Working Underwater: The Story of the Commercial Diving Industry

An illustrated history of the commercial diving industry paired with the histories of companies that have helped shape the industry.

An illustrated history of the commercial diving industry paired with the histories of companies that have helped shape the industry.


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<strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

by Mike Cox<br />

A 50th anniversary commemorative publication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International

Thank you for your interest in this HPNbooks publication. For more information about o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

HPNbooks publications, or information about producing your own book with us, please visit www.hpnbooks.com.


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

by Mike Cox<br />

A 50th anniversary commemorative publication <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International<br />

A publication <strong>of</strong> Press and Publications,<br />

Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International<br />

HPNbooks<br />

A division <strong>of</strong> Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas







112 SPONSORS<br />


First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2018 HPNbooks<br />

All rights reserved. No part <strong>of</strong> this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing<br />

from <strong>the</strong> publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to HPNbooks, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790, www.hpnbooks.com.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-944891-50-3<br />

Library <strong>of</strong> Congress Card Catalog Number: 2018942132<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

2<br />

<strong>Working</strong> <strong>Underwater</strong>: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

author: Mike Cox<br />

cover photographer: United States Navy<br />

contributing writer for “Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage”: Joe Goodpasture<br />

HPNbooks<br />

chairman and chief executive <strong>of</strong>ficer: Jean-Claude Tenday<br />

publisher and chief creative <strong>of</strong>ficer: Bernard O’Connor<br />

president and chief revenue <strong>of</strong>ficer: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Mary Hanley<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata<br />

Melissa G. Quinn,<br />

Lori K. Smith<br />

Kristin T. Williamson<br />

book sales: Joe Neely<br />

production: Colin Hart<br />

Evelyn Hart<br />

Glenda Tarazon Krouse<br />

Tim Lippard<br />

Craig Mitchell<br />

Christopher D. Sturdevant

An early day diver suiting up.<br />




<strong>The</strong>se companies have made major contribution to <strong>the</strong> book as part <strong>of</strong> our Legacy Program. We could not have made this book possible<br />

without <strong>the</strong>ir leadership and participation.<br />

Divers Institute <strong>of</strong> Technology<br />

1341 North Northlake Way<br />

Seattle, Washington 98103<br />

206-783-5542<br />

www.diversinstitute.edu<br />

J.F. Brennan Company, Inc.<br />

Brennan Marine<br />

818 Bainbridge Street<br />

La Crosse, Wisconsin 54603<br />

608-784-7173<br />

www.jfbrennan.com<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


Mainstream <strong>Commercial</strong> Divers, Inc.<br />

322 C.C. Lowry Drive<br />

Murray, Kentucky 42071<br />

270-753-9654<br />

www.mainstreamdivers.com<br />

<strong>Underwater</strong> Construction Corporation<br />

110 Plains Road<br />

Essex, Connecticut 06426<br />

860-767-8256<br />

www.uccdive.com<br />

Walker <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Underwater</strong> Construction, LLC<br />

75 Waterford Road,<br />

Hammonton, New Jersey 08037<br />

609-704-8650<br />

www.walkerdiving.com<br />



WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />




When <strong>the</strong> sails <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> six Spanish ships rose over <strong>the</strong> horizon <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> long, narrow sand barrier<br />

that centuries later would come to be known as Padre Island, lookouts in <strong>the</strong> rigging made out a<br />

bearded, semi-clad man waving frantically from <strong>the</strong> wreckage <strong>of</strong> a vessel partially submerged in <strong>the</strong><br />

pounding surf.<br />

Of some 400 men, women and children who had been aboard three ships that had wrecked <strong>of</strong>f<br />

this remote shore during a storm that spring, this man was one <strong>of</strong> only a handful <strong>of</strong> survivors. Half<br />

<strong>of</strong> those on <strong>the</strong> ships had drowned during <strong>the</strong> storm. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rest had been slaughtered on <strong>the</strong><br />

sand by Karankawa Indians. But for whatever reason, Francisco Vasquez had remained behind. He<br />

kept to <strong>the</strong> wreckage, for three months living mostly <strong>of</strong>f raw fish and whatever <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ship’s stores<br />

he had salvaged. Like <strong>the</strong> scurrying sand crabs that formed part <strong>of</strong> his diet, he came out only at<br />

night to avoid discovery by <strong>the</strong> Indians.<br />

Captain Garcia de Escalante Alvarado afforded <strong>the</strong> sunburned survivor clothing, food and <strong>the</strong><br />

comfort <strong>of</strong> shipboard life, but <strong>the</strong> captain had not come on a humanitarian mission. Ano<strong>the</strong>r ship<br />

had been dispatched earlier in a vain search for survivors, somehow not finding Vasquez. Now<br />

Alvarado’s task was to recover as much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> gold, silver and o<strong>the</strong>r cargo as possible. In addition<br />

to <strong>the</strong> precious metals, coins and jewelry, <strong>the</strong> ill-fated flota (flotilla) had been carrying resins, sugar,<br />

wood, cowhides and cochinel (a red dye could be produced from <strong>the</strong>m).<br />

In <strong>the</strong> wake <strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong> Spain’s worst maritime disasters to that point in its history, <strong>the</strong> New World’s<br />

first known use <strong>of</strong> divers in a salvage operation would soon begin in what are now Texas waters.<br />

Four ships had set sail from Vera Cruz on April 9, 1555, and laid a course across <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexico. Bound for Spain, <strong>the</strong>y would stop at La Havana, Cuba, and <strong>the</strong>n continue across <strong>the</strong><br />

Atlantic laden with treasure for <strong>the</strong>ir home country. <strong>The</strong> vessels had made it half-way to Cuba when<br />

on April 29 <strong>the</strong>y encountered a severe storm. Only one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> vessels reached Cuba. <strong>The</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r three,<br />

<strong>the</strong> San Esteban, <strong>the</strong> Espiritu Santo, and <strong>the</strong> Santa Maria de Yciar, wrecked on <strong>the</strong> Gulf Coast.<br />

<strong>The</strong> captain <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> San Esteban left in a salvaged boat with some <strong>of</strong> his crew to sail for Vera Cruz<br />

to summon help. <strong>The</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r survivors, thinking <strong>the</strong>y were not that far from <strong>the</strong> coastal city <strong>of</strong><br />

Tampico, set out on foot. All but one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, a priest named Fray Marcos de Mena, ended up<br />

getting killed by Indians.<br />

A rescue mission led by Captain Angel de Villafane left Vera Cruz on June 6 shortly after word<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tragedy reached Spanish <strong>of</strong>ficials <strong>the</strong>re. Whe<strong>the</strong>r Villafane located any human remains when<br />

he arrived six weeks after <strong>the</strong> disaster is not mentioned in later accounts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> event, but after<br />

finding no survivors, he began diving on <strong>the</strong> wreckage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Espiritu Santo. One <strong>of</strong> his divers<br />

recovered <strong>the</strong> trunk <strong>of</strong> a man <strong>the</strong> captain had known. While <strong>the</strong> body <strong>of</strong> its owner had been lost<br />

to <strong>the</strong> sea and its creatures, <strong>the</strong> trunk held three silver disks, 100 silver coins, and fine clothing.<br />

Alvarado had left Vera Cruz on July 15, beginning his salvage operation six days later on <strong>the</strong><br />

wreckage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> San Esteban. Anchoring his fleet safely beyond <strong>the</strong> surf, he sent crew members and<br />

divers ashore in long boats to establish a base camp on <strong>the</strong> beach. To locate <strong>the</strong> hulks, <strong>the</strong><br />

Spaniards dragged a chain between two small vessels until it snagged on wreckage. On August 20,<br />

Alvarado found <strong>the</strong> Santa Maria de Yciar, eventually recovering seven boxes <strong>of</strong> treasure she had on<br />

board when she foundered. In <strong>the</strong> process, however, <strong>the</strong> captain lost one <strong>of</strong> his salvage vessels in<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r storm.<br />

Fortunately for <strong>the</strong> salvers, <strong>the</strong> storm-tossed ships had gone down in shallow water, only 20 feet<br />

at <strong>the</strong> deepest point. Divers using weights for rapid descent and relying only on <strong>the</strong> air <strong>the</strong>y could<br />

hold in <strong>the</strong>ir lungs, <strong>the</strong>ir eyes burning from <strong>the</strong> salt water, recovered a substantial amount <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

lost treasure—but not all <strong>of</strong> it—in an operation that continued through September 12.<br />

A map <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn hemisphere from<br />

Speculum Orbis Terrae by Cornelius de<br />

Jode, 1593. <strong>The</strong> Age <strong>of</strong> Discovery and<br />

conquest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> New World led to <strong>the</strong> first<br />

use <strong>of</strong> free diving for commercial purposes<br />

by Europeans in salvage operations in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Americas.<br />



Above: A silver two-real coin recovered from<br />

<strong>the</strong> waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Gulf Coast.<br />


Below: Pearl <strong>Diving</strong> by Johannes<br />

Stradanus, c. 1596.<br />



When <strong>the</strong> salvage expedition made it back<br />

to Vera Cruz, Spanish auditors counted<br />

35,805 pounds <strong>of</strong> recovered precious metals,<br />

jewelry and coins. But roughly 60 percent <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> treasure <strong>the</strong> wrecked fleet had been<br />

carrying remained missing, some 51,000<br />

pounds worth millions in <strong>the</strong> 21st century.<br />

<strong>The</strong> operation had cost <strong>the</strong> Spanish crown<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> salvage vessels, lost in a storm on<br />

August 30, but from <strong>the</strong> perspective <strong>of</strong> King<br />

Charles V, <strong>the</strong> effort had been worth it.<br />

<strong>The</strong> disastrous aftermath <strong>of</strong> that sixteenth<br />

century expedition marked <strong>the</strong> first time<br />

anywhere on <strong>the</strong> North American continent<br />

that free diving had been employed for<br />

economic reasons by Europeans. <strong>The</strong> story <strong>of</strong><br />

commercial diving involves a world-wide<br />

progression <strong>of</strong> scientific discovery and<br />

technological innovation on <strong>the</strong> part <strong>of</strong> a<br />

diverse group <strong>of</strong> people, but going under<br />

water purely for financial gain had its New<br />

World beginning in <strong>the</strong> crashing surf <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong><br />

coast <strong>of</strong> Texas, some 50 miles south <strong>of</strong><br />

present-day Corpus Christi.<br />

FREE<br />

DIVING<br />

For untold thousands <strong>of</strong> years, man had<br />

been diving under water first for food and <strong>the</strong>n<br />

for material gain, but in <strong>the</strong>ir long course <strong>of</strong><br />

evolution, homo sapiens had evolved as land<br />

beings. Unlike <strong>the</strong> gilled creatures <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea or<br />

those confined to fresh water, a man’s lungs<br />

could not derive oxygen from water. In time,<br />

humans would begin to develop mechanical<br />

means to stay under water for longer periods <strong>of</strong><br />

time and to descend ever deeper, but it all<br />

started at some distant point in pre-history<br />

when that first human sucked in a deep lungful<br />

<strong>of</strong> air, instinctively held his nose and plunged<br />

below <strong>the</strong> surface, opening stinging eyes to a<br />

water-clouded vision <strong>of</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r world.<br />

Archeologists investigating sites dating to<br />

roughly 5500 BCE have found shells that only<br />

could have been retrieved from deep water by<br />

<strong>the</strong> hand <strong>of</strong> man. That those shells had belonged<br />

to mollusks and o<strong>the</strong>r crustations point to <strong>the</strong><br />

initial impetus for diving as being a quest for an<br />

essential part <strong>of</strong> staying alive—food.<br />

But objects <strong>of</strong> beauty considered even more<br />

desirable because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir scarcity also attracted<br />

early men, giving <strong>the</strong>m more motivation for<br />

diving beneath <strong>the</strong> water surface.<br />

At a 7,500-year-old burial site in Umm al<br />

Quwain in <strong>the</strong> United Arab Emirates,<br />

archeologists found <strong>the</strong> oldest archeological<br />

pearl. Scientists say this is <strong>the</strong> earliest known<br />

evidence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> long-standing pearl diving<br />

industry along <strong>the</strong> Persian Gulf. <strong>The</strong><br />

Phoenicians in <strong>the</strong> 6th century BCE are<br />

known to have traded for dive-harvested<br />

Murex shells, from which a valuable purple<br />

die could be derived. Digs in Egypt at sites<br />

dating to 3200 BCE have revealed carved<br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> pearl. Again, only divers could have<br />

brought those shells with <strong>the</strong>ir iridescent<br />

interiors to <strong>the</strong> hands <strong>of</strong> artisans.<br />

Ancient Greece, <strong>the</strong> culture that gave <strong>the</strong><br />

world everything from philosophy and<br />

ma<strong>the</strong>matics to <strong>the</strong> notion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> republican<br />

form <strong>of</strong> government also saw <strong>the</strong> development<br />

<strong>of</strong> commercial diving as an industry. <strong>The</strong> natural<br />

resource stimulating this new industry was <strong>the</strong><br />

sponge, a cavity-filled, multi-cellular undersea<br />

organism that once processed could be used for<br />

hygienic or cosmetic proposes because it could<br />

both hold water and o<strong>the</strong>r liquids such as oil or<br />

perfume and when squeezed, release that liquid.<br />

Due to high demand for this undersea<br />

commodity, sponge diving became a<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>itable undertaking. However, it was a<br />

dangerous way to make a living. Wrote <strong>the</strong><br />

young but observant Greco-Roman poet<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


Oppian in <strong>the</strong> second century A.D: “No ordeal<br />

is more terrible than that <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sponge divers<br />

and no labor is more arduous for men.”<br />

Te<strong>the</strong>red divers jumped into <strong>the</strong> water<br />

clutching flat, heavy rocks so <strong>the</strong>y could<br />

quickly reach <strong>the</strong> bottom. <strong>The</strong>n, holding <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

breaths for three to five minutes and generally<br />

operating about 30 feet down, <strong>the</strong>y harvested as<br />

many sponges as <strong>the</strong>y could and stuffed <strong>the</strong>m<br />

into nets. To compensate for <strong>the</strong> pain to <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

ears from water pressure, divers poured oil into<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir ear canals. <strong>The</strong>y also filled <strong>the</strong>ir mouths<br />

with oil, spitting it out once on <strong>the</strong> bottom.<br />

Sponge diving even became an Olympic sport,<br />

with competitors judged on <strong>the</strong>ir speed and <strong>the</strong><br />

amount <strong>of</strong> sponge <strong>the</strong>y surfaced with.<br />

A traveler visiting <strong>the</strong> Greek island <strong>of</strong> Symi<br />

in 1837 recorded ano<strong>the</strong>r benefit that could<br />

accrue to <strong>the</strong> better sponge divers:<br />

When a man <strong>of</strong> any property intends to<br />

have his daughter married, he appoints a<br />

certain day. <strong>The</strong>n all <strong>the</strong> young, unmarried<br />

men [sponge divers all] repair to <strong>the</strong> seaside,<br />

where <strong>the</strong>y strip <strong>the</strong>mselves in <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> fa<strong>the</strong>r and his daughter and begin diving.<br />

He who goes deepest into <strong>the</strong> sea, and remains<br />

longest under <strong>the</strong> water, obtains <strong>the</strong> lady.<br />

Of course, he who went deepest and<br />

remained longest <strong>of</strong>ten obtained early death<br />

instead <strong>of</strong> fair maiden.<br />

Free diving for sponges persisted into <strong>the</strong><br />

twentieth century, though with technological<br />

development and <strong>the</strong> invention <strong>of</strong> syn<strong>the</strong>tic<br />

sponges, it had almost become a thing <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

past by <strong>the</strong>n.<br />

DIVING<br />

MAN- MADE<br />

FOR<br />


Early man knew that <strong>the</strong> sea and o<strong>the</strong>r deep<br />

water, whe<strong>the</strong>r by accident <strong>of</strong> fate or <strong>the</strong> whim<br />

<strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir deities, swallowed men and <strong>the</strong><br />

vessels <strong>the</strong>y built. <strong>The</strong> sea and its creatures,<br />

from giant sharks to minute worms, sooner or<br />

later consumed flesh, wood, sail cloth and<br />

rope, but glass, pottery, metal, precious metals<br />

and gems merely sank to <strong>the</strong> bottom.<br />

Herodotus, <strong>the</strong> Greek historian, left <strong>the</strong><br />

earliest known account <strong>of</strong> divers being used<br />

in search <strong>of</strong> sunken treasure. Writing in <strong>the</strong><br />

fifth century BCE, he told <strong>of</strong> a Greek diver<br />

named Schllias (or Skyllias)—“as a diver <strong>the</strong><br />

best <strong>of</strong> all men”—and his daughter, Cyane.<br />

Both had been retained by Persian King<br />

Xerxes to bring up treasure from Persian<br />

galleys sunk by Grecian war vessels a halfcentury<br />

earlier.<br />

Fa<strong>the</strong>r and daughter (naturally having more<br />

fatty cells women were less affected by cold<br />

water) dove on <strong>the</strong> sunken ships and recovered<br />

much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> valuables <strong>the</strong>y had held. <strong>The</strong> king<br />

had promised <strong>the</strong>m a portion <strong>of</strong> what <strong>the</strong>y<br />

found by way <strong>of</strong> compensation, but being king,<br />

he kept <strong>the</strong> booty and held <strong>the</strong>m prisoner on<br />

his galley for future diving jobs.<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> for natural sponges in <strong>the</strong><br />

mid-twentieth century.<br />



A sixteenth-century painting depiciting<br />

Alexander <strong>the</strong> Great in a glass diving bell.<br />



During a storm, Schllias and Cyane<br />

jumped overboard and cut <strong>the</strong> anchor ropes<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Persian armada. That underwater<br />

action caused <strong>the</strong> chaos <strong>the</strong> pair had<br />

expected. Once <strong>the</strong> captains had <strong>the</strong>ir vessels<br />

under control, <strong>the</strong>y began searching for <strong>the</strong><br />

two escaped divers. Meanwhile, fa<strong>the</strong>r and<br />

daughter had swum underwater and<br />

undetected to safety at Artemisium. In doing<br />

that, <strong>the</strong> two are believed to have used hollow<br />

reeds as breathing tubes, an early instance <strong>of</strong><br />

what came to be called snorkeling.<br />

DIVING<br />

BELLS<br />

No one is known to have noted when or<br />

where it happened, but at some point prior to<br />

<strong>the</strong> beginning <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> common era 21 centuries<br />

ago, someone observed that a solid container<br />

such as a cauldron or barrel, would not fill<br />

completely if pushed down into <strong>the</strong> water.<br />

When that happens, an air pocket remains.<br />

In 360 BCE, Aristotle noted in his<br />

Problematum that to supply sponge divers “…<br />

with a facility <strong>of</strong> respiration, a kettle is let<br />

down to <strong>the</strong>m, not filled with water, but with<br />

air, which constantly assists <strong>the</strong> submerged<br />

man; it is forcibly kept upright in its descent,<br />

in order that it may be sent down at an equal<br />

level all around, to prevent <strong>the</strong> air from<br />

escaping and <strong>the</strong> water from entering….”<br />

What <strong>the</strong> Greek philosopher described<br />

came to be called a diving bell or caisson, <strong>the</strong><br />

more common term being diving bell.<br />

Alexander <strong>the</strong> Great is said to have<br />

descended in a glass diving bell as his soldiers<br />

and seamen fought to take <strong>the</strong> island <strong>of</strong> Tyre<br />

in 332 BCE. More recent scholarship,<br />

however, suggests that <strong>the</strong> story is merely a<br />

legend, appearing both in medieval Western<br />

European texts and Islamic literature. True or<br />

not, <strong>the</strong> diving bell was <strong>the</strong> first assisted form<br />

<strong>of</strong> commercial diving.<br />

By at least <strong>the</strong> second century <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

common era, a collective <strong>of</strong> Roman divers<br />

called <strong>the</strong> Corpus Urinatorum did salvage<br />

work at <strong>the</strong> port <strong>of</strong> Ostia on <strong>the</strong> mouth <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

River Tiber. <strong>The</strong>y handled underwater aspects<br />

<strong>of</strong> construction and maintenance <strong>of</strong> bridge<br />

and harbor infrastructure as well as salvage<br />

work. <strong>The</strong>se divers operated under Lex<br />

Rhodia, or <strong>the</strong> Rhodian Sea Laws. <strong>The</strong> laws<br />

had been developed to settle disputes over<br />

salvage rights. If <strong>the</strong>se divers salvaged a wreck<br />

lying deeper than 50 feet, <strong>the</strong>y received a<br />

third <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> salvage rights. Wrecks deeper<br />

than 90 feet netted a diver half <strong>the</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>it.<br />

Modern marine archeologists have found<br />

ancient shipwrecks which appear to have<br />

been probed by <strong>the</strong>se early free-divers<br />

<strong>The</strong> first known use <strong>of</strong> a diving bell after<br />

that came in 1531 CE when Italian divers<br />

used a Campana Urinatoria (“bell for diving”)<br />

to find two supposedly treasure-laden<br />

pleasure galleys that had belonged to <strong>the</strong><br />

licentious Roman emperor Caligula. Invented<br />

by Guglielmo de Lorena, an Italian physicist,<br />

<strong>the</strong> device was a barrel-shaped “bell” that<br />

went over <strong>the</strong> diver’s head and torso. With <strong>the</strong><br />

bell supported by a sturdy rope, <strong>the</strong> diver<br />

could walk on <strong>the</strong> bottom for more than an<br />

hour before he had to surface for fresh air.<br />

Seven years later, in a different part <strong>of</strong><br />

Europe, two Greek divers built a larger diving<br />

bell, one big enough to hold both inventors<br />

seated on planks inside. <strong>The</strong> pair not only<br />

were granted an audience with King Charles V<br />

<strong>of</strong> Spain, a reported 10,000 citizens <strong>of</strong> Toledo<br />

and environs showed up to see <strong>the</strong> device<br />

demonstrated. As <strong>the</strong> crowd looked on, <strong>the</strong><br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


ell was lowered into <strong>the</strong> Tagus River. Before<br />

entering <strong>the</strong> device, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> divers carried a<br />

candle. After <strong>the</strong> bell had been under water for<br />

a time, it was raised and <strong>the</strong> two inventors<br />

emerged in fine shape. And <strong>the</strong>ir candle was<br />

still burning.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> following century, Oppenheim artist<br />

and inventor Franz Kessler (c. 1580-1650)<br />

designed an improved diving bell in 1616. It<br />

looked like a man-sized thimble with eyes,<br />

<strong>the</strong> diver secured by a harness inside a<br />

lea<strong>the</strong>r-covered barrel with glass view ports.<br />

Von Guericke, in 1650, invented <strong>the</strong> first<br />

truly efficient air pump. Not only would that<br />

allow fresh air to be pumped down into diving<br />

bells, it made possible scientific experimentation<br />

on pressure and decompression.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r early instance <strong>of</strong> commercial<br />

diving came in 1658 when Albrecht von<br />

Treileben salvaged <strong>the</strong> Vasa, a Swedish<br />

warship sunk in Stockholm harbor 30 years<br />

before. Using a diving bell, divers working for<br />

von Treileben succeeded in raising nearly all<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ship’s bronze guns.<br />

