Oceans of Opportunity

a bit more pressure

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiWhile the winter has been quite productive despite the convention of a seasonal low in contract diving, the recent break in the weather has ramped things up significantly. More work means more and more time underwater, and ‘under pressure‘.

I’ve written about pressure numerous times before, and the topic is certain to continually surface as we continue on our journey in this life aquatic. Today, I write because the laws of physics have striked yet again. It may be a function of taking on more complex projects, or just experience finally catching up with me – but pressure comes through as a critical concept to understand and manage on a variety of levels. Pressure on my body and equipment, stress ‘pressure’, and environmental pressure placed on various man-mande structures that we are working on. Pressure, pressure, pressure is the name of the game day in and day out.

As I’ve said before – a little bit of pressure, and a whole lot of commons sense goes a long way. The sooner any newbie comes to terms with understanding pressure and its effects on mind, body, and soul, the better. It wasn’t my strong suit early on, and I’m the first to admit it. I struggled with dive physics in my basic scuba class and was a B- student at best in college physics class. The journey is just full of surprises…

Today, physics and pressure consume my every day. Force, static pressure, dynamic pressure, ambient pressure, atmospheric pressure, bars, psi, hydraulic pressure, pneumatic pressure, hydrostatic pressure, differential pressure, torque, and it goes on.

Just ‘jumping in and getting it done’, unfortunately, is a recipe for disaster and a gamble with Mother Nature. Taking it slow, critical thinking, and problem solving – to factor in those age old laws of physics – is the key to success.

Physics, and pressure specifically, is our single barrier to entry in further exploring our oceans. As we come to better understand human and materials limitations under pressure, we will gain increased access to the rest of our planet. its’ that simple – or so it sounds.

The History Channel did a fantastic job showcasing pressure in a documentary entitled ‘Fatal Pressure’ which recently aired as part of their Underwater Universe series. Check it out here: http://www.history.com/shows/underwater-universe/videos/underwater-universe-fatal-pressure .

While you watch that, I’m back to blowing bubbles, taking on physics on breathe at a time.

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