1715 Fleet Society Conference: Vero Beach, FL

Principal Financial Sponsors: St.Lucie Jewelry & Coins and 2 Bid On It Auctions


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The 1715 Fleet Society is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a conference in Vero Beach, Florida from Sunday, October 30 – Tuesday, 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.

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Sunday, October 30, 2022

  • 12:00 p.m. – 6 p.m. Meet & Greet and Book Signing in the Windward Room. 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

  • 8:15 a.m. Continental Breakfast
  • 8:45 a.m. Welcome — Ben Costello
  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Presentation by Charlie Winn, Advisory Board member. Charlie devotes his time to researching Fleet cobs and tracing their pedigrees often using auction catalogs and books as resources.
  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 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.
  • 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 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.
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch Break (on your own)
  • 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 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.
  • 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Terry’s 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 thesis he interviewed a number of salvage and archaeological professionals, including Bob Marx and John de Bry, to name a few.  Steve’s findings will be discussed.
  • 3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 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.
  • 4:30 p.m. Closing Comments — Ben Costello

6:00 p.m. 1715 Fleet Society Membership Meeting at Bonefish Grill (2075 Indian River Blvd., Vero Beach, FL 32960)

Tuesday, November 1, 2022: Day 2 Program

  • 8:15 a.m. Continental Breakfast
  • 8:45 a.m. Welcome — Ben Costello
  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Presentation by John de Bry, Advisory Board member. 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.
  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. John will be followed by Vero Beach attorney Ford J. Fegert, who will give us his insight on legal issues pertaining to the finding and recovery of treasures. He will attempt to answer the age-old question — “Can I keep it?”
  • 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Suprise Guest Speaker
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break (on your own)
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Roundtable discussion regarding new1715 Fleet archival research with a focus on 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 Ben Costello.
  • 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Concluding the day’s events will be a program by 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”.
  • 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Conference Conclusion — Ben Costello

Program times are subject to change.

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.

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