An Englishman named Richard Norwood<br />

(1590?-1675) is credited with <strong>the</strong> first use <strong>of</strong> a<br />

diving bell in <strong>the</strong> New World. A ma<strong>the</strong>matician<br />

and surveyor (some accounts say he dabbled in<br />

piracy as well), Norwood sailed to Bermuda in<br />

1616 to survey <strong>the</strong> islands for <strong>the</strong> Somers Isles<br />

Company. Hearing <strong>of</strong> supposedly treasure-laden<br />

shipwrecks, he used a weighted, inverted wine<br />

barrel in an unsuccessful search for bounty.<br />

More successful if on a smaller scale, in 1655,<br />

one Robert Willis used some form <strong>of</strong> diving bell<br />

in New England to salvage lost property.<br />

<strong>The</strong> flowering <strong>of</strong> scientific research and <strong>the</strong><br />

arts that came with <strong>the</strong> Renaissance saw<br />

scholars developing new findings in physics<br />

and inventors experimenting with devices to<br />

assist man in underwater tasks, particularly<br />

diving bells. George Sinclair, a pr<strong>of</strong>essor at<br />

Glasgow University in Scotland wrote in 1669<br />

<strong>of</strong> his <strong>the</strong>ories regarding diving bells. In 1689,<br />

French physicist Denis Papin (1647-c. 1713)<br />

posited that a force pump or bellows could be<br />

used to provide fresh air to a diving bell.<br />

In 1686, Maine-born William Phipps (1651-<br />

1695) succeeded in getting financial backing<br />

for a venture in search <strong>of</strong> sunken treasure in<br />

what is now <strong>the</strong> Dominican Republic and Haiti.<br />

He must have been pretty persuasive, because<br />

all he had to go on was mere rumor and<br />

speculation as to <strong>the</strong> location <strong>of</strong> a lost Spanish<br />

galleon, <strong>the</strong> Nuestra Senora de la Concepion.<br />

Never<strong>the</strong>less, he found <strong>the</strong> wreck in January<br />

1687 <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong> Santo Domingo and began<br />

his salvage efforts <strong>the</strong> following month. Using a<br />

square wooden diving bell re-enforced with<br />

iron bands that had windows and a stool on<br />

which divers could sit, Phipps used enslaved<br />

natives to recover <strong>the</strong> sunken vessel’s valuable<br />

cargo. He sailed for England that April with 30<br />

tons <strong>of</strong> silver, a quantity <strong>of</strong> gold and jewels. In<br />

modern dollars, that would be a $1 million<br />

haul. On his return, he was greeted as a hero<br />

and knighted. In addition, he netted onesixteenth<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> treasure’s value and got named<br />

governor <strong>of</strong> Massachusetts.<br />

<strong>The</strong> prospect <strong>of</strong> recovering sunken treasure<br />

continued to drive innovation in diving. In<br />

1689, Sir Edmond Halley—<strong>the</strong> English<br />

astronomer who discovered <strong>the</strong> comet still<br />

bearing his name—developed a wooden diving<br />

bell with a window that could stay under water<br />

far longer than previous bells. Halley’s bell was 3<br />

W. Hooper’s rendering <strong>of</strong> Sir Edmond<br />

Halley’s diving bell.<br />



A replica <strong>of</strong> John Lethbridge’s diving<br />

engine at La Cité de la Mer in<br />

Cherbourg, France.<br />

feet in diameter at <strong>the</strong> top, 5 feet in diameter at<br />

<strong>the</strong> bottom and 5 feet high. With a volume <strong>of</strong> 64<br />

cubic feet, it needed nearly 4,000 pounds <strong>of</strong><br />

lead sheathing to overcome its buoyancy.<br />

Ra<strong>the</strong>r than using a pump to supply air to<br />

his bell, he sent air down in weighted 36-<br />

gallon barrels through which fresh air could<br />

be taken in via a hose. Stale air, which he<br />

referred to as “warm” air, was released<br />

through a valve at <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bell.<br />

“This I take to be an invention applicable to<br />

various uses,” he wrote, “such as fishing for<br />

pearls, diving for coral or sponges and <strong>the</strong> like,<br />

in far greater depths than has hi<strong>the</strong>rto been<br />

thought possible; also for <strong>the</strong> fitting and<br />

placing <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> foundations <strong>of</strong> moles, bridges,<br />

&c., in rocky bottoms, and for cleaning and<br />

scrubbing <strong>of</strong> ships’ bottoms when foul, in<br />

calm wea<strong>the</strong>r at sea.”<br />

Halley was not interested in becoming a<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional diver, but he did personally test<br />

his invention. He went down 60 feet and<br />

remained submerged for more than an hour<br />

and a half.<br />

“…I found that I could do anything that<br />

required to be done just under us,” Halley<br />

wrote in describing his descent, “and that I<br />

could, for a space as wide as <strong>the</strong> circuit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

bell, lay <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea so far dry, as not<br />

to be over shoes <strong>the</strong>reon. And, by <strong>the</strong> glass<br />

window, so much light was transmitted, that<br />

when <strong>the</strong> sea was clear, and especially when<br />

<strong>the</strong> sun shone, I could see perfectly well to<br />

write or read….<br />

However, <strong>the</strong> scientist observed that being<br />

that deep hurt his ears “as if a quill had been<br />

thrust into <strong>the</strong>m.” Clearly, <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

additional factors in diving to be considered<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r than <strong>the</strong> availability <strong>of</strong> oxygen.<br />

While knights and nobles did <strong>the</strong> scientific<br />

work, in 1715 an English commoner named<br />

John Lethbridge (1678-1759) sought to<br />

convert <strong>the</strong>ory to money. As an alternative to<br />

<strong>the</strong> diving bell, <strong>the</strong> Devonshire man had a<br />

cooper build him a lea<strong>the</strong>r-sealed, wooden<br />

cylinder with watertight portals through<br />

which arms could protrude, making <strong>the</strong><br />

person inside look something like a walking<br />

fat cigar. He called his lead-weighted<br />

apparatus a diving engine. It was six feet long,<br />

with a diameter <strong>of</strong> two and a half feet at <strong>the</strong><br />

top, 18 inches at <strong>the</strong> bottom. That gave it a<br />

volume <strong>of</strong> about 30 gallons. Once inside,<br />

while peering through a glass window, a diver<br />

could descend to 60 feet (and to 72 feet “with<br />

great difficulty”) and stay down using <strong>the</strong> air<br />

trapped inside for about 30 minutes. Before<br />

<strong>the</strong> diver ran out <strong>of</strong> air, <strong>the</strong> “engine” would be<br />

pulled to <strong>the</strong> surface and <strong>the</strong> air inside<br />

replenished with a bellows. In <strong>the</strong> advent <strong>of</strong><br />

an emergency, <strong>the</strong> device had detachable<br />

weights so that it would pop to <strong>the</strong> surface if<br />

<strong>the</strong>y were released.<br />

Though his “engine” was not an engine in <strong>the</strong><br />

modern sense <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> word, it certainly proved to<br />

be an economic engine. Using <strong>the</strong> wooden<br />

submersible he invented, Lethbridge and his son<br />

spent <strong>the</strong> next three decades doing salvage work<br />

on shipwrecks. His contract to salvage <strong>the</strong><br />

sunken Slotter Hooge for <strong>the</strong> Dutch East India<br />

Company provided that he would be paid 10<br />

pounds sterling a month, plus expenses. Any<br />

bonuses would be up to <strong>the</strong> “generosity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

company directors.” While pr<strong>of</strong>it had for<br />

centuries been <strong>the</strong> primary motive for risking<br />

one’s life underwater, Lethbridge was arguably<br />

<strong>the</strong> first commercial diver.<br />

Sixty years after Lethbridge had his “diving<br />

engine” built, in 1775 Edinburgh confectioner<br />

Charles Spalding enhanced Halley’s diving bell<br />

design, and <strong>the</strong> astronomer’s air supply<br />

technique by developing a weight mechanism to<br />

make it easier to lower and raise <strong>the</strong> container.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


1788, when John Smeaton (1724-1792)<br />

designed a diving bell made <strong>of</strong> cast iron<br />

instead <strong>of</strong> wood. He also invented <strong>the</strong> first<br />

hand-powered pump to force fresh air into<br />

<strong>the</strong> bell through a hose. His device had o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

innovations as well, including valves to keep<br />

air from being sucked back up <strong>the</strong> supply<br />

hose if <strong>the</strong> pumping stopped.<br />

In 1779, Smeaton’s device was employed<br />

in underwater repair work at <strong>the</strong> Hexham<br />

Bridge in Northumberland, England.<br />

Smeaton’s second major contribution to<br />

commercial diving was designing <strong>the</strong> world’s<br />

first cast iron diving bell. As was his wooden<br />

prototype, <strong>the</strong> iron bell was supplied with air<br />

by <strong>the</strong> pump he invented.<br />

By 1800, <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> diving bells for<br />

underwater work had become commonplace<br />

in Europe and North America. Still, as British<br />

diving historian Dr. Peter Bennett noted in his<br />

paper “A History <strong>of</strong> Deep <strong>Commercial</strong><br />

<strong>Diving</strong>,” while diving bells <strong>of</strong>fered “remotely<br />

acceptable level <strong>of</strong> safety,” <strong>the</strong>y were far from<br />

perfect. Such devices were expensive and<br />

required “considerable manpower to achieve<br />

limited diving effort that could only be<br />

undertaken in sheltered water.” <strong>The</strong> maritime<br />

world needed a more efficient system for<br />

underwater work.<br />

Above: An 1860 rendering <strong>of</strong> Charles<br />

Spalding’s diving bell. Spalding and a<br />

relative would suffocate in a diving bell <strong>of</strong><br />

his design in 1783.<br />

Left: With this imagined system, all a diver<br />

had to do was slide down a pole into a<br />

diving bell.<br />


In addition, he added a system <strong>of</strong> ropes so those<br />

in <strong>the</strong> bell could signal <strong>the</strong> support crew above.<br />

Improved as it was by earlier standards,<br />

Spalding and a relative suffocated in his bell in<br />

1783 <strong>of</strong>fshore from Dublin.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first American innovation in <strong>the</strong><br />

development <strong>of</strong> commercial diving came in<br />

Since <strong>the</strong> Bronze age, man had been<br />

fashioning metal helmets to protect<br />

combatants from sword blows, arrows and<br />

spears. But with <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> highvelocity<br />

firearms and artillery, <strong>the</strong> reliance on<br />

steel helmets and suits <strong>of</strong> armor in warfare<br />

had been made obsolete.<br />

Not until 1771 did it occur to a Frenchman<br />

named Freminet that a helmet might be used to<br />

protect divers. In addition to designing a brass<br />

helmet with glass-covered eye holes, he<br />

developed a “breathing machine” that connected<br />

by two hoses to <strong>the</strong> helmet. <strong>The</strong> device was<br />

trailed behind a suited diver though he later<br />

fitted it to be carried on a diver’s back. He used<br />

his helmeted diving suit in <strong>the</strong> harbors <strong>of</strong> Le<br />

Havre and Brest for more than a decade.<br />

Helmets and diving suits (originally referred<br />

to as diving dresses) developed toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />



Above: A design for an early diving suit by<br />

Karl Klingert from 1797. This device might<br />

have worked as long as <strong>the</strong> diver did not<br />

bend over or step ono anything sharp on <strong>the</strong><br />

sea floor.<br />

Below: A sealed diving suit patented June<br />

14, 1834.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> invention <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> diving dress,” <strong>the</strong><br />

1904 edition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Encyclopedia <strong>of</strong> Britannica<br />

said, “like that <strong>of</strong> most useful appliances, was<br />

gradual, and <strong>the</strong> work <strong>of</strong> many minds.”<br />

In 1786, John and William Braithwaite<br />

came up with a more efficient version <strong>of</strong><br />

Freminet’s helmet and a year later, a German<br />

designer also developed a diving helmet. More<br />

than four decades would pass before a more<br />

efficient system <strong>of</strong> helmet, suit and air supply<br />

evolved. As with many innovations, it came<br />

about as an effort to solve some o<strong>the</strong>r problem.<br />

Charles Anthony Dean and his younger<br />

bro<strong>the</strong>r John, like so many Englishmen <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir time, made <strong>the</strong>ir living in <strong>the</strong> maritime<br />

world—Charles as a sailor, John as a shipyard<br />

worker who specialized in caulking <strong>the</strong> hulls<br />

<strong>of</strong> wooden ships. Both saw firsthand that<br />

drowning was not <strong>the</strong> only hazard connected<br />

to plying <strong>the</strong> vast waters separating <strong>the</strong><br />

various holdings <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> British Empire. Fire at<br />

sea or dockside could burn a ship to <strong>the</strong><br />

waterline. Even if <strong>the</strong> fire were brought under<br />

control in time to save <strong>the</strong> ship, thick,<br />

superheated smoke could kill a man.<br />

At some point in 1823 or 1824, Charles<br />

had an idea. After witnessing a fire that broke<br />

out in a stable, Charles thought what he called<br />

a “smoke helmet” could benefit firefighters.<br />

He fashioned a copper helmet with a small<br />

glass window attached to a flexible collar and<br />

suit. A lea<strong>the</strong>r hose through which air could<br />

be pumped by a bellows was attached to <strong>the</strong><br />

back <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> helmet. A final touch was a valve<br />

for <strong>the</strong> release <strong>of</strong> stale air.<br />

In 1824, he filed a patent for an “apparatus<br />

to be worn by persons entering rooms or<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r places filled with smoke or o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

vapour, for <strong>the</strong> purpose <strong>of</strong> extinguishing fire<br />

or extricating persons or property <strong>the</strong>rein.”<br />

William Barnard, <strong>the</strong> owner <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> London<br />

shipyard where Deane worked, paid him 417<br />

pounds for what was called an “indenture <strong>of</strong><br />

assignment,” essentially preempting any fur<strong>the</strong>r<br />

right Deane had to his invention. Since no one<br />

was interested in manufacturing it, Deane may<br />

have gotten <strong>the</strong> best end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> deal.<br />

In addition to <strong>the</strong>ir experience on or near<br />

<strong>the</strong> water, <strong>the</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs had on occasion gone<br />

beneath <strong>the</strong> surface in a diving bell. At some<br />

point it occurred to one or <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m<br />

that <strong>the</strong> helmet Charles had conceived could<br />

be used, in effect, as a miniature diving bell.<br />

Charles and John paid London engineer<br />

Augustus Siebe to build a helmet to <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

specifications in 1827. Two years later, in 10<br />

feet <strong>of</strong> water <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> Isle <strong>of</strong> Wight, <strong>the</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

salvaged <strong>the</strong> cargo <strong>of</strong> a beached ship owned by<br />

<strong>the</strong> East India Company. That shallow dive is<br />

considered <strong>the</strong> world’s first commercial dive<br />

using a diving helmet and suit.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Deane diving apparatus was far from<br />

perfect. <strong>The</strong> helmet connected to a jacket, but<br />

it was not a sealed system. In fact, water rose<br />

to <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> helmet, leaving only<br />

enough room for <strong>the</strong> wearer to see and breath.<br />

But if <strong>the</strong> diver leaned forward, <strong>the</strong> helmet<br />

could flood with water. Obviously, if a diver<br />

happened to fall, he likely would drown.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r problem was that <strong>the</strong> bellows used<br />

to pump air into <strong>the</strong> Deane bro<strong>the</strong>rs’ diving<br />

apparatus could not produce enough pressure<br />

to allow for a deeper dive. <strong>The</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs again<br />

sought out Siebe to build <strong>the</strong>m a stronger<br />

pump. By 1832, <strong>the</strong>y were able to go down as<br />

far as 60 feet. Four years later, with an even<br />

more efficient pump, <strong>the</strong>y made it to 100 feet.<br />

In addition to <strong>the</strong>ir seminal design work, in<br />

1836 <strong>the</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs produced <strong>the</strong> world’s first<br />

diving manual, Method <strong>of</strong> Using Deanne’s Patent<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> Apparatus.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


With <strong>the</strong> world’s first practical diving gear,<br />

<strong>the</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs made numerous successful dives,<br />

including salvage operations on two <strong>of</strong><br />

England’s best-known shipwrecks, <strong>the</strong> Royal<br />

George and <strong>the</strong> Mary Rose.<br />

A 100-gun, first-rate ship <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> line, <strong>the</strong><br />

Royal George had capsized <strong>of</strong>f Portsmouth in<br />

1782 with roughly 900 crew and family<br />

members drowned. At <strong>the</strong> time, it was <strong>the</strong><br />

largest warship in <strong>the</strong> world. <strong>Diving</strong> on <strong>the</strong><br />

wreckage from 1834 to 1836, Charles Deane<br />

recovered 28 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ship’s cannon.<br />

Meanwhile, after fishing boats started getting<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir nets tangled in something on <strong>the</strong> bottom<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Solent, <strong>the</strong> straits north <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Isle <strong>of</strong><br />

Wight, <strong>the</strong> British Admiralty hired diver Henry<br />

Abbinett to see if he could determine what had<br />

been snaring <strong>the</strong> nets. In June 1836 he found<br />

that it was <strong>the</strong> wreckage <strong>of</strong> a large ship resting<br />

on its side partially imbedded into <strong>the</strong> sea floor.<br />

Ra<strong>the</strong>r than proceeding with Abbinett, <strong>the</strong><br />

Navy turned to Charles Deane based on his<br />

success in working <strong>the</strong> wreck <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Royal<br />

George. In mid-month, Dean and his partner,<br />

William Edwards, began diving on <strong>the</strong> wreck.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y brought up some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ship’s timbers,<br />

weapons and o<strong>the</strong>r artifacts to <strong>the</strong> surface.<br />

Based on <strong>the</strong> maker’s stamp on one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

recovered guns, <strong>the</strong> wreck was positively<br />

identified as <strong>the</strong> Mary Rose that August. That<br />

warship had gone down on July 19, 1545,<br />

during <strong>the</strong> Battle <strong>of</strong> Solent with <strong>the</strong> loss <strong>of</strong><br />

some four hundred lives.<br />

Even though <strong>the</strong> Mary Rose had been<br />

beneath <strong>the</strong> sea for nearly three hundred years,<br />

<strong>the</strong> diving effort was more a commercial<br />

enterprise than historical project. <strong>The</strong><br />

fishermen and Deane and his partner made<br />

money <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> deal, though Abbinett was denied<br />

a share in <strong>the</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>its.<br />

In 1837, Siebe introduced what came to be<br />

called <strong>the</strong> “closed” dress as opposed to <strong>the</strong><br />

earlier diving jacket, which was called an<br />

“open” dress since it was not watertight.<br />

Deane began diving on <strong>the</strong> Mary Rose again<br />

in 1840. This time, in ano<strong>the</strong>r commercial<br />

diving first, he used explosives to expose<br />

more <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wreckage and brought up more<br />

relics that would be <strong>of</strong>fered for sale.<br />

Left: Charles and John Deane wrote <strong>the</strong> first<br />

diving manual in 1836.<br />

Right: An illustration <strong>of</strong> Charles Deane<br />

working twenty-one feet underwater <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong><br />

London commercial dock.<br />



Above: <strong>The</strong> HMS Royal George can be seen<br />

on <strong>the</strong> far right in this painting by John<br />

Cleveley <strong>the</strong> Elder, 1757. <strong>Diving</strong> dress<br />

inventor Charles Deane was hired to<br />

salvage <strong>the</strong> wreck <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Royal George in<br />

1834, carrying out dives over <strong>the</strong> course <strong>of</strong><br />

two years. Dean would ultimately salvage<br />

28 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ship’s 100 cannons.<br />

Below: An illustration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Mary Rose, <strong>the</strong><br />

flagship <strong>of</strong> Henry VIII, by Anthony Roll.<br />

Charles Deane was hired by <strong>the</strong> Royal Navy<br />

to salvage <strong>the</strong> ship nearly three hundred<br />

years after she sank at <strong>the</strong> Battle <strong>of</strong> Solent.<br />

Just before Deane began his work on <strong>the</strong><br />

wreck that had proven to be <strong>the</strong> Mary Rose, <strong>the</strong><br />

Royal Navy resumed salvage operations on <strong>the</strong><br />

Royal George. Charles Pasley (1780-1861), a<br />

colonel in <strong>the</strong> Royal Engineers, would use<br />

explosives to break up <strong>the</strong> wreck and <strong>the</strong>n<br />

salvage as much as he could. At first, Pasley<br />

employed civilian divers, but in 1840 he began<br />

using some <strong>of</strong> his Royal Sappers. In <strong>the</strong><br />

process, he developed procedures and<br />

techniques that would become mainstays <strong>of</strong><br />

commercial diving. He regulated <strong>the</strong> length <strong>of</strong><br />

dives and allowed for a brief rest period<br />

between dives. In ordering his divers to work<br />

in pairs, he is credited with <strong>the</strong> first known use<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> so-called “buddy system” in diving.<br />

No matter Pasley’s innovative safety<br />

measures, spending time underwater at depth<br />

took a toll on <strong>the</strong> men. A doctor observed that<br />

divers came up looking “pale, languid and<br />

exhausted,” fur<strong>the</strong>r noting: “<strong>The</strong>y all agree that<br />

<strong>the</strong>y are much weakened and wasted by <strong>the</strong><br />

exertion, and as <strong>the</strong>y express it, <strong>the</strong>y are not <strong>the</strong><br />

men <strong>the</strong>y were when <strong>the</strong>y began <strong>the</strong> operation.”<br />

