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Force Blue honoured at Blue Mind Summit



Force Blue receives 5th annual Blue Mind Works award at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Wallace J Nichols PhD presented the 5th Annual Blue Mind Works Award to Nicole Rosga and Jim Ritterhoff of FORCE BLUE at the 8th Annual Blue Mind Summit held in Miami, Florida on October 4th where the theme was “Water Is Medicine”. The award recognizes an individual and/or organization for efforts that mechanize positive change in their community by putting Blue Mind science into action.

The FORCE BLUE team has connected the dots between ecological and emotional health and the benefits an active, regenerative, service-oriented aquatic lifestyle. Their leadership is changing for good the conversation about the full value of clean, healthy oceans and reefs.

“We admire the work of FORCE BLUE, uniting Special Operations veterans around service for our oceans, restoring coral reefs, and healing human hearts and minds in the process. There really are no better spokespeople for the many benefits of healthy waters and oceans than these men and women,” says Dr. Wallace J Nichols, founder of Blue Mind Works. “We’re very pleased to award the 5th Annual Blue Mind Works Award to these planetary heroes.”

The award was presented at the Frost Museum of Science in Miami by Dr. Bill Kent of the National Swimming Pool Foundation, last year’s award recipient.

“By starting a program that isn’t just about helping veterans or just about helping the marine environment, but about helping both, we’re really uniting two worlds,” said co-founder and Executive Director Jim Ritterhoff. “Hopefully, FORCE BLUE will encourage each to look at the other with a bit more empathy and understanding.”

Recognising the especially heavy emotional, mental and physical burden veterans, active duty military and first responders shoulder daily, FORCE BLUE Operations Director, airman in the Air National Guard, and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, Nicole Rosga stated, “I wouldn’t be here without this work. I literally wouldn’t be here on Earth.”

Past recipients include the community of Carbondale, Illinois who were presented with the award in 2016 for their work to open the Carbondale Super Splash Park -Outdoor Aquatic Facility. The park ideation team included President of the Board of Commissioners Harvey Welch, an African American gentleman whose entire life was changed by his inability to swim as a child. His work within his community engaged leaders and residents alike in their quest to give everyone the opportunity to learn to swim.

Previous recipients of the award also include University of Virginia’s Professor of Sustainable Communities, Tim Beatley, for his work with Biophilic Cities Projectaround the world and his groundbreaking book, Blue Urbanism; and Van and Amanda Curaza of Operation Surf, an organization providing surf therapy for veterans throughout the United States and United Kingdom.

The award is a large hand blown glass “blue marble” sphere created by Lundberg Studio in Davenport, CA and is passed to each subsequent recipient.


FORCE BLUE’s mission is to unite the community of Special Operations veterans with the world of marine conservation for the betterment of both.

The idea grew out of a dive trip co-founders Jim Ritterhoff and Rudy Reyes took to the Cayman Islands in Summer 2015 to meet up with their friend, Keith Sahm, General Manager of Sunset House, the oldest continuously operated dive resort in the Caribbean. For Ritterhoff and Sahm, experienced recreational divers who’d been reef diving for decades, this was just another week in paradise. But for Reyes, a former Recon Marine who had struggled with PTS and depression since returning home from multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, the experience was nothing short of life changing.

About Blue Mind Works

Blue Mind Works to create a new water story based in the best science and practice, supports and advises those on the frontline of reconnecting people to water, sponsors the Annual Blue Mind Summit, the Annual Blue Mind Award, and shares their message around the world via a wide range of media, events, and workshops.

About Wallace J Nichols PhD

Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols, called “Keeper of the Sea” by GQ Magazine and “a visionary” by Outside Magazine is an innovative, silo-busting, entrepreneurial scientist, movement maker, renown marine biologist, voracious Earth and idea explorer, wild water advocate, bestselling author, sought after lecturer, and fun-loving Dad. His experiences as a field research scientist, government consultant, founder and director of numerous businesses and nonprofit organizations, teacher, mentor, parent, and advisor all support his quest to build a stronger and more diverse blue movement.

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Rowen Hemsley-Harding, third place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)



In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Rowen Hemsley-Harding, third place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition. The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Rowan’s film – Ocean Art and Facts – can be seen here:

Fourth in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week we will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.

For more information please visit:

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NUPG Lockdown Best of…



Usually the January NUPG meeting involves a guest judge coming to Manchester to talk through the very best images members had taken in the previous 12 months. However, this year, due to COVID19 restriction many of the members had not had the chance to dive. The NUPG committee decided to change the rules a little. So this year members judged a series of Best of the Century images online and were also invited to take part in a lockdown underwater bath tub category.

There were five categories for members to enter. Here are the winners of each…

British and Irish Close Up

Octopus in St Abbs Marine Reserve by Mike Clark

British and Irish Wide Angle

A Basking Shark off the coast of Cornwall by Nick Robertson-Brown

Overseas Close Up

A squid at night in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia by Ken Byrne

Overseas Wide Angle

Hammerhead Sharks in the Red Sea by Justin Beevor

Under Bath Water

Lockdown fun in the tub by Caroline Robertson-Brown

The next NUPG meeting will be held on Monday 8th February and the guest speaker is John Bantin.

For more information on the NUPG please visit their website by clicking here.

Header image: Lionfish hunting in the Red Sea by John Spencer

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This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email to book your spot!

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