Tune-ups and Emergency Drills
To begin this phase of the operation, most of the NOAA and NURC/UNCW divers are participating in tune-up dives. Terrence Tysall and Kyle Creamer, representing Benthic Technologies, Inc., were hired to supervise the retraining of these divers. This process will consist of a progression of dives utilizing the same equipment configuration that the divers will use on the Monitor.
Yesterday, most of the NOAA and NURC/UNCW personnel spent the day preparing their personal equipment, the recompression chamber and the gas fill station, both located on the Coast Guard station, and the R/V Cape Fear, our dive vessel for the mission.
The dives will start with depths about 130 fsw and will get progressively deeper each day. In addition to the tune-up dives, we will be practicing our emergency procedures. This will consist of rescuing an unconscience diver, preparing him for transport, transferring from one vessel to another and putting the diver into the recompression chamber.
Once again, the weather would not allow us to make it out to dive. The winds were above 20 knots and the seas were over 5 feet. However, this did not prevent us from practicing our emergency procedures. We practiced several senarios of rescuing an unconscience diver.
We involved the Coast Guard in these drills and helped them practice as well. During the diver transfer part of our drills, we radioed the Coast Guard and they came out to meet us and pick up the injured diver. We then went ashore on the Coast Guard vessel.
The recompression chamber is supplied for this expedition by NURC/UNCW and is located at the Coast Guard station at Hatteras Inlet. The boat ride in from the Monitor is about 2 hours; so, in an emergency, we can have a diver back to shore and in the chamber in good time.
After coming ashore, the chamber is quickly readied and the diver is put in the chamber along with a Diving Medical Technician (DMT). The Diving Medical Officer (DMO) is standing by for medical evaluations and can enter the chamber if necessary.