Steve Hall CEO November 2020 Update

Dear SUT Members, it’s hard to believe we’re already in November – despite all the COVID weirdness of 2020, the year has gone by quickly. We’ve still been able to keep in touch with our membership through online events, webinars, and the weekly podcasts (we’ve had our 6000th Podcast download as I’m writing this, plus streamed content) and the SUT moves towards the end of the year in better shape than we might have expected when so much came crashing to a halt back in March and April.

It’s election time for SUT Council and you’ll soon be receiving ballots for the candidates this year, please do vote, we’re making it simple yet secure with an online ballot system, so that we have our new Council in place before our Annual General Meeting on 14th December.
With so many travel & meeting restrictions still in place in the UK we’ve decided to hold the AGM online, it will take place 1400hrs UTC 14/12/20 – earlier than usual so that our Australian members can take part if they wish to, and also a time that our North American members can have a not-too-early start to join us as well.
Details of how to tune in to the AGM will be placed on the SUT Events web page and repeated in a mailing to members in good time – we hope to have an excellent speaker as well, but can’t share the name just yet as awaiting confirmation.

This AGM also marks my last duty as CEO of SUT and comes almost exactly 4 years to the day since I was offered the job. I hadn’t intended to leave you all so early, but the rare opportunity to serve the marine science, renewable energy, tourism, planning, and advocacy community in my local South West Wales region became available and I’ll be starting on 15th December as CEO of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, a community interest company that hosts among other things Marine Energy Wales, the Selkie Programme, Coastal Communities Acting Together and a number of other projects that support sustainable ocean and coast.

I’ll be supporting the development of offshore floating wind, marine renewable energy prototype testing services, environmental projects such as seagrass planting and school activities so will still be active in areas of interest to SUT, and have been asked to succeed Dr. David Kirkley as Chair of our International Committee. I’ll also continue to serve on the Defence Special Interest Group & CMarTech panel, and will assist my successor as he or she settles-in – more news on who that will be as soon as we know.
Thank you all for your support and friendship, I’ll say a more formal thank-you nearer the end date.

Online activities continue and are getting good attendance, last week we joined the Hydrographic Society of Scotland and IMCA for a paid joint event that attracted over 100 delegates. Our fortnightly public webinars attract a good level of interest, with most of them being placed on our SUT Media YouTube channel afterward.

The next step is to get our training courses back on track with an online presence, and the members of our training committee are busy getting a series of revised courses ready for launch in the near future. Look out for announcements on Subsea Awareness Courses, a new offshore wind course, and short courses aimed at the London insurers and legal sector very soon.

The weekly podcast goes from strength to strength, and I’m pleased to report that Council Member Andrew Connolly has stepped forward to keep the series running after I’ve left SUT. Emily Boddy will edit episodes, and we’re now inviting companies or individuals to sponsor episodes if they would like to. Speak to Emily for pricing and availability. On 17th December we’re broadcasting an episode built around Questions from our listeners so get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to ask, or if you’d like to hear additional information from any of our previous speakers.

As a “Christmas and New Year Special” I was honoured to speak to underwater exploration legend Captain Don Walsh a few days ago, the first human, with Jacques Piccard, to dive the Challenger Deep to 10916m back in 1960 onboard the bathyscaphe Trieste. Don is a very sprightly 89 years old and we spoke online about his rich and varied career in underwater technology for almost three hours – I’m going to edit it into two feature-length podcast episodes that will get broadcast over Christmas and the New Year, it will be very worth listening to, a real nugget of living history. More detail nearer the dates.

Another piece of news to share is that we’ve completed the interviews for the first cohort of SUT Chartered Marine Technologists, from the pilot scheme we’ve been running jointly with the Marine Technology Society and the support of the licensing body, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology. We should be in a position to make a public announcement about who the first three CMarTech members are very soon and to start rolling out an operational version of the scheme in the New Year, subject to agreement of terms with IMarEST. I’ll be speaking to our SUT Plus members about Chartership on Friday 13th November, details on the events page if you’d like to listen in.

