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 new 60 for 60 in diving

This past week I made a dive that I hadn’t made in some time – 60 [feet] for 60 [minutes]. This is one of those marks within diving space that is well-recognized given the US Navy dive table’s no decompression limit at 60 feet…you guessed it – 60 minutes. The depth isn’t a challenge, even for the modestly trained sport diver. However, the challenge is that the time at depth places air consumption right on the edge of the dive being capable of being conducted with a single cylinder. At that edge also lies the potential to enter required decompression....
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don’t drink and drive; and don’t drug and dive

I am always amazed at the pace of progress, particularly in diving, where it seems a 10-20 year cycle is in play for better understanding new technologies, new techniques, and their implications on human factors. A recent article from the Divers Alert Network about pseudoephedrine and diving illustrates this point quite well… http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/Pseudoephedrine_Enriched-Air_Diving Rewind twenty years, and it was rather commonplace for an openwater dive instructor to suggest that over the counter decongestants were a suitable remedy for a student diver who was having difficulty equalizing in shallow water. Between the cold water in your ears, a tightly fitting hood,...
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diving in the background

This week was one of those weeks – a marathon stretch of hard mud diving every day which equated to just shy of 30 hours underwater within a 5 day stretch, with one day including a 7 hour dive. I’ve had lots of weeks like this, for better or worse, and they always manage to bring forward some of the harsh realities of the trade, while leaving the glamour of diving hidden in the background. So, what the heck was I doing for 30 hours down there? Well, I was being part underwater engineer, part underwater carpenter, and part underwater...
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the ups and downs of mooring work

Tis the season – water is still cold, brisk morning starts, and a glimpse of spring come afternoon – and the long days out on the water have kicked off. This time of year is a big focus on one thing…mooring work. What is mooring work? Well, for those landlubber readers, a mooring itself is the permanent anchor set out on the water where folks will tie up a boat that stays on the water for some period of time. Its anatomy consists of some type of heavy bottom tackle, most often a ‘mushroom’ anchor, though at time concrete blocks,...
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recollections from the bottom up

When the phone rings, it could be just about anything… I’ve answered calls that have resulted in gearing up and on a flight to Central America within 2 days, headed offshore on a rickety fishing boat within 2 hours, and asked to review a major construction project that is 2 years out. You never know what might come up next. The important thing is being ready to jump – always remaining in a state of readiness to say ‘yes’. The first time you say ‘no’, your name goes to the bottom of the pile and it could be quite some...
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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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