of a packed room at Aberdeen's Union Kirk, Chris captivated the audience with his live retelling of the events that changed his life in 2012, the inspiration behind the critically acclaimed Netflix documentary, 'Last Breath'. Having previously delivered the presentation all around the world, including just recently to medical professionals in Australia, it was an honour to welcome Chris back to Aberdeen on behalf of SPE Aberdeen. Thanks to Chris Lemons for taking the time out of his busy schedule to deliver his incredible and powerful presentation and offering a unique insight into his story."

Society of Petroleum Engineers (from Linkedin)

"Chris has a gripping and emotional story that will hold your audience captive! He makes it clear his team saved his life and this was a really powerful message for our staff."

Reuben Brown, Marketing, Halco

Christopher Lemons News

Jan 07, 2024

How Booking a Resilience Speaker Will Help Inspire Your Audience to Overcome Adversity

Sep 12, 2023

Top 15 Speakers on Teamwork and Collaboration

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