Finally, I’d like to send my thanks to Rex Hubbard who stands down as Chair of our Perth Branch at their AGM this month. He’s done a great job steering Perth through difficult times and has been a source of high-quality advice to me and SUT Council throughout his term. It’s through the dedication of volunteers like Rex that the SUT is able to function as a global Learned Society, and I thank him and all of you who help SUT despite your busy schedules for your effort and dedication.
I’ll be back with more news before I move on, in the meantime stay safe, stay healthy.

The SUT are looking for a new CEO


We are looking for a person with excellent leadership and inter-personal skills and preferably someone who has extensive experience in directing/managing SME businesses/organisations to manage the affairs of the SUT .

You would act as the Society’s principal point of contact with the world outside of the Society and promote or enhance the Society’s standing with the public, government, other organisations, and the industries with which the Society and its members are involved. Knowledge of the ocean, marine and subsea arena is useful but not essential. 

A high-level qualification in science, technology, or business is preferred and the successful candidate will have an extensive working knowledge of international activities. Business development is  key part of the role to ensure the financial stability of the organisation. 

There is a small UK based secretariat to manage, we are moving to a home-based working arrangement although we anticipate semi-regular FtF meetings in the UK SE Region.  Some international travel is expected in the future. 

If you are interested in applying for this new exciting opportunity, please click here to apply or contact David Brookes, SUT Hon Sec.

Marine Environmental Science

by Mick Cook

One of several voluntary roles I fulfill is that of Council Member/Treasurer of the Society for Underwater Technology. The SUT, founded in 1966 in the UK, is now a world-leading ‘Learned Society’ specialising in the promulgation, education and training of marine science, technology and engineering. It is now truly global and supports a range of Special Interest Groups (SIG) that focus on specific activities in disciplines such as Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics (OSIG) and Marine Renewables.

I have been a member of the OSIG SIG for more years than I care to remember and chaired the SIG for some 10+ years. It has grown to be the world’s foremost group concerned with such matters. OSIG SIGs meet quarterly to discuss issues of interest and are very active in conducting training, seminars, workshops etc.

As the seas and oceans of the world become increasingly used as a resource for a host of activities, more and more attention is paid to the environmental impacts of such use. So much so that SUT is planning on setting up an SIG specifically for Marine Environmental Science.

If you are interested in participating in this new SIG please contact me at 

New Joint SUT-MTS Captain Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration awarded to Dr Edie Widder

Joint SUT/MTS Press release 1500hrs BST Tuesday 22nd September:

WASHINGTON, DC, US AND LONDON, UK — The Marine Technology Society and The Society for Underwater Technology are proud to announce that Dr. Edie Widder is the inaugural recipient of the Captain Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration. Dr. Widder is an MTS member, MacArthur Fellow, a deep-sea explorer, and conservationist who combines expertise in oceanographic research and technological innovation with a commitment to reversing the worldwide trend of marine ecosystem degradation. 

Awarded jointly by the Marine Technology Society and the Society for Underwater Technology, this esteemed award is named after American oceanographer, explorer, retired naval officer, and marine policy specialist Captain Don Walsh. Walsh and co-pilot Jacques Piccard were aboard the bathyscaph Trieste when it made its daunting record descent on January 23, 1960 into the deepest point of the world’s oceans – the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. The award recognizes outstanding, sustained, international contribution to the development, application, and propagation of marine technology toward the advancement of ocean exploration.

“Don Walsh is one of my superheroes – right up there with Marie Curie, Jacques Cousteau, and my mother – so to be the recipient of this first ever Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration is a huge deal,” said Dr. Widder. “I’m incredibly grateful to MTS and SUT for this honor and for all that they do to promote the development of tools for exploring the least explored regions of our ocean planet.”

A specialist in bioluminescence (the light chemically produced by many ocean organisms), Dr. Widder has been a leader in helping to design and invent new submersible instrumentation, and equipment to enable unobtrusive deep-sea observations. Working with engineers, she has conceived of and built several unique devices that enable humans to see beneath the waves in new ways, including HIDEX, a bathyphotometer which is the U.S. Navy standard for measuring bioluminescence in the ocean; important information for keeping submarines hidden from above. Dr. Widder also built LoLAR, an ultrasensitive deep-sea light meter that measures light in the deep ocean, both dim down-welling sunlight and bioluminescence – both important determinants of animal distribution patterns. She helped found the Ocean Research & Conservation Association in 2005 – an organization dedicated to the study and protection of marine ecosystems, and the species they sustain through development of innovative technologies, science-based conservation action, and public education. In the summer of 2012 Dr. Widder, along with several other scientists, filmed the giant squid in its natural habitat for the first time ever. The historic footage aired on Curiosity on the Discovery Channel in January of 2013. Her innovative work earned her the 2018 Explorers Club Citation of Merit; she became one of just six women to earn this honor.

