Society for Underwater Technology
The Society for Underwater Technology (SUT) is an international learned society for marine technology with headquarters in London, England that was founded in 1966. There are branches in Aberdeen (Scotland), Houston (USA), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Newcastle (England), Perth (Australia), London (England), Melbourne (Australia), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Singapore, Norway (Bergen), China (Beijing) West Africa (Nigeria), the Middle East (UAE) and new branches in early stages of development in St John's Newfoundland & the Eastern Mediterranean to be based in Cyprus.
SUT promotes the further understanding of the underwater environment and encourages:
- Cross-fertilisation and dissemination of ideas, experience and information between workers in academic research, applied research and technology, industry and government
- Development of techniques and tools to explore, study and exploit the oceans
- Proper economic and sociological usage of resources in and beneath the oceans
- Further education of scientists and technologists to maintain high standards in marine science and technology.
SUT covers all aspects of technology applied to diving technology and physiology, submersible design and operation, naval architecture, underwater acoustics, subsea systems, geology, geophysics, marine resource exploitation, oceanography, environmental studies, pollution and marine biology. Evening lectures & online webinars are organised by most of the branches. Training courses are offered to industry, in particular "Subsea Awareness" courses, and the society also hosts a "Registered Subsea Engineer" scheme. Starting in 2020, SUT along with the Marine Technology Society have begun to offer Chartered Marine Technologist (CMarTech) professional status under license from the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.
Education about the marine world, in particular marine industry, is a strong focus for the society and it supports a number of studentships through awards and an "Educational Support Fund". In 2013 SUT Council voted to incorporate the Engineering Committee on Oceanic Resources (ECOR) into SUT.
The Society for Underwater Technology was founded in 1966 following the demise of the Underwater Equipment Research Society the previous year. This precursor society had been set up to facilitate the "interchange of information between users and suppliers of [undersea] equipment". Many of its members went on to become early members of the SUT. In 1966 a steering committee was put in place to form the society, leading directly to the first general meeting on 2 March 1967, hosted by Lord Wakefield of Kendall in the House of Lords. Lord Wakefield was elected as president, with Rear Admiral Sir Edmund Irving as the first chairman of council, Nic Flemming as honorary secretary, and V. Grimoldby as honorary treasurer. The original technical committees were "Biological Technology", "Earth Science", and "General Technology".
The first annual meeting was held 7 December 1967 at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, where the Society had also found a home through the institute's "daughter society" scheme, paying £500 a year for office space and administrative assistance. At this time the Society's association with what was to become Oceanology International was initiated with plans to run a major international conference in 1969 alongside an existing exhibition series in Brighton.
In the early 1970s, branches were developed, mainly in the United Kingdom, while tie-ups with overseas organisations such as the Marine Technology Society in the US and the Engineering Committee for Ocean Engineering were also being sought. Branches were established in East Scotland, West Scotland, East Anglia, Southern England, and Southwest England, while overseas branch possibilities were looked at in Europe.
At the beginning of the 1980s, the branch structure was reduced to a group of regional organisers who organised activities across the United Kingdom in the Southwest, Southern England, the Midlands and Northwest, Scotland East, Scotland Northeast, and Scotland West. In the 1990s the Aberdeen Branch, Southern, and Northeastern Branches were formed.
In 1983 the Educational Support Fund was launched.
In 1990 SUT moved home to the Institute of Marine Engineers and in 2019 moved to an office located at 2 John Street, London WC1N 2ES.
Cmdr Ian Gallett RN (retired) succeeded Cmdr David Wardle RN (retired) as Secretary (later Chief Executive Officer) of SUT in 1994, with Dr Bob Allwood taking on the role in 2009.
SUT was modernised throughout the period of Ian Gallett & Bob Allwood's leadership, emerging as a modern, international marine Learned Society with updated statutes and structure by 2015. By this point over 40% of members were located outside the UK, with the strongest branches being Aberdeen, Houston, London and Perth (Australia) and smaller branches operating in Brazil, China, Malaysia, Norway & Singapore plus emerging branches in Canada and Middle East.
The Engineering Committee on Oceanic Resources, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, became a partner of SUT in 2013.
During 2020 as a consequence of the global coronavirus outbreak and difficulty in conducting face to face meetings, SUT began offering a weekly Underwater Technology podcast, and fortnightly webinars.
As of October 2020 the main committees of SUT were:
- Diving and manned submersibles
- Environmental Forces
- Marine Renewable Energies
- Ocean Resources
- Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics
- Panel on Underwater Robotics (with ECOR, the Engineering Committee on Oceanic Resources)
- Policy Advisory
- Salvage and Decommissioning