Yesterday was a good reminder of where to find job security in the subaquatic realm – husbandry. Every device and structure – from instruments to bridges and piers – is severely abused by the natural forces of the ocean environment, and that means they need constant maintenance and upkeep…great news for us commercial divers.
My day spent underwater yesterday was to maintain a seawater intake system at a local university by removing and cleaning an array of filters. It goes without saying that filters lining an intake are to keep critters out. The problem is those sessile critters that have a way of attaching to screens and filters and clog everything up. So, this system in particular needs service about twice annually.
This particular project illustrates a point well – and that is the need for design engineers, end-users, AND those doing maintenance (us divers) to work together from the onset of such projects to make every one’s life easier – and keep costs down. In this case, the labor required by the divers to do this routine husbandry work is extensive. Far too extensive in fact, and this is the result of an over engineered system. Great for me, but not so great for those footing the bill.
As we consider this greater pursuit of living the life aquatic – and the future of increased coastal and submerged infrastructure, we cannot dismiss the need for associated husbandry work. The shear force of the ocean alone wear on materials, and every barren substrate provides a new opportune home for marine life, which in turn places added weight and strain on these manmade structures. The science behind all this – materials science, structural engineering, innovation in husbandry tools/techniques, is all at its infant stages, with the marine marketplace still being rather small given our limited presence on and under the sea.
I can’t honestly say it for everyone, but those considering some degree of job security should look to our submerged horizons – I guarantee there are surfaces to be cleaned, hardware to be replaced, and critical infrastructure present and future in need of repair.