Fleet Society to Host Conference in Vero Beach

The 1715 Fleet Society is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a conference in Vero Beach, Florida from October 30 – November 1, 2022. The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Oceanside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Vero Beach. Those who were involved in the early days of Fleet salvaging (specifically the 1960s) might recall that many divers would gather at the Holiday Inn after working a long hot day on the wreck sites. The location, accessibility to restaurants, and numerous hotels plus other conveniences made it a natural venue for this event.

Sunday, October 30, 2022, Meet and Greet and Book Signing

The three-day program will open on Sunday, October 30 at noon in the Windward Room with a Meet and Greet along with authors who will be present to sign and sell books. The authors attending will be Terry Armstrong, Allen Balogh, Randy Lathrop, Steve Singer, Dave Crooks, Alex Kuze, and Margaret Weller. This is open to members as well as the public.

Monday, October 31, 2022, Day 1 Program

The educational portion of our conference will begin on Monday, October 31. Doors will open at 8:15 am, A Continental Breakfast will be available. Day 1 will feature our own Advisory Board member Charlie Winn. Charlie devotes his time to researching Fleet cobs and tracing their pedigrees often using auction catalogs and books as resources. From the archives of Art McKee and Carl Clauson, Karen McKee will talk about “Mysteries of the Fleet” in a two-part presentation. The first part will focus on the early salvage of the Sandy Point wreck and the second half will target the 1715 -16 raids of Henry Jennings and the Cayman Island connection to those raids. Both are fascinating topics. Rounding out the morning presentations will be Margaret Weller who will share with us some of her personal reminisces of her time exploring the wreck sites of the 1715 Fleet. There will be a lunch break (on your own) from noon until 1:30.

The afternoon session will start promptly at 1:30 with a presentation by Terry Armstrong who will summarize current salvor technology as it applies to 1715 Fleet recovery. Terry has been very involved in this technology and will provide information that is sure to be very well received. His presentation will be followed by Steve Workman, a retired U.S. Navy Commander whose Ph.D. dissertation focused on a topic of major importance. To complete his dissertation he interviewed a number of salvage and archaeological professionals, including Bob Marx and John de Bry, to name a few. His findings will be discussed. To round out the day, Tom and Terry Neiman will talk about their father Don Neiman. Don Neiman played a key role in a very important and little-known story in the early days of Fleet recovery. They will talk about that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022, Day 2 Program

Day 2 will commence with a presentation by another of our Advisory Board members, John de Bry. John will talk about the “Mysteries of the Griffon”, the only ship to survive the hurricane that swallowed up the other eleven ships of the 1715 Fleet. He will be followed by Vero Beach attorney Ford J. Fegert, who will give us his insight on legal issues pertaining to the finding of treasure. This should be a very interesting topic.

The afternoon session will start off with a roundtable discussion regarding the locations of 1715 Fleet wrecks. Joining in the discussion will be Jorge Proctor, John de Bry, Karen McKee, and others. The roundtable will be moderated by yours truly. Ending the session will be Bob Evans who is the Chief Scientist and Historian of the S.S. Central America project. The focus of his presentation will be “Shipwrecks as Time Capsules”. We will conclude the conference at approximately 4:45 pm.

Membership Meeting

We are hoping to have a membership meeting, perhaps on Monday night, at a location to be determined. This depends on a number of factors, but we are working on it. As all of you who have attended conferences know, there can be unexpected last-minute changes as far as the speakers are concerned. We endeavor to get speakers that are committed to the project, which all of our speakers are. But, should a speaker have to cancel because of a sudden, unexpected reason, we do have backup speakers to replace them if necessary.

Additional Things to Know

We are currently assessing our expenses to determine what to charge for the price of admission. We hope to have all of that worked out by the end of July. At that time we will post the price for the conference and how payment can be arranged. There will be a specific location on the website where those wishing to attend can pay. In that regard, there are several things that those wishing to attend should know:

First. Although our venue is ideal for our needs, there are only 75 seats available. That being the case, for the first week that seating becomes available only Fleet Society members will be able to sign up. We want our members to have the opportunity to be admitted BEFORE non-members. So, during the first week, only members can purchase a ticket for the conference. After that, it will be open to non-members, provided that any seating is left.

Second. All members get a 10% discount.

Third. Terms and conditions of payment will be set forth at the time that tickets become available.

Fourth. If you plan on attending, once prices are listed, it is suggested that you make hotel reservations as soon as possible thereafter. Since we are not in the hotel business, we do not make recommendations. We recommend that you seek the services of someone familiar with the area if you plan on staying in a hotel. Check the reviews online for further information.


A formal agenda listing the speakers and the time of each presentation will be published in a program which will be handed out to all of those who attend. We are selling advertising space in the booklet. Here are the prices:

Back Cover: $400.00

Inside Front Cover: $350.00

Inside Back Cover: $350.00

Full Page in the program: $150.00

Double Truck (two pages together): $300.00

Half Page: $75.00

Quarter Page: $50.00

Remember, we are a 501 c (3) non-profit. Any money obtained through donations is used to further our programs. You do not have to own a business to buy advertising. In the past, several people bought advertisements to honor family members who were part of the shipwreck community but are now departed. So, please, if you can help we would appreciate it.

Ben Costello, President

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