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

Chapter 13 | Ascending from the Trenches

I was struck during a brief conversation with a colleague recently when we stumbled upon the topic that my professional track is viewed as a success by outsiders. Being immersed in my own moving and shaking every day, I’ve struggled to view successes versus failures or any broader perception as such, but rather just keep moving forward and attempting to make progress. Certainly, I’ve been beat up pretty good – 4, 5, or even 6 times now with various ventures gone bust for any variety of reasons; some within my control, and others not within my control. Taking that repeated...
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Lurking in the Shadows of September 11

Today will forever be one of those days where every American will reminisce a bit and contemplate where and how we are moving forward. In my case, today the dive supervisor reminded me that this was the 4th anniversary of Lyle passing away. Lyle Smith was the owner of Coastal Diving in Middletown, RI – the guy that gave me a chance to cut my teeth in commercial diving, and who I then worked with for a solid 15 years; or rather learned many life lessons with for 15 years while out there taking the sea head on day after...
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a diver’s life hangs in the balance

Acceptable risk. This is something that is widely variable from person to person, from diver to diver, and can ebb and flow based on the current state of affairs, and even day to day state of mind. Earlier this week, while conducting a fairly routine activity underwater – fully accepting the risk – I was left literally hanging in the balance…and there I was. To set the stage, we were out doing our routine mooring work. For those not in tune with mooring work, it means alot of diving in muddy harbors, lots of ups and downs, humping around heavy...
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the ‘S’ word : Standards

Standards. We all hate to love them, and love to hate them; ‘standards’ are the cookie cutter codes of practice that everyone follows in some form or fashion – be it standards by which we educate, standards by which we are obligated to meet for occupational health and safety, or even standards of care offered by a medical professional. Not to be confused with actual laws, standards are generally a community consensus of practices or beliefs that set the precedent for codes of conduct. In cases where the precedent is pursued as law, then often times it becomes just that...
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Making waves, in Compost!

Yesterday, our local news featured a piece about Stop & Shop’s regional compost facility in Assonet, MA. This is such an amazing facility, and hopefully becomes a model of efficiency for other large companies: http://turnto10.com/news/local/stop-shop-facility-turns-food-into-energy Some might ask how in the world this seems to excite me? Well, environmental advocacy aside, I’ve been up close and personal with this place – being one of three to dive in! I’ve done some cool projects, but this one stood out, at least within the last few years…not only was it cool, but it was hot at the same time… A stand pipe...
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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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