After a seven-year hiatus, the Baltimore/DCDiveShow returned to Baltimore, attracting 1100 visitors to the Radisson Inner Harbor Hotel, Jan. 19 and 20, 2018. Representatives from 31 travel resorts, 7 equipment manufacturers and 11 dive retailers participated. Divers from as far away as New York and Ohio enjoyed the show that also featured live music from the Chris Sacks Duo and steel drum action from the Trinidad-Tobago Steel Drum Orchestra.
Brian Miller and Brad Nolan of USDiveShows partnered to produce the 2018 Baltimore/DCDiveShow. Miller retired in 2016 from Aqua Lung America after a 36-year career. Nolan has produced other shows with USDiveShows, the last in Baltimore in 2011.
“It was a sold-out exhibition floor, yet an intimate selling environment” said Miller. “This was our goal, not to be massive but to give quality interaction time between exhibitors and the divers attending the show.”
In addition to exhibitor space, the show featured a seminar schedule that kept four rooms and two demonstration spaces busy, with standing-room-only for many presentations. Underwater archeologist Johnny Walker presented “Crick’in,” on collecting Civil War artifacts from the West Virginia waters of the Potomac River. Other speakers presented tales of ship wrecks from Halifax, Canada, to the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic.
Laurie Penland and Ross Whippo discussed their career as a Smithsonian Institute scientific research divers with a group of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) middle school girls. Their talk drew an overflow audience.
Exhibitors also were enthusiastic. “Loved the crowd… enjoyed introducing customers to the world class experience of the Philippines and what Atlantis has to offer,” said Les Corkill of Atlantis Philippines.
“Impressed by the number of people at the show,” said Scott Sanders representing TUSA. “Next year I will expand my show space and products. I was busy continuously without time to sit down… Good stuff.”
Anne Hasson of Aggressor Fleet said, “I wanted to thank you (Brian) and Brad for putting on such a fantastic show. We had many Aggressor Fleet clients visit the show as well as dive stores and came home with a lot of booking reservations. We will be back!”
The Baltimore/DCDiveShow keynote speaker was Cody Unser of CodysFirstStepFoundation.org. She presented six adaptive scuba training awards to individuals involved with the Kennedy Krieger Institute and their adaptive sports program. The Baltimore/DCDiveShow conducted a silent auction fundraiser, using donations from exhibitors, to benefit the foundation and adaptive scuba programs.
“We are very proud to support Cody’s First Step Foundation,” Miller said. “In my 40-plus years in the diving business I have had the pleasure of working with many pioneers in diving. It’s great to support the efforts of young pioneers like Cody.”
Miller said plans for the 2019 Baltimore/DCDiveShow are already underway.