“MTS couldn’t be prouder to bestow the inaugural Captain Don Walsh Award For Ocean Exploration upon Dr. Edie Widder,” said Marine Technology President Zdenka Willis. “From helping to devise cutting-edge marine technologies to logging hundreds of hours exploring the depths aboard deep sea submersibles to sharing her discoveries with her peers and the global community alike, Dr. Widder is well deserving of an award named for one of the foremost pioneers in our field. We are honored to count her as a colleague and cannot wait to see where her expertise takes her next.”

“As well as recognizing outstanding individual achievement, a key objective of the Captain Don Walsh Award is to spotlight role models who will inspire early career marine technologists, scientists and engineers” said Society for Underwater Technology President Ralph Rayner.  “Edie Widder is a perfect exemplar of what young members of our community can aspire to.  She and Don Walsh provide an inspiration to us all.”


The Marine Technology Society (MTS) promotes awareness, understanding, and the advancement and application of marine technology. Incorporated in 1963, the international society brings together businesses, institutions, professionals, academics, and students who are ocean engineers, technologists, policy makers, and educators. The Society publishes a peer-reviewed journal — The Marine Technology Society Journal. It has three technical divisions and 31 Professional Committees (technical interest groups). The society hosts several conferences yearly. And, it supports 13 Sections, which focus on events and programs unique to their geographic areas, enhancing networking among local colleagues, businesses, universities and government/military offices.

The Society for Underwater Technology (SUT) is a multidisciplinary learned society that brings together organisations and individuals with a common interest in underwater technology, ocean science and offshore engineering. SUT was founded in 1966 and has members from more than 40 countries, & branches in 10, including engineers, scientists, other professionals, and students working in these areas. In recent decades many of our members have come from the offshore hydrocarbon sector, today we also see growing numbers of members from offshore renewables, marine autonomous systems, and the policy, law and insurance sectors who support offshore activities of many kinds.

For further information contact:

MTS Contact:
Joshua Speiser
, +1 (202) 827 7176,

SUT Contact:

Steve Hall, +44 7947 911992,

CEO Update – Steve is Moving On

Dear members, friends and supporters of SUT. Many thanks once more to everyone who’s rejoined the Society, individual or Corporate, in recent weeks. We very much appreciate your faith in us, especially in the challenging times we’ve all been through. We’ll continue to work hard to provide value to our members, even if much of the interaction for now still needs to be virtual rather than face to face. Members still outstanding at the end of September will be deleted from the database so do please respond to Jane if you haven’t already.

It’s good to see that our Perth, Australia branch is already able to carry out some face to face meetings and we look forward to when this can be rolled out across the whole of the SUT family.

In the meantime we’ll continue with our regular webinars and podcast, and our committees and Branches are meeting very effectively online. Forthcoming podcasts cover autonomous underwater warfare, salvage and decommissioning, & offshore wind with more always under preparation.

Keep up to date with what’s happening via for all but USA Branch, who list theirs at

Steve Moving On

Many of you know that I have a strong interest not only in underwater technology, but in how we transition to a sustainable economy, learn to value a biologically diverse & healthy marine environment and to benefit from what I like to call ‘Vitamin Sea’. To that end, I’ve accepted the offer to become the next CEO of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum in South Wales – an opportunity for me to help my home region adapt to changing climate, rising seas, the transition to offshore renewable energy – and combine all that with Pembrokeshire’s successful coastal tourism, outdoor pursuits & agriculture industry, whilst influencing policy makers and funding agencies.

I’ve submitted my notice to finish my term as SUT CEO with effect from the SUT AGM on 14th December 2020, and will work with my excellent staff, our Executive and Council to ensure an orderly transition. If any of our members might be interested in being my successor please contact our Honorary Secretary David Brookes, if you don’t have his details contact me or any of the staff and we’ll pass on his email address.

