On the weekend of February 22 and 23, scuba aficionados, ocean lovers, shipwreck enthusiasts, and everyone connected to the sea converged on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the heart of Washington D.C. for the DCDive Show: a celebration of all things scuba.
Article by John Tapley; photos courtesy Brian Miller
Managed by DC Dive Shows, the event included a bevy of activities and opportunities for scubaheads to sink their teeth into, including live seminars and presentations, workshops, exhibitor sections, a silent auction and raffle, a Carnival-styled party, and many other features. The show featured a robust 76 exhibitors throughout 82 booths, which represented a wide swath of activities and interests related to scuba diving, travel, environmental sciences, marine biology, and other relevant subjects.
While the DCDive Show officially opened its doors to the public on the morning of Saturday 22, local news met with show organizers and exhibitors the day before to promote the convention, which, according to show head Brian Miller, made a noticeable impact on weekend attendance, which hovered over 2,000 guests.
“Saturday started off really well,” says Miller. “We had a great selection of seminars and speakers available, and that got the whole thing going.”
Saturday’s celebration of scuba started off strong with seminars across six rooms, every hour on the hour, which captivated audiences with a variety of subjects covering diving destinations from around the globe. To name a few, visitors enjoyed tales of pirates, sharks, and culture in the Caribbean; the Mid-Atlantic’s prominent “Shipwreck Alley”; and scuba adventures in in the South Pacific. Complementing the day were a silent auction and raffle, where lucky celebrants took home prizes such as scuba-related and wildlife paintings and photography, dive computers, trips aboard the Aggressor and Blue Force Fleet, and a stay at the Marco Vincent Resort in The Philippines. Throughout the day, guests also enjoyed live steel drum music, complete with stilt walkers and Samba dancers.
At two in the afternoon, DCDive Show presented a special theater event headlined by acclaimed adventurers Jill Heinerth and Amos Nachoum, wherein the scuba explorers shared their long-standing exploration in polar regions: respectively cave diving within icebergs and being the first photographer to capture polar bears from underwater. According to Miller, this key stone event was so popular, DCDive Show staff had to add an additional 100 chairs to the theater, and even then, the presentation was left standing room only.
Following this special presentation, DCDive Show continued its seminar series until late afternoon and opened the seminar rooms for dive clubs and groups, including the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame and Underwater Adventure Seekers, which used the opportunity for presentations and meetings. As the sun began to set on the first day, from 7 until 9, DCDive Show took out all the stops and presented a special Mardi Gras-themed party replete with costumed revelry.
Sunday’s event opened early, and privately, for professional scuba divers, including PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) instructors, DAN (Divers Alert Network) representatives, dive retail and travel programs, and a Google marketing specialist who shared business strategies with retailers. Following this private portion of the show, beginning at 10, DCDive Show continued its presentations with rebreather workshops, diving medicine, environmental concerns, diving with sharks, and a special presentation on researching the National Archives for shipwreck history. Similarly to Saturday’s celebration, Sunday also featured a steel drum guitar group, stylized like trop-rock.
“Our seminar booths – all day long, both days – were running at capacity so each speaker was sitting and speaking to over 40 people: standing room only,” says Miller.
Looking forward, US Dive Shows is excited for next year’s DCDive Show, including a new venue in Bethesda, Maryland at the Bethesda North Marriott conference center and hotel. Twenty-one’s show is slated for the weekend of February 20 and 21 and will emphasize underwater photography.
“We are going to feature photography as our main topic next year,” states Miller. “We’ll have our workshops focused around photography: learning as a new person; expanding your technique at a mid-level range. We’re going to introduce people to photography and take them to the next level.”
For more details on US Dive Shows, as well as ongoing developments on next year’s DCDive Show, visit dcdiveshow.com.