On Sunday, October 8, the Northwest Diving History Association held their annual conference at the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

The one-day event was attended by a number of diving pioneers, who began their careers when the dive industry was in its infancy and continue to contribute to diving today. The event included a tour of the Foss Museum and the Flashback Scuba Exhibits, the Northwest Dive Association’s Beacon Award for Mentorship, presentations of diving technology old and new, and an entertaining sea story contest. Author and Northwest Diving History founder Tom Hemphill also shared his recently published book Diving Off the Oregon Coast.

Brent Buddon

Brent Buddon, an innovator and philanthropist in the commercial diving industry for nearly 40 years, began his diving career at age 8 when he and a close friend earned money locating sunken logs on the bottom of Klamath Lake. Today he owns and manages Liquivision Technology, a company that specializes in professional and affordable potable water reservoir maintenance services, including cleaning, inspection, repairs, safety upgrades and interior/exterior sandblasting/coating renovation. Liquivision Technology also offers other commercial diving services to intakes/outfalls, dams, and non-potable water.

Brent gave a presentation on the special technologies he developed to service municipal water systems across the nation. Brent’s most notable innovation has been the invention of the LiquiVac®, which is an underwater vacuum combined with a rotating soft-bristle brush and suction that scrubs potable water reservoir floors and walls clean of any biofilm or sediment. The LiquiVac® is currently the only tool in the industry capable of achieving such results.

Chris Constantine and Scott Cassell shared their recent missions with the Undersea Voyager Project, as well as the technical details behind the UVP’s two manned submarines, the “Great White” and “Sea Wolf”. In the past two years, UVP divers have traveled to dive with bull sharks in Playa Del Carmen, explored ancient trees in the bottom of Fallen Leaf Lake, recovered ghost nets in the Sea of Cortez, and surveyed sharks at California’s Farallon Islands.

Tom Hemphill

The Sea Story competition is one of the highlights each year, and this year’s contest was no exception. A panel of 3 judges listed to several entertaining (and mostly true) sea stories and ultimately awarded Tom Hemphill as this year’s winner. Tom takes home a decorative ship’s wheel as the prize.

The Northwest Diving History Association’s mission is to record and preserve the history of the people that contributed to the development of scuba diving in the North Pacific Region. They are working to establish a museum to display vintage diving equipment, photos, magazines, books and artifacts that define our diving history. They also offer educational programs and a traveling museum featuring the history and evolution of diving in our region.

Anyone interested in diving history is encouraged to join the Association, regardless of age, experience, or location. More information can be found by visiting their website here.