It certainly won’t be the last of me and SUT – I’ll continue to be a member of several committees and working groups, will honour existing commitments to serve on conference panels and chair external meetings, and will assist my successor, when appointed, in taking up his or her duties.

I’d like to thank you all for your support, friendship and laughter over the last three and a half years. SUT has a well-earned international reputation as a politically neutral, well-informed source of expertise and knowledge about many aspects of working in an underwater environment. We’re still growing overseas, we continue to support students, provide input to policy development, share knowledge and even in these strange COVID times have tried hard to maintain regular contact with our members, in part through the weekly podcast and fortnightly webinars.

It’s still three months away so I’ll be working as normal, and will update you with more news nearer the date on succession planning and who does what as we move into 2021.


Steve Hall CEO 15th September 2020

CEO Update September 2020

Dear members and supporters of SUT – it’s hard to believe that it’s already September. Thanks to everyone who’s renewed their subscriptions, Jane is working hard to chase up those that are left. Don’t forget that we do have a hardship scheme in place to assist members who’d like to renew but have been laid off work by Corporate Members, or who are individual members unable to find contracts in the present downturn – contact me or Jane Hinton directly if you’d like to request a free membership on the scheme for 2020-21.

On Friday 4th September we said farewell to long-serving SUT Staff Member Cheryl Ince. She joined us way back in April 2004, and many of you will have met Cheryl at SUT events, trade shows, and meetings. Once COVID restrictions are over we look forward to meeting Cheryl to give her a belated warm send-off on behalf of colleagues and members – if anyone would like me to pass on messages to her I can happily do so.

We also welcome Aberdeen-based events manager Jacqui Adams back part-time initially from furlough. It’s still too early to know at what point we can resume anything like ‘business as usual’ but Jacqui is looking at how we ensure events and training can be held online until we can again meet safely face to face. We’re working hard on getting SUT in good shape for the coming months.

Don’t forget to tune-in to the Underwater Technology Podcast via your usual supplier, and our fortnightly webinars are available on the YouTube Channel ‘SUTMedia’ for free viewing. We’re always interested in new content for any of our outreach activities so please get in touch if you’ve something to share with our members. 

Steve Hall CEO SUT

10th September 2020 

CEO Steve Hall Update August 2020

I would first like to thank everyone among our individual and corporate membership who has already renewed their membership for 2020-21 – it’s heartening that even in these difficult times, we are seeing a high rate of renewal which will enable us to carry on the life of SUT, support student scholarships and continue the work of our committees and special interest groups. If you’ve not yet renewed, please consider doing so – I believe we offer excellent value for money and there are affordable direct debit options for those who prefer not to pay in a single lump. Note also we have a ‘hardship scheme’ to offer free membership to our supporters not in a position to pay this year due to redundancy or lack of contract work – contact me or Jane Hinton directly if this can be of benefit to you.
For those members who have been able to take the extra step of becoming ‘Patron’ supporters I extend an additional level of thanks, as the funding you provide makes a real difference in what our Society can set out to do.

Coronavirus continues to impact the Society all across the world, with the majority of Branches still not able to hold face to face meetings, events and training courses. This has encouraged us to move quickly in developing online means to stay in touch with and inform our members, and we’ve seen a healthy level of support for our online webinars and particular the weekly Underwater Technology Podcast, which already has some 3500 downloads and rising steadily. Volunteers for interview are always required so I can keep up the weekly schedule – if you are working in any area of SUT interest (or likely future interest), message me and we can arrange an online interview.
Last week’s podcast was a fascinating discussion with aquanaut Dr Jon Copley, one of the relatively few humans who has been fortunate to dive to the deep ocean trenches and mid-ocean ridges in human-occupied vehicles, Jon is a former SUT scholarship student who has made significant discoveries about deep ocean ecosystems. As well as talking with Jon about the diving and his use of ROVs and AUVs he makes some interesting observations about how we might be able to mine deep sea resources in future, given appropriate safeguards for the environment.
This week’s interview is one of those ‘future technology’ ones – I interview the CEO of a San Diego startup called ‘Blue Nalu’ who are hoping to be one of the first to bring cellular aquaculture marine food to market – in other words real fish meat, but grown from cells. It’s a technology that could change how the world sources marine protein, and also has implications to our members interested in offshore aquaculture (most farmed fin-fish are carnivorous) – another area of underwater technology that will grow in future years.
Listen to or download the podcast from or your favourite podcast provider.

