Since 1960, he has conducted shipwreck excavations and underwater surveys primarily off the Turkish coast. He obtained an MA in Near Eastern Archaeology from the Johns Hopkins University in 1955, followed by two years at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece, and two years in the U.S. Army. In 1964 he received a doctorate in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania where he remained as a faculty member until he became founder of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) in 1973. This institute became affiliated with Texas A&M University in 1976. He has written and edited twelve books and over a hundred articles, five of which are featured in National Geographic. He has been awarded the Archaeological Institute of America’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement, Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award, National Geographic Society La Gorce Gold Medal Award, National Geographic Society Centennial Award, and the J.C. Harrington Medal from The Society for Historical Archaeology. He has also been awarded honorary doctorates by Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and the University of Liverpool. In 2002, President George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of Science.