One <strong>of</strong> his divers made <strong>the</strong> first recorded<br />

emergency ascent when his air hose became<br />

tangled and he had to cut <strong>the</strong> line.<br />

Pasley continued his work on <strong>the</strong> Royal<br />

George until 1843. By that time, 30 more<br />

guns and everything from <strong>the</strong> ship surgeon’s<br />

instruments to silk clothing had been<br />

removed from <strong>the</strong> hulk. When <strong>the</strong> ship’s keel<br />

was raised along with its bottom tenders, <strong>the</strong><br />

wreck was considered clear and no longer a<br />

navigational hazard.<br />

Salvage work on <strong>the</strong> two wrecks had<br />

greatly advanced diving technology. “<strong>The</strong> long<br />

continued experience gained in diving while<br />

<strong>the</strong>se operations were in progress suggested<br />

improvements and alterations which had a<br />

great effect in bringing <strong>the</strong> diving dress to its<br />

present perfection as now manufactured,” <strong>the</strong><br />

1904 Encyclopedia <strong>of</strong> Britannica concluded.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


Charles Deane died in 1848, but bro<strong>the</strong>r<br />

John lived on for ano<strong>the</strong>r 36 years. Still diving<br />

at age 56, he was hired by <strong>the</strong> Royal Navy to<br />

salvage sunken Russian ships in <strong>the</strong> Black Sea.<br />

That work involved diving under ice.<br />


ARMOUR<br />

Imitation may be <strong>the</strong> sincerest form <strong>of</strong><br />

flattery, but sometimes “stealing” is a more<br />

accurate word than “imitation.”<br />

In 1837, North Carolina-born William H.<br />

Taylor put out a pamphlet called A New and<br />

Alluring Source <strong>of</strong> Enterprise in <strong>the</strong> Treasures <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Sea, and <strong>the</strong> Means <strong>of</strong> Ga<strong>the</strong>ring <strong>The</strong>m. In it,<br />

he referred to <strong>the</strong> Deane diving apparatus,<br />

which <strong>the</strong> Deanes had begun manufacturing<br />

and selling <strong>the</strong> year before.<br />

Later that year, Taylor applied for a U.S.<br />

patent for a diving suit he claimed as his own<br />

design. Taylor’s “Submarine Armour” was<br />

described as a helmet and dress which would<br />

protect a diver “from <strong>the</strong> pressure <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> water<br />

and from danger from fishes, etc., and at <strong>the</strong><br />

same time give him <strong>the</strong> free use <strong>of</strong> his limbs and<br />

enable him to be supplied with air….” When a<br />

newspaper intimated that Taylor’s invention<br />

closely resembled <strong>the</strong> Deane diving suit, Taylor<br />

protested that his gear was “...<strong>of</strong> entirely<br />

different principle and construction, and has<br />

never been known until used by me in New<br />

York.” That had happened in <strong>the</strong> late summer <strong>of</strong><br />

1837, when Taylor invited a reporter to try out<br />

his equipment in <strong>the</strong> Hudson River.<br />

<strong>The</strong> journalist survived <strong>the</strong> experience and<br />

wrote an article about it, but Taylor wanted<br />

more ink. In October, Taylor demonstrated<br />

his apparatus in a large wooden vat at Niblo’s<br />

Garden, a popular venue in New York City.<br />

Initially, Taylor intended to drum up financial<br />

backing for a deep water pearl harvesting<br />

venture and diving on treasure-filled<br />

shipwrecks in South America. While Taylor is<br />

rightfully credited as being <strong>the</strong> founding<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> American commercial diving, he also<br />

was an early—and successful—practitioner <strong>of</strong><br />

what today is known as public relations.<br />

By 1838, Taylor had become convinced<br />

that it made more sense to seek investors so<br />

he could begin marketing his invention in <strong>the</strong><br />

U.S. To do that, he organized <strong>the</strong> New York<br />

Sub-Marine Armour Company.<br />

“It would appear that human enterprise,<br />

not contented with exploring <strong>the</strong> fields <strong>of</strong><br />

earth and air, is seeking for itself occupation in<br />

diving beneath <strong>the</strong> waves <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ocean, and<br />

recovering <strong>the</strong>nce treasure that had been<br />

regarded as forever lost,” <strong>the</strong> Baltimore<br />

Above: W. H. Taylor founded <strong>the</strong> Submarine<br />

Armour Co. in <strong>the</strong> spring <strong>of</strong> 1838.<br />

Below: An illustration <strong>of</strong> a rebrea<strong>the</strong>r<br />

systerm from 1860.<br />



James Buchanan Eads.<br />

American observed in <strong>the</strong> late spring <strong>of</strong> 1838.<br />

<strong>The</strong> article went on to credit “a Captain<br />

Taylor” with inventing “an air and water tight<br />

dress denominated ‘Submarine Armour’...as<br />

<strong>the</strong> means <strong>of</strong> visiting <strong>the</strong> foundations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

vast deep.” That fall, Taylor won a gold medal<br />

at <strong>the</strong> annual New York Mechanic’s Fair after<br />

demonstrating his diving suit.<br />

Taylor had a partner, George W. Taylor, a<br />

New Jersey native who traded in Indian rubber.<br />

(From which diving hose was made.) <strong>The</strong> two<br />

men were not related, but beyond having <strong>the</strong><br />

same last name, <strong>the</strong>y shared a common interest<br />

in making money <strong>of</strong>f diving. In late 1838,<br />

along with o<strong>the</strong>rs, <strong>the</strong> two Taylors went to<br />

Florida to salvage wrecks. Not long after <strong>the</strong>y<br />

got <strong>the</strong>re, William Taylor’s promising career<br />

ended in his mysterious and unpublicized<br />

death. By February 1839, George Taylor was<br />

referring to himself simply as “Captain Taylor.”<br />

In essence, George Taylor had become William<br />

Taylor. He even claimed to have been from<br />

North Carolina. From 1840 to 1845, using his<br />

late partner’s diving gear, Taylor <strong>the</strong> second did<br />

marine salvage work in <strong>the</strong> New York area and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Great Lakes.<br />

In December 1845, he invited someone<br />

only identified in <strong>the</strong> press as “F.R.” to<br />

descend with him and two o<strong>the</strong>r gentlemen in<br />

a diving bell at <strong>the</strong> Washington Navy Yard.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> first sensation, after being immersed<br />

beneath <strong>the</strong> surface <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> water, was one <strong>of</strong><br />

extreme uneasiness in <strong>the</strong> whole region <strong>of</strong><br />

lympanon, with a sensation <strong>of</strong> oppression on <strong>the</strong><br />

chest, which increased constantly until we had<br />

reached <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> river,” F.R. wrote in a<br />

letter published by newspapers in <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>ast.<br />

Not wishing his guests to suffer undue<br />

discomfort, Taylor sent a note up (F.R. did not<br />

say how) and soon one <strong>of</strong> his assistants, clad in<br />

submarine armour, descended with a chilled<br />

bottle <strong>of</strong> “very passable” champagne for <strong>the</strong><br />

diving bell occupants. <strong>The</strong> underwater party<br />

lasted about 20 minutes. No matter <strong>the</strong> sedative<br />

effect <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bubbly, F.R. again felt <strong>the</strong> same sense<br />

<strong>of</strong> unease he had experienced on <strong>the</strong> descent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> closer <strong>the</strong> bell got to <strong>the</strong> surface, <strong>the</strong> worse<br />

he felt. “After <strong>the</strong> rim <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bell had passed <strong>the</strong><br />

surface <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> water, and <strong>the</strong> cold air rushed in,”<br />

he concluded, “<strong>the</strong> contrast <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> atmosphere<br />

was so great as to excite much pain.”<br />



With its high volume <strong>of</strong> travel, <strong>the</strong><br />

Mississippi River claimed hundreds <strong>of</strong><br />

riverboats, <strong>of</strong>ten due to boiler explosions,<br />

collisions with o<strong>the</strong>r vessels or being<br />

breached by submerged objects. By <strong>the</strong><br />

1840s, with more than 1,200 steamboats<br />

churning up and down <strong>the</strong> mighty river and<br />

its navigable tributaries, a robust salvage<br />

industry had developed. <strong>The</strong> principle<br />

method used to retrieve cargo and equipment<br />

from wrecks was <strong>the</strong> diving bell and divers<br />

wearing in submarine armour.<br />

James Buchanan Eads pioneered <strong>the</strong><br />

development <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Mississippi River salvage<br />

business. He and his family came to St. Louis<br />

when he was 13. <strong>The</strong>y arrived in 1833 on a<br />

steamboat which caught fire at <strong>the</strong> wharf,<br />

claiming eight lives. In 1842, <strong>the</strong>n 22, Eads<br />

convinced St. Louis shipbuilder William Nelson<br />

to construct a salvage vessel to his specifications.<br />

Eads had no money to pay for such a vessel, but<br />

Nelson agreed to cover <strong>the</strong> cost in consideration<br />

<strong>of</strong> half-interest in <strong>the</strong> river salvage business Eads<br />

proposed. <strong>The</strong> steam-powered vessel Nelson<br />

built was named <strong>the</strong> Submarine. Despite its<br />

name, it did not operate underwater. But it<br />

carried divers who did. Eads would in time<br />

operate three o<strong>the</strong>r vessels on <strong>the</strong> river, <strong>the</strong><br />

Submarine 2, 3 and 4. Eventually, relying<br />

primarily on diving bells, he expanded his<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


usiness beyond salvage work to include <strong>the</strong><br />

underwater aspects <strong>of</strong> bridge construction and<br />

building navigational structures.<br />

While Eads was <strong>the</strong> first to do salvage work<br />

on <strong>the</strong> Mississippi, o<strong>the</strong>rs followed. In March<br />

1846, operating from a refitted former slave<br />

ship named <strong>the</strong> Spitfire, Captain George<br />

Taylor was in New Orleans to salvage <strong>the</strong><br />

steamboat Doctor Franklin, which sank <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong><br />

wharf after it collided with ano<strong>the</strong>r riverboat.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> divers attract <strong>the</strong> notice <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

curious,” <strong>the</strong> New Orleans Daily Delta reported,<br />

“especially <strong>the</strong> one who wears <strong>the</strong> Submarine<br />

Armor, which probably was never seen worn<br />

before in this city.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> newspaper went on to explain <strong>the</strong><br />

simple business model <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> salvors: Taylor<br />

and his crew would receive 50 percent “on <strong>the</strong><br />

amount <strong>of</strong> everything brought up from <strong>the</strong><br />

sunken boat.” <strong>The</strong> value <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Doctor Franklin’s<br />

cargo was estimated as $170,000, a staggering<br />

amount <strong>of</strong> money at <strong>the</strong> time. Already, <strong>the</strong><br />

newspaper continued, <strong>the</strong> Spitfire crew had<br />

recovered $5,000-$6,000 in goods.<br />

But earning <strong>the</strong>ir money was not easy. “<strong>The</strong><br />

men have to perform a most difficult labor;<br />

first from <strong>the</strong> coldness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> water, and next<br />

from <strong>the</strong> mud which settles upon <strong>the</strong> wreck,<br />

at <strong>the</strong> rate <strong>of</strong> about two inches thick, over <strong>the</strong><br />

deck, in every twenty-four hours.”<br />

One recovery vessel that worked <strong>the</strong><br />

river full time was <strong>the</strong> St. Louis-based Sub<br />

Occulator, which <strong>the</strong> Natchez Weekly Courier<br />

described as “looking like a foundry with a<br />

hardware store on top <strong>of</strong> it.” In <strong>the</strong> fall <strong>of</strong><br />

1847 <strong>the</strong> Sub Occulator tied up at Natchez to<br />

lay in supplies before heading downstream to<br />

dive on <strong>the</strong> wreck <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> steamboat Tennessee.<br />

“We are informed that [<strong>the</strong> Sub Occulator]<br />

has made a very neat little fortune since it<br />

commenced operation under <strong>the</strong> great highway<br />

<strong>of</strong> western commerce,” <strong>the</strong> newspaper noted.<br />

“Many fortunes have been made on <strong>the</strong><br />

Mississippi, but <strong>the</strong> Sub Occulator is <strong>the</strong> first<br />

agent that has drawn its wealth from<br />

Mississippi mud. May it go on, and go down,<br />

and draw up, until <strong>the</strong> industry <strong>of</strong> all on board<br />

has been amply rewarded.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> Mississippi salvage business flourished<br />

during <strong>the</strong> golden age <strong>of</strong> riverboats, but<br />

continued with <strong>the</strong> emergence <strong>of</strong> barge traffic.<br />



When <strong>the</strong> Mexican War broke out in <strong>the</strong><br />

spring <strong>of</strong> 1846, George Taylor saw economic<br />

opportunity and soon made his way to Texas<br />

aboard <strong>the</strong> schooner Spitfire. <strong>The</strong> New Orleans<br />

Picayune noted that he had arrived in<br />

Galveston on May 21 with “all his sub-marine<br />

diving apparatus.” <strong>The</strong> article did not mention<br />

it, but his vessel also carried large Indian<br />

rubber bladders <strong>of</strong> his invention, flotation<br />

devices he called “camels.” <strong>The</strong>se could be<br />

positioned by divers and <strong>the</strong>n inflated to<br />

refloat stranded vessels from sandbars. In<br />

addition, he could <strong>of</strong>fer underwater<br />

demolition skills to clear waterways.<br />

He proceeded from Galveston to Brazos<br />

Santiago on <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn tip <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state to<br />

join <strong>the</strong> flotilla <strong>of</strong> smaller vessels supporting<br />

Commodore David Conner’s blockade <strong>of</strong><br />

eastern Mexico’s ports. In October, when<br />

Conner’s successor, Commodore Mat<strong>the</strong>w<br />

Perry, engaged Mexican forces on <strong>the</strong> Tabasco<br />

River, Taylor stood by to use his camels to lift<br />

any U.S. vessels that might become mired in<br />

<strong>the</strong> shallow river. Whe<strong>the</strong>r he actually did<br />

that is not known, but he did use explosives<br />

in removing piles driven into <strong>the</strong> river to<br />

block U.S. vessels.<br />

Having sold <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy two diving suits<br />

and served as a civilian contractor in <strong>the</strong> early<br />

stages <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Mexican War, Taylor had a<br />

An illustration <strong>of</strong> an Army free driver,<br />

Frank Pierce, assisting with <strong>the</strong> search for<br />

a portion <strong>of</strong> railroad track during <strong>the</strong><br />

Civil War.<br />




<strong>The</strong> burning <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States steam<br />

frigate Missouri, at Gibraltar Aug. 26th<br />

1843. William Taylor was hired by <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

government to salvage <strong>the</strong> vessel.<br />


potentially far more lucrative project in mind<br />

halfway across <strong>the</strong> world. He wanted to get a<br />

contract from <strong>the</strong> Navy to salvage <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

steam frigate Missouri, which had sunk <strong>of</strong>f<br />

Gibraltar in 1843. He did receive a modest<br />

federal contract to perform an initial survey at<br />

<strong>the</strong> wreck site, but Congress proved slow to<br />

move on <strong>the</strong> full salvage effort.<br />

Meanwhile, Taylor focused on a potentially<br />

richer prize, <strong>the</strong> sunken British man-<strong>of</strong>-war<br />

HMS Hussar. <strong>The</strong> ship had gone down on<br />

November 23, 1780, in 26 fathoms at Hell Gate<br />

<strong>of</strong>f New York during <strong>the</strong> Revolutionary War. <strong>The</strong><br />

ship carried $2 to $4 million in gold, payment<br />

intended for British troops <strong>the</strong>n battling to<br />

prevent independence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American colonies.<br />

Unfortunately for Taylor, he never realized<br />

ei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se goals. (In fact, no one ever fully<br />

salvaged <strong>the</strong> Hussar.) “Captain” Taylor became<br />

ill in <strong>the</strong> spring <strong>of</strong> 1850 and never improved.<br />

He died at 43 in Washington, D.C. on April<br />

28, 1850. Local newspapers noted his death<br />

and listed his numerous accomplishments,<br />

but for a man who had succeeded in getting<br />

so much publicity in life, his passing was not<br />

widely reported. A savvy businessman and<br />

promoter, though little-known today, he and<br />

<strong>the</strong> partner he might have had a hand in<br />

getting rid <strong>of</strong>, had been key figures in <strong>the</strong><br />

development <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> commercial diving<br />

industry in <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r noted American commercial diver<br />

was James Aldrich Whipple. Born July 22,<br />

1826, he grew up in Boston, Massachusetts.<br />

<strong>The</strong> son <strong>of</strong> a machinist, he demonstrated an<br />

early interest in engineering and soon had an<br />

apprenticeship with a steam engine firm. At<br />

some point, he saw a demonstration <strong>of</strong><br />

Taylor’s submarine armour and decided to<br />

develop his own helmet. His design featured<br />

an escape valve for stale air, which did away<br />

with <strong>the</strong> need for two hoses. That<br />

improvement made it easier both for <strong>the</strong> diver<br />

and his tenders above.<br />

Using his hard-helmet diving gear, pumps<br />

he also invented, a diving bell and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

equipment, his main source <strong>of</strong> income was in<br />

underwater salvage operations. With <strong>the</strong> term<br />

“commercial diver” still in <strong>the</strong> future, he<br />

called himself a “practical diver.” Whipple<br />

traveled <strong>the</strong> world in <strong>the</strong> 1850s to dive on<br />

sunken vessels. In 1851, <strong>the</strong> owner <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

West Point Foundry presented Whipple a<br />

gold watch for raising <strong>the</strong> engines <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

steamer Pioneer, which had sunk in <strong>the</strong><br />

Hudson River. <strong>Diving</strong> on a wreck <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong><br />

Venezuelan coast in 60 feet <strong>of</strong> water, he<br />

brought up $2 to $3 million in specie. In<br />

1861, while traveling to a salvage job he<br />

became ill and never recovered.<br />

JOHN<br />

GREEN<br />

While Taylor and Whipple seemed willing to<br />

go just about anywhere <strong>the</strong>y stood a chance <strong>of</strong><br />

making money, commercial diving pioneer John<br />

B. Green focused primarily on <strong>the</strong> Great Lakes.<br />

Born in Canada near Montreal in 1826,<br />

before he turned 10 his family moved to<br />

Ogdensburg, New York to farm along <strong>the</strong> Saint<br />

Lawrence River. In that major waterway, young<br />

Green learned to swim. He could swim for<br />

miles and stay afloat for hours at a time. If he<br />

went beneath <strong>the</strong> surface, however, it was only<br />

when he jumped in <strong>the</strong> river. When he was<br />

fourteen, his family moved again, this time to<br />

Oswego, New York. “In that locality,” Green<br />

later wrote, “I had ample opportunity to<br />

indulge my propensity for swimming by <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

bathing in <strong>the</strong> deep waters <strong>of</strong> Lake Ontario.”<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


In <strong>the</strong> spring <strong>of</strong> 1841, as Green walked<br />

along <strong>the</strong> dock in Oswego, he saw two men<br />

jump into <strong>the</strong> water and disappear beneath<br />

<strong>the</strong> surface. When <strong>the</strong>y came up a minute or<br />

so later, he asked what <strong>the</strong>y were doing. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

said <strong>the</strong>y were trying to recover a stolen clock<br />

and two boxes <strong>of</strong> soap that had been thrown<br />

into <strong>the</strong> river. Green decided to join <strong>the</strong> effort<br />

and ended up finding one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> soap boxes<br />

and <strong>the</strong> clock.<br />

“Elated by this success,” he later wrote, “I<br />

at once conceived <strong>the</strong> idea <strong>of</strong> following diving<br />

for lost property as a vocation.”<br />

Until well into <strong>the</strong> twentieth century, that’s<br />

what diving would be: A vocation. Not until<br />

<strong>the</strong> idealistic days <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1950s, when a warweary<br />

public suddenly had time and money<br />

on <strong>the</strong>ir hands did people look at diving as a<br />

recreational sport. But for men like Green,<br />

diving would be a hard and dangerous job,<br />

not something undertaken for fun.<br />

As a young man Green for a time operated<br />

a freight scow on <strong>the</strong> Erie Canal, but he also<br />

did free diving for salvage. Occasionally he<br />

helped recover <strong>the</strong> bodies <strong>of</strong> drowning<br />

victims and once rescued a young woman<br />

who had fallen from a steamboat gangplank.<br />

For that, <strong>the</strong> girl’s fa<strong>the</strong>r gave him $500, a lot<br />

<strong>of</strong> money in <strong>the</strong> mid-19th century.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 1852 Lake Erie wreck <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong><br />

Oswego, on which Green and possibly his wife<br />

and child were passengers (<strong>the</strong> record is<br />

confusing but likely <strong>the</strong>y died in <strong>the</strong><br />

accident), shaped <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> his career. While<br />

participating in <strong>the</strong> hunt for <strong>the</strong> Oswego’s lost<br />

cargo, Green heard <strong>of</strong> a salvage operation<br />

underway at <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r shipwreck<br />

about 10 miles from <strong>the</strong> scene <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Oswego’s<br />

demise. Going <strong>the</strong>re, after demonstrating his<br />

free diving abilities he convinced <strong>the</strong> captain<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> salvage vessel to let him try out one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> diving suits <strong>the</strong>y were using. <strong>The</strong> salvors<br />

liked his style and he joined <strong>the</strong> crew. After<br />

that, he spent most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> his life as a<br />

commercial diver.<br />

In an era when underwater exploration<br />

generated <strong>the</strong> same sort <strong>of</strong> public interest that<br />

would later accrue to space exploration,<br />

Green got a lot <strong>of</strong> publicity. “John Green<br />

alone, in all <strong>the</strong> world, possesses <strong>the</strong> secret<br />

power to ‘go down to <strong>the</strong> depths <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

seas’...he is confident that he can reach <strong>the</strong><br />

depths <strong>of</strong> any <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lakes at <strong>the</strong>ir greatest<br />

soundings, explore vessels and attach to <strong>the</strong>m<br />

<strong>the</strong> necessary fixtures for raising,” said <strong>the</strong><br />

Cleveland Herald. Eventually he capitalized<br />

on his name identification by writing (or<br />

more likely using a ghost writer) and<br />

publishing a book chronicling his adventures<br />

as a commercial diver.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> Green’s most significant contributions<br />

to <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> commercial diving were<br />

his observations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> unpleasant side effects <strong>of</strong><br />

spending time at depth. His worst experience—<br />

nearly fatal—came following a long day <strong>of</strong><br />

diving on <strong>the</strong> sunken steamship Atlantic, which<br />

had gone down in Lake Erie with a large loss <strong>of</strong><br />

life on August 20, 1852. He had dived on <strong>the</strong><br />

wreck twice before, but still sought <strong>the</strong> ship’s<br />

safe, which contained more than $30,000.<br />

Using a modified version <strong>of</strong> Taylor’s<br />

“diving armor,” Green began diving on <strong>the</strong><br />

wreck in August 1855. <strong>The</strong> vessel lay about<br />

150 feet down. Light did not penetrate to that<br />

depth, so he had to grope around on <strong>the</strong> ship<br />

in darkness. On <strong>the</strong> fifth or sixth day, he<br />

finally found <strong>the</strong> safe, touching its cool metal<br />

through a deckhouse window. He returned to<br />

<strong>the</strong> surface for a buoy and line to mark <strong>the</strong><br />

location. Each dive that morning lasted for 20<br />

to 30 minutes. After lunch, he went back<br />

down again, this time with <strong>the</strong> equipment he<br />

needed to cut into <strong>the</strong> cabin where <strong>the</strong> safe<br />

sat. This operation took about 40 minutes.<br />

An illustration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> collision <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Atlantic and <strong>the</strong> Ogdensburg on Lake<br />

