So I have started on a new journey with diving. I have decided to do something with my dive qualifications. I recently joined an Underwater Search and Rescue team. This is a team that deals with search, rescue and recovery. This can range from saving lives, recovering bodies or evidence or even vehicles.
Now because of my location located in the middle of the United States, there isn’t much in the way of real scuba diving, therefore, I do not get much dive time. The kind of diving I will be doing will be Black Water Diving. I will explain more about this down below.
Make sure to check out the short video from Youtube on black water diving….
The Dive Test!
The dive test was one that takes a bit of physical shape to do. It involves a 10-minute float, a 200-meter swim (freestyle), a 400-meter mask, snorkel and fins swim and finally end with a tired diver tow. All of these events are timed and you get a score from them. Basically it takes 12 points to be able to join the team.
Your score is calculated on how quickly you do each event except for the 10-minute float which is self-explanatory. Your score for the swimming depends on how fast you do it. I forget exactly how it breaks down but the faster the better obviously.
This was especially tough for me since I am not much of a swimmer, I am a sinker! Although, I suck at swimming I was able to complete each task mostly getting my points from the float and the tired diver tow. The tired diver tow is 25 meters in less than two minutes. Easy Day!
Not only do you have to show that you are proficient at swimming you have to do some basic scuba skills demo. You have to be able to flood and clear your mask, remove BCD and put it back on, and be able to demo out of air and buddy breathing when the instructor cuts off your air supply.
Academy starts with being issued a Public Safety Diving book that you have to read. Once you are so far in the book you are then taken into the class room for videos and discussion. Then there is pool time to do more training as well as training in actual black water.
During academy, you will learn how to use the lingo such as 10-code, search patterns, and learning how to be a tender (someone provides you directions from atop the water).
Academy is pretty self-paced with the book readings but the real meat and potatoes comes from the actual pool or black water diving. This is where you will learn the most of what you will be doing.
I think that the most important thing you can take from this is the search patterns. This would be most critical in recovering any item or body (and yes you will be searching with your hands and touching anything you are searching for.)
For Fun or for Glory
If you are seeking to join a team such as this for the fun of it or for the glory of saving/recovering someone than you are in it for the wrong reasons! This is something that is done to give back to the community. You won’t be getting TV time or rewards for doing any of this.
You should be doing something like this for the right reasons. The team that I joined is totally volunteer work. I am not getting paid for any of it. Which is honestly not a bad thing cause it is for the greater good as it gives back to the community and helps others.
Giving back to the community is an important part of being on a volunteer team. There should be no glory hound looking to become famous overnight for rescuing/recovering someone or something. Now there is a fun aspect to it but that is not something that happens very often.
For fun, we get together as a group and do BBQ’s that involves the families of the team members. This is something that should be looked forward to as this is the “fun and glory” that you will get with being part of a team such as this.
Dry Suit Training
I am also going to be getting dry suit training. Which is something that I am looking forward to! Things that I do know about dry suits diving is that you stay dry! Also, you can remain warmer because you will have clothes under your suit that will help insulate you from the cold water that you are diving in.
I also know that I will be learning how to maneuver in a dry suit because it is possible to get stuck upside down if you get a bubble down at your feet. This is possible because you do not have a BCD for your flotation aid, the dry suit itself is the BCD when you are diving in this fashion.
This is a great opportunity for me to be able to give back to the community and be able to dive. This something that is easy to do being stuck in the middle of the United States. Black water diving can be extremely dangerous for someone that does not know what they are doing. Being part of a team that has experience to pass on down to you is the best way to go.
Make sure that you are in some sort of physical shape to be able to complete the dive testing so that you can make the team. The float, the swims, and the tired diver tow are what you need to be able to do with in a certain time frame.
Academy is where you will get all your training for black water diving. It is essential that you pay attention during this training because it could result in saving someone or recovering property or evidence. Knowing what to do is important in looking professional and getting the job done safely and effectively.
This is not something for those that seek to be rewarded or looking for glory. It is all volunteer work that should be rewarding enough plus getting to meet new people and have the ability to participate in the BBQ’s or other get togethers’. You will get more out of it if your heart is in the right place.
Keep in mind that this is not for everyone. There is always the chance of having to recover a body whether it be an adult or child, you have to the ability to deal with this sort of thing.
If you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them below in the comments and I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can.
As always happy diving