Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), held each June, welcomes diver attendance as National Marine Sanctuaries and the state of the aquatic environment is discussed.


America’s National Marine Sanctuaries are treasures for all of us, whether we are divers or not. These nationally significant waters are home to vibrant marine life and historic shipwrecks, and they’re worth protecting. Each year in June, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation hosts Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), the nation’s premiere ocean-policy conference, which celebrates our National Marine Sanctuaries and the greater aquatic environment in Washington, D.C. And divers are welcome to attend.

Over 600 passionate individuals from all over the world and across industries attend CHOW, and thousands more watch the conference’s accompanying OceansLive livestream. This year’s CHOW will take place from Tuesday, June 13 to Thursday, June 15. The four focus areas for this year’s conference are: Visions for Our Ocean and Great Lakes; Science, Technology, and Exploration; Conservation from the Local to the National; and Health and Social Impacts. Each plenary, no matter the focus, will be as valuable to scientific divers, recreational divers, and ocean enthusiasts as they are to policymakers, non-profit professionals, and private-sector partners.

Divers may find the following sessions the most interesting:

  • Blue Horizons (June 13 at 10:30 am) — The opening keynote address outlining future visions for our ocean and Great Lakes from three former NOAA administrators
  • The Next Wave: Emerging Leaders Roundtable (June 13 at 3:30 pm) — A discussion with emerging ocean leaders to discuss how ocean science and conservation are changing
  • The Value of America’s Public Waters (June 14 at 11:00 am) — A panel discussing how communities are using the National Marine Sanctuaries Act to conserve these unique environments
  • Optimism for the Ocean (June 15 at 9:30 am) — This plenary will explore the history and successes of local and national marine and Great Lakes policies
  • Drawn to the Sea: Why We Explore (June 15 at 3:30 pm) — This session will cover our desire to explore, the ways exploration is changing, and the benefits it brings

Premier registration costs $100, and includes entrance to all panel sessions, a breakfast meet-and-greet prior to each day’s session, two daily snack breaks, a 20 percent discount in the NMSF store at CHOW, an attendees list, access to the lounge for online broadcast viewing, and access to sponsored events such as happy hours. Standard registration is free, and it includes entrance to all panel sessions and two daily snack breaks. For travel information and registration, visit

By guest author Marcus Reamer, Strategic Communications Director, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

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