Beginning in 1938, at the tender age of 10 he took his first free dive and has spent his lifetime contributing to the field. He designed and founded the first organized instructor certification program (Los Angeles County) with Bev Morgan in 1954 and went on to found the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) with Neal Hess and John C. Jones in 1960.
As an editor for Skin Diver Magazine and Dive Magazine, his writing credits include thousands of articles on diving and numerous books. He recently published, I Thought I Saw Atlantis: Reminiscences of a Pioneer Skin and Scuba Diver. Tillman gained experience in the medium of television as the technical advisor for ZIV television for the series Sea Hunt, and expanded into film by co-founding the International Underwater Film Festival and Underwater Photographic Society.
Albert Tillman has held instructor trainer certifications with numerous agencies, has served as a Southwest regional director for the YMCA underwater program, and founded and built UNEXSO in the Bahamas. He has received the NOGI award, DEMA Hall of Fame induction and “Reaching Out” Award.