Every two weeks we offer an online webinar, volunteers for presenting that are always wanted too. Last week SUT Council Member and Houston-based Fellow Steve Johnson spoke on gas prospects in the Eastern Mediterranean, next week Professor Frank Lim, also a Council Member and Chair of our Beijing Branch, will speak on ‘Deepsea Mining: An engineering perspective’ – register free via the SUT Events web page. In most instances we place the seminars online afterwards on the SUT Media You Tube channel, except where the speaker might not be able to share their presentation due to commercial concerns.
SUT also offer the option for short ‘gadgets and widgets’ videos to be uploaded to our social media – an excellent opportunity for corporate members with a service or product they would like to highlight to our members. If you’re based in Aberdeen please speak to Jim Mann, or you can contact me directly.
Online training – we are almost ready to begin to offer refreshed online versions of SUT’s highly regarded Subsea Awareness Courses, with options for the traditional site visits to be offered later, as soon as access to the facilities is available. More on this in coming weeks. Our members have also been working on new versions of the course aimed at offshore wind & other renewables; and to the legal, policy and financial community in the City of London and other centres of activity.

SUT contributes of course to pushing the boundaries of underwater technology worldwide, and encourages knowledge exchange, which is still very active in lockdown. Last week I spoke online as a keynote speaker at the World Marine Technology Conference in Qingdao, China, highlighting the new offshore renewable technologies that are becoming available including floating wind, floating solar, and very soon a new offshore hydrogen industry. It was good to see SUT have such a high profile at the conference, with me featured as the second speaker after an esteemed member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Closer to home, I represent SUT along with Moya Crawford on the advisory board of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland, who this year will hold their annual science meeting online. If you’d like to submit a paper the deadline is 21st August, see – & note that our Salvage & decommissioning committee co-hosts a workshop during the science meeting.

As we begin to move out of the northern summer and southern winter, into the second half of the year it’s worth giving early notice that my colleague Emily will start to prepare this year’s Annual Report, and will be writing to committee & branch chairs asking for their input. We’ll also be asking members who might be interested in being elected to SUT Council to step forward – it’s a time of great change in SUT and other Societies as we adapt to post-covid working, and respond to the challenges of Energy Transition and the development of a whole new generation of offshore underwater technology. It’s a great time to be a member of our Society, and once again, I thank you all for your help, support and also your kindness to our staff & the volunteers who have kept SUT running while coronavirus has brought so much chaos to the world.
Stay safe, stay healthy.
Steve Hall 17th August 2020

COVID-19 update – the SUT has gone virtual

The SUT has a new collection of online offerings whilst business is not as usual, helping us keep connected with our members and the subsea community.

Bi-weekly training seminars, focussed on specific areas relevant to the wider SUT membership, starting 12th May, a 20-30min presentation with up to 30min Q&A, pre-registration needed, see for details.

Technical Seminars, 2 weekly every Monday, live via Zoom or watch later. See for details of upcoming seminars or see to watch later.

Podcast, released weekly again covering a range of topics of interest to members. Listen to the podcast at or via iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher & Spotify – search for ‘Underwater Technology Podcast’.


Social media links

SUT CEO Steve Hall Update July 2020

Dear SUT Members,

Many thanks to our those of you who have renewed their SUT membership for 2020/21 – we aim to offer the best possible value for money, and have not raised our rates again this year. You will already be aware that for any supporters of SUT who have been made redundant from corporate member companies, or for individual members unable to find work, we have a hardship scheme in place to gift you membership until 2021 to tide you through to hopefully better times. Apply via me, or Jane Hinton.
In these challenging times, Members willing to give additional resources to SUT are incredibly valuable to us, and genuinely helping to make a difference. We have a SUT Patrons Scheme for those in a position to make an additional contribution to the Society. I’d like to thank our first SUT Patrons by nameTony Globe, Mick Cook, Professor Gwyn Griffiths, and Professor Ralph Rayner. Each has provided not only their time, effort, and invaluable support to SUT over the years, but now also additional help to aid our work supporting, informing, and advocating for our members.