Erie in 1852, from Gleason’s Pictorial. It<br />

was on his dive <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wreckage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Atlantic that diver John B. Green suffered<br />

a near-fatal case <strong>of</strong> paralysis caused by<br />

decompression sickness.<br />



A 1939 advertisement for Merritt-Chapman<br />

& Scott, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest salvage<br />

companies in <strong>the</strong> world in its day. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s distinctive “black horse” flag can<br />

be seen at <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ad. Founded as<br />

a salvage company, its operations expanded<br />

into construction projects, including<br />

Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge, <strong>the</strong> longest<br />

suspension bridge between anchorages in <strong>the</strong><br />

Western Hemisphere. <strong>The</strong> company ceased<br />

operations in <strong>the</strong> early 1970s.<br />

Back on <strong>the</strong> surface, he sat on <strong>the</strong> deck <strong>of</strong><br />

his diving vessel to rest before making a<br />

fourth dive to attach a cable hook to <strong>the</strong> safe.<br />

But within moments, “a sharp pain shot like<br />

lightening through my lower extremities, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> next instant it went through my whole<br />

system, so prostrating me that I could not<br />

move a limb or even a muscle.” Co-workers<br />

got him ashore, where he lingered near death<br />

for two weeks. When it seemed evident that<br />

he would survive, he was taken to Buffalo,<br />

where he remained for ten days before<br />

reaching home in Boston. <strong>The</strong>re, “five tedious<br />

months” went by before he could walk again,<br />

and only with <strong>the</strong> aid <strong>of</strong> crutches.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re have been many conjectures in<br />

regard to <strong>the</strong> cause <strong>of</strong> my paralysis,” he wrote.<br />

“Some attribute it to my meal; o<strong>the</strong>rs to <strong>the</strong><br />

pressure <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> water.”<br />

In <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> 1856, Green organized a<br />

fourth expedition to recover <strong>the</strong> safe. Given<br />

that he still had not fully recovered, he hired<br />

two divers to do <strong>the</strong> job under his<br />

supervision. When nei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m could get<br />

all <strong>the</strong> way down to <strong>the</strong> wreck, Green donned<br />

<strong>the</strong> diving suit and succeeded in reaching <strong>the</strong><br />

hulk. Once again finding <strong>the</strong> cabin where he<br />

knew <strong>the</strong> safe to be, he discovered that it was<br />

gone. Someone else had recovered it.<br />

Though bitterly disappointed at having lost<br />

a treasure he had been <strong>the</strong> one to find, Green<br />

sought to capitalize on his diving in less<br />

hazardous ways. Too afflicted to work<br />

underwater, he published his book and soon<br />

went on <strong>the</strong> lecture circuit. Though he still<br />

intended to at least oversee salvage operations,<br />

booze, money troubles, and <strong>the</strong> dissolution <strong>of</strong><br />

his marriage pulled him downward as surely<br />

as lead diving weights. In October 1868, he<br />

ended his life with a fatal dose <strong>of</strong> poison.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> era that author Jerry Kuntz<br />

called “diving’s heroic age,” Green had not<br />

been <strong>the</strong> only man whose willingness to risk<br />

his life underwater in <strong>the</strong> hope <strong>of</strong> financial<br />

gain had advanced <strong>the</strong> progress <strong>of</strong> commercial<br />

diving, but he had been one <strong>of</strong> its most<br />

colorful and tragic figures.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> early 1860s, <strong>the</strong> vented diving<br />

helmet, with air hose and protective suit had<br />

virtually replaced <strong>the</strong> diving bell or caisson, as<br />

it was less commonly known. <strong>Diving</strong><br />

companies developed in most major ports,<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir primary income coming from ship<br />

owners needing to have hulls cleaned or<br />

repaired. <strong>The</strong>y also recovered lost anchors<br />

and items that fell overboard.<br />

<strong>The</strong> New York firm <strong>of</strong> Merritt-Chapman &<br />

Scott had its beginning in 1860 as Coast<br />

Wrecking Company and soon reorganized<br />

under Israel Merritt as Merritt’s Wrecking<br />

Organization. In 1897, it merged with Chapman<br />

Derrick and Wrecking Company to form Merritt<br />

and Chapman Derrick Wrecking Company. <strong>The</strong><br />

company merged again in 1922 with T.A. Scott<br />

Company to form Merritt-Chapman and Scott<br />

Corporation. Before long, it had grown into <strong>the</strong><br />

largest and best-regarded salvage company in<br />

<strong>the</strong> world. Known as <strong>the</strong> “Black Horse <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Sea,” <strong>the</strong> company expanded beyond salvage<br />

work to maritime construction.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


SCUBA<br />

<strong>The</strong> common perception is that <strong>the</strong><br />

development <strong>of</strong> self-contained underwater<br />

breathing apparatus (SCUBA) came during<br />

World War II. Scuba diving did play a part in<br />

<strong>the</strong> war, and exploded in use after <strong>the</strong> conflict<br />

ended, but it was not a new concept. <strong>The</strong> big<br />

difference was that what had been envisioned<br />

for years finally proved workable. At least at<br />

shallow depths, divers could operate freely<br />

without having to worry about getting <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

surface-connected air hose tangled or severed.<br />

William H. James, yet ano<strong>the</strong>r Englishman<br />

who advanced <strong>the</strong> diving industry, is credited<br />

with developing <strong>the</strong> first scuba equipment in<br />

1825. In his design, a diver wore a helmet, but<br />

<strong>the</strong> air he brea<strong>the</strong>d came from a tank <strong>of</strong><br />

compressed air fastened on his waist. James<br />

claimed a diver could stay underwater an hour<br />

with his invention, but whe<strong>the</strong>r his equipment<br />

was ever produced and used is not clear. In<br />

1839, two Canadian inventors, James Eliot and<br />

Alexander McAvity were granted a patent for<br />

an “oxygen reservoir for divers.” <strong>The</strong>ir design<br />

featured a device a diver carried on his back<br />

that contained ei<strong>the</strong>r “condensed” oxygen or<br />

“common atmospheric air proportionate to <strong>the</strong><br />

depth <strong>of</strong> water and adequate to <strong>the</strong> time he is<br />

intended to remain below.”<br />

In <strong>the</strong> United States, engineer Charles<br />

Condert invented a system where air could be<br />

contained inside a copper pipe worn around a<br />

diver’s body. <strong>The</strong> diver also wore a hood<br />

covering <strong>the</strong> top half <strong>of</strong> his body. While<br />

Condert had <strong>the</strong> right concept—a portable air<br />

supply and head covering—he drowned while<br />

trying out his invention.<br />

“Though <strong>the</strong> natural constitution <strong>of</strong> man<br />

entirely unfits him for remaining in water with<br />

safety for more than two minutes at a time, <strong>the</strong><br />

desire <strong>of</strong> obtaining valuable objects lying at <strong>the</strong><br />

bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea has led him to devise<br />

numerous expedients,” <strong>the</strong> New American<br />

Cyclopaedia noted in its 1859 edition.<br />

French mining engineer Benoit Rouguayrot<br />

designed in 1860 a cylindrical air tank<br />

attached to a demand regulator. He developed<br />

<strong>the</strong> equipment for miners to don in <strong>the</strong> event<br />

<strong>of</strong> a sudden mine shaft flood, but if it could<br />

work underwater below ground, it could<br />

work in open bodies <strong>of</strong> water as well.<br />

In 1864, Rouguayrot partnered with French<br />

naval <strong>of</strong>ficer Auguste Denayrouze to tweak his<br />

invention for use by divers whose primary air<br />

supply came from an air hose above water. A<br />

diver could detach himself from <strong>the</strong> air hose for<br />

a short time, but <strong>the</strong> tank could only hold<br />

about 30 minutes worth <strong>of</strong> air. Still, <strong>the</strong><br />

equipment marked a significant advance in<br />

diving and by 1865 it was in mass-production.<br />

Five years later, diving with <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong><br />

scuba equipment made its first appearance in<br />

fiction in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under <strong>the</strong><br />

Sea when novelist Jules Verne describes a dive<br />

in which Captain Nemo, <strong>the</strong> master <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

submarine Nautilus, saves a pearl diver from a<br />

shark attack.<br />

Above: A French inventor’s conception <strong>of</strong> an<br />

underwater breathing apparatus. Clearly,<br />

he did not envision diving in cold water.<br />

Below:A design <strong>of</strong> a diving helmet from <strong>the</strong><br />

early 1900s.<br />




Alphonse Esquiros, a French writer, wrote a book called English Seamen and Divers in 1868.<br />

Ra<strong>the</strong>r than have someone tell him what it was like to be a diver, he tried it himself. His<br />

account captured what diving was like only three decades after <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first<br />

commercially available diving gear:<br />

“<strong>The</strong> helmet which covered my face and head was provided on <strong>the</strong> back...with two hollow<br />

metallic studs; one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se was protected against <strong>the</strong> intrusion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> water by a strong valve,<br />

and was intended to give vent to <strong>the</strong> air vitiated by breathing; <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r, called <strong>the</strong> pipe-holder,<br />

was to be fixed to <strong>the</strong> air-tube.”<br />

That, he explained, was a long India-rubber “pipe.” Esquiros watched as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sailors<br />

connected one end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hose with a pump and <strong>the</strong>n attached <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r to his helmet.<br />

“I could <strong>the</strong>n well understand how <strong>the</strong> whole <strong>the</strong>ory <strong>of</strong> this art is based,” he continued, “as<br />

might be expected, on <strong>the</strong> physical constitution <strong>of</strong> man. <strong>The</strong> diving apparatus only doubles<br />

and leng<strong>the</strong>ns his respiratory organs; <strong>the</strong> air-pump is for him nothing but his external lungs,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> air-tube is only a floating windpipe.”<br />

Once <strong>the</strong> helmet’s three glass view ports had been screwed on and Esquiros began breathing<br />

<strong>the</strong> pumped air, his hosts directed him to a ladder extending down <strong>the</strong> side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ship. Slowly,<br />

<strong>the</strong> writer began climbing down into <strong>the</strong> water. He did not stay down long and was happy to<br />

get back to <strong>the</strong> surface.<br />

Reflecting on <strong>the</strong> experience, Esquiros wrote:<br />

I knew now, by experience, all <strong>the</strong> essential details <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> art <strong>of</strong> diving, and, as <strong>the</strong> result, I could<br />

not help admiring <strong>the</strong> courage, and wondering at <strong>the</strong> acquired nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se men, who were not<br />

merely capable <strong>of</strong> remaining a few minutes underwater, but were able to continue <strong>the</strong>re for several<br />

hours, and to execute all kinds <strong>of</strong> different work.<br />

Yves Le Prieur.<br />

Henry A. Fleuss, a British merchant<br />

mariner, developed a self-contained diving<br />

apparatus that used compressed oxygen<br />

(instead <strong>of</strong> compressed air). <strong>The</strong> device<br />

included a rebrea<strong>the</strong>r by which carbon dioxide<br />

was made breathable again by being passed<br />

through a rope soaked in potash. <strong>The</strong><br />

apparatus Fleuss developed allowed a bottom<br />

time <strong>of</strong> up to three hours and was used in 1880<br />

by noted English diver Alexander Lambert.<br />

Wearing Fleuss’ equipment, <strong>the</strong> diver went into<br />

a flooded tunnel sixty feet down and sealed a<br />

hatchway located a thousand feet into <strong>the</strong><br />

tunnel. Fleuss’ invention is considered <strong>the</strong> first<br />

workable scuba equipment and <strong>the</strong> model for<br />

closed-circuit scuba, which is still used today.<br />

In 1933, a French naval captain, Yves Le<br />

Prieur, built on <strong>the</strong> latest version <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

nineteenth century Rouquayrol-Denayrouse<br />

equipment by attaching a specially designed<br />

demand value to a high-pressure air tank. With<br />

no regulator, a diver got fresh air by opening a<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


valve. Exhaled air escaped from under <strong>the</strong><br />

diver’s face mask. Two years later, though a<br />

diver could not remain underwater long with it,<br />

<strong>the</strong> device was put into use by <strong>the</strong> French Navy.<br />

Though most diving still involved <strong>the</strong> use<br />

<strong>of</strong> pressurized suits, in 1933 Louis de Corlieu<br />

received a patent for a set <strong>of</strong> spoon-shaped fins<br />

that swimmers or divers could use to enhance<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir underwater propulsion. Corlieu’s<br />

invention led to <strong>the</strong> fur<strong>the</strong>r development <strong>of</strong><br />

fins that fit on a swimmer’s feet, giving him<br />

even faster movement beneath <strong>the</strong> surface.<br />

Meanwhile, ano<strong>the</strong>r French naval <strong>of</strong>ficer,<br />

along with an engineer from a natural<br />

gas company, developed a regulator that<br />

revolutionized scuba diving. <strong>The</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficer was<br />

Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910-1997). <strong>The</strong><br />

engineer was Emile Gagnan. <strong>Working</strong> toge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y repurposed a car engine regulator so that<br />

it automatically provided compressed air to a<br />

diver anytime he took <strong>the</strong> slightest breath.<br />

Prior to <strong>the</strong>ir invention, divers using scuba<br />

equipment received compressed air constantly.<br />

<strong>The</strong> two men affixed <strong>the</strong>ir new valve to a<br />

rubber hose with a mouthpiece that was attached<br />

to two compressed air tanks. In <strong>the</strong> deep winter<br />

<strong>of</strong> 1943, Cousteau dove into <strong>the</strong> Marne River<br />

near Paris to test <strong>the</strong> new device, which worked.<br />

After some modification, <strong>the</strong> two men received a<br />

patent for what <strong>the</strong>y call an Aqua Lung.<br />

<strong>The</strong> regulator developed by Gagnan and<br />

Cousteau marked a pivotal moment in <strong>the</strong><br />


Newspaper reporters found that interviews with commercial divers made good copy.<br />

Farmers and ranchers in Wise County in far North Texas must have marveled in reading in <strong>the</strong>ir April 20, 1883, issue <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Wise<br />

County Messenger a story headlined “Under <strong>The</strong> Sea.” Reprinted from an unnamed Philadelphia newspaper, <strong>the</strong> piece was based on an<br />

interview with Captain Anthony Williams, a commercial diver with two decades <strong>of</strong> experience.<br />

“Can you brea<strong>the</strong> as freely in your diving dress as you can out <strong>of</strong> it?” <strong>the</strong> unnamed reporter asked.<br />

“Yes, indeed,” Williams said. “When ten or twelve fathoms under [60 to 72 feet] water my breathing is as wholly devoid <strong>of</strong> effort<br />

as it is when I am walking about on dry land.”<br />

Williams <strong>the</strong>n went on to explain how diving equipment worked, communication with his surface tenders and o<strong>the</strong>r aspects <strong>of</strong><br />

commercial diving. Admitting he did get an ear ache from time to time, o<strong>the</strong>rwise, he said, “<strong>the</strong> sensations [under water] are delightful,<br />

and I feel just as well, happy and contented at <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea as I can under any circumstances.”<br />

He did, however, sometimes get annoyed with his tenders above.<br />

“While engaged in raising <strong>the</strong> sunken schooner Dauntless, in Kingston, Jamaica, on <strong>the</strong> 18th <strong>of</strong> August, 1880, I became so<br />

disgusted at <strong>the</strong> stupidity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> men above in answering my signals that I took a book which I found in <strong>the</strong> captain’s cabin, and,<br />

sitting down read it for nearly an hour.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> Galveston News, <strong>the</strong> morning newspaper in what was <strong>the</strong>n Texas’s largest port, reprinted on Sept. 5, 1885 an interview with a<br />

diver known as Funeral Bob first published in <strong>the</strong> New York Sun. Despite his nickname, Robert B. Russell <strong>the</strong> diver was alive and doing<br />

quite well at his trade.<br />

“People always associate diving with wrecks, dead bodies or treasure,” he said, “but that’s a small part <strong>of</strong> our work, and not a<br />

particularly fine line <strong>of</strong> it ei<strong>the</strong>r.”<br />

Described as New York’s “No. 1 diver,” Russell said, “<strong>The</strong> fine work <strong>of</strong> a diver’s occupation is that in which he has to ply some trade<br />

like carpentering or pipe-laying under water. You see, a diver should be skilled at many trades to be a success.”<br />

Russell said he and his colleagues in <strong>the</strong> business only worked four hours a day, earning $6 a day. However, if a diver furnished<br />

his own equipment—boat, pump, hose, lines and dress—<strong>the</strong> price ranged from $35 to $50 a day, depending on <strong>the</strong> job.<br />

Three years later, a Chicago newspaper published ano<strong>the</strong>r interview with Capt. Williams, “<strong>the</strong> famous English diver.”<br />

Williams said he began his underwater career above <strong>the</strong> surface, supervising <strong>the</strong> raising <strong>of</strong> a sunken wreck <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong> Cornwall.<br />

“I had working for me a diver who seemed a very lazy, careless sort <strong>of</strong> fellow,” <strong>the</strong> captain began. “I was paying him by <strong>the</strong> day, and<br />

once, after being under water for a long time, he came up and reported very little progress in his work. I was angry and expressed<br />

myself strongly. He retorted with: ‘Try it yourself if you think you can do any better.’”<br />

To <strong>the</strong> diver’s surprise, Williams took him up on <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fer. Once he realized his boss hadn’t been joking, <strong>the</strong> diver removed his suit<br />

and Williams put it on. “I discharged him when I came up and I have been doing my own work ever since.”<br />



Above: An advertisement for Cousteau and<br />

Gagnan’s Aqua Lung.<br />

Below: <strong>Commercial</strong> divers and <strong>the</strong>ir exploits<br />

captured <strong>the</strong> public’s imagination. Stage and<br />

film actress Sarah Bernhardt can be seen in<br />

<strong>the</strong>se diving-<strong>the</strong>med photographs from <strong>the</strong><br />

late 1800s.<br />


history <strong>of</strong> diving. It was reliable and low-cost.<br />

Following World War II, <strong>the</strong> Aqua Lung<br />

went into commercial production. O<strong>the</strong>r<br />

innovations followed, but in regard to scuba<br />

diving, <strong>the</strong> work <strong>of</strong> Gagnan and Cousteau<br />

allowed diving to become mainstream.<br />

THE<br />

1890S<br />

While salvage diving had already become<br />

<strong>the</strong> mainstay <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> commercial diving<br />

industry, in <strong>the</strong> last decade <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nineteenth<br />

century something old became something<br />

new in <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

Since <strong>the</strong> 1820s, it had been known that<br />

sponges could be found <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> Florida Keys.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> late 1840s, some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> organisms were<br />

being harvested with <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> long poles.<br />

When turtle fishermen from Key West<br />

discovered sponge beds along <strong>the</strong> western<br />

coast <strong>of</strong> Florida near where <strong>the</strong> Anclote River<br />

enters <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico, spongers began<br />

working that area. John Cheyney, a<br />

businessman in <strong>the</strong> new community <strong>of</strong><br />

Tarpon Springs, opened a sponge-packing<br />

house <strong>the</strong>re in 1890 and <strong>the</strong> North American<br />

sponge industry migrated from <strong>the</strong> Bahamas<br />

and Cuba to Tarpon Springs.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> turn <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> century, <strong>the</strong> town was<br />

<strong>the</strong> largest sponge port in <strong>the</strong> U.S. and<br />

starting in 1905, some five hundred Greek<br />

sponge divers immigrated to Florida. Though<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir ancient predecessors had collected<br />

sponges by free diving, <strong>the</strong> Greeks embraced<br />

new technology and began diving in hard<br />

helmets and pump-fed diving suits. <strong>The</strong><br />

business fluctuated due to environmental and<br />

economic issues, but Tarpon Springs sponges<br />

are still exported all over <strong>the</strong> world. Not until<br />

well into <strong>the</strong> twentieth century did tourism<br />

surpass sponge harvesting as <strong>the</strong> community’s<br />

primary industry.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />



George W. Fuller had been making his living as a diver for a good while when he came up<br />

with yet ano<strong>the</strong>r way to turn a pr<strong>of</strong>it in underwater work.<br />

In talking with acquaintances about <strong>the</strong> sort <strong>of</strong> things he could accomplish with his diving<br />

apparatus, Fuller asserted that he could even catch, dress and cook a fish under water. Not only that,<br />

he boasted, he could bring it to <strong>the</strong> surface without even getting it wet, hot and ready to eat.<br />

Of course, no one believed he could do it. In fact, one gentlemen cheerfully wagered $100 that<br />

Fuller could not pull <strong>of</strong>f such a stunt. Taking <strong>the</strong> bet, Fuller set <strong>the</strong> date <strong>of</strong> his demonstration for<br />

<strong>the</strong> following week. He did that because he knew he had a little below-<strong>the</strong>-surface work to do first.<br />

<strong>The</strong> diver took his boat and a couple <strong>of</strong> his employees to a point far out into <strong>the</strong> harbor where<br />

he was fairly sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find fish. Fuller lowered a weighted barrel and <strong>the</strong>n<br />

donned his diving suit. On <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bay, Fuller secured <strong>the</strong> barrel with ropes and <strong>the</strong>n<br />

stood up inside it. As he stood <strong>the</strong>re, air coming from his escape valve began rising to <strong>the</strong> top,<br />

steadily pushing down <strong>the</strong> water. Soon he was able to remove his helmet and before long <strong>the</strong> whole<br />

barrel was filled with air. Next, with hammer and nails, he attached a board to <strong>the</strong> side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> barrel<br />

that would serve as a shelf.<br />

<strong>The</strong> next week, with his crew, <strong>the</strong> man who had made <strong>the</strong> bet and assorted hangers on, Fuller<br />

took his boat to <strong>the</strong> approximate spot where he had te<strong>the</strong>red <strong>the</strong> barrel. <strong>The</strong>n, taking with him<br />

a lantern, a small stew pan, salt, pepper and a fishing hook, he descended to his “fish house.”<br />

He soon spotted a fish, harpooned it with a sail needle attached to a line, and pulled it inside<br />

his barrel. <strong>The</strong>re he gutted <strong>the</strong> fish, washed it, added salt and pepper and parboiled it over <strong>the</strong><br />

flame from his lantern. When <strong>the</strong> fish was done, he placed <strong>the</strong> skillet inside <strong>the</strong> water-pro<strong>of</strong><br />

lamp container, stepped out <strong>of</strong> his barrel and pulled <strong>the</strong> line signaling his men to pull him up.<br />

“I had been gone only a few minutes, and <strong>the</strong> people thought as a matter <strong>of</strong> course that I<br />

had come up to say that I could not catch <strong>the</strong> fish, never dreaming that I had caught it, dressed<br />

it and cooked it already. <strong>The</strong>y were very much surprised when...I showed <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> fish<br />

steaming hot and well-cooked.” One <strong>of</strong> those surprised people was also out $100.<br />

(<strong>The</strong> story, reprinted from <strong>the</strong> Boston Globe, appeared in <strong>the</strong> Bryan [Texas] Eagle on January 9, 1890.)<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> earliest uses <strong>of</strong> commercial<br />

diving was sponge harvesting. <strong>The</strong> industry<br />

grew in Florida in <strong>the</strong> late 1800s.<br />



Above: A sponge diver in Tarpon<br />

Springs, Florida.<br />

Below: An illustration from <strong>the</strong> 1850s <strong>of</strong><br />

Lodner D. Phillips’ design for an<br />

atmospheric diving suit made <strong>of</strong> cast steel<br />

and iron.<br />



Atmospheric diving suits are one-man,<br />

human-shape submersibles. For decades, <strong>the</strong><br />

principle issue in <strong>the</strong> way <strong>of</strong> making such<br />

suits practical was <strong>the</strong> need for joints that<br />

could both allow for natural body movements<br />

(so <strong>the</strong> diver could get work done) and at <strong>the</strong><br />

same time be strong enough to support <strong>the</strong><br />

necessary internal pressure.<br />

Alphonse and <strong>The</strong>odore Carmagnolle, two<br />

French inventors from Marseilles, designed<br />

<strong>the</strong> first atmospheric diving suit in 1878<br />

and received a patent on it in 1882. Made<br />

<strong>of</strong> metal, <strong>the</strong> suit consisted <strong>of</strong> 22 concentric<br />

ball-and-socket joints kept watertight by a<br />

linen wrap. Each arm had six joints, each<br />

leg four joins and <strong>the</strong>re were two joints<br />

for <strong>the</strong> body <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> suit. With all that metal,<br />

