Returning to Washington DC early next year is the DC Dive Show: a weekend celebration of all things aquatic. Slated for February 22 and 23, the convention offers a wide range of activities, events, and displays that spark the imagination and sate that hunger for the sea.
By John Tapley
The DC Dive Show will feature a bevy of presentations headlined by luminaries in scuba diving, maritime history, travel and adventure, and other relevant subjects. Exhibitors representing dive manufacturing and retail, travel, environmental and social groups, will be available throughout the weekend; as of this writing, 52 exhibitors have signed up for the show. Show visitors will also be able to participate in raffles and a silent auction. Money raised from the auction will go toward Dive Hope: a fundraiser operated by show organization US Dive Shows, which garners donations for breast cancer patients.
As with last year’s DC Dive Show, 2020’s event will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, located in the heart of the city. This venue was selected for its centered location, easy access and parking, and closeness to DC’s most prolific locales. DC Dive Show is managed by US Dive Shows, which has operated successful scuba diving and adventure travel expos throughout the United States.
The show floor plan has been designed with four large screens that will showcase short videos donated by industry media producers, including Behind the Mask and Brent Durand. Featured in the eastern section of the show room will be “Treasure Island”: an aptly named section that showcases aquatic imagery donated by artists as well as artifacts recovered from historically important Atlantic Coast shipwrecks by acclaimed wreck expert Gene Peterson.
“We’re using two ballrooms this year that are surrounded by classrooms, so it makes it real easy,” says show organizer and US Dive Shows head Brian Miller. “Our exhibit floor is all carpeted and it’s a very nice facility – it’s beautiful.”
The DC Dive Show opens on Saturday, February 22 with a focus on seminars and presentations that cover a wide range of topics. Participants can dip into history with presentations on ancient Greek wrecks, Great Lakes finds, and World War II-era discoveries in the Solomon Islands; travel alongside presenters to exotic destinations such as the Caribbean, Fiji, and the Arctic; and take in environmentally focused subjects such as shark conservation.
As the evening begins to settle in, local dive clubs will hold their February meetings throughout seven specified seminar rooms. Later, from 7 to 11, the DC Dive Show will feature a Caribbean-styled Saturday night social, in timing with Carnival. The social will be managed by members of The Underwater Adventure Society, and will include food, accessories like Mardi Gras beads, and Carnival-themed amusements.
Sunday, February 23 will mark DC Dive Show’s workshop day, which will include its own variety of presentations with a hands-on approach. Workshops slated for Sunday include a four-part program on citizen scientists, sustainable travel, Spot a Shark, coral restoration, a rebreather demonstration by Jill Heinerth, health and aging as a diver, and an ocean pollution portrait, which will cover water pollution throughout the world. A wreck diving workshop will cover shipwrecks in a variety of destinations such as the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and the Great Lakes, and will be headlined by seasoned scuba diver and maritime historian Erik Petkovic.
According to Petkovic, who has attended shows managed by US Dive Shows, the DC Dive Show fills a much-needed niche in the region.
“It’s really the only dive show that’s in the mid-Atlantic states; there’s some small ones, but the bigger, well known dive shows are in the northeast or down south in Florida,” he says. “It’s nice to have a local one in the DMV: DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Brian made a smart move when he moved the [Baltimore show] to DC. Everyone likes DC and there’s a lot of other stuff to do besides the dive show.”
“It’s a great location,” he adds. “The venue is superb. It’s easy to navigate to, easy to get to the hotels, and easy to go anywhere else in the city. It has a great feel to it. In previous years, it was one day: an in and out on Friday or Saturday. There’s been so much demand for it, it’s effectively been doubled.”
Tickets for next year’s DC Dive Show cost $25 for two-day general admission and $15 for Sunday only. Parties who order tickets in advance online can save $5 and get a free raffle ticket. For more details on the DC Dive Show, including a comprehensive list of seminars and workshops, as well as lodging and travel accommodations, visit dcdiveshow.com.