New England Wreck Symposium
New England Wreck Diving goes back to the very first days of diving. Before Sidescan Sonar or Multibeam Echo Sonars were used to find these sunken vessels, divers would ride along with dredgers in hopes of finding “numbers” (aka latitude/longitude) to their newest diving spot.
In February 2019, SECONN co-hosted the revamped New England Wreck Symposium with the UConn Avery Point Scuba Club. Held on Avery Point’s beautiful campus in Groton, the event brought divers and non-divers from all six New England states! With local explorers such as David Caldwell & Heather Knowles, Mark Munro, Captain Bill Palmer, Evan Kovacs, and more the topics cover all aspects of wreck diving and exploration.
2021 found us experiencing the symposium from a different environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Zoom enabled us to still hear tales of underwater exploration, but we are excited and hopeful to be planning the 2022 event! We are keeping in accordance with local COVID-19 guidelines, but our 2022 event is currently slated to once again be in-person and on the UConn Avery Point Campus in Groton, Connecticut!
With both new and returning faces, keep an eye out as we fill our schedule with presentations that cover all aspects of New England Wreck diving!
NEWS 2022 Lineup:
Shipwrecks of Mass Bay and Stellwagen Bank
by Heather Knowles and David Caldwell
Located in the Southwest Gulf of Maine, the coastal waters
of Massachusetts Bay and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary contain hundreds of shipwrecks. This diverse area reflects a history that includes the pillars of the New England’s ocean economy, commerce and fishing. The waters off Boston also contain shipwrecks amassing one of the largest artificial reef areas in the United States due to the 1930’s-era Works Progress Administration, which provided for employment during the Great Depression and clean-up of Boston’s waterfront. Join us as we share some of our favorite local dives, and look back at a few notable discoveries along the way.
Heather and David’s Bio
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. Both are technical diving instructors and fellows of the Explorer’s Club. Heather and Dave have had the privilege of exploring some of the world’s notable shipwrecks off the East Coast U.S. as well as shipwrecks in Canada, the Mediterranean and the South China Sea. In addition, they have made shipwreck discoveries in their local waters and have collaborated on research projects with NOAA in support of exploration in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
Nazi Attack Against America:
the Hunter becomes the Hunted
by Richie Kohler
During World War Two, German U-Boats seemed nearly unstoppable, striking without warning around the globe. It would take a combination of advanced technology and subterfuge to finally beat the submarine menace. Richie Kohler will be talking about the U-Boats successes, and ultimate failings in our local waters, in their attack against America.
Richie Kohler’s Bio
Richie Kohler’s diving experiences may have began in the waters surrounding his Brooklyn NY, roots, but for over thirty years his passion for diving and exploring shipwrecks has taken him to all corners of the globe.
He has explored and documented well-known shipwrecks such as the Andera Doria, RMS Titanic, and the HMHS Britannic, but it was the identification of the WWII German submarine, U-869, which catapulted his diving career into the world of television and underwater documentary filmmaking. That six-year effort has been the subject of several television documentaries and a best-selling book, Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson. The New York Times bestseller is soon to be a major motion picture by 20th Century Fox. Alongside diving partner John Chatterton, Kohler co-hosted 57 episodes of the History Channel series, Deep Sea Detectives, multiple documentary specials and continues to work on underwater projects for the film and television industry.
Currently residing with his wife Carrie Kohler in Sutton, MA, Kohler has two children, Richie III and Nikki. Currently, Kohler is conducting technical dive training, lecturing and leading expeditions to explore shipwrecks worldwide.
Finding a pirate ship:
by Bob Cembrola
This presentation will focus on the Whydah,
but also briefly touch on HMS Orpheus and (time permitting) Titanic.
Bob Cembrola’s Bio
Bob started diving in 1972 and dove his first wreck the following year as a freshman at U.R.I.: H.M.S. Orpheus scuttled in Narragansett Bay in 1778. In 1978 he helped map H.M.S. Looe lost in the Florida Keys in 1744 as part of a U/W field school. As a Boston University grad student Bob spent the summer of 1982 at Port Royal, Jamaica, virtually destroyed by an earthquake and tidal wave in 1692. In 1983 he began working as a researcher and archaeologist on the pirate ship Whydah lost in 1717 on Cape Cod.
Bob was the executive director of the Fall River Marine Museum from 1984-1989 then moved to the Naval War College Museum retiring in 2021. He served in various roles there including executive director, curator and exhibits manager and also adjunct professor teaching a course on shipwrecks and naval history. He currently is project archaeologist on four wreck sites in Massachusetts including R.M.S. Republic lost in 1909 near Nantucket.
Bob did his undergrad work at U.R.I. and his graduate studies at Boston University and Brown.
Mapping Artificial Reefs
by Peter Straub
Mapping artificial reefs to follow the development of ecological function in newly placed structures.
Peter Straub’s Bio
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.
Maritime History of SE Massachusetts and its Shipwrecks.
by Arnold Carr
Arnold Carr’s Bio
Arne Carr was employed as a Senior Marine Fisheries Biologist by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries for 37 years His work included shellfish management, estuarine management, environmental impact assessments, oil spill mitigation, bycatch reduction and impact reduction of commercial fishing gear and in 2000 he was recognized by NOAA as a NOAA Environmental Hero.
He and his partner John Fish are better known to the wreck diving community as the founders of American Underwater Search and Survey, Ltd. Their work includes many aircraft location and recovery operations including TWA Flight 800 off Long Island and numerous maritime disaster investigations from recent incidents to historic disasters like the discovery of the Steamship Portland. Many wrecks dove today off the coast of Cape Cod were originally located by Arne Carr and John Fish.
Medications and Diving: What Every Diver Needs to Know!
by Dr. David Charash
Please join Dr David Charash a Dive Medicine Physician who will give an overview on current understanding of Medications in Diving. A general approach to deciding ones medical fitness to Diving while on medications will be explored. An overview of medications that could possibly inhibit ones dive safety profile will also be discussed.This is a must attend lecture as it will enhance your knowledge on medications and diving.
Dr. Charash’s Bio
Dr David Charash is a Dive Medicine Physician Board Certified in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine and Emergency Medicine. As a hyperbaric physician he has cared for injured divers since the early ’90’s. He owns Dive Medicine and Hyperbaric Consultants. As a consultant he works with the diving and hyperbaric industry in all aspects of Dive Safety, Dive Technology and Dive Medicine. IN addition he lectures locally and internationally on aspects of Hyperbaric and Dive related topics. He is a Divers Alert Network (DAN) Referral Physician, DAN Instructor and Volunteer DAN Researcher. Dr Charash is producer of the Fitness To Diving Podcast soon to be available wherever you listen to podcasts. His Website Divemedicineandhyperbaricconsultants.com