<strong>the</strong> contraption weighed 862 pounds. <strong>The</strong><br />

suit is displayed in <strong>the</strong> Musee de la Marine<br />

(Marine Museum) in Paris. To <strong>the</strong> modern<br />

eye, it looks like something out <strong>of</strong> a science<br />

fiction movie. Indeed, science fiction buffs<br />

point to it as <strong>the</strong> first robotic-looking device<br />

made by man.<br />

In Germany, in 1913 <strong>the</strong> Kiel-based firm <strong>of</strong><br />

Neufeldt and Kuhnke built two cast iron suits<br />

that <strong>the</strong> German Navy bought. Five years<br />

later, with Great Britain and Germany locked<br />

in a viscious world war, inventor Joseph Salim<br />

Peress (1896-1978) began experimenting<br />

with a stainless steel diving suit in 1918. Four<br />

years later, he patented a spherical joint that<br />

used fluid to equalize pressure.<br />

In 1930, <strong>the</strong> patent figured in Peress’s<br />

development <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Tritonia diving suit. He<br />

had started working on such a suit in <strong>the</strong><br />

1920s and by 1929 had found that using<br />

magnesium instead <strong>of</strong> steel made suits much<br />

less heavy and <strong>the</strong>refore considerably more<br />

practical. To solve <strong>the</strong> joint problem, he used a<br />

trapped cushion <strong>of</strong> oil to keep <strong>the</strong>m easy for a<br />

diver to move. In September 1930, Jim<br />

Jarrett—Peress’s head diver—used <strong>the</strong> new<br />

suit to descend to 404 feet in Loch Ness. He<br />

didn’t find <strong>the</strong> legendary Loch Ness monster,<br />

but he did find that <strong>the</strong> suit worked perfectly.<br />

Not only did <strong>the</strong> atmospheric suit keep him<br />

safe from <strong>the</strong> physiological woes <strong>of</strong> deep<br />

diving, he was able to move with no problems.<br />

Today, Peress is credited with having invented<br />

<strong>the</strong> first usable atmospheric diving suit.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> 1960s, Peress developed a more<br />

modern version <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> suit,. When it began to<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


e used in 1972 was referred to as a JIM suit<br />

in honor <strong>of</strong> diver Jim Jarrett. <strong>The</strong> term “JIM<br />

suit” became a generic term in <strong>the</strong> industry.<br />

Even though Peress used magnesium, <strong>the</strong> suit<br />

still weighed 1,100 pounds. Four years later,<br />

it set a record for <strong>the</strong> longest working dive,<br />

one minute less than six hours at 905 feet.<br />

Atmospheric diving suits are still being<br />

used. Despite ongoing improvements, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

still do not <strong>of</strong>fer <strong>the</strong> mobility that o<strong>the</strong>r gear<br />

affords, but for deep work, in keeping a diver<br />

at atmospheric pressure, <strong>the</strong>y do prevent <strong>the</strong><br />

majority <strong>of</strong> physiological issues that make<br />

deep diving dangerous.<br />



<strong>Commercial</strong> diving would not exist if it<br />

had not been for <strong>the</strong> physiological discoveries<br />

and medical breakthroughs that made it<br />

relatively safe for those who venture deep<br />

underwater.<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> had evolved over <strong>the</strong> centuries, but<br />

not until <strong>the</strong> early twentieth century did<br />

significant advances occur in understanding<br />

<strong>the</strong> causes and treatment for <strong>the</strong> lifethreatening<br />

body reactions related to matters<br />

<strong>of</strong> physics and physiology—<strong>the</strong> crushing<br />

pressure <strong>of</strong> deep water and <strong>the</strong> issues related<br />

to oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.<br />

Well understood much earlier was that<br />

diving was a dangerous way to make a living.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first significant finding in regard to <strong>the</strong><br />

effect pressure had on divers came thanks to a<br />

poisonous snake. In 1667, Sir Robert Boyle,<br />

an English physicist, observed a gas bubble in<br />

<strong>the</strong> eye <strong>of</strong> a viper he had compressed and<br />

decompressed with a pump. He wrote: “I have<br />

seen a very apparent bubble moving from side<br />

to side in <strong>the</strong> aqueous humor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> eye <strong>of</strong> a<br />

viper at <strong>the</strong> time when this animal seemed<br />

violently distressed in <strong>the</strong> receiver from which<br />

<strong>the</strong> air had been exhausted.”<br />

Five years before, in 1662, Boyle had<br />

posited what came to be called Boyle’s Law,<br />

<strong>the</strong> modern expression <strong>of</strong> which is: “<strong>The</strong><br />

absolute pressure exerted by a given mass <strong>of</strong><br />

an ideal gas is inversely proportional to <strong>the</strong><br />

volume it occupies if <strong>the</strong> temperature and<br />

amount <strong>of</strong> gas remain unchanged within a<br />

closed system.”<br />

Based on Boyle’s research, in 1681 Abbe<br />

Jean de Hautefeuille wrote a treatise called<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Art <strong>of</strong> Breathing <strong>Underwater</strong>.” <strong>The</strong><br />

scientifically minded French priest correctly<br />

declared: “It is not possible for man to brea<strong>the</strong><br />

air at normal atmospheric pressure when he is<br />

himself underwater at depth.”<br />

In <strong>the</strong> turn <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> twenty-first-century<br />

movie Men <strong>of</strong> Honor, in which Robert De Niro<br />

A diver in a Tritonia ADS and a diver in<br />

traditional gear preparing to dive on <strong>the</strong><br />

wreckage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> RMS Lusitania, 1935.<br />



Sir Robert Boyle.<br />

plays a tough Navy diving instructor, he<br />

makes Boyle’s Law a bit easier to understand.<br />

Beyond that, it puts it into perspective:<br />

“Boyle’s Law describes <strong>the</strong> behavior <strong>of</strong><br />

gases under varying amounts <strong>of</strong> atmospheric<br />

pressure. It states that if a diver holds his<br />

breath at one hundred feet, continues holding<br />

while rising to ten feet, <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> gases in his<br />

lungs increase four times. Now why is this<br />

important to a diver? Forget to exhale on <strong>the</strong><br />

way up, and your lungs explode.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> expansion <strong>of</strong> gases in a diver’s lungs<br />

under <strong>the</strong> conditions set forth in De Niro’s<br />

line is actually by a factor <strong>of</strong> three, not four.<br />

But <strong>the</strong> effect would be <strong>the</strong> same.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> early days, no private association or<br />

government agency existed to keep statistics<br />

on diving deaths, but fatalities were not<br />

uncommon. And adverse physical reaction for<br />

divers was very common.<br />

Worrisome symptoms connected to diving<br />

were noted and described by physicians as<br />

early as <strong>the</strong> 1840s. When his air pipe burst on<br />

October 11, 1842, Royal Navy diver John<br />

Williams had been eighty feet down. Reaching<br />

<strong>the</strong> surface in a minute and a half, he was only<br />

semi-conscious. “His face <strong>the</strong>n was a mass <strong>of</strong><br />

lividity,” a doctor reported, “his neck was<br />

exceedingly swollen, bloated and suffused<br />

with livid coloured blood.”<br />

To bring him back around, <strong>the</strong> doctor<br />

administered a turpentine enema and applied<br />

leaches to one <strong>of</strong> his arms to remove 20<br />

ounces <strong>of</strong> blood. Despite his initial pressurerelated<br />

injuries and <strong>the</strong> witch doctor-like<br />

treatment, <strong>the</strong> diver apparently enjoyed a<br />

complete recovery.<br />

In 1854, a diver working in <strong>the</strong> U.S. was<br />

not so lucky when his air hose burst at depth.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> surface crew received no response<br />

to <strong>the</strong>ir tug on <strong>the</strong> diver’s signal line, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

pulled him up immediately. When <strong>the</strong>y<br />

opened his helmet, “to <strong>the</strong>ir horror [<strong>the</strong>y]<br />

found him quite dead; although he had been<br />

down but one minute.” What <strong>the</strong>y beheld was<br />

not a pretty sight: “Blood was oozing from <strong>the</strong><br />

eyes, nose and mouth...we found <strong>the</strong> head<br />

very badly swollen, <strong>the</strong> face and neck so filled<br />

with blood as to resemble liver, while <strong>the</strong><br />

remainder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> body was as white as<br />

unclouded marble.”<br />

As innovations in equipment enabled divers<br />

to go deeper and stay down longer, many began<br />

suffering with breathing difficulties, dizziness<br />

and disorientation, pain in <strong>the</strong> joints and<br />

paralysis. While <strong>the</strong> symptoms could be noted<br />

and described, no one understood <strong>the</strong>ir cause<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r than <strong>the</strong> obvious connection to diving.<br />

<strong>The</strong> same maladies experienced by divers<br />

also occurred on land. Tunnel builders,<br />

miners and o<strong>the</strong>rs who worked in an<br />

environment under pressure experienced<br />

difficulties. At least twelve workers died in St.<br />

Louis during construction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Eads Bridge<br />

in 1871 from what is now known as<br />

decompression sickness, or DCS. Workers<br />

also died as <strong>the</strong> Brooklyn Bridge went up.<br />

A year later, a researcher correctly concluded<br />

that DCS could be prevented by slower<br />

compression (descents) and slower<br />

decompression (ascents). He suggested that<br />

underwater workers be limited to four-hour<br />

shifts and that recompression treatment could<br />

help severe cases. In 1873, Andrew Smith<br />

coined <strong>the</strong> term “caisson disease” in describing<br />

<strong>the</strong> health problems associated with <strong>the</strong><br />

Brooklyn Bridge project, which like <strong>the</strong> Eads<br />

Bridge had employed divers using compressed<br />

air. About <strong>the</strong> same time, since one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

symptoms <strong>of</strong> DCS is joint pain causing sufferers<br />

to bend forward, <strong>the</strong> condition came to be more<br />

commonly referred to as “<strong>the</strong> bends.”<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


In 1878, Paul Bert, a French physiologist,<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r advanced <strong>the</strong> understanding <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

scientific factors involving <strong>the</strong> effect pressure<br />

had on <strong>the</strong> body. In his 1,000-page seminal<br />

study, La Pression Barometrique (<strong>The</strong> Barometric<br />

Pressure), Bert set forth <strong>the</strong> impact <strong>of</strong> both<br />

high and low air pressure on <strong>the</strong> human body.<br />

<strong>The</strong> adverse effects associated with<br />

underwater work, he wrote, were attributable<br />

to <strong>the</strong> formation <strong>of</strong> nitrogen gas bubbles. Bert<br />

also <strong>of</strong>fered what would become <strong>the</strong> standard<br />

way for divers to cope with pressure issues—<br />

coming back up gradually and using a<br />

decompression chamber to relieve symptoms.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> construction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Hudson<br />

River Tunnel in 1889-1890, Ernest William<br />

Moir developed an airlock chamber for<br />

treatment <strong>of</strong> divers suffering from DCS. A<br />

decade later, Leonard Hill—with backing<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Siebe Gorman Co.—experimented<br />

with frogs to develop <strong>the</strong>ories regarding<br />

compression and decompression. By 1904,<br />

<strong>the</strong> diving equipment company had<br />

developed a decompression chamber.<br />

<strong>The</strong> work done in Britain was by Scottish<br />

physiologist John S. Haldane, who <strong>the</strong> Royal<br />

Navy hired to do research on decompression<br />

sickness. Along with Arthur E. Boycott and<br />

Guybon C. Damant, Haldane published a<br />

paper on <strong>the</strong> prevention <strong>of</strong> what <strong>the</strong>y called<br />

“compressed-air illness.” As Bert had found<br />

earlier, <strong>the</strong> principle way to guard against <strong>the</strong><br />

bends was for divers to practice staged<br />

ascensions. Based on this work, <strong>the</strong> Royal<br />

Navy developed a set <strong>of</strong> tables listing <strong>the</strong> rate<br />

<strong>of</strong> ascension for divers based on how deep<br />

<strong>the</strong>y go and how long <strong>the</strong>y stay under.<br />

By 1912, <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy also was using<br />

diving tables based on <strong>the</strong> British research.<br />

In a long article on risky if pr<strong>of</strong>itable<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essions, <strong>the</strong> Houston Post observed on<br />

November 19, 1905: “[N]ow recognized as a<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>ession, [diving] is followed by a class <strong>of</strong><br />

people who devote <strong>the</strong>ir lives to <strong>the</strong> work,<br />

going to all parts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> country and working<br />

in sunken wrecks, examining <strong>the</strong> bottoms <strong>of</strong><br />

ships, searching for lost things in <strong>the</strong> deep<br />

waters, and doing anything else that requires<br />

work below <strong>the</strong> surface <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea.”<br />

While diving tables, decompression<br />

chambers, stricter safety standards and<br />

improved equipment have gone a long way<br />

toward making commercial diving safer, even<br />

today life-threatening health issues remain to<br />

be resolved.<br />

<strong>The</strong> most significant threat to divers today<br />

is High Pressure Neurological Syndrome.<br />

“Since this is a direct, physical effect <strong>of</strong><br />

pressure, <strong>the</strong>n perhaps we really have now<br />

reached <strong>the</strong> depth limits <strong>of</strong> ambient pressure<br />

diving,” Dr. Bennet wrote. “<strong>The</strong> pressures we<br />

are now reaching are so great that our<br />

Above: Paul Bert.<br />

Below: John Scott Haldane.<br />



Above: A diver preparing to repair a lock<br />

gate at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.<br />


Below: A man on a ship in a diving outfit, c.<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1910s.<br />


complex protein molecules, in particular<br />

those <strong>of</strong> our central nervous system, are being<br />

physically distorted and <strong>the</strong>ir critical<br />

properties subsequently changed.”<br />

Bennett <strong>the</strong>n expressed <strong>the</strong> problem in<br />

plainer terms: “Excursions into deeper depths<br />

can ultimately end in permanent<br />

denaturization <strong>of</strong> protein molecules from<br />

which <strong>the</strong>re will be no retreat or <strong>the</strong>rapeutic<br />

procedure. Denaturatization <strong>of</strong> protein is<br />

what happens when you hard-boil an egg.<br />

And as someone once said, you cannot unboil<br />

an egg.”<br />

More recently, Dr. David Sawatzky, in an<br />

article published January 17, 2012, in Dive<br />

Magazine said, “HPNS is a fascinating problem<br />

and one that current deep technical divers<br />

will definitively have to try and find some way<br />

to deal with.”<br />



<strong>The</strong> military use <strong>of</strong> divers is separate from<br />

<strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> commercial diving with one<br />

significant exception: Technological advances<br />

made during both world wars would improve<br />

<strong>the</strong> safety and efficiency <strong>of</strong> a new generation<br />

<strong>of</strong> divers who ventured beneath <strong>the</strong> surface to<br />

get a job done, not to destroy and kill.<br />

In 1917, <strong>the</strong> U.S. Bureau <strong>of</strong> Construction<br />

and Repair introduced for <strong>the</strong> Navy <strong>the</strong> Mark<br />

V diving helmet. Capping a diving dress and<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


A two-lock recompression tank (above) and<br />

a three-lock recompression tank (right) at<br />

<strong>the</strong> U.S. Naval Submarine Base New<br />

London in Groton, Connecticut. Until 1994<br />

New London was home to <strong>the</strong> Escape<br />

Training Tower which was used to train<br />

submarine crews in escape techniques and<br />

to train naval special operations teams.<br />


with air hose and communication line<br />

attached, <strong>the</strong> Mark V would be <strong>the</strong> mainstay<br />

for underwater work for decades. When <strong>the</strong><br />

second world war broke out, <strong>the</strong> Mark V, with<br />

a few modifications from <strong>the</strong> 1917 model, was<br />

still <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy’s standard diving helmet.<br />

While most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Navy’s diving work was<br />

accomplished by men wearing <strong>the</strong>se helmets,<br />

<strong>the</strong> war also saw <strong>the</strong> first military use <strong>of</strong> scuba<br />

equipment, face masks and swim fins.<br />



Right: Divers at work on <strong>the</strong> wreck <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

USS Maine, Havana, Cuba, 1898.<br />

Below: A diver recovering shells after an<br />

explosion set <strong>of</strong>f by German saboteurs on<br />

July 30, 1916, on Black Tom Island in New<br />

York Harbor near Liberty Island.<br />


Opposite: William Badders, Master Diver,<br />

U.S.N., being helped into his underwater<br />

suit just before taking an experimental dive<br />

in <strong>the</strong> tank at Washington Navy Yard, 1938.<br />


WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />




Above: A replica <strong>of</strong> a Mark V diving helmet.<br />


Right: Many a commercial diver learned <strong>the</strong><br />

trade as a Navy diver. This underwater<br />

sailor is undergoing training at Camp<br />

Endicott, Rhode Island, during World<br />

War II.<br />

Prior to <strong>the</strong> war, <strong>the</strong> commercial aspect <strong>of</strong><br />

diving had centered largely on salvage, <strong>the</strong><br />

repair and maintenance <strong>of</strong> vessels or building<br />

and maintaining underwater infrastructure,<br />

such as wharves and piers. <strong>The</strong>re was<br />

work, but not much. It’s been estimated<br />

that before 1941 <strong>the</strong> U.S. had only 250<br />

trained divers.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


During <strong>the</strong> war, <strong>the</strong> focus on diving<br />

obviously was related to <strong>the</strong> prosecution <strong>of</strong><br />

hostilities or maritime and salvage or rescue.<br />

But with peace came a whole new career field<br />

for commercial divers, many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m former<br />

Navy frogmen.<br />

In 1946, Everett W. Edmund with partner<br />

Pat Madison started a retail business <strong>the</strong>y<br />

called M&E Marine in Camden, New Jersey.<br />

<strong>The</strong> created a division <strong>the</strong>y call MAR-VEL<br />

<strong>Underwater</strong> Equipment and <strong>the</strong>ir store became<br />

<strong>the</strong> first retail outlet to focus only on <strong>the</strong> diving<br />

industry, both commercial and recreational.<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir primary source <strong>of</strong> inventory was surplus<br />

U.S. Navy equipment, from Mark V helmets to<br />

diving suits and o<strong>the</strong>r equipment associated<br />

with surface supply diving to scuba tanks (still<br />

called “Lungs”), facemasks and swim fins.<br />

At first, <strong>the</strong>y worried how in <strong>the</strong> world<br />

<strong>the</strong>y were going to sell all <strong>the</strong> used diving gear<br />

<strong>the</strong>y acquired at auction, but in a vigorous<br />

post-war economy, business flourished. In<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering scuba gear for sale at <strong>the</strong>ir store or by<br />

Above: A U.S. Navy sailor using a Momsen<br />

Lung rebrea<strong>the</strong>r. In October 1944 <strong>the</strong> U.S<br />

submarine Tang was sunk by one <strong>of</strong> its own<br />

torpedoes east <strong>of</strong> Meizhou Island in <strong>the</strong><br />

Taiwan Strait, coming to rest in 180 feet <strong>of</strong><br />

water. Thirteen sailors escaped from <strong>the</strong><br />

vessel’s forward escape trunk, some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m<br />

using Momsen lungs. Of those thirteen<br />

sailors, five survived to be rescued. It is <strong>the</strong><br />

only known use <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Momsen lung.<br />

Left: Vice Admiral Charles Momsen.<br />

Momsen invented <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rebrea<strong>the</strong>r which<br />

bears his name when he was a lieutenant in<br />

<strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy.<br />



Oil rigs <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong> Galveston, Texas.<br />

catalog, <strong>the</strong>y found <strong>the</strong>ir largest number <strong>of</strong><br />

customers were men who dived at night in<br />

water traps for sunken golf balls to resell.<br />


For <strong>the</strong> W. Horace Williams Co. it must<br />

have seemed like just ano<strong>the</strong>r job. A steampowered<br />

construction barge had sunk<br />

adjacent to a wooden drilling platform<br />

operated by Superior Oil in <strong>the</strong> Creole field<br />

about a mile <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> Louisiana shore. <strong>The</strong> oil<br />

company wanted <strong>the</strong> barge raised and turned<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Williams Co. to get <strong>the</strong> job done. After<br />

all, that company had built <strong>the</strong> bridge leading<br />

to <strong>the</strong> rig.<br />

<strong>The</strong> New Orleans-based construction<br />

company hired two helmet divers to get <strong>the</strong><br />

barge up and <strong>the</strong>y got it done. That 1938 job<br />

is believed to have been <strong>the</strong> first time an oil<br />

company ever used divers in connection with<br />

an <strong>of</strong>fshore drilling operation in <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexico. It was not, however, <strong>the</strong> first time<br />

divers had worked around an oil rig.<br />

More than 30 years earlier, a California<br />

wildcatter had built a wharf near Santa<br />

Barbara that extended into <strong>the</strong> Pacific and<br />

<strong>the</strong>n drilled a well in <strong>the</strong> seabed. Many more<br />

wells soon followed, all close to shore. In <strong>the</strong><br />

first decade <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> twentieth century, one<br />

Albert Christie is believed to be <strong>the</strong> first diver<br />

to do oil-related work <strong>of</strong>f a wharf. Christie’s<br />

half-bro<strong>the</strong>r, Rigden Crawford, did an<br />

underwater geological survey in an area<br />

between Santa Barbara and Ventura. This was<br />

in 1929 and according to Christopher Swann<br />

in his exhaustive history <strong>of</strong> oil field diving,<br />

“probably <strong>the</strong> first time a diver had<br />

investigated <strong>the</strong> seabed for oil anywhere in<br />

<strong>the</strong> world.”<br />

By <strong>the</strong> time that survey job took place, oil<br />

companies had begun to suspect that large<br />

deposits <strong>of</strong> crude lay in salt dome formations<br />

under <strong>the</strong> mud and sand in <strong>the</strong> shallow Gulf<br />

<strong>of</strong> Mexico. But despite ample demand for<br />

petroleum in <strong>the</strong> midst <strong>of</strong> war, due to <strong>the</strong><br />

threat <strong>of</strong> marauding German U-boats that<br />

brazenly operated <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> Gulf coast during<br />

<strong>the</strong> early years <strong>of</strong> World War II, not until after<br />

