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Historical Diving Society 20th Anniversary Conference to be held in Santa Barbara

(DiveWire) The Historical Diving Society USA will be holding their 20th anniversary conference in Santa Barbara, California on November 9-12, 2012, the weekend prior to the DEMA show in Las Vegas. An outstanding program is planned that will be enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in diving history.

The program will start with a welcoming reception to be held at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum at the Santa Barbara harbor. We expect that members from all over the world will be in attendance.

On Saturday, the program of presentations will include:

Dan Wilson’s Record Helium Dive – a lecture on one of the earliest deep working helium dives to 400 feet in the United States. Presented by Don Barthelmess – Professor at Santa Barbara City College’s Marine Diving Technology program.

The Challenger Deep – a presentation on diving to the deepest part of the Marianas Trench, by Bob Ramsay who consulted with James Cameron on the development of his deep diving submersible.

The U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Teams – a talk by James O’Dell, former editor of the newsletter of the UDT-SEAL Museum and Association and author of The Water is Never Cold and co-author of More than Scuttlebutt.

SeaLab – presented by Ben Hellwarth, author of the book, SeaLab, which chronicles the U.S. Navy’s first attempts at saturation diving.

Purisima’s Other Life – a lecture by Dave Kenyon on how the early diving bell Purisima was transformed and served as a deep diving research facility for advanced decompression research down to 640 feet of seawater.

Saturday evening the HDS awards banquet will also be held at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The awards recipients include Dr. Sylvia Earle who will receive the Hans Hass Diving to Adventure Award, Torrance Parker and Leonard Greenstone who will receive the HDS Diving Pioneers Award, Christopher Swann who will receive the HDS E.R. Cross Award, and Don Barthelmess who will receive the HDS Nick Icorn Diving Heritage Award. A surprise special guest speaker from the HDS advisory board will also give a presentation at the banquet.

On Sunday, there will be a display and demonstration of classic diving equipment in action, including early heavy gear and other unique items.

Conference tickets are on sale for $25.00 and banquet tickets are $50.00. Combined conference and banquet tickets can be purchased for $65.00 prior to October 1, 2012. Tickets are available from or by calling 805-934-1660. Full details on the conference and hotel reservations are available at