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Worst Diving Environment

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by JDMerk, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. JDMerk

    JDMerk Solo Diver

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    I spoke with a guy yesterday who is a recovery diver for the local PD. He was telling me about some of the dives he has been on and they sounded pretty unpleasant. One which stood out was hardhat diving in a hog lagoon looking for a body. But I have heard second or third hand about commercial divers having to dive in mud with the ocnsistency of wet cement (dont know if thats true or not). But how bad does it get, what is the worst diving environment you have ever been in, anything worse than a hog lagoon?
     
  2. Doc Intrepid

    Doc Intrepid Instructor, Scuba

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  3. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: NC
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    The worst environment I have personally been in was while recovering a bunny bucket that a forest service contract pilot pickled by mistake. The water was shallow (6 to 12 ft), warm (83 degrees) with zero viz and the bottom was covered in about 3 ft of very soft ooze with dead clams everywhere (always a bad sign.) It was a long hot day sweating to death running search patterns and feeling around amongst the dead and decomposing clams and ooze for the bunny bucket.

    After completing a search of each area where the pilot was sure he had dropped it, he always had another area where he was then sure he must have dropped it instead. There was almost a homicide that day.

    It is however a wonderful dive compared to, say, diving in a sewer in Mexico City.

    Mexico City Sewer Diving
     
  4. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
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    I did a dive in San Diego to 70'. The only problem was the bottom was at 30'. So 30' of H2O and 40' of harbor silt makes for a nasty dive. That along with a couple of septic tanks and a couple of treatment plants just add up to another day at work. Besides you have no idea what is in that silt you muck up on a normal dive. IT'S POOO.. :D

    Gary D.
     
  5. JDMerk

    JDMerk Solo Diver

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    I dont think there is enough money in this world to pay me to dive in some of this stuff...and the guy in Mexico does it for $400 a month ***? Keep-em-commin
     
  6. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
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    That's why most do it for free. Not enough money out there!!!!! :D We did it for free for 20+ years but now we get $.50 an hour to do it.:eyebrow:

    Gary D.
     
  7. dittrimd

    dittrimd Force Fin Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Coventry, CT
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    The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has a highly technical term for it that I really like. "Organic Muck" is a quote right out of their lakes and rivers guide under the section for bottom composition. I have stuck my arm in it and gone to my shoulder ~ 30" and still not touched a solid bottom.

    In some of our old mill ponds that used to be part of an old mill complex thats primary role was a tannery when you stick something into the organic muck a slick of nasties bubbles out.

    We also dove in a warehouse sprinkler system retention pond that left our exposed skin with some sort of rash. That was pre encapsulated dry suits and FFM!!!

    I recently dove in a roadside drainage pond to fix a locat FD's dry hydrant and the weeds were so thick and strong I thought I was going to need my knife to cut myself out of the entanglement.

    I agree that I have seen nothing worse than the excrement divers!!

    Mark D.
     
  8. TC

    TC Miscreant Moderator Staff Member

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    Dairy farm "pond". Pond in this case means the hole they wash all the cow poo into.
     
  9. Mphill9929

    Mphill9929 Angel Fish

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    One of my friends used to be in charge of the DPS dive team here. One of the dives we use as an example of extreme condition diving is a "dive" they made to recover a body in a home made septic tank. The victim had been missing for 43 days. It took heavy equipment to uncover the tank and the divers used dry suits, surface supplied air and helmets.

    Gary Mailman used to speak at the Texas PSD Seminars at Southwest Texas State University and used an example of extreme diving to punctuate the hazards of diving in polluted water. His slide was of a helmeted diver on a platform being lifted forma sewer treatment plant.

    Locally, our worst conditions are near out port. There was a lot of demolition done there 30 - 50+ years ago to an old concrete dock. About 25 years ago, we discovered the area while searching for a number of victims who had been involved in a high speed boat collision. The rubble was beyond anything we had ever trained for or even considered at the time. While searching an area near the dock, two of our divers entered an overhead environment that was created by chunks of concrete. In zero vis they did not know it until they got hung on rebar. I was on my way down to them when they both popped up. Both of them got out of the water, took their gear off and never dove again.

    While our training has improved by light years, I have never forgotten how scared we all were of that particular situation. We have different methodology now as well as a variety of safety systems in place that we never though of back then. We also train for a very wide variety of diver emergencies involving OUR divers.

    Worst case conditions don't always have to be nasty water ...

    Mark Phillips
    Editor / Publisher
    PSDiver.com
     
  10. Lucy's Diver

    Lucy's Diver Barracuda

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: New York City
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    Under a railroad bridge on a river in Kentucky. Like most bridges, there was a blown up bridge under it. As I knelt in 2 foot deep muck working out comms issues I sunk deeper, causing some kind of petroleum product to bubble up. There was a sewage treatment plant 100 yards upstream, with a sign pointing to the river warning that it overflowed in the rain. It rained.
     

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