After several years of standstill, technical diving conferences are back on the programme. We went to visit Baltictech 2022 which was held in Gdynia, a port on Poland's Baltic coast.
This was my first visit to a Baltictech conference. At long last, I finally got the chance as it wasn't held almost at the same time as DEMA—which is always a priority because of the significant amount of our business we conduct there.
Baltictech, like other such conferences, has been held every other year in recent years, but not since 2019 due to the epidemic so this time around, there was a three-year break.
It is held in Gdynia on the Polish Baltic coast and this time more specifically in the Polish Navy Academy which offered quite nice and comfortable facilities such as a large auditorium as shown above.
For a Copenhagener, it was very easy to go there because it was just a 40-minute flight from Copenhagen to Gdansk and from there a short taxi ride to Gdynia as the two cities form a conurbation.
I managed to check into my hotel in the centre of Gdynia less than two hours after my flight departed from Copenhagen. My colleague and fellow editor, Lelle, who arrived from Stockholm later that evening only had a slightly longer flight. Hotel Mercure, which we could book at a special discounted rate, was quite nice, comfortable and functional without being ostentatious or luxurious—but who needs that when you're just going there for a weekend and spend most of the time at a conference?
The technical conferences I have otherwise attended typically have 3-400 participants—it almost seems to be a norm of sorts—so I immediately noticed when we arrived at the academy by chartered bus from the hotel that there were quite many people queuing for tickets or already inside. It was surprisingly well attended, and after the conference, someone mentioned that 1,200 tickets had been sold, which is impressive.
There were also quite a number of exhibitors whose stands were lined up on balconies and along the aisles. It was just short of being a tad squeezed, but it worked out just fine as can be gleaned from the video inserted below.
As to why the footfall was so good, I cannot say for sure, but my guess is that it was partly due to a pent-up appetite after the pandemic, partly a quite large catchment area from which the audience could be drawn. In this regard, I am not referring to the locals or the immediate vicinity but nearby countries from where you could easily and cheaply travel to the event. I thus paid less for my plane ticket than a domestic train ticket to the peninsular part of Denmark, and got there faster.
The conference was very well organized and with control over the many small details that make everything run smoothly and on time. So hats off.
On Friday evening, before the conference started, we were also invited to a very nice reception with a generous selection of snacks and drinks at Santi's, whose premises is located just a fifteen-minute walk from the hotel. Santi is the main sponsor and the organizer is Santi's director Tomasz Stachura, who was also one of the presenters.
The program offered many fine presentations but appeared not to be quite up to the usual high level, at least according to a regular Baltictech attendee. Allegedly there were some difficulties in getting commitments from various presenters in time after the pandemic—although I cannot say for sure whether this was the case because the information is second-hand and not from the organisers.
The program is attached to the bottom of this page and whether or not there is some truth to the above observations it is still a quite nice and varied list of topics and presenters.
I had however already seen a couple of the presentations on other occasions and some of the more local topics which were presented in parallel sessions in other halls did not quite capture my interest. This gave me the opportunity to have a proper talk with some of the exhibitors.
As a whole, I found the conference interesting, fruitful and absolutely worth the while. It was also nice to see various industry colleagues again after a long break and to meet some new ones at the same time.