the Life Aquatic [of the working diver]

the Life Aquatic [of the Working Diver]

Working underwater is just plain hard work – hard on the body, and on the mind. Yet, for centuries, a community has evolved that embraces this work as its own. 

Divers are their own unique breed, with each bringing special skills and expriences into the mix to keep the work moving forward. Day in and day out, their ‘Life Aquatic’ is full of life lessons that are often learned the hard way. Some of the greatest minds in human history have lived this Life Aquatic – from Alexander the Great to Cousteau.

Ocean Opportunity Inc. treats diving itself as a field of study, and embraces the social and cultural challenges that come with this community as its strengths. We work hard to improve the Life Aquatic for all working divers through new technologies, new techniques, and sometimes just simple information exchange to help others learn how to get it done just a little bit easier than the last time.

After all, the work is hard enough, so we may as well be working together.

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Read More about Evolving the Life Aquatic

the smells and the sounds of a day welding in the mud

As hard as the days can be, the entire experience of a days worth of diving in the mud is nothing short of value packed. And after a hard days work, the level of appreciation for having the opportunity is always elevated. This past week’s activities: wet welding. I’ve written about underwater welding a few times, but figure its worth elaborating upon a bit given that it’s fresh, and as I sit here to write I am still suffering in the aftermath. I’ll start by saying that welding is not my strong suit, but it is one of the things...
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oh wait, we [divers] all need weight!

Among my numerous hobby ventures has been fabricating weight harnesses for divers. Having produced a batch recently, the topic is fresh on my mind, so I figured I would share some of the ins and outs of the design and my own philosophies on correct weighting for divers. For starters, we all need to wear weight to aid in our being properly ballasted for any given dive. Short of wearing nothing but a bathing suit in the tropics and probably avoiding the need for any substantial weight, each and every diver requires at least some adjustment to help us break...
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scientific diving – a value add

As my career has evolved, I’ve found myself involved in progressively more challenging environments to work in and under – part of this has been out of personal interest, and part has been out of necessity to take science forward [and deeper]. This pursuit brings out one critical and common thread which needs to be central to every program, project, and individual dive…safety. As a Dive Safety Officer for a variety of organizations and institutions, I’ve been behind the scenes for the organization and management of well in excess of 10,000 scientific dives, and probably 3-4x’s that for cumulative working...
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tech tips: think subject illumination, rather than ‘lighting’

As recently as two days ago I was mucking about at the bottom of Narragansett Bay to identify and recover debris that may have posed a problem for a dredging operation. While at it, I made the effort to do some tests with a recently launched underwater LED light. The design was pushed by your truly, and has since undergone refinements and is fabricated by Juice Robotics LLC. Many of today’s diving lights are the product of the cave diving community, where generally clear water (think Florida Springs) and stone walls amplify very bright white light to illuminate a wide...
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Alveoli and Ravioli

As we have trod onward through this life aquatic, among the most evident principles in managing a human presence underwater is a fundamental appreciation for basic human needs – food, water, shelter, and of course air to breathe. Remove any of these and the human struggles to climb Mr. Maslow’s hierarchical pyramid of human performance towards self-actualization. As we’ve written about frequently, diving challenges these at a fundamental level, where breathing gas must be artificially supplied, and of course there are limited mechanisms to obtain food, fresh water, or shelter while immersed in our watery world. Solve these problems, and...
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’tis the season, for Black Beans

Friends and readers around this watery planet, it is that time of year yet again. My annual shameless plug for a proud piece of paperback literature that has soared into double-digit sales last year: Black Beans, Mean Business, by yours truly. The book is the perfect stocking stuffer for the budding entrepreneur in your life – from the high school techie dropout to the retired garage tinkerer and everyone in between…we all have a story, and mine is about black beans. Throughout the struggle and strife of the early days, there was but one consistent thing day-to-day – a can...
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tech tips: hot water valves for divers

Most divers are at least familiar with the concept of a drysuit. Idea being to keep water off of the diver‘s body, which has a cooling effect. Within the suit, an insulating undergarment is worn to retain the diver’s body heat and provide some lasting comfort while diving in coldwater. It’s tried and true, though still presents limitations for very long duration dives. In very recent years, electrically heated undergarments have made it to market, and are becoming a viable solution for longer exposures. In the working/commercial diving world, we have been using hotwater suits, rather than drysuits, for decades....
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all clammed up

While most of the world was busy getting ‘Trumped’ Tuesday night (election night), there I was, all clammed up on the galley bench of a clam dredge fishing vessel trying to get a few hours sleep while en route to Nantucket Shoals off of Massachusetts. The mission – recover a clam dredge that had been lost. So, what is a clam dredge? Well, imagine a very large steel cage with a series of water jet nozzles at the front used to churn up the ocean floor. The vessel drags this cage through a clam bed, and picks up just about...
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