Tag Archives: Better Diver

Journey of 540 Dives

This post goes out to the dedicated and hard working men of ALERT’s Unit 51. 

I have been on the road for most of April in the great state of Texas, teaching at the International ALERT Academy.

This is one of the twice-a-year moments that I get to teach there, and it is hands down my favorite group to teach.

We cover a LOT in a very short amount of time! In just 14 days, these young men are taken from not being very confident in the water to open water, advanced open water, and then through the special response diving course. Like I said, a LOT!

There are a few reasons why I enjoy this.

  1. These guys are beast. Like Nike, they just do it. No reservations or holding back when they are told to do something- they just get it done.
  2. Big, giant, human shaped sponges. All of them are eager to learn and grow.
  3. Competent. It’s not like they just learned to dive in the ocean and now they won’t dive for another year. No.. in just these two weeks they put 20 dives under their weight belts. Most people learning to dive won’t even do that many dives in a year!
  4. Let’s not leave out comical. It’s not perfection all the time, and there are a lot of screw ups, but we have fun doing it! The difference is that these guys are willing to learn from their mistakes.

These are only a few of the many reasons I enjoy working with ALERT men. I’m also an Alumni of the Academy, so there’s that…

There is one thing that stands out the most, however, among these young men. It’s their desire to go out and do. They have a fire lit inside to take the skills that they learn and go and serve their communities and public safety departments. And that’s exactly what we need. We need the next generation of public safety divers to get excited to take on the job that is there.

An interesting shift is going on in the public safety diving world right now. It’s the shift from the experienced old salts to the young bucks. Those that have been in the world of Underwater Search & Recovery and have been successful in their craft are either moving up their respective ladders, or they are retiring. The massive amounts of knowledge and wisdom that comes only from experience also leaves with them. This is leaving a learning gap in many departments. The old is out and the new is lost and left to find help and training on their own; which often means poor training.

But it’s this fresh batch, the newbies, the rookies, the ones with that drive to get it done, that make my job a joy to do. I look forward to the future of these ALERT men and the impact they will have on their communities. Keep up the good work guys!

If you want to find out more about ALERT click HERE!

 

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The positives of negative buoyancy!

Finally, some clear thinking on the importance buoyancy has in the diving community. Wait a minute, what diving community is it important to? As a matter of fact, how many diving communities are there? Why don’t you just think about those two questions while I continue with the first thought.

 

Buoyancy is all about Archimedes, who was a Greek mathematician/scientist living in the 3rd century BC.archimedes

Using scientific methods he determined that “…an object immersed in a liquid partially or totally is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the liquid displaced”.

 

Well, have you thought long enough on those two diving community questions? The answer is… understanding and mastering  Buoyancy is important in every diving community.

In the recreational diving community the attainment of Neutral buoyancy at any depth is the desired objective to be considered a competent diver. However Positive buoyancy is the most sought after and taught skill for a dive profile to have a happy conclusion. Then there is Negative buoyancy which has become the bain of sport divers and those who teach them.

 

In the Commercial diving community the knowledge, skills and abilities  (attitudes) when it comes to buoyancy is more a job for job tool and capability. That means that Positive, neutral and negative buoyancy is mission dictated and performed professionally to a successful conclusion.

In the Special Response Diving community Negative buoyancy is king! This community includes Police divers, Public Safety divers, medium_21-280213113545emergency response divers, tactical divers, military divers, forensic divers and any other group that performs underwater search and recovery missions. Believe it or not trying to find something on the bottom while neutrally buoyant is a fools errand. Now some will argue that neutral buoyancy keeps the diver from disturbing the bottom, and that may work once in a while, but if you want to find something on the bottom you must become the bottom. This is achieved only with negative buoyancy. The only way to constantly have a positive resolution to an underwater search is becoming proficient in the use of negative buoyancy.

 

Remember, in underwater search & recovery you get positive results when negative buoyancy is king!

 

Written by – Michael W. Gast

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