Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society & Historical Museum, Key West FL
Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society
Dolores E. Fisher Award

Application Process

The Dolores (Deo) Fisher Award will be given annually to one young woman between the ages of 16 and 21 or to one young woman between 22 and 30. Finalists in each age group will compete for the $1,000 cash award and trophy.

Four Requirements:

  • Completion of the application form; (Click here to download printable form.)
  • A 1,000 word essay describing how the candidate hopes to make a difference in the world through her passion for the oceans;
  • A written statement outlining career goals, where along her path the candidate is, where she expects to be by May of the award year, and how the Dolores E. Fisher Award will help her achieve these goals;
  • Three letters of recommendation sealed by the author.

The complete application package should be mailed to:

Department of Education
Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society
200 Greene St.
Key West, FL 33040

The award cycle opens in January 2013 and closes June 30, 2013. A six-member selection committee will review applications.  The cash honorarium and certificates of honorable mention will be announced in August. The committee reserves the right not to award the prize. Final decisions may include a phone or personal interview.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

The Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society is a
501 (c)(3) accredited,
not-for-profit organization existing for the purpose of accumulating and disseminating information; providing educational services to the public on maritime and colonial activity in the New World and preserving maritime culture resources.

Deo FisherIn order to cultivate and support the study of the oceans, the education department of the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society annually presents an award in honor of Dolores (Deo) Fisher's extraordinary achievements and passion for the oceans.

A cash honorarium of $1,000 will be awarded to a young woman, aged 35 or younger, who demonstrates strong, refined ocean-related career goals. Additionally, the recipient of the award will be invited to spend behind-the-scenes time at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.

About Dolores E. Fisher


Record Breaker


Deo with husband, MelBorn in Montana, Dolores Fisher moved to California with her family in the early 1950s where she met her husband, Melvin Fisher. She became Mel's dive buddy and business partner. Together, they started the first dive shop in the world in Redondo Beach, California. In the pool of the Hermosa Biltmore, they taught more than 65,000 novices how to begin enjoying the underwater world. Eventually, they moved to Florida to hunt for shipwrecks. Their family, together with associated divers, is credited with many shipwreck discoveries. Most notably, they discovered the 1622 Spanish Galleons Santa Margarita and Nuestra Senora de Atocha, and the 1701 slave ship, the Henrietta Marie. These finds were a catalyst for marine archaeology and conservation efforts leading to new interpretations of poorly documented periods of history.

Deo with dive gear
Dolores Fisher is passionate about the oceans and their exploration. She was the first woman to sail aboard and fully participate in several of the vessels used in Mel's search. Deo established the underwater endurance record in the Hermosa Aquarium by staying underwater for over 55 hours and 37 minutes (55:37:9.6) using SCUBA
Deo underwater with son
Deo and Mel had four children: Dirk, Kim, Taffi and Kane. When her children were young, SCUBA gear for children was commercially unavailable. In order to provide safe diving gear for her children, Deo custom-made equipment for them.

Monday through Friday
8:30 - 5:00
Weekends & Holidays
9:30 - 5:00

Accredited by the American Association of MuseumsMEL FISHER MARITIME MUSEUM
200 Greene Street
Key West, Florida 33040

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