<strong>the</strong> war did oil companies look seriously<br />

toward <strong>the</strong> Gulf as a place to drill.<br />

In 1947, <strong>the</strong> Houston-based Kerr-Magee<br />

Co. oversaw construction by Brown and Root<br />

<strong>of</strong> a tennis-court size drilling platform 43<br />

miles southwest <strong>of</strong> Morgan City, Louisiana,<br />

but only 10.5 miles from shore. <strong>The</strong> rig went<br />

up in 18 feet <strong>of</strong> water, <strong>the</strong> deepest-ever<br />

<strong>of</strong>fshore operation to that point in <strong>the</strong> history<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> oil industry. <strong>The</strong> well came in on<br />

November 17 that year. Producing 960 barrels<br />

a day, it was not a spectacular well, but <strong>the</strong> era<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore oil exploration and drilling had<br />

begun. And for <strong>the</strong> commercial diving<br />

industry, <strong>the</strong> completion <strong>of</strong> that modest<br />

<strong>of</strong>fshore well marked <strong>the</strong> emergence <strong>of</strong> a huge<br />

new business opportunity. <strong>The</strong> linking <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

two industries would lead to <strong>the</strong> development<br />

<strong>of</strong> technologies that would advance both<br />

petroleum production and commercial diving<br />

at a high-octane pace. Indeed, commercial<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


diving helped revolutionize <strong>the</strong> oil industry,<br />

and vice versa.<br />

“Today, nearly all work done under water,<br />

whe<strong>the</strong>r with divers or robots, is carried out<br />

using equipment and techniques developed to<br />

meet <strong>the</strong> requirements <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore oil<br />

industry,” Swann wrote in <strong>the</strong> preface <strong>of</strong> his<br />

definitive book, <strong>The</strong> History <strong>of</strong> Oilfield <strong>Diving</strong>:<br />

An Industrial Adventure. “To a considerable<br />

extent, <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> oilfield diving is <strong>the</strong><br />

history <strong>of</strong> modern diving as a whole.”<br />

During <strong>the</strong> 1960s, as energy demand<br />

continued to rise, several diving companies<br />

grew into international corporations as oil<br />

and gas drilling moved into ever deeper water.<br />

While some production occurred in <strong>the</strong> midto-late<br />

1960s, <strong>the</strong> energy crisis <strong>of</strong> 1973, which<br />

quadrupled <strong>the</strong> price <strong>of</strong> crude oil, led to<br />

extensive exploration and drilling in one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> roughest bodies <strong>of</strong> water in <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

Given <strong>the</strong> depth involved, <strong>the</strong> North Sea play<br />

brought rapid advances in saturation diving,<br />

which only dated back to 1964.<br />

With Americans waiting in line to buy gas<br />

before service station supplies ran out until<br />

<strong>the</strong> next refill, Comex (founded in France by<br />

Henri Delauze in 1961) had 33 diving<br />

systems and 300 divers along with a technical<br />

staff <strong>of</strong> 400. <strong>The</strong> company’s annual earnings<br />

were more than $20 million.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> figurative stacks <strong>of</strong> cash accruing to<br />

<strong>the</strong> oil industry and commercial diving grew<br />

higher and higher, commercial divers and <strong>the</strong><br />

wells <strong>the</strong>y supported went deeper and deeper.<br />

In 1973, Comex had divers working at 600<br />

feet in <strong>the</strong> North Sea; two years later <strong>the</strong> same<br />

firm salvaged an abandoned wellhead 1,092<br />

feet down <strong>of</strong>f Labrador. By 1988, a joint<br />

operation with Comex, British Petroleum, <strong>the</strong><br />

French Navy, and o<strong>the</strong>r corporate entities<br />

carried out a 1,752 foot dive.<br />

<strong>The</strong> price <strong>of</strong> crude oil fluctuates like <strong>the</strong><br />

daily ebb and flow <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tide, only with far<br />

less predictability. When <strong>the</strong> price <strong>of</strong> a barrel<br />

<strong>of</strong> crude goes up, more drill bits go down, on<br />

land and sea. <strong>The</strong> only constant is that wells<br />

have steadily gone deeper over <strong>the</strong> years. And<br />

when those wells are in water, so do<br />

commercial divers.<br />


<strong>The</strong> oldest type <strong>of</strong> diving equipment, <strong>the</strong><br />

bell, remains a mainstay in commercial<br />

diving. Obviously, ever increasing technology<br />

has made diving bells safer and far more<br />

efficient than an upside-down weighted<br />

wooden barrel attached to a rope.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are two categories <strong>of</strong> bells, wet and<br />

closed. Wet bells are cable-suspended<br />

chambers open at <strong>the</strong> bottom. <strong>The</strong>y are used<br />

as a way to get divers down and provide <strong>the</strong>m<br />

a base <strong>of</strong> operation. <strong>The</strong> air inside is kept at<br />

ambient pressure, so <strong>the</strong>re are no extreme<br />

pressure differences. <strong>The</strong> closed diving bell is<br />

a sealed chamber. It can be used for what is<br />

called mixed gas “bounce” diving, a short dive<br />

in which decompression can be accomplished<br />

Above: An <strong>of</strong>fshore oil well drilling rig with<br />

supply boat, Kerr-McGee Oil Industries<br />

Inc., Cameron, Louisiana, c. <strong>the</strong> 1940s.<br />



Below: An American Louisiana Pipe Line<br />

Company drilling rig, 1955.<br />





in <strong>the</strong> bell, and saturation diving.<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> diving today relies more on<br />

closed bells.<br />



Shell Oil Co., in <strong>the</strong> early 1960s,<br />

developed a device called “Mobot” that had a<br />

gyrocompass, sonar and a TV camera.<br />

Connected to a vessel, it could be<br />

maneuvered under water with thrusters.<br />

Moderately successful, <strong>the</strong> Mobot and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

similar ROVs initially were only intended as<br />

underwater eyes, not a robotic diver.<br />

But submersible equipment that could do<br />

more than merely look around was <strong>the</strong> next<br />

obvious step in <strong>the</strong> evolution <strong>of</strong> commercial<br />

diving. That had also begun to happen in <strong>the</strong><br />

1960s, with military funding driving<br />

technological development. <strong>The</strong> pace picked up<br />

in <strong>the</strong> following decade, with both Royal Navy<br />

and U.S. Navy contractors developing devices<br />

that could recover lost objects from very deep<br />

water or to handle deep-sea rescues.<br />

<strong>The</strong> oil and gas industry, building on <strong>the</strong><br />

military technology, began developing<br />

submersible ROVs. With <strong>of</strong>fshore drilling<br />

increasingly taking place in deep water, such<br />

tools became even more important in that<br />

<strong>the</strong>y could operate at depths beyond <strong>the</strong> reach<br />

Above: A diver in full dress at Cone Lake,<br />

April 16, 1912.<br />

Right: This postcard from 1920 is simply<br />

titled “<strong>The</strong> Diver.”<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


<strong>of</strong> human divers. Progress slowed with <strong>the</strong> big<br />

slump in oil and gas prices that came in <strong>the</strong><br />

mid-1980s, but regained momentum as oil<br />

reached record highs.<br />

Technological developments have proceeded<br />

apace since <strong>the</strong>n, with ROVs being used to do<br />

deep-sea surveying and to inspect pipelines and<br />

drilling platforms. Beyond merely being used for<br />

observation, ROVs can assist in underwater<br />

construction, maintenance and repair.<br />



Deep sea diving burst into popular culture<br />

with <strong>the</strong> publication in 1869 in France <strong>of</strong> a<br />

serial novel called Vingt mille lieues sous les<br />

mers: Tour du monde sous-marin. A year later<br />

<strong>the</strong> work <strong>of</strong> science fiction involving Captain<br />

Nemo and his submarine <strong>the</strong> Nautilus came<br />

out as a hardback book. Soon <strong>the</strong> work was<br />

translated into English and Twenty Thousand<br />

Leagues Under <strong>the</strong> Sea went on to become a<br />

classic <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> genre.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> book, Verne devotes a long scene to<br />

diving. Based on <strong>the</strong> technology <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day, he<br />

fairly accurately described <strong>the</strong> future <strong>of</strong> diving.<br />

“You know as well as I do, Pr<strong>of</strong>essor, that<br />

man can live under water, providing he carries<br />

with him a sufficient supply <strong>of</strong> breathable air.<br />

In submarine works, <strong>the</strong> workman, clad in an<br />

impervious dress, with his head in a metal<br />

helmet, receives air from above by means <strong>of</strong><br />

forcing pumps and regulators.”<br />

“That is a diving apparatus,” said I.<br />

“Just so, but under <strong>the</strong>se conditions <strong>the</strong><br />

man is not at liberty; he is attached to <strong>the</strong><br />

pump which sends him air through an Indiarubber<br />

tube, and if we were obliged to be thus<br />

held to <strong>the</strong> Nautilus, we could not go far.”<br />

“And <strong>the</strong> means <strong>of</strong> getting free?” I asked.<br />

“It is to use <strong>the</strong> Rouquayrol apparatus,<br />

invented by two <strong>of</strong> your own countrymen,<br />

which I have brought to perfection for my<br />

own use, and which will allow you to risk<br />

yourself under <strong>the</strong>se new physiological<br />

Above: ROVs and AUVs are some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

newer tools to be embraced by <strong>the</strong><br />

commercial diving industry.<br />


Left: A student-built ROV. Programs like<br />

Marine Advanced Technology Education<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer education and internship opportunities<br />

to students interested in pursuing careers in<br />

<strong>the</strong> commercial diving industry.<br />



Buster Keaton in <strong>the</strong> 1924 film<br />

<strong>The</strong> Navigator.<br />

conditions without any organ whatever<br />

suffering. It consists <strong>of</strong> a reservoir <strong>of</strong> thick<br />

iron plates, in which I store <strong>the</strong> air under a<br />

pressure <strong>of</strong> fifty atmospheres. This reservoir is<br />

fixed on <strong>the</strong> back by means <strong>of</strong> braces, like a<br />

soldier’s knapsack. Its upper part forms a box<br />

in which <strong>the</strong> air is kept by means <strong>of</strong> a bellows,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>refore cannot escape unless at its<br />

normal tension. In <strong>the</strong> Rouquayrol apparatus<br />

such as we use, two India rubber pipes leave<br />

this box and join a sort <strong>of</strong> tent which holds<br />

<strong>the</strong> nose and mouth; one is to introduce fresh<br />

air, <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r to let out <strong>the</strong> foul, and <strong>the</strong><br />

tongue closes one or <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r according to<br />

<strong>the</strong> wants <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> respirator. But I, in<br />

encountering great pressures at <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> sea, was obliged to shut my head, like that<br />

<strong>of</strong> a diver in a ball <strong>of</strong> copper; and it is to this<br />

ball <strong>of</strong> copper that <strong>the</strong> two pipes, <strong>the</strong><br />

inspirator and <strong>the</strong> expirator, open.”<br />

“Perfectly, Captain Nemo; but <strong>the</strong> air that<br />

you carry with you must soon be used; when<br />

it only contains fifteen per cent. <strong>of</strong> oxygen it is<br />

no longer fit to brea<strong>the</strong>.”<br />

“Right! But I told you, M. Aronnax, that <strong>the</strong><br />

pumps <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Nautilus allow me to store <strong>the</strong> air<br />

under considerable pressure, and on those<br />

conditions <strong>the</strong> reservoir <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> apparatus can<br />

furnish breathable air for nine or ten hours.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> first time a helmeted diver appeared<br />

on <strong>the</strong> big screen came with <strong>the</strong> release in<br />

1911 <strong>of</strong> a silent black and white short called<br />

<strong>The</strong> Diver. Subsequently remastered, <strong>the</strong> film<br />

is available today on Youtube.<br />

Five years later during World War I, with<br />

German U-Boats changing naval warfare, an<br />

American movie company produced a silent<br />

film adaptation <strong>of</strong> Verne’s novel in 1916.<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> divers took part in <strong>the</strong> movie<br />

both as camermen and actors.<br />

With much more realistic props, sound,<br />

color and big name actors like Kirk Douglas<br />

and James Mason, in 1954 Walt Disney<br />

released his movie studio’s take on 20,000<br />

Leagues Under <strong>the</strong> Sea. Not only did <strong>the</strong> movie<br />

raise awareness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> undersea world for<br />

millions <strong>of</strong> Baby Boomers, not to mention<br />

popularizing <strong>the</strong> mechanical means to enter<br />

that world, it brought business to commercial<br />

divers used in its filming.<br />

While 20,000 Leagues Under <strong>the</strong> Sea<br />

pumped fresh air into <strong>the</strong> world’s interest in<br />

diving, it was a 1950s television show that<br />

went a long way toward popularizing<br />

commercial diving. Diver recruitment clearly<br />

got an extra blast <strong>of</strong> oxygen in January 1958<br />

when a television show called Sea Hunt first<br />

aired. In <strong>the</strong> half-hour, black-and-white series,<br />

actor Lloyd Bridges played Mike Nelson, a<br />

former Navy frogman who became a freelance<br />

diver after leaving <strong>the</strong> military. In o<strong>the</strong>r words,<br />

he made his living as a commercial diver.<br />

<strong>The</strong> action-packed show, in which Nelson<br />

did everything from hunt treasure to disarming<br />

a lost nuclear missile, did for recreational and<br />

commercial diving what Walt Disney’s Davy<br />

Crockett did for <strong>the</strong> coon skin hat industry.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r books and films have focused on<br />

diving and its commercial aspects, but 20,000<br />

Leagues Under <strong>the</strong> Sea and Sea Hunt were <strong>the</strong><br />

figurative hooks on each end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> anchor<br />

when it came to popularizing both<br />

avocational and vocational diving.<br />

Men <strong>of</strong> Honor, a film that debuted in 2000,<br />

is still considered <strong>the</strong> best-ever diving movie.<br />

Starring Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding,<br />

Jr., <strong>the</strong> movie is based on <strong>the</strong> true story <strong>of</strong> Carl<br />

Brashear, played by Gooding, who was<br />

trained at <strong>the</strong> Navy’s diving school in<br />

Bayonne, New Jersey. Successfully<br />

surmounting racism and discrimination,<br />

Brashear went on to become <strong>the</strong> first African<br />

American master diver in <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />





Like any pr<strong>of</strong>ession where at least some<br />

level <strong>of</strong> risk is always present, most<br />

commercial divers would say <strong>the</strong>ir career<br />

amounted to performing arduous if routine<br />

tasks in an underwater work place.<br />

But despite centuries <strong>of</strong> accumulated<br />

knowledge and constantly improving<br />

technology, working under water continues to<br />

be challenging and sometimes dangerous.<br />

Few veteran divers have not survived one or<br />

two close calls.<br />

Longtime diver Mike Hughes, founder <strong>of</strong><br />

Oceaneering International, Inc., tells <strong>of</strong> an<br />

incident that occurred when he was diving <strong>of</strong>f<br />

a submersible drilling platform in <strong>the</strong> Gulf.<br />

Seventeen stainless steel drill cases, worth<br />

roughly $10,000 each, had accidentally rolled<br />

overboard. <strong>The</strong> bottom consisted <strong>of</strong> deep<br />

mud he described as being like Jell-O. After<br />

getting 14 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> long pipes hooked to a chain<br />

so that <strong>the</strong>y could be pulled to <strong>the</strong> surface,<br />

Hughes started trying to get to <strong>the</strong> 15th pipe.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> process, <strong>the</strong> mud closed in around him<br />

about a dozen feet below <strong>the</strong> bottom, even<br />

though it wasn’t much <strong>of</strong> one. He barely made<br />

it out, and after getting back to <strong>the</strong> drilling<br />

barge, he made <strong>the</strong> decision that <strong>the</strong> last two<br />

pipes were going to stay where <strong>the</strong>y lay.<br />

Beyond close calls like that, which<br />

improved safety standards have certainly<br />

helped to reduce though not eliminate,<br />

commercial diving sometimes involves movielike<br />

scenarios. Just a few examples:<br />

• In 1966, a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber<br />

armed with four nuclear bombs collided<br />

with a KC-135 tanker during mid-air<br />

refueling and crashed near Palomares,<br />

Spain. Three <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> devices fell on land, but<br />

<strong>the</strong> fourth went into <strong>the</strong> Mediterranean Sea,<br />

settling on <strong>the</strong> bottom 2,850 feet down.<br />

Ocean Systems, which later was acquired<br />

by Oceaneering, successfully recovered <strong>the</strong><br />

bomb after a two-and-a-half month search.<br />

• In 1982, Oceaneering received a contract to<br />

dive on <strong>the</strong> sunken ocean liner Andrea Doria,<br />

which had gone down in 240 feet <strong>of</strong> water<br />

<strong>of</strong>f Massachusetts in 1956. <strong>The</strong> man who<br />

hired <strong>the</strong> firm, department store heir Peter<br />

Gimbel, wanted <strong>the</strong> ship’s first-class safe<br />

recovered. Oceaneering got <strong>the</strong> job done,<br />

but <strong>the</strong> safe did not have nearly as much <strong>of</strong><br />

value in it as Gimbel had counted on.<br />

• In 1999, Oceaneering used an ROV to recover<br />

<strong>the</strong> Liberty Bell 7, <strong>the</strong> Mercury space capsule<br />

that sank after astronaut Gus Grissom’s<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rwise successful suborbital fight on July<br />

21, 1961. <strong>The</strong> capsule was brought up from<br />

16,100 feet, <strong>the</strong> deepest large-object salvage<br />

operation undertaken to date.<br />

<strong>The</strong> story <strong>of</strong> U.S. Navy Master Diver Carl<br />

Brashear was told in <strong>the</strong> 2000 movie Men<br />

<strong>of</strong> Honor. Brashear became <strong>the</strong> first<br />

African-American U.S. Navy Master<br />

Diver in 1970, four years after losing part<br />

<strong>of</strong> his left leg during a salvage operation<br />

to recover a nuclear bomb <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast<br />

<strong>of</strong> Spain.<br />






Left: Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom climbing<br />

into <strong>the</strong> Liberty Bell 7 space capsule on<br />

July 21, 1961. <strong>The</strong> capsule was lost during<br />

recovery operations and came to rest at a<br />

depth <strong>of</strong> 16,100 feet.<br />


Right: <strong>The</strong> Liberty Bell 7 after its recovery<br />

by Oceaneering International in 1999.<br />


Ongoing technological improvements,<br />

<strong>the</strong> continued expansion <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore oil<br />

production and a generally strong national<br />

economy made commercial diving an<br />

increasingly attractive career choice for those<br />

who preferred a rigorous outdoor vocation as<br />

opposed to being behind a desk.<br />

Today, commercial diving is a multi-billion<br />

dollar a year world-wide industry, but in <strong>the</strong><br />

U.S. <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> men and women who do<br />

underwater work is surprisingly small<br />

considering income generated.<br />

<strong>The</strong> U.S. Department <strong>of</strong> Labor defines<br />

commercial diving as:<br />

Work below surface <strong>of</strong> water, using scuba<br />

gear to inspect, repair, remove, or install<br />

equipment and structures. May use a variety <strong>of</strong><br />

power and hand tools, such as drills,<br />

sledgehammers, torches, and welding<br />

equipment. May conduct tests or experiments,<br />

rig explosives, or photograph structures or<br />

marine life.<br />

Excluding those who dive as fishing<br />

workers or law enforcement <strong>of</strong>ficers, <strong>the</strong><br />

federal agency reported only 3,370 individuals<br />

working in <strong>the</strong> U.S. as commercial divers. Not<br />

surprisingly, <strong>the</strong> states with <strong>the</strong> largest number<br />

<strong>of</strong> commercial diving jobs are adjacent to<br />

water. <strong>The</strong> top five states, in number <strong>of</strong> divers,<br />

are Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Washington and<br />

Michigan, followed by Virginia, Alaska, New<br />

Jersey, Alabama and Missouri.<br />

In terms <strong>of</strong> metropolitan areas, ground zero<br />

for <strong>the</strong> largest concentration <strong>of</strong> commercial<br />

divers in <strong>the</strong> nation is greater New Orleans-<br />

Houma, Louisiana, axis followed by <strong>the</strong><br />

Houston area.<br />


AHEAD<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

44<br />

<strong>The</strong> ever-expanding technology that<br />

eventually enabled man to work and play under<br />

water with relative safety has not stopped. On<br />

land and sea, <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> robotics is growing.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> spring <strong>of</strong> 2016, a humanoid robotic<br />

named OceanOne made news around <strong>the</strong>

world when it recovered a grapefruit-sized<br />

vase from <strong>the</strong> sunken wreckage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> La<br />

Lune, a vessel not seen by man in nearly<br />

350 years. <strong>The</strong> flagship <strong>of</strong> France’s Louis XIV,<br />

<strong>the</strong> warship went down in 328 feet <strong>of</strong><br />

water 20 miles south <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> coastal city <strong>of</strong><br />

Toulon in 1664.<br />

Though originally designed to explore<br />

deep ocean reefs, with OceanOne’s artificial<br />

intelligence abilities, <strong>the</strong> dive <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong><br />

France made it clear that <strong>the</strong> underwater<br />

robot and its successors are <strong>the</strong> future <strong>of</strong><br />

deep-sea commercial diving.<br />

Oussama Khatib, a computer science<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essor at Stanford University in Palo<br />

Alto, California, piloted <strong>the</strong> humanoid robot<br />

from a vessel on <strong>the</strong> surface. Using joysticks<br />

to control <strong>the</strong> robot’s movement, he saw<br />

everything through <strong>the</strong> robot’s two “eyes,”<br />

a set <strong>of</strong> cameras in an orange head that<br />

gives <strong>the</strong> device a distinctively human<br />

appearance, at least from its “shoulders” up.<br />

Even <strong>the</strong> robot’s two arms are reminiscent<br />

<strong>of</strong> human appendages and <strong>the</strong>y certainly are<br />

in function.<br />

Each hand has, as an article in Digital News<br />

explained, force sensors “that transmit haptic<br />

feedback to <strong>the</strong> robot’s pilot. Because <strong>of</strong> this,<br />

<strong>the</strong> driver can feel exactly what OceanOne<br />

feels, helping determine if it’s grabbing<br />

something dense or delicate.”<br />

A planned modification <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> robot will<br />

include tactile sensors in each finger.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> human can provide <strong>the</strong> robot with<br />

intuition, expertise and cognitive abilities,”<br />

<strong>the</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essor told <strong>the</strong> Stanford News. “<strong>The</strong><br />

robot can do things in areas too dangerous for<br />

a human, while <strong>the</strong> human is still <strong>the</strong>re.”<br />

