Sea Research Society

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Sea Research Society's former College of Marine Arts building now serves as the City Hall for Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, photo by Jo Pinkard

The Sea Research Society (SRS) is a non-profit educational research organization founded in 1972. Its general purpose is "to promote scientific and educational endeavors in any of the marine sciences or marine histories with the goal of obtaining knowledge for the ultimate benefit to mankind."[1][2] It does both archival research and underwater expeditions in search of historic shipwrecks.[3]


The Society's motto is "Knowledge through Exploration and Research."[4][better source needed]

Board members[edit]

The Society's founding board members included Luis Marden of National Geographic magazine; Frederic Dumas, French underwater archaeologist of Jacques-Yves Cousteau fame; Anders Franzen, Swedish underwater archaeologist and discoverer of the Swedish warship Vasa; Ron A. Gibbs, Curator Armed Forces History, National Park Service; Paul Tzimoulis, Publisher, Skin Diver magazine; Ed Bearss, Senior Historian, National Park Service; Robert F. Marx, undersea explorer; E. Lee Spence, Underwater Archaeology Editor, NAUI’s Diving World magazine; Peter Throckmorton, "discoverer of the oldest known shipwreck;" Pablo Bush Romero, President, CEDAM;[5] and others of similar note. Virtually all were published authors and internationally known for their works with shipwrecks. Several have been described as the "father of underwater archaeology." Unfortunately, a number of the founding members are now deceased.

Principal officers are Brad Needleman, President; Dr. E. Lee Spence, Executive Vice-President; Jim McNeill, VP-Arctic Expeditions; Veli Albert Kallio, VP-Environmental Affairs; and Rusty Whiting, International Training Director.[6]

General membership[edit]

SRS Membership is open to the general public.[7]


The Society has conducted numerous expeditions over the years including expeditions relating to the wrecks of the CSS David, SS Georgiana, SW Mary Bowers, SW Constance, USS Housatonic, the Confederate submarine Hunley, SS Norseman, CSS Sumter and others.[citation needed]

Tax status[edit]

The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made a determination in May 1976 that Sea Research Society is a tax-exempt organization under regulation 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and donations are tax deductible for income reporting purposes under section 170 of the Code.[citation needed]

College of Marine Arts[edit]

The Society operated its educational program under its College of Marine Arts (first in Columbia, SC, then in Mount Pleasant, SC) from 1972 until 1978. It awarded five doctorates jure dignitatis in Marine Histories (DMH or MHD). The Society (in conjunction with the International Diving Institute) is now offering a series of research, field and classroom courses leading to various levels of certification in underwater archaeology. The field programs offer students the opportunity to actually work on historic shipwrecks and other archaeological sites.[citation needed]

Some degrees are awarded jure dignitatis. That is, a person who has demonstrated the appropriate qualities to be given a particular office may be awarded the degree by virtue of the office held. It is another kind of earned—but not strictly academic—degree.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Constitution of the Sea Research Society as filed with the South Carolina Secretary of State in 1972
  2. ^ Sea Research Society: Purposes
  3. ^ About SRS-Brief Overview
  4. ^ Sea Research Society, corporate seal © 1972, cover
  5. ^ Sea Research Society: 1972-1998, © 1998, pp. 11-12
  6. ^ List of Sea Research Society Officers
  7. ^ SRS Memberships

External links[edit]