• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Under the sea: A look at the fifth annual Diver Education Conference

Discussion in 'Ideas and Stories' started by Sam Miller III, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    4,865
    3,452
    113
    [h=2]Under the sea: A look at the fifth annual Diver Education Conference[/h][h=3]BY KRISTINA SEWELL[/h][TABLE="align: right"]
    [TR]
    [TD][TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD][TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD][TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"][​IMG]
    ANOTHER WORLD[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]The convention featured three displays of past and present underwater diving equipment, including an underwater camera weighing 35 pounds. (ED note it is a 16 mm Sampson made in 1950s by herb Sampson, Costa Mesa Cal--Items above are spear guns dating from 1939-Bottom Scratcher to about 1980-most custom made)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]PHOTO BY KRISTINA SEWELL[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    It was Saturday; the sun beat down hotly on my shoulders as I opened the doors to the PG&E Educational Center in Avila Beach. As I stepped into the cool air, I wasn’t sure what to expect at a diving conference—scuba diving, that is. Recovered treasure? Skeletons of fearsome creatures?
    There were display tables in the foyer highlighting generations of underwater cameras. Huge and cumbersome looking, these cameras, I learned, can weigh as much as 35 pounds. Another table displayed different types of commercial underwater masks. The last table featured an impressive collection of spear guns, including one gun that was 7 feet in length.
    I was directed to the forum behind a set of double doors. As I walked in, Sam Miller, a hyperbaric and undersea medicine doctor at Marian Regional Medical Center, was delivering a lecture on underwater bacterium.
    The forum was filled with people of all ages; some attendees came from as far as Los Angeles or San Francisco for the event. The crowd was interspersed with men wearing yellow shirts, signifying their position as members of the San Luis Underwater Search and Recovery Dive Team. Trying not to look out of place, I took a seat in the back of the room to see what I could learn.
    Miller’s lecture focused on the threat of microbial species to divers. His thorough presentation gave some ... gruesome … insight into different infections—some whose names I can’t even remember how to spell. A number of the pictures were very graphic; in the end, I was glad his presentation came before lunch, but I had to admit that I learned a lot.
    Hosted and sponsored by Depth Perceptions Diving Services, San Luis DivCon got its start in 2010 when the SLO County Sheriff’s Department Underwater Search and Recovery Dive Team, another sponsor for the convention, opened its spring training lecture to other public safety divers and the general sport-diving community.
    “It was so well received and enjoyed, the team invited other groups, such as scientific divers and other dive teams, to participate,” said Chuck Rawlinson, owner of Depth Perceptions and coordinator for the event.
    He added that this conference is unique because it’s the only one in SLO County, and it combines both the scientific and recreational aspects of diving. The event covers an interesting mixture of dive history, medicine, research, and entertainment.
    The coordinator said when the event was first opened to the public, 50 people attended. This year, the event grew to 80 attendees, including the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Dive Team and the Cal Poly Scientific Divers.
    PG&E sponsored the March 15 conference as an all-day event. The speakers, Rawlinson said, volunteer to speak at the event. In between speakers, there was a small, one-hour luncheon at which divers young and old swapped undersea tales and tricks, and discussed the lectures and recent diving excursions.
    As I munched on my salad, I thought about all the different people present at the conference.
    Scuba diving is a versatile activity with commercial, sport, scientific, and recreational purposes. Likewise, people scuba dive for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most driving impetus is a deep fascination with the teeming life below the surface, especially the underwater world that exists just off the Central Coast.
    [TABLE="align: left"]
    [TR]
    [TD][TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD][TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD][TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"][​IMG]
    UNDERWATER EXPERTS[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]This year’s speakers posed together during lunch; they all have more than 20 years of experience teaching and participating in diving.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]PHOTO BY KRISTINA SEWELL[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    “This is very exposed coastline that is affected by storms in the Bering Sea, Hawaii, and the South Pacific,” Rawlinson said. “Spear fishing is fantastic, as well as [the] dense marine life for underwater photography.”
    Rawlinson added that one’s knowledge of weather, tides, and ocean conditions determines whether he or she will enjoy this coast to the fullest.
    The conference returned from the lunch hour to a lecture on the evolution of dive computers, presented by Karl Huggins.
    “Understanding your equipment is crucial for having a safe dive,” Huggins told the audience.
    He said dive computers check decompression and nitrogen levels, and monitor dive time, as well as exposure. He shared that many of these dive computers were originally developed for underwater warfare. Rawlinson indicated that each of the speakers at the event is an expert in some facet of scuba diving. There were several doctors, a naval search and rescue speaker, commercial divers, and historians who all offered their expertise on one aspect of scuba diving
    While a lot of what the speakers were talking about flew over my head, the academic nature of the topics and all the learning potential were interesting to me. These divers were staying updated on the current developments with their field and passion. What they were learning is crucial for preventing injury and death while scuba diving.
    Despite the intellect of this convention, I still managed to learn a few important things. Whether you consider diving a sport, hobby, or profession, it’s something that demands being consistently aware of one’s surroundings, staying calm, and knowing how these come into play when diving.
    Even thought the concept of the “dumb jock” persists today, these divers are taking point as the brainier athletes, combining two opposing talents—science and physical prowess—in the safest and most efficient way possible so they can access a world so beautiful and far removed.

    Staff Writer Kristina Sewell wants to see a Cheese-Con happen! Contact her with suggestions at ksewell@santamariasun.com

    ---------- Post added March 21st, 2014 at 05:09 AM ----------

    My son Sam IV is the ER/Hyperbaric doctor.

    Some times it pays to grow your own...

    SDM111
     

Share This Page