Annual Conference

Saturday, 6th November 2021

Each year since 1990, the Society has held an annual conference – with the exception of 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. Leading pioneers and researchers give presentations and the Society’s various awards are given.

The Conference is open to all – it is not restricted to members only.

This year, 2021, due to the uncertainty of guidance regarding numbers allowed to gather in public, we are holding our Conference by Zoom.


Zoom information

The 2021 Conference will be held on Saturday 6th November 2021 by Zoom.

Zoom links and timings will be provided as soon as our speakers’ availability is confirmed.

2021 Programme

Head and shoulders photo of James Esposito

James Esposito
‘Last Breath: Artificial Breathing Apparatus at Work and War in Britain 1850-1980’ explores the connections between physiological research, military planning, and technological innovation conducted at the Siebe-Gorman company since the mid-nineteenth century.

James Esposito is a doctoral candidate in environmental history and history of technology at The Ohio State University. A specialist in Envirotech, his research focuses on history of artificial breathing apparatus and the exploration of extreme environments. 

Head and shoulders photograph of Christopher Swann

Christopher Swann
Divcon was the second commercial diving company after Ocean Systems to use helium. Unlike Ocean Systems, who used mouthpiece helmets, Divcon developed a helium-recirculator helmet, based on the U.S. Navy concept but with Sodasorb canisters rather than Shell Natron as the CO2 absorbent. Divcon obtained a number of contracts in California, notably with Shell down to a maximum of 370 feet, enlisting Captain Albert Behnke as an unpaid and informal adviser to modify the U.S. Navy helium tables. In 1964 the company was awarded a contract with Atlantic Richfield in Libya, where Murray Black and Walter Thompson each made a dive to 525 feet: the deepest working dives ever made in standard dress. In 1965 Divcon moved to London and quickly became a major force in the North Sea, with an engineering division in Great Yarmouth and building its own diving bells, the first of which was the monster double-compartment Seatask. After running into a series of difficulties, Divcon was bought by Oceaneering in 1971.

Christopher Swann is an Englishman living in California. He has been involved in professional diving for many years as a diver, photographer and writer. He is the author of The History of Oilfield Diving which won the Art Bachrach award in 2008. He has made films of oilfield diving, and of the first commercial diving bell in 1965. He worked for Comex as a photo technician in the North Sea oilfields before becoming head of the photographic department with the Johnson Sea Link1 submersible in Florida. After archaeological work in the Mediterranean, he completed two 1000-foot chamber dives at Duke University in 1973.

Head and shoulders photograph of George Kamarinos

George Kamarinos
Greek Diving Helmet Design Principles, and Evolution Through the Ages

George Kamarinos is a Greek diver, diving history enthusiast and collector. He started diving on SCUBA in 1993 with BSAC Branch 9145 while at Sussex University. Always an active diver, over the years he was privileged to participate in research and exploration projects across Greece.
George has also written articles on various related topics from technical diving and expeditions, to historical equipment. He is a member of HDS Germany and regular speaker at their conferences. George lives near Munich with his family.


Every year the Society presents awards to the individuals and organisations who have made a significant contribution to the furtherance of diving history knowledge.



The Society publishes the presentations given by the speakers at the Annual Conferences each year.