So how are we staying active while the world deals with COVID-19? We’ve been able to offer a much-expanded presence online, with many of you are already tuning in to the weekly podcast via where we’ll soon pass 3000 downloads, plus a large number of streamed episodes, covering a wide range of subjects, with many more on the way – I’m always looking for new interviewees so get in touch if you’d like to be listened to by our international audience.
At the time of writing, 46% of downloads are UK, 12% rest of Europe, 24% North America (almost half from Canada), 10% Australia, 5% Asia, 3% rest of the world mainly Argentina, Brazil, and Nigeria.

Our fortnightly webinars and online training sessions are also popular, with the webinars uploaded on the SUT YouTube channel (SUT Media) which used to be hardly used, but now receives a healthy number of visits.
The latest playlist we have added to the YouTube channel is a ‘Gadgets and Widgets’ section thanks to Jim Mann and colleagues in Aberdeen. These are short, snappy videos no more than 10-12 minutes from our member companies promoting their products and services. The first two online are from Impact Subsea and Zupt, I’ve just received extras from SMD, and we’ll populate the channel over the coming weeks. Contact Jim or myself for more details.
Older footage on the YouTube channel includes a selection of the school’s Christmas lectures and the SUT Careers video that was made back in the ‘Ian Gallett era’. We’re working hard to bring it all up to date, so please subscribe to the channel to see the latest uploads.

We’re putting the finishing touches on a new Members’ Forum where you’ll be able to connect with other SUT members, subscribe to lists about your areas of interest, and create your own. We are also intending to launch a version of the ‘SUT Phoenix’ programme previously offered by our Perth Branch – a space where members who’ve been laid off work, faced other difficulties, or need support can get advice, stay up to date on new technologies, learn about job vacancies and generally help look after one another as our sector goes through one the cycles of contraction that afflicts us from time to time.

Energy Transition is of course a very hot topic now, and we’ll be ensuring that SUT is well placed for our members to learn about offshore hydrogen, floating wind & solar, tidal stream, and other energy resources.

On 23rd July SUT Council meets online, where your representatives will be working with the Executive and myself to chart our course through the coming months. It may still be a little while before we can resume full ‘business as usual’ with regular face to face events and training, but we’re learning fast, adapting to the new situation, and hope that you’ll enjoy being SUT Members as together we face the challenges of building a post-COVID SUT that is flexible, broad-based, and fun.
SUT CEO, Steve Hall 20 July 2020

MSCC Revised UK Marine Science ‘Road Map’

SUT represents the interests of our members on the UK government’s Marine Science Coordination Committee ‘Marine Industries Group’.

The whole MSCC has been rather quiet of late, as government departments have been distracted by the requirements of dealing with COVID 19, Brexit, & a series of closely spaced general elections, but on Friday 3rd July they released a new ‘Road Map Overview’ about the broad future direction of UK Marine Science – which has direct implications for our industry members too.

You can download a copy here

The science priorities of the revised roadmap are :

Better understand the capacity of the marine ecosystem to supply ecosystem services, natural resources and societal and economic benefits now and into the future.

Better understand the structure, function, resilience and variability of marine ecosystems.

Better understand the impacts of climate change, including its multiple stressors and feedbacks, and the ocean’s resistance and resilience to a changing climate.

Promote and represent UK marine science at international fora, strengthening existing and building new relationships with international partners including research organisations and infrastructure.

Better enable the efficient capture, storage, use and security of marine scientific data.

Better understand society’s relationship with our oceans and seas.

Better understand cumulative and in-combination impacts on the capacity of marine systems to supply food, energy and mineral resources as well as mitigate against the risk and effects of natural hazards.

Support the long-term monitoring, observing and mapping of the marine environment and ocean systems.

Facilitate the communication of high quality, up-to- date marine science and evidence.

The new areas of focus will drive procurement of science services, data, sensors and robots in coming years. SUT will continue to act as a voice for our members on the MSCC Marine Industries Group – contact CEO Steve Hall if you need to know more.