Wreck Symposium @ UConn Avery Point

Recreational diving has a deep and rich history that is firmly entrenched with shipwrecks. Before the days of side scan sonar or multibeam sonar finding a wreck took some ingenuity and grit. Original SECONN members would ride along with local fishermen and draggers with the hopes of finding new numbers. When nets became entangled or snagged upon the bottom, divers would sink beneath the surface hoping to not only freeing the gear, but also find a new wreck to come back and dive upon.

Join us for a one-day event featuring presentations and displays from local wrecks, explorations, and more. Speakers will include Bill Campbell, Captain Bill Palmer, Mark Munro, Bob Foster, John Stanford, and friends. Hosted in Groton, Connecticut on the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus; for more information please email us at events@seconndivers.org. Tickets are on sale now – this is an event you won’t want to miss!


Bob has been an active diver since 1972, and became interested in wreck diving while living near the Great Lakes in the 80’s. He has been searching for shipwrecks in Massachusetts Bay for a number of years, and has discovered and documented over 15 including the YF-415, Brenton Reef Lightship, and Augustus Snow. In 2008 he became one of the first divers to reach the Steamship Portland. Bob’s wreck diving interests have also taken him to Lake Superior, to the Florida Keys, and to New York/ New Jersey to dive the Andrea Doria, U-869 and the USS Spikefish.
Christian is The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut’s LIS Blue Plan Outreach Coordinator. He supports the state-led LIS Blue Plan process in part by facilitating engagement of the Long Island Sound stakeholder community in both Connecticut and New York. When complete, the Blue Plan policies will help preserve the unique marine ecosystem and the numerous traditional human uses throughout the Sound while allowing for coordinated, sustainable development. Before coming to The Nature Conservancy Christian conducted research and outreach for 2015 update of the Rhode Island Ocean SAMP. He has held positions as the Water Quality program manager with the Watch Hill Conservancy, an oyster and kelp farmer, and a marine technician at UConn. Christian has a Masters of Environmental Science and Management in Earth and Hydrologic Science from URI, and a Bachelors of Marine Science from UConn. In his free time he volunteers at the Beneath the Sea scuba convention, enjoys mountain biking, skiing, scuba diving, and restoring antique vehicles.
Heather Knowles and David Caldwell are the co-founders of Northern Atlantic Dive Expeditions, Inc. They operate their dive charter boat, Gauntlet, with a focus on shipwreck diving and exploration. Heather and Dave are Fellows of the Explorers Club, and in addition to exploring and making discoveries within their local waters, they have had the privilege of exploring some of the world’s notable shipwrecks off the U.S. East Coast, Canada, and in the Mediterranean, South Pacific and South China Sea.

Bill Campbell will be presenting on the Andrea Doria.

Michael has been living the life aquatic since age 16. As a diving contractor by trade, he has spent more than 5000 hours underwater with work routinely cross-bridges tools and techniques in both science and industry. His work in ocean exploration has resulted in a new species of Mesophotic clingfish, Derilissus lombardii, a number of innovate techniques for deeps scientific diving, and a recently awarded patent on portable inflatable habitats. Michael is widely published in the diving technology field, including authoring the training program for the Exosuit Atmospheric Diving System. Michael is incubating several new and innovate diving technologies at his Rhode Island based research facility. For more visit www.oceanopportunity.
Matt Marcoux is co-owner and captain of the dive vessel “Daybreaker”, a technical instructor and dive enthusiast. Currently Matt is a rEvo rebreather instructor trainer, ccr trimix instructor, and also is a cave diver.
Pete Straub is a Professor of Biology and currently serves as Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Stockton University. He has been diving since 1980 and is a scuba instructor for PADI (MSDT), and NAUI and a Scientific Diving Instructor for AAUS. Straub uses sonar, remotely operated vehicles and diving in his work mapping submerged habitats and cultural resources.
Captain Bill Palmer is a sport diving pioneer, avid shipwreck diver, videographer and historical enthusiast with more than 40 years diving experience. He runs his charter boat, the Thunderfish, along the East coast. He has produced many shipwreck documentary dvd's. His work has also appeared on National television. He has also authored a book titled "The Last Battle of the Atlantic, The Sinking of the U-853".

Check back again as presenters and topics are subject to change as the event date approaches.


Lunch will be available for purchase on-site at Mort’s Cafe. There are also plenty of quick and easy food options in the area.

  • Chester’s BBQ
  • Paul’s Pasta
  • Rolling Tomato (pizza)
  • Village Bake House (sandwiches)

Local Lodging:

Campus Parking:

Parking fees are not enforced over the weekends, feel free to park anywhere. Handicap parking is available by the library.