The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

May/Jun 2016

MEETINGS

Michael Cocks remembered at Canadian Underwater Conference and Exhibition

This year's opening reception began with a moment of silence to remember departed friends, writes David Parkes

Michael Cocks was a regular at the annual Canadian Underwater Conference and Exhibition, attending ever one since its inception in 2008

Michael Cocks attended every annual Canadian Underwater Conference and Exhibition since its inception in 2008. He said he always enjoyed the conferences because they provided him an opportunity to network with old friends while learning more about the underwater world.


This year the opening reception among the exhibits began with a moment of silence to allow us to remember Michael and three other departed friends – Jim Wilson, who was instrumental in setting up the Diver Certification Board of Canada, Glen Costello, a stalwart supporter of the Canadian Association of Diving Contractors, and Luke Seabrook, a young diver who died in a tragic accident while working on a tidal power dam on the Bay of Fundy.

 

The 2016 conference was held in the main hall at the World Trade and Convention Centre (WTCC) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Prince George Hotel, attached to the WTCC by an underground tunnel, provided accommodation for many of the attendees and the venue for the Awards Dinner on Monday evening. As always, the conference was organised by the team from the Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC), assisted by a committee of volunteers.

 

This year the Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded posthumously to Jim Ritcy, the co-founder and co-owner of Dominion Diving, one of Canada’s largest and most distinctive subsea diving and ROV companies, and a prominent figure in laying the foundation for the East Coast offshore supply and service industry for over 33 years. In 2001 Jim helped create, and served on, the steering committee which brought the DCBC into existence.

 

SPEECH
There were 22 technical presentations by speakers from Sweden, Germany, the USA and Canada. Topics were very diverse and included such themes as the use of rebreathers in the Swedish Royal Navy, hyperbaric tunnel construction and diving, underwater inspections with 3D sonar, tidal power generation in the Bay of Fundy, hyperbaric medicine, ROV strategies, semi-autonomous mooring inspection robots, police diving and diving in the Canadian Armed Forces. The keynote speech at Tuesday’s luncheon was given by Filippo Ronca of Parks Canada on the historic find of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated vessel HMS Erebus.


Michael would have particularly enjoyed Tuesday afternoon’s debate panel where representatives from four provincial regulatory bodies and the team which is developing new diving regulations for offshore diving gave brief presentations concerning the topic ‘What are the road blocks to effective adoption/enforcement of CSA standards as provincial diving regulations?’ The Canadian Standards Association, through its technical committees and sub-committees, has developed a family of standards relating to occupational diving, including CSA Z275.2, the Occupational Safety Code for Diving Operations. In Canada some provinces have adopted Z275.2 as the basis for their diving regulations but many have refused to do so, which has created a confusing regulatory regime across the country. Such confusion impacts on diver safety, a subject close to Michael’s heart. As he did every year, Michael would have taken advantage of the audience question period to pepper all five panel members with insightful and challenging questions designed to incite both the panel and the audience.

  • Tuesday afternoon's debate panel

The 33 exhibitors present came from across Canada, the United States and Europe. Among the 200-plus attendees, four came from the Ukraine and one from Beijing. The layout of the conference was such that attendees spent as much time among the exhibits as possible, including taking breakfast and lunch in the exhibit hall. The panel debate was also held in the exhibit hall to ensure that as many attendees could participate as possible.


Next year’s conference will be held in Ottawa, Ontario, from 26-28 March at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre. The centre is attached to two hotels which will ensure attendees convenient access while maintaining the feeling that one is at a family gathering as much as a conference.

  • Exhibitors came from across Canada, the US and Europe

 

 

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