In expanding on that, Khatib set forth<br />

<strong>the</strong> obvious for anyone who knows anything<br />

about commercial diving: In diving<br />

beneath <strong>the</strong> surface, despite technological<br />

advances, humans must still deal with air<br />

supply issues and <strong>the</strong> dangers <strong>of</strong> decompression<br />

sickness.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> intent is to have a human diving<br />

virtually—to put <strong>the</strong> human out <strong>of</strong> harm’s<br />

way,” <strong>the</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essor said. “Having a machine<br />

with human characteristics, that can project<br />

<strong>the</strong> human diver at depth is going to be<br />

amazing. OceanOne will be your avatar.”<br />

In Khatib’s view, <strong>the</strong> future lies in a<br />

combination <strong>of</strong> old-fashioned human skill<br />

and a sturdy, man-like diving robot that can<br />

work for longer and at great depths. Man will<br />

still have a place in commercial and all o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

aspects <strong>of</strong> diving, but he can accomplish<br />

much <strong>of</strong> what needs to be done without ever<br />

getting in <strong>the</strong> water.<br />

“[Scientists] see a future where ROVs and<br />

AUVs in <strong>the</strong>ir present form will cease<br />

to exist and are replaced by transformative<br />

e-robotics that can roam, hover, reside, and<br />

perform all underwater tasks,” notes an article<br />

in Ocean News & Technology Magazine<br />

(February 2017).<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> divers in training preparing to<br />

embark upon careers beneath <strong>the</strong> waves.<br />





WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


As <strong>the</strong> industry embraces technological<br />

advances, <strong>the</strong>re is still a need for new<br />

generations <strong>of</strong> trained commercial divers.<br />





Modern commercial diving educational<br />

programs combine classroom instruction<br />

with hands-on training in <strong>the</strong> field.<br />



Gregory R. Trauthwein, associate publisher<br />

and editor <strong>of</strong> Marine Technology Reporter<br />

Magazine put it even more plainly in <strong>the</strong><br />

January-February 2017 issue <strong>of</strong> his magazine:<br />

“<strong>The</strong> age <strong>of</strong> robotics is here and now.<br />

Advances in robotics are quickly removing<br />

people from some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> dirtiest and more<br />

dangerous jobs, inserting vehicles, sensors<br />

and systems where no man has gone, or<br />

would like to go....This reliance on<br />

automation extends to <strong>the</strong> subsea sector, as<br />

vehicles <strong>of</strong> every shape, size and price point<br />

gain capability and confidence among a<br />

growing legion <strong>of</strong> users.”<br />

Ryan Harris, an underwater archeologist<br />

with Parks Canada, studies <strong>the</strong> past with <strong>the</strong><br />

aid <strong>of</strong> modern technology. In 2014 Parks<br />

Canada located <strong>the</strong> HMS Erebus and two<br />

years later <strong>the</strong> hulk <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> HMS Terror—two<br />

English vessels lost in <strong>the</strong> Arctic Ocean in<br />

1845 while in search <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Northwest<br />

Passage—through <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> remote-operated<br />

vehicles and o<strong>the</strong>r state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art undersea<br />

technology. But despite <strong>the</strong> tremendous<br />

and ongoing high-tech advancements in<br />

underwater work, he says <strong>the</strong>re is still a place<br />

for divers in <strong>the</strong> equation.<br />

What he said in <strong>the</strong> January-February<br />

2017 issue <strong>of</strong> Marine Technology News had to<br />

do with his specialty <strong>of</strong> underwater<br />

archeology, but it applies to all aspects <strong>of</strong><br />

commercial diving:<br />

“To my mind, <strong>the</strong>re will always be an<br />

important role for hands-on underwater<br />

archaeology,” he said. “Certainly, I’m able to<br />

get much more information from a site when I<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


can get up close and have a tactile<br />

experience....While AUVs and ROVs are<br />

amazing tools, <strong>the</strong>re are some things that<br />

machines do well and certainly do better<br />

than human beings, but definitely not<br />

everything. It’s <strong>the</strong> appropriate marriage <strong>of</strong><br />

human and technology that will get <strong>the</strong><br />

job done.”<br />

A tank that is used to teach underwater<br />

welding skills to students enrolled n<br />

National University Polytechnic Institute’s<br />

commercial diving program.<br />





WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />




ADC<br />

Sound travels very well underwater, but above <strong>the</strong> surface, being heard is not always as easy. By<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1960s, it had become evident to industry leaders that commercial divers needed an<br />

organization to communicate in <strong>the</strong>ir behalf.<br />

As Swann wrote in his landmark History <strong>of</strong> Oil Field <strong>Diving</strong>, “...diving contractors in <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexico began to realize that unless <strong>the</strong>y set up an association to police <strong>the</strong>mselves, <strong>the</strong> government<br />

in <strong>the</strong> form <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Coast Guard or some o<strong>the</strong>r body was going to do it for <strong>the</strong>m. Given <strong>the</strong><br />

competitive pressure <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> business and <strong>the</strong> strongly independent nature <strong>of</strong> diving entrepreneurs,<br />

it was no easy task.”<br />

Mike Hughes, <strong>the</strong> founder <strong>of</strong> Oceaneering International, was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> key players in <strong>the</strong><br />

organization <strong>of</strong> ADC.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> first discussions about forming a contractor’s association started when it appeared that <strong>the</strong><br />

union was organizing a major push to unionize divers in <strong>the</strong> Gulf.” he later wrote. “<strong>The</strong> contractors<br />

thought it made sense to have a place to meet and discuss <strong>the</strong> threat <strong>of</strong> unionization and do what<br />

we could as a group to avoid conditions which would encourage divers to depend on a union.<br />

Frankly, we were more than a little irate that divers might believe some union organizers from up<br />

north could do more for <strong>the</strong>m than we would.”<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r major factor in <strong>the</strong> genesis <strong>of</strong> ADC was a desire on <strong>the</strong> part <strong>of</strong> contractors to have an<br />

organization that could work to standardize diver safety issues.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re were some differences in how each contractor viewed some safety questions,” Hughes<br />

continued. “Some told <strong>the</strong> customers a [decompression] chamber would be required in a certain<br />

depth and o<strong>the</strong>rs were willing to work without one. Some contractors stretched <strong>the</strong> decompression<br />

schedules more than o<strong>the</strong>rs. <strong>The</strong>se differences caused some concern on <strong>the</strong> part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> divers.”<br />

Hughes and o<strong>the</strong>rs in <strong>the</strong> industry knew <strong>the</strong> importance <strong>of</strong> standardized procedures, but<br />

believed if <strong>the</strong>y could find a way to work things out among <strong>the</strong>mselves it would be far preferable<br />

to dealing with a union on those issues. Unions were at <strong>the</strong> height <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir power in <strong>the</strong> 1960s, but<br />

that did not mean <strong>the</strong>y were universally popular, especially in <strong>the</strong> South and Southwest.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> only problem was that we were a fiercely competitive and secretive group <strong>of</strong> contractors,<br />

many <strong>of</strong> whom had experienced various differences <strong>of</strong> opinions,” he remembered. “In more than a<br />

few cases, <strong>the</strong> issue was temporarily resolved with fists. Unfortunately, this seldom produced a<br />

permanent settlement.”<br />

At <strong>the</strong> time, <strong>the</strong> major players in <strong>the</strong> business were Taylor Divers, Dick Evans, Inc., Ocean<br />

Systems, World Wide Divers, and Santa Fe. Several smaller companies also had a respectable piece<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> market.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> first meeting as I recall was called by Ken Wallace <strong>of</strong> Taylor <strong>Diving</strong>,” Hughes went on. “We<br />

met for dinner at Chris’s Steak House out on Broadway in New Orleans. We had some great steaks<br />

and strong martinis which resulted in not many decisions, but at least no one hit anyone else that<br />

night. It was not a bad beginning for this group.”<br />

But <strong>the</strong>n, Hughes and <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r interested parties got some legal advice that an association<br />

might not be <strong>the</strong> best way to go. Such an organization, a lawyer said, might give <strong>the</strong> union a way<br />

to take on <strong>the</strong> whole industry at once ra<strong>the</strong>r than requiring <strong>the</strong>m to organize each company<br />

individually. Accordingly, <strong>the</strong>y dropped <strong>the</strong> idea <strong>of</strong> forming a contractor’s association.<br />

However, developing safety standards remained an important need. In fact, it became more urgent.<br />

As Hughes explained, “<strong>The</strong> Marine Technology Society was emerging as <strong>the</strong> principal oceanrelated<br />

industry organization. Many <strong>of</strong> us became active in MTS and used <strong>the</strong> MTS meetings as a<br />

place to come toge<strong>the</strong>r and talk about <strong>the</strong> diving industry.”<br />

Subject to constant innovation and everincreasing<br />

demands by industry,<br />

commercial divers have been given a<br />

voice—<strong>The</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong><br />

Contractors International.<br />






A long, long time ago, (kind <strong>of</strong> sounds like a nursery story my mo<strong>the</strong>r used to read me, doesn’t it?) back in <strong>the</strong> early 1960s, <strong>the</strong> ADCI<br />

started with a bunch <strong>of</strong> entrepreneurial men, like:<br />

Danny Wilson, Subsea Divers<br />

Dick Evans, Dick Evans Divers<br />

Buck Frolich, Frolich Marine Divers<br />

John Gallettia, J&J Divers<br />

Mike Hughes, World Wide Divers<br />

Bob McGuire, McDermott Divers<br />

Jack Smith, S&H Divers<br />

Ken Wallace, Taylor <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage<br />

And myself<br />

<strong>The</strong>se men and o<strong>the</strong>rs in commercial diving were involved in construction, salvage, drill rig support, inspection, pipeline, inshore,<br />

nuclear power plants, dams, and o<strong>the</strong>r underwater work. <strong>The</strong>y were hard-working men who wanted to make commercial diving a safe<br />

occupation. Each had <strong>the</strong>ir own vision <strong>of</strong> how and where <strong>the</strong>y wanted <strong>the</strong>ir companies to be in <strong>the</strong> future. <strong>The</strong>se men would work toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

at <strong>the</strong> meetings but would cross <strong>the</strong> street if <strong>the</strong>y met each o<strong>the</strong>r outside <strong>the</strong> meetings. We started with a long table but <strong>the</strong>reafter went to<br />

round tables.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y were afraid <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore industry would say something about <strong>the</strong>m fixing prices and or o<strong>the</strong>r shady business dealings. But <strong>the</strong> only<br />

competition we had was over competing for <strong>the</strong> best divers. At that time <strong>the</strong> only real forum that was available for <strong>the</strong> diving industry was<br />

<strong>the</strong> MTS Society.<br />

But its meetings were small and mainly directed towards R&D activities, and none <strong>of</strong> our customers really attended <strong>the</strong>se meetings.<br />

So, <strong>the</strong> ADC decided to establish <strong>the</strong> International <strong>Diving</strong> Symposium, which was held in <strong>the</strong> diving capital <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world, Morgan<br />

City, Louisiana.<br />

We solicited our vendors (twisted <strong>the</strong>ir arms) to take part in <strong>the</strong> symposium, as well as encouraged our customers and members to<br />

present technical papers. <strong>The</strong> Association’s motto at that time was: Communications, Education and Safety.<br />

Workers’ Compensation insurance was about forty-eight percent <strong>of</strong> gross payroll, so that alone was enough enticement for members to<br />

increase <strong>the</strong>ir pr<strong>of</strong>its without raising prices. That is if <strong>the</strong>y could get those rates lowered…most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> coverage came from Lloyds <strong>of</strong> London.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore industry was moving into deeper waters and was afraid that <strong>the</strong> diving industry wouldn’t be able to provide diving services<br />

at those depths. More bottom time would be required with less in-water decompression.<br />

Two very important aspects that changed commercial diving at this point <strong>of</strong> time was, in my view, were:<br />

First was <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy. We recruited or I should say raided <strong>the</strong> Navy for master divers, technicians, operations supervisors, equipment<br />

supervisors. We had divers, but needed <strong>the</strong> deeper diving technology.<br />

I should also mention that Navy master divers were somewhat like <strong>the</strong> pied piper; <strong>the</strong>y had a following <strong>of</strong> men who trusted <strong>the</strong>m and<br />

followed <strong>the</strong>m into <strong>the</strong> commercial diving arena. Jack Lahm was <strong>the</strong> first Navy master diver our company hired. (Jack passed away several<br />

years ago, but won’t be forgotten.) With his team we moved into open-bottom bell diving.<br />

We later started using closed-bottom bells because <strong>the</strong> decompression was on deck and wouldn’t hold up <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore industry’s<br />

equipment. Although <strong>the</strong> cost was much higher, our customers went along with <strong>the</strong> increased prices because <strong>the</strong> operations were more<br />

efficient and safer. Longer bottom times were again requested which meant that we had to move into helium diving, and <strong>the</strong>n eventually,<br />

saturation diving.<br />

Dr. Bill Gillen, who had done considerable<br />

hyperbaric research in <strong>the</strong> Navy, and was<br />

chairman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> MTS’ “Man’s <strong>Underwater</strong><br />

Activities Committee” asked Hughes if he<br />

thought that developing standard diving<br />

safety rules would be a good project for <strong>the</strong><br />

committee. Hughes said he believed it would<br />

be and agreed to head a group tasked with<br />

giving it a try.<br />

“John Galletti was a member <strong>of</strong> our MTS<br />

committee and, in 1968, attended a meeting <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> USIA where diving safety standards were<br />

being seriously discussed,” Hughes recalled.<br />

“When we learned that an effort was under<br />

way to write standards without much industry<br />

involvement, we decided it was time to act.”<br />

That September, Hughes sent a letter to his<br />

fellow contractors requesting that <strong>the</strong>y attend<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


Again <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy played a large role in assisting <strong>the</strong> commercial industry movement into <strong>the</strong>se activities. We hired some notable Navy<br />

personnel and <strong>the</strong>re were dozens more who assisted o<strong>the</strong>r member companies as well. Bud Mills contributed a lot in making commercial diving<br />

safer. He had been a medical corpsman, had lots <strong>of</strong> paperwork experience, excellent accident investigation skills—he’d been <strong>the</strong>re, done that.<br />

Bob Merriman, is <strong>the</strong> divers’ diver who deserves this award more than I do, and I hope that he receives it in <strong>the</strong> near future.<br />

Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Navy personnel, although highly trained and very pr<strong>of</strong>essional in performing <strong>the</strong>ir duties, we thought would better serve<br />

us by moving <strong>the</strong>m into different positions based on <strong>the</strong>ir personalities, such as diving sales skills. Who best could explain in technical<br />

terms to our clients how diving in <strong>the</strong> GOM had changed? <strong>The</strong>refore, we moved Frank Mantell and Bobby Vendetto…into diving sales.<br />

Those two fellows brought us more sales at times than we could handle.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, one day along came <strong>the</strong> “Flying Eyeball,” Dru Michel. Dru was with Taylor <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage and introduced it into <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore<br />

industry. Some o<strong>the</strong>rs thought that it was a good idea, like Jack Smith at S&H <strong>Diving</strong>. O<strong>the</strong>rs thought that it would cause <strong>the</strong>m to lose<br />

diving days, but eventually Dru and o<strong>the</strong>rs assisted in convincing me to purchasing some RCV 225s and later obtaining some RCV 150s.<br />

But where would I obtain <strong>the</strong> support personnel to operate and maintain those vehicles?<br />

I inquired around with our Navy divers about <strong>the</strong> Navy’s activities with ROVs. I was informed that yes <strong>the</strong> Navy did have and use <strong>the</strong>m<br />

but it was mainly black box type operations. Again <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy to <strong>the</strong> rescue.<br />

When I asked for names <strong>of</strong> personnel I could contact for possible hiring I was told that <strong>the</strong>y knew <strong>of</strong> a fellow only by his nickname.<br />

After weeks <strong>of</strong> searching. I finally located <strong>the</strong> person whose nickname was Duke. I set up an interview with him in California. At <strong>the</strong><br />

meeting he gave me his resume, but a lot <strong>of</strong> good it did because it was marked classified on most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> answers.<br />

When I asked Duke what he did in <strong>the</strong> Navy he said it was classified. After much discussion I finally hired him, Duke Miller. Duke<br />

headed up our ROV’s worldwide. I was going to call him by his real name but no one here would know whom I was talking about.<br />

ROVs assisted in making commercial diving safer and less expensive along with moving diving into deeper depths faster than anyone expected.<br />

Earlier I mention <strong>the</strong>re were two aspects that really changed <strong>the</strong> commercial diving industry safety record, and gave it <strong>the</strong> respect it<br />

deserved. <strong>The</strong> second item was this:<br />

Well, now go back in time again into <strong>the</strong> late ’60s. <strong>The</strong> ADC board members performed all <strong>the</strong> activities for <strong>the</strong> association, gave lectures,<br />

speeches, presentations, etc to promote <strong>the</strong> organization. But when a board member performed one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se tasks, his company usually<br />

benefited by obtaining <strong>the</strong> contract and or that job.<br />

This didn’t set well with all <strong>the</strong> board members even though <strong>the</strong>y all had equal opportunity in performing those functions. <strong>The</strong> ADC<br />

started a search for someone to manage its operations.<br />

One day, Ken Wallace, who was with TD&S, which was part <strong>of</strong> Brown & Root, went to <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> Building Contractors, a<br />

building contractors’ association that represented thousands <strong>of</strong> statewide companies, meeting in New Orleans. <strong>The</strong>re he was impressed<br />

with <strong>the</strong>ir spokesperson and brought him to <strong>the</strong> next board meeting.<br />

At that meeting we hired our first executive director, Jeff Hingle. Jeff was with us for 3 to 5 years. He now is, and has been for <strong>the</strong> past<br />

twenty-plus years, <strong>the</strong> sheriff <strong>of</strong> Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.<br />

Now <strong>the</strong> ADC’s executive director could lead <strong>the</strong> association under <strong>the</strong> direction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> board <strong>of</strong> directors. He would act as a third-party, nonbiased<br />

person in representing <strong>the</strong> ADC. <strong>The</strong> board was very happy. Of course o<strong>the</strong>r notable executive directors such as: Bob McArtle, Ross Saxton,<br />

and Phil Newsum followed over <strong>the</strong> past 46 years in maintaining <strong>the</strong> high standards that were established in <strong>the</strong> early years <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> association.<br />

With and through <strong>the</strong> entrepreneurial leadership <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> board <strong>of</strong> directors, today <strong>the</strong> ADC is clearly <strong>the</strong> only nationally recognized<br />

association that speaks for <strong>the</strong> commercial diving industry.<br />

- Tom Angel<br />

ADCI <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame<br />

a meeting to organize a non-pr<strong>of</strong>it industry<br />

association that would be based in Louisiana.<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> contractors had <strong>the</strong>ir own inhouse<br />

safety standards, but that had begun to<br />

present problems.<br />

“Some <strong>of</strong> our customers were even starting<br />

to use our differences in policy as a<br />

negotiating tool,” Hughes said. ‘Company A<br />

will do such and such (basically cut some<br />

corner on safety)—why won’t you?’ As little<br />

contact as we had with each o<strong>the</strong>r, we could<br />

not easily learn whe<strong>the</strong>r this was true or not.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> contractors agreed to form <strong>the</strong><br />

Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors and<br />

Hughes was elected its first president with<br />

Tom Angel as secretary-treasurer.<br />

About <strong>the</strong> same time <strong>the</strong> ADC got up and<br />

running, <strong>the</strong> commercial diving industry<br />




When I first became aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> positive effects <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors (ADC) I was a diving supervisor/diver with a<br />

few years experience in deep bounce and saturation diving, mostly working overseas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first underwater convention I attended was in <strong>the</strong> late 1970s. I was working for Ocean Systems and had just completed a sixweek<br />

rotation on a exploration drill ship in Venezuela. My flight landed in New Orleans just as <strong>the</strong> underwater event was getting<br />

underway. What an eye opener <strong>the</strong> event was—all <strong>the</strong> latest equipment, all <strong>the</strong> latest research, and <strong>the</strong> people who were behind all <strong>the</strong><br />

new technology, plus every bar in <strong>the</strong> French Quarter was full <strong>of</strong> divers. <strong>The</strong>y were easy to spot since most were physically fit and wearing<br />

a waterpro<strong>of</strong> watch.<br />

<strong>The</strong> equipment on display and technical papers were eye and brain candy to me. I just couldn’t get enough. This was where <strong>the</strong> shakers<br />

and movers <strong>of</strong> our industry ga<strong>the</strong>red to talk about new procedures, equipment, research, and, <strong>of</strong> course, <strong>the</strong> camaraderie.<br />

I still have my copy <strong>of</strong> Decompression Sickness and its <strong>The</strong>rapy, organized by <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors and <strong>the</strong> Institute for<br />

Environmental Medicine. (University <strong>of</strong> Pennsylvania, April 1978, C. J. Lambertsen, editor.)<br />

I attended quite a few <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se annual shows through <strong>the</strong> years but it wasn’t until a few years later that I was introduced to <strong>the</strong> inner<br />

workings <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADCI while I was working for Andre Galerne (IUC). He had just been elected president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADCI and was fully engaged<br />

in <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong> resetting and <strong>the</strong> association to include <strong>the</strong> inland divers, international members and <strong>the</strong> creation <strong>of</strong> <strong>Underwater</strong> Magazine.<br />

We had quite a few conversations about its purpose and direction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADC. He had a vision for <strong>the</strong> association.<br />

More years pass and I am appointed to <strong>the</strong> ADCI board <strong>of</strong> directors representing two major diving companies—Stolt and <strong>the</strong>n Cal Dive<br />

International. Here is where <strong>the</strong> reality hit me (remember I am a card-carrying member) that every member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> board is sitting at <strong>the</strong><br />

meetings with one goal—to ensure <strong>the</strong> standards and level <strong>of</strong> safety meet or exceed best industry standards, as well as regulatory standards.<br />

<strong>The</strong> meetings are interesting. After all, this is <strong>the</strong> heartbeat <strong>of</strong> commercial diving operational sanity. Some members have different views<br />

but, at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day, <strong>the</strong> voting on each issue was completed via a majority consensus. A couple <strong>of</strong> years later I was honored to be<br />

elected to be chairman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> board and president <strong>of</strong> ADCI. This job lasted for six one-year terms.<br />

As one can imagine, this was not an easy job; you learn as each moment passes. During <strong>the</strong> first meeting I perspired like I was in a<br />

sauna. I learned to keep my mouth closed until o<strong>the</strong>rs had spoken; I tried to keep my opinion till last. I studied and implemented “Robert’s<br />

Rules <strong>of</strong> Order” in a relaxed manner to allow a free exchange <strong>of</strong> ideas and opinions as everyone was entitled to express his opinion. I found<br />

myself at times acting as a referee ra<strong>the</strong>r than chairman. Fifteen-minute breaks helped to re-focus <strong>the</strong> agenda.<br />

We created an aggressive agenda to re-write <strong>the</strong> consensus standards for <strong>the</strong> twenty-first century, and a new evergreen standard now<br />

called <strong>the</strong> International Consensus Standards for <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> and <strong>Underwater</strong> Operations, 6.0 Edition. This was a major task<br />

because we started from scratch to completely review every issue and wrote <strong>the</strong> standards to meet and exceed best industry practices. This<br />

realized <strong>the</strong> new Occupational Safety and<br />

Health Administration (OSHA was created in<br />

December 1970) likely would try to come up<br />

with safety rules that would be federally<br />

imposed. <strong>Industry</strong> leaders wanted to develop<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir own standard operating procedures and<br />

