Inaugural Captain Don Walsh Award For Ocean Exploration

Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in the bathyscaphe Trieste at the Mariana Trench, 1960. (Credit: Steve Nicklas, NOS, NGS – NOAA Ship Collection)

The Marine Technology Society (MTS) and the Society of Underwater Technology (SUT) have established the Captain Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration to recognize outstanding, sustained, international contributions to the development, application and propagation of marine technology in the advancement of ocean exploration.

The inception of this award coincides with the 60th anniversary of Walsh’s historic descent to the deepest point in the oceans in 1960.

Born on November 2, 1931 in Berkeley, California, Walsh has been involved in oceanography, exploration and marine policy for more than 50 years. Upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and spent 15 years at sea working aboard submarines. On January 23, 1960, Walsh and Swiss explorer Jacques Piccard were the first to descend nearly 11,000 m inside the bathyscaphe Trieste into the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known point in any of Earth’s oceans. This feat would not be replicated until 2012, more than 50 years later.

In creating the Captain Don Walsh Award, MTS and SUT honor both Walsh’s incredible pioneering spirit, as well as his significant contributions to international ocean law and policy. He has served under two presidents on the U.S. National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere, was a member of the U.S. State Department Law of the Sea Advisory Committee, and previously held the offices of vice president and director of the Marine Technology Society.

MTS and SUT members are invited to submit a nomination for the Captain Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration online. The deadline for submissions is Monday, May 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm (EST).

Don Walsh. (Credit: U.S. Navy, John F. Williams)

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