December 2021 Beacon

From the Vice President for Workshops & Symposia (December 2021)

Fausto Ferreira, Vice President for W&S

As the last issue in 2021, it is now time to make a balance of this year and look forward to 2022! But first, the most recent news on my portfolio.

China Ocean Acoustics (COA) 2021

This conference was already reported in the previous newsletter. I would just like to mention that the proceedings are now available at

Underwater Communications and Networking (UCOMMS) 2021

The 2021 Fifth Underwater Communications and Networking (UCOMMS) took place online, from 31 August to 2 September.

Almost 200 attendees joined the conference over the 3 days, which is significant for a single-track conference with 30 paper presentations organized in 8 sessions. This number of attendees shows the quality of the technical program.

The proceedings are now available online at I strongly recommend you to check the high-quality papers published and keep an eye for the JOE special issue coming up based on a selection of these papers. You can read more about UComms in the dedicated article in this newsletter.

Breaking the Surface 2021

The 13th International Interdisciplinary Field Workshop of Maritime Robotics and Applications – Breaking the Surface (BTS) 2021 – took place from the 29th of September to the 3rd of October in Biograd na Moru, Croatia. This was a special edition as it marked the return to a fully in-person event. All participants travelled to Croatia and only a few talks were held online due to last minute impediments. The workshop had over 100 participants from 39 institutions from all around the world, which can be considered a great achievement given the pandemic situation.

The OES University of Zagreb Student Branch Chapter has been involved in the organization of this workshop since 2019 and, as before, brought some undergraduate students to provide them access to state-of-the-art lectures and hands-on tutorials/demos and getting involved in the organization for the sustainability of the workshop. You can read more about BTS on their article in this newsletter.

Symposium on Ocean Technology (SYMPOL) 2021

The International Symposium on Ocean Technology (SYMPOL) 2021 is currently planned to take place in Kochi, India (and online), from the 9th to the 11th of December, 2021. There were 36 papers submitted of which 29 were accepted. Please consult the website for all updates.

2021 Summary

When I took over to complete Philippe Courmontagne’s mandate, a mix of uncertainty and hope was in my head (and most of us) due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the beginning of vaccination. While our Workshops & Symposia were still affected in 2021 by the pandemic, all of them were very successful, regardless of being held online, in-person or hybrid. As you can read in this and previous newsletters, each workshop/conference took different approaches, but all with successful results. In total, we had over 300 papers presented and published and over 700 attendees in our 2021 Workshops & Symposia! The merit of this achievement goes to all the Local Organizing Committees (LOCs) that had to take hard calls based on uncertain data and forecasts, so I would like to thank all of them and acknowledge their vital role.

Another thing I mentioned in the beginning of the year was the updating of the Guidelines for Workshops & Symposia Organization. I am happy to inform that the updated version of this document has been prepared with the help of a diverse and experienced pool of volunteers: Andreas Marouchos, Gerardo Acosta, Hari Vishnu, Harumi Sugimatsu, Kenneth Foote and René Garello (thanks to all!). The document is currently open for the feedback from the OES Executive Committee and Administrative Committee (AdCom) and will be submitted to a vote at the December AdCom meeting. The Guidelines will then be updated on the website and shared with conference organizers.

The Year Ahead

Looking towards 2022, exciting plans have been made. While the COVID-19 pandemic still affects our workshops and symposia, plans are moving forward to hold all planned conferences, either in hybrid, virtual or in-presence mode throughout 2022. As mentioned before, we have established a new partnership with the Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM) 2022 and we are going ahead with concrete plans for our biennial AUV symposium.

Ocean Sciences Meeting 2022

The OSM’22 Organizing Committee has recently decided to move the whole conference to the online world from the 27th of February to the 4th of March, 2022. I hope that the online format will allow for increased participation, especially from those unable to travel to Hawaii. By the time you will be reading this newsletter, authors will be already notified regarding the acceptance of their abstracts. More info can be found on

2022 IEEE OES Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) Symposium

The IEEE OES Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) 2022 is currently planned to take place in Singapore from the 19th to the 21st of September, 2022. The website is now open so the readers can check all important dates and prepare the submission of their papers!

Future Plans

Very recently, I was elected VP for Workshops & Symposia for my first full term (2022-2023) and I hope to continue doing my job as I did until now. After having updated the Guidelines for Workshops & Symposia Organization, my next priority is to prepare the Policies and Procedures (PnP) for VPWS (besides accompanying all the upcoming conferences). Currently, there are no PnPs for the role of VPWS due to historical reasons (VPWS is a fairly recent role within OES structure). Similarly, the Workshops & Symposia Committee is currently only formed by the VPWS (historically it has been like that). However, I believe this committee should include a diverse group of volunteers and have primarily two roles: liaison with the different OES workshops & symposia and scout for new/existing conferences to be part of the OES portfolio. The rules of nomination and term for this committee will be included in the new PnPs and after this document is officially adopted by ADCOM, nominations will follow.

Finally, I would like to remind any OES members that wish to get involved in current workshops, or propose new ones, to contact me at We are here to serve the OES members and the larger community, and if you have ideas on improving current workshops, you are more than welcome to forward them to me!