<strong>the</strong>n if necessary, spar with OSHA over <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

adequacy and acceptability.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> OSHA threat did not go away just<br />

because we formed ADC and continued to<br />

work on <strong>the</strong> MTS safety standards,” Hughes<br />

said. “<strong>The</strong> day came when we were notified<br />

that...formal open hearings on diving<br />

safety standards would be held in<br />

Washington. I was elected to go to<br />

Washington and speak. I worked hard at<br />

putting toge<strong>the</strong>r a passionate argument that<br />

ADC knew more about commercial diving<br />

than <strong>the</strong> government bureaucrats ever would.<br />

We wanted to convince OSHA to let us finish<br />

our standards and <strong>the</strong>n have <strong>the</strong>m accepted.”<br />

Hughes flew to Washington and went to<br />

<strong>the</strong> building where <strong>the</strong> hearings were<br />

underway. <strong>The</strong>re was a large auditorium with<br />

a podium on <strong>the</strong> main floor between <strong>the</strong> front<br />

seats and a raised stage.<br />

“I took a seat in <strong>the</strong> back <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> auditorium<br />

and looked <strong>the</strong> situation over,” he said. “<strong>The</strong> government<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficials who were <strong>the</strong>re to hear testimony<br />

were seated up on <strong>the</strong> stage behind a long<br />

table which stretched across <strong>the</strong> stage. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

were at least fifteen <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, but <strong>the</strong>y all seemed<br />

to be coming and going, talking to each o<strong>the</strong>r, or<br />

even sleeping. What <strong>the</strong>y were not doing was listening<br />

to <strong>the</strong> people who were testifying.”<br />

Even worse, <strong>the</strong> podium was turned so it<br />

faced <strong>the</strong> audience in <strong>the</strong> auditorium, not <strong>the</strong><br />

OSHA <strong>of</strong>ficials on <strong>the</strong> stage.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


took nearly three years and many hours on <strong>the</strong> part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> executive committee to finish. I cringe to think <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> corrections and many<br />

typos we discovered.<br />

We also reviewed <strong>the</strong> by-laws <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> association and added teeth to <strong>the</strong> membership, where if a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> association acts in a manner<br />

disregarding <strong>the</strong> consensus standards <strong>the</strong> board can review and ei<strong>the</strong>r terminate or suspend <strong>the</strong> membership <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company. Why, you ask?<br />

Well, if one company acts foolishly and unsafe by ignoring <strong>the</strong> consensus standards it affects <strong>the</strong> credibility <strong>of</strong> every member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> association.<br />

We also initiated a mandatory reporting <strong>of</strong> accidents and fatalities, as well as membership audits <strong>of</strong> personnel document and equipment<br />

inspection, maintenance, and testing.<br />

<strong>The</strong> new standards have:<br />

• A minimum bailout bottle capacity for all depths.<br />

• Emergency Diver Evacuation Standards requiring a means <strong>of</strong> diver evacuation from saturation systems.<br />

• PVHO maintenance guide.<br />

• Contaminated water diving guide.<br />

• <strong>Diving</strong> on DP vessels.<br />

• Translated into Spanish and Chinese.<br />

Various new committees were formed:<br />

• Saturation <strong>Diving</strong> Safety Committee.<br />

• Civil Engineering <strong>Diving</strong> Committee.<br />

• Medical Physician Committee.<br />

How did this help <strong>the</strong> association? <strong>The</strong> membership was one hundred percent behind this and <strong>the</strong> response from our regulatory agencies<br />

was very positive. <strong>Working</strong> relationships were signed with <strong>the</strong> U.S. Coast Guard, OSHA and ANSI (American National Standards Institute),<br />

and ACDE (Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Educators).<br />

Yes, <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International has been a very positive experience for <strong>the</strong> industry and <strong>of</strong> course me. It was<br />

an honor to be a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> association.<br />

<strong>The</strong> future is very bright for <strong>the</strong> ADCI. <strong>The</strong> ongoing question is, “What are we doing well and what can we do to make it better to<br />

uphold our values <strong>of</strong> safety, education, and communication?”<br />

Finally, we cannot forget Phil Newsum who has been <strong>the</strong> focal point <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> success <strong>the</strong> association since he first became executive<br />

director…he gets things done. Thank you Phil.<br />

- Bill Crowley<br />

Past President, ADCI<br />

<strong>The</strong> Divex display from <strong>the</strong> 1991 ADCI<br />

convention.<br />



<strong>The</strong> show floor at an ADCI convention is<br />

<strong>the</strong> chance for <strong>the</strong> ADCI’s 600 members to<br />

display <strong>the</strong>ir latest technical innovations,<br />

products, and services.<br />


“<strong>The</strong> person testifying couldn’t even see <strong>the</strong><br />

people on <strong>the</strong> stage,” Hughes said. “<strong>The</strong> only<br />

people in <strong>the</strong> audience were people like me who<br />

were <strong>the</strong>re to testify. Basically we were talking to<br />

each o<strong>the</strong>r and <strong>the</strong> government was ignoring us.<br />

<strong>The</strong> more I watched <strong>the</strong> madder I got.”<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> safety standards were only one <strong>of</strong><br />

numerous issues before <strong>the</strong> panel that day.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> man who spoke before me was a<br />

representative <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Michigan Highway<br />

Contractors Association,” Hughes said. “My<br />

turn finally came and <strong>the</strong>y called me up to <strong>the</strong><br />

front <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> auditorium. As I walked up, not<br />

one single person on <strong>the</strong> stage was even<br />

looking at me, much less acting like <strong>the</strong>y<br />

intended to listen.”<br />

Hughes put his speech down on <strong>the</strong><br />

podium and gripped his hands on ei<strong>the</strong>r side.<br />

<strong>The</strong> speaker’s stand was made <strong>of</strong> heavy oak,<br />

about three feet square and five feet high.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />



Regardless <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> places I have worked, or <strong>the</strong> positions that I have held, I have been<br />

fortunate enough to have spent my entire diving career working for ADCI member companies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ADCI Consensus Standards for <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> and <strong>Underwater</strong> Operations are not<br />

only recognized as best industry practice here in <strong>the</strong> U.S., but in many o<strong>the</strong>r parts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se standards, combined with <strong>the</strong> wealth <strong>of</strong> experience that our diverse membership<br />

provides, have been vital resources to our organization; providing us with <strong>the</strong> guidance<br />

necessary to conduct diving operations as safely as possible.<br />

Having also served on <strong>the</strong> ADCI board <strong>of</strong> directors for nearly a decade, I can attest to <strong>the</strong><br />

fact that our membership is passionate, knowledgeable, and committed; constantly evolving<br />

and working to be at <strong>the</strong> forefront <strong>of</strong> best practices for our industry.<br />

Without a doubt, having been elected as <strong>the</strong> ADCI’s president for 2017 is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

greatest honors <strong>of</strong> my commercial diving career. I am consistently surrounded by good people<br />

working to achieve one goal—building upon <strong>the</strong> success <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> past fifty years in order to keep<br />

divers safe.<br />

- Bryan Nicholls<br />

President, ADCI<br />

“I dragged it around until it faced <strong>the</strong><br />

stage,” Hughes continued. “<strong>The</strong> microphone<br />

on <strong>the</strong> podium made a heck <strong>of</strong> a racket as <strong>the</strong><br />

podium grated on <strong>the</strong> floor.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> noise got <strong>the</strong> attention <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> panel and<br />

even woke up two men who had been asleep.<br />

“I realize you gentlemen have had a long<br />

day, but I’ve come a long way to say<br />

something which is very important to me and<br />

my fellow contractors,” Hughes said. “I’d<br />

appreciate it if you could at least give me your<br />

attention for a few minutes.”<br />

At that, he recalled, <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs waiting in<br />

<strong>the</strong> auditorium burst into applause.<br />

His talk, he said, probably didn’t have<br />

much to do with <strong>the</strong> eventual outcome <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> OSHA regulations, but it did feel to<br />

him like ADC had at least gotten a hearing<br />

in Washington.<br />

“A lot <strong>of</strong> us worked hard for several more<br />

years to hammer out a reasonable<br />

understanding about diving safety standards,”<br />

he continued. “It was truly an effort <strong>of</strong> most <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> contractors, large and small. That effort<br />

also showed us we could work toge<strong>the</strong>r and<br />

weren’t such bad guys after all. ADC has come<br />

a long way since <strong>the</strong>n, but it probably won’t<br />

encounter anything as challenging as getting<br />

that first group <strong>of</strong> guys toge<strong>the</strong>r.”<br />

As Dive Training Magazine explained, “<strong>The</strong><br />

basic ADC <strong>Commercial</strong> Diver certification is<br />

Entry Level Tender/Diver. To earn more<br />

advanced certifications, a diver must log<br />

experience in <strong>the</strong> field (called “field days”)<br />

and underwater (referred to as “working<br />

dives”). Divers are required to receive<br />

on-<strong>the</strong>-job training to be eligible for<br />

more advanced commercial diver certification<br />

unless <strong>the</strong>y received <strong>the</strong> required formal<br />

training through an accredited commercial<br />

diving school, military dive school, or<br />

<strong>the</strong> equivalent.”<br />

Today <strong>the</strong> ADCI—now based in<br />

Houston—has more than 600 member<br />

companies, furnishing services and support<br />

for <strong>the</strong> conduct <strong>of</strong> safe underwater operations<br />

from 41 nations throughout <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

Encompassing <strong>of</strong>fshore and inland sectors <strong>of</strong><br />

diving, ADCI is comprised <strong>of</strong> segments from<br />

<strong>the</strong> business, educational and medical<br />

communities. ADCI cooperates and participates<br />

with state and federal regulatory agencies and<br />

works closely with all stakeholders to develop<br />

standards that are consistent and attainable,<br />

while meeting <strong>the</strong> highest standards <strong>of</strong> safety<br />

for underwater operations.<br />

ADCI now has four membership<br />

classifications. General membership is for<br />



ADCI sets industry standards for<br />

educationa nd safety that have made a<br />

lasting, positive impact upon <strong>the</strong> commercial<br />

diving industry.<br />



those members who conduct commercial<br />

diving as a substantial part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir business.<br />

Associate members support general members<br />

through <strong>the</strong> training <strong>of</strong> personnel engaged in<br />

commercial diving services, and/or through<br />

<strong>the</strong> manufacturing/supporting <strong>of</strong> goods and<br />

services. Supporting members are “for pr<strong>of</strong>its”<br />

or “not for pr<strong>of</strong>its” that support <strong>the</strong> mission<br />

and purpose <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADCI. This includes<br />

government regulatory authorities, oversight<br />

agencies and military authorities among<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs. Affiliate membership includes any<br />

organization that supports <strong>the</strong> purposes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

ADCI that is invited by <strong>the</strong> board <strong>of</strong> directors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> mission <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADCI is:<br />

• To promote <strong>the</strong> highest level <strong>of</strong> safety in<br />

<strong>the</strong> practice <strong>of</strong> commercial diving and<br />

underwater operations.<br />

• To promote proper and adequate training<br />

and education for industry personnel.<br />

• To foster open communication within <strong>the</strong><br />

underwater industry.<br />

• To hold all members accountable<br />

in adherence to <strong>the</strong> Consensus<br />

Standards for <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> and<br />

<strong>Underwater</strong> Operations.<br />

Recognized as <strong>the</strong> premiere association<br />

that issues safe diving guidelines through<br />

its International Consensus Standards for<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> and <strong>Underwater</strong><br />

Operations, ADCI is also <strong>the</strong> primary entity<br />

for <strong>the</strong> issuance <strong>of</strong> certifications for diving<br />

personnel in <strong>the</strong> United States. and many<br />

regions globally.<br />

ADCI has formal partnerships with <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

Coast Guard, <strong>the</strong> American Salvage<br />

Association, <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems<br />

Command (Supervisor <strong>of</strong> Salvage and <strong>Diving</strong>),<br />

as well as with several navies in <strong>the</strong> Latin<br />

America and Asia Pacific sectors. <strong>The</strong> U.S.<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Labor, Occupational Safety and<br />

Health Administration (OSHA) “recognizes<br />

ADCI standards as <strong>the</strong> best established<br />

industry practice.”<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />



At my first ADC meeting in 1974 little did I think I’d observe this<br />

50th Anniversary <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> organization. <strong>The</strong> success <strong>of</strong> ADC (now<br />

ADCI) has only been achieved through <strong>the</strong> efforts <strong>of</strong> many<br />

committed persons and member companies; all working to enhance<br />

and continually improve safety throughout <strong>the</strong> international<br />

commercial diving pr<strong>of</strong>ession while simultaneously cooperating and<br />

educating <strong>the</strong> implementing government agencies under whose laws<br />

we must operate. I am proud to have served in many roles over <strong>the</strong><br />

years and to have been given an opportunity to contribute.<br />

- Ross Saxon, Ph.D. LCDR USN (Ret)<br />

Former Executive Director, ADCI<br />

ADCI <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame<br />

Congratulations to <strong>the</strong> ADCI on its fifty-year anniversary! And<br />

many thanks to <strong>the</strong> ADCI for its dedication and service to <strong>the</strong><br />

commercial diving industry. <strong>The</strong> ADCI has done more to promote and<br />

implement commercial diving safety than any o<strong>the</strong>r entity. From<br />

drafting <strong>the</strong> first National Safety Consensus Standard to <strong>the</strong> present<br />

International Safety Consensus Standard, to commercial diver<br />

certification, to <strong>the</strong> present audit initiative, and so many, many more<br />

activities, that not only promoted diver safety, but also protected its<br />

member firms from overregulation by government and outside<br />

entities. All industry stakeholders owe a debt <strong>of</strong> gratitude to <strong>the</strong> ADCI,<br />

and must continue to support this organization in our ultimate goal <strong>of</strong><br />

getting our divers and dive support crews home safely!<br />

Again, Congratulations to <strong>the</strong> ADCI for 50 great years!<br />

- Jon Hazelbaker<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Consultant<br />

Hammerhead Marine Services, LLC<br />

ADCI <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame<br />

Congratulations to ADCI, and particularly <strong>the</strong> great André<br />

Galerne, for creating a modern, cohesive, internationally respected,<br />

organization from a group <strong>of</strong> strongly independent individuals who<br />

operated a “My Way or <strong>the</strong> Highway” system <strong>of</strong> a mongrel industry<br />

(non)co-operation back in <strong>the</strong> 1940s-1970s. A true fifty-year<br />

American success story!<br />

- Leslie Leaney<br />

Co-founder, Historical <strong>Diving</strong> Society USA<br />

Founder, <strong>The</strong> Journal <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> History<br />

Founding Trustee, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum<br />

ADCI <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame<br />

<strong>The</strong> ADCI, including all <strong>the</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Pr<strong>of</strong>essionals and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Passionate Men and Women, who unselfishly contributed,<br />

voluntarily, with <strong>the</strong>ir time and hard work to make <strong>the</strong> Association<br />

a definitive voice for <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong>, have been an<br />

enormous part <strong>of</strong> my pr<strong>of</strong>ession and my career, spanning over forty<br />

years to date. Thank you and happy fiftieth anniversary!<br />

- Mike Brown<br />

Onyx Services, Inc.<br />

Past President, ADCI<br />

I want to congratulate <strong>the</strong> many people, both staff and<br />

volunteers, who have made <strong>the</strong> ADCI what it is today—fifty years,<br />

truly a remarkable milestone! From very humble beginnings, <strong>the</strong><br />

organization has grown to represent our industry throughout <strong>the</strong><br />

world and, most importantly, to help ensure <strong>the</strong> safety <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> guy on<br />

<strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hose!<br />

- Craig Fortenbery<br />

Founder, Mainstream <strong>Commercial</strong> Divers, Inc.<br />

Past President, ADCI<br />

For over thirty years <strong>the</strong> ADCI has been a reliable ally to Dryden<br />

<strong>Diving</strong>. We could not have reached <strong>the</strong> level <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essionalism we<br />

have today without <strong>the</strong>m. Thanks to <strong>the</strong>ir guidance our crews are<br />

among <strong>the</strong> most pr<strong>of</strong>essional in <strong>the</strong> industry.<br />

- Donald Dryden<br />

President, Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> Company, Inc.<br />

I have witnessed in my twenty-five years with <strong>the</strong> ADCI its<br />

progress from requiring not much more from its diving contractors<br />

than its desire to operate safely, and having no diver certification, to<br />

an association with universally accepted standards for contractors<br />

and training centers, plus universal certifications for divers.<br />

Congratulations, ADCI!<br />

- Barbara Treadway<br />

Manager, Administrative Services, ADCI<br />

East Coast Chapter Chairman<br />




Since 2005, ADCI has inducted selected nominees into <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame. <strong>The</strong>se individuals are nominated from all walks<br />

<strong>of</strong> life and represent men and women who throughout <strong>the</strong>ir lifetime have made a recognized and lasting contribution to commercial diving.<br />

<strong>The</strong> genesis <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> program goes back a year before, when in 2004, <strong>the</strong> board <strong>of</strong> directors decided to establish <strong>the</strong> Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame with <strong>the</strong><br />

first group <strong>of</strong> inductees being those who had previously been awarded ei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> John B. Galletti Memorial Award (established in 1978) or<br />

<strong>the</strong> Tom Devine Memorial Award (established in 1995).<br />

That initial group included 33 persons and one additional dedicated Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame selectee to represent 2004. This group had 25 prior<br />

John B. Galletti Memorial Award winners and 8 prior Tom Devine Memorial Award honorees.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> passage <strong>of</strong> time <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame nominees has slowed. This may be due to a lack <strong>of</strong> understanding <strong>of</strong> what <strong>the</strong><br />

Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame is intended to represent or simply because as <strong>the</strong> commercial diving community continues to grow <strong>the</strong> contributions <strong>of</strong><br />

individual persons become less evident. It also may be that some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> individuals deserving recognition are from small nations where <strong>the</strong><br />

commercial diving community is not as well recognized as in o<strong>the</strong>r parts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> globe. Even so, many people from <strong>the</strong> industry’s global<br />

community have dedicated <strong>the</strong>ir lives to improving commercial diving in one way or ano<strong>the</strong>r. <strong>The</strong>se may be men and women who have<br />

been commercial divers, developers <strong>of</strong> equipment, contributors to <strong>the</strong> medical sciences used to keep divers safe, safety pr<strong>of</strong>essionals who<br />

recognize and alert <strong>the</strong> community to on-<strong>the</strong>-job hazards, individuals who establish companies to employ commercial divers or o<strong>the</strong>rs who<br />

produce improved tools for underwater use.<br />

- Adapted from ADCI website.<br />

List <strong>of</strong> Prior Awardees<br />

(Note: Posthumous awards are noted by <strong>the</strong> letter “P”)<br />

John B. Galleti Memorial Award<br />

Capt. George Bond (P) 1978<br />

Cdr. Jackie Warner (P) 1979<br />

Dr. Chris Lambertsen 1980<br />

Hugh (Dan) Wilson 1981<br />

Bev Morgan 1982<br />

D. Michael Hughes 1983<br />

Dick Evens (P) 1984<br />

George W. Samson (P) 1985<br />

Jim Joiner 1986<br />

Henri Delauze 1987<br />

Phil Nuytten 1988<br />

Murray Black (P) 1989<br />

Lad Handelman 1990<br />

Dr. Joseph McInnis 1991<br />

Herbert G. Newbury (P) 1992<br />

John T. Johnson 1993<br />

Jack D. Smith, Jr. 1994<br />

Andre Galerne 1995<br />

Ellis R. Cross (P) 1996<br />

Joe Savoie (P) 1997<br />

Steve Helburn 1998<br />

Bill Dore 1999<br />

Bob Kirby 2000<br />

Ross Saxon 2001<br />

Conway Whitey Grubbs (P) 2002<br />

R. H. (Dutchy) Holland 2003<br />

Tom Devine Memorial Award<br />

Ms. Bernice McKenzie 1995<br />

Juan R. Cr<strong>of</strong>ton 1996<br />

Mike McGovern 1997<br />

Fred Aichele 1999<br />

Rick Jager 2000<br />

John Hazelbaker 2001<br />

Jim Caldwell 2002<br />

Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame Award<br />

Bob Barth 2005<br />

Rodney Cruze 2006<br />

Dick Long 2006<br />

Torrence Parker 2006<br />

Jack Reedy 2006<br />

Walter (Whitey) Stephens 2007<br />

Wilber (Jerry) O’Neill 2007<br />

Dr. Jeff Zhang 2008<br />

Dr. Robert Workman (P) 2008<br />

John Manlove (P) 2008<br />

Norman Ketcham 2008<br />

Lazaro Del Castillo 2008<br />

Dr. Joseph Serio 2009<br />

Leonard Greenstone 2009<br />

Robert W. Honaker 2009<br />

Bud Mills 2010<br />

Bob Ratcliff 2010<br />

Ben Miller 2011<br />

Tom Angel 2011<br />

Joe Sanford (P) 2011<br />

Paul Leblanc 2012<br />

Drew Michel 2012<br />

Lawrence Goldberg 2013<br />

Bob Merriman 2013<br />

Richard Geyer 2013<br />

Van T. Bell (P) 2014<br />

George Cundiff 2014<br />

Dr. Keith Van Meter, M.D. 2014<br />

Dr. John Beran 2015<br />

Denny Swartz 2015<br />

S. Joe Vidrine 2015<br />

Mike Von Alvensleben 2016<br />

George Wiswell 2016<br />

Leslie Leaney 2017<br />

Owen Boyles 2017<br />

Mike Ward 2018<br />

Craig Fortenbery 2018<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />



Delgado, James P. Misadventures <strong>of</strong> a Civil War Submarine: Iron, Guns and Pearls. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2012.<br />

Green, John B. <strong>Diving</strong>, With and Without Armor: Containing <strong>the</strong> Submarine Exploits <strong>of</strong> J.B. Green, <strong>the</strong> Celebrated Submarine Diver. Buffalo:<br />

Faxon's Steam Powered Press, 1859.<br />

Hughes, D. Michael. Oceaneer: From <strong>the</strong> Bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sea to <strong>the</strong> Boardroom. NP, 2015.<br />

Kuntz, Jerry. <strong>The</strong> Heroic Age <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong>: America's <strong>Underwater</strong> Pioneers and <strong>the</strong> Great Wrecks <strong>of</strong> Lake Erie. Albany: State University <strong>of</strong> New York<br />

Press, 2016.<br />

Marx, Robert F. <strong>The</strong> History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Underwater</strong> Exploration. New York: Dover Publications, 1978, 1990.<br />

Swann, Christopher. <strong>The</strong> History <strong>of</strong> Oilfield <strong>Diving</strong>: An Individual Adventure. Santa Barbara, California: Oceanaut Press, 2007.<br />




WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />





Pr<strong>of</strong>iles <strong>of</strong> businesses, organizations,<br />

and families that have contributed to<br />

Collins Engineers, Inc.<br />

<strong>the</strong> development and continued growth <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> commercial diving industry<br />

<strong>Underwater</strong> Construction Corporation..............................................64<br />

J.F. Brennan Company, Inc. ............................................................70<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage ................................................................74<br />

Eason <strong>Diving</strong> & Marine Contractors, Inc. ........................................78<br