2017 NSS-CDS International Cave Diving Conference


Note:  This event was formerly known as the NSS-CDS Workshop


Conference Dates and Location:

The dicounted pre-registration including t-shirt tickets will be available until noon (EST) on May 1, 2017.

After that there will be discounted pre- registration tickets with no t-shirt option available until 4pm (EST), May 31, 2017 followed by tickets available for purchase at the door.

The last date for sale of t-shirts and commemorative tumblers is noon (EST) May 1, 2017.

Early registration through Eventbrite is available until 4 pm (EST), May 31, 2017:


Social: June 2nd

Conference: June 3rd

Harkness Armory
490 Northwest Lake Jeffery Road
Lake City, Florida 32055


Hal Watts

Hal Watts is one of the true pioneers in cave diving, and diving in general.  His accomplishments are many, but include:

  • The octopus regulator (Sheck was inspired to dive one after seeing Hal with his. Read about it in Sheck's Accidents and Incidents article in UWS volume 8, No. 5)
  • Held the deep air record for many years
  • Coined the phrase "Plan your dive, dive your plan"

Feel free to check out this thread on Hal Watts on the NSS-CDS Forum and join the discussion!

Lamar English

Lamar was one of the pioneers of tri-mix, but is probably best known for engineering dive lights that withstand extreme pressures. Sheck Exley had this to say about Lamar’s lights in his book, Caverns Measureless to Man:

"Meanwhile, Lamar at English Engineering was hard at work designing a primary light to work at the unheard of depths of 800 feet and below. I had carried his lights on all my Mante dives and had experienced absolutely no problems with the light heads, generally considered to be the most delicate part of a lighting system. To place this remarkable achieve ment in proper perspective, one must realize that the finest primary light heads available in dive shops generally implode from pressuresomewhere between 230feet and 300feet. The few problems that we had encountered were occasional battery pack flooding, which resulted in a minor loss of buoyancy. But the light always kept burning!"

-Caverns Measureless to Man, Sheck Exley, Page 268
Feel free to check out this thread on Lamar English on the NSS-CDS Forum and join the discussion!

Forrest Wilson and Josh Shouse

Forrest Wilson attended Loyola University, majoring in physics, and minoring in math and computer science.  Forrest started diving in the late 50s, and began cave diving in 1969.  Forrest accumulated his first 100 cave dives before the Abe Davis award existed, and logged his first 500 before the Nicholson award existed.  Forrest became an open water instructor in 1974, and did his first sump dive in 1975.  Forrest became the first Training Director of the NSS-CDS in 1978, and held that position for 6 years.  Forrest received the International Safe Diving award in 2004.  Forrest has dived in 12 US states, and 10 countries, has made well over 100 sump dives and has dived in over 200 different caves.  Forrest is still actively exploring new caves, mostly in Alabama, and Tennessee.  

Joshua started diving while attending the University of Kentucky in 2012.  He quickly fell in love with the sport and having a prior history in dry caves, was drawn to cave diving. After a few hundred open water dives, Josh began his cave training in May 2014 completing his Full Cave Diver course in August 2015.  Mentors such as MichaelAngelo Gagliardi helped Josh to safely gain experience and become confident in the overhead environment.  From the beginning, he was drawn to cave exploration.  After making connections with pioneers such as Forrest Wilson, Matt Vinzant, and Mike Young, Josh has helped out with some incredible expeditions. Most of his diving is alongside Forrest Wilson in TAG, where dry caving and cave diving often accompany each other.  Receiving his Abe Davis in September 2016, Josh has dove in some very unique caves.  Though young and relatively new, Josh’s passion shines vibrantly as he follows after renowned explorers in hopes of becoming one himself.

Dawn Kernagis, PhD

Dr. Dawn Kernagis is a Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, where she studies human performance optimization and risk mitigation for operators in extreme environments, such as those working in undersea diving, high altitude aviation, and space. Dr. Kernagis came to IHMC from Duke University Medical Center, where her postdoctoral research was funded by the Office of Naval Research and the American Heart Association to identify pathophysiological mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets in multiple forms of acute brain injury. Dr. Kernagis completed her PhD at Duke University as ONR Undersea Medicine’s first Predoctoral Award recipient. Her thesis research focused on how genetics play a role in decompression sickness in Navy divers. Before pursuing her PhD, Dawn completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at North Carolina State University, and she held an internship at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, where she coordinated a study investigating differential carbon dioxide retention in scuba, rebreather, and breath–hold divers. She also worked on research projects through Duke’s Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology, including Immersion Pulmonary Edema (Navy), Flying After Diving (DAN) and EVA Oxygen Prebreathe (NASA). Prior to her research career, Dawn was a diver and dive manage of numerous underwater exploration, research, and conservation projects around the world since 1993, including the deep underwater exploration of Wakulla Springs Cave and surrounding caves for over a decade. Based on her diving career and research contributions, she was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Class of 2016. In 2016, Dawn was also selected as one of six crew members to join NASA’s 21st undersea mission, NEEMO.

Eduardo Macedo

Eduardo Macedo is one of the first cave explorers from Brazil, and one of the pioneers in the exploration of caves in the region of Goiás and Bahia.  Eduardo has more then 6,000 dives, with more than 1,000 dives in caves.   Eduardo recently discovered the two new systems in Hell's Hole, and is currently exploring these conduits at over 150 meters (492+ feet) deep.  Eduardo discovered several other caves, and continues to explore...

Eduardo's topic will be: Cave Diving in Brazil - Cave Exploration Returns.
Eduardo will speak about the return of exploration cave diving in Brazil, which has been almost dormant for over 15 years.  He will show the explorations in Brazil's caves by the cave diving teams EGB (Speleology Group Brasília) and H2EP Team, exploration in deep caves (+150m), the development of cave rescue teams and the logistical difficulties of remote places.



GRAND PRIZE:  2016 SUEX XJ37 and DPV Course!




Check out the tumbler that will be available for purchase in advance of the conference!  Your name goes on the bottom.  Pricing and ordering information coming soon...


Sponsorship Information:

Platinum Sponsor


  • $550 plus ($350* in door prizes)
  • Event sponsor with prominent logo placement on all materials including:
  • Posters at conference, NSS-CDS website, social media posts, and UWS publication
  • Logo placement on conference podiums
  • Booth table with optimum traffic placement
  • 3 Conference passes
  • Logo and 1/2 page ad on the NSS-CDS website for 2017
  • 1 table setup/booth space for Friday social and Saturday conference
    • Wall space is limited to first 12 platinum sponsors.
    • All other sponsors will have center isle space.

Gold Sponsor


  • $450 plus ($250* in door prizes)
  • Logo and 1/2 page ad on the NSS-CDS website for 2017
  • 1 table setup/booth space for Friday social and Saturday conference
    • Wall space is limited to first 12 platinum sponsors.
    • All other sponsors will have center isle space.

Silver Sponsor


  • $300 plus ($100* in door prizes)
  • Logo and 1/2 page ad on the NSS-CDS website for 2017
  • 1 table setup/booth space for Friday social and Saturday conference
    • Wall space is limited to first 12 platinum sponsors.
    • All other sponsors will have center isle space.


Contact Information

For more information please contact Conference Chair Al Clements
Email: property_manager@nsscds.org

Flyer Contest Winners

June Image Courtesy of Ricardo Castillo

July Image Courtesy of Ricardo Castillo
July Flyer 1.2 Post

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