When ordering supplies for a recent project, a colleague arrived at a parts list factoring in the ‘extra items’ we would need with the premise of understanding that divers will ‘lose one, break one, and steal one’. We all had a chuckle, but also understand full well that this is one of those true cultural elements of the working diver community.
Working divers are some of the smartest people I know – they have more practical common sense that even the thriftiest of the thrifty, and can ‘MacGyver’ themselves out of any situation, including those where lives are on the line. Facing daily challenges in physics and common sense, divers see the world within the weave of its threads and can patch that delicate fabric with nuts and bolts.
Now, when asking how many nuts and bolts are needed, figure at least three extra, as we’ll most likely lost one (in the zero visibility), break one (from over-tightening), and steal one (ok, call it a long-term loan). On the latter, divers are certainly not thieves, but part of the seafaring culture does seem to involve the curious exchange of hardware, material scraps, and equipment mysteriously walking away. A close look at a well-built out dive trailer or boat will reveal a long history of its time in action – hardware from salvaged vessels amidst the box of ‘spares’, damaged out-of -service hoses used for chafing gear, and the interesting tool apparently cobbled together with scrap metal from the last job site.
It’s a form art, and piracy perfected throughout several centuries of life in the sea where in the end we all just have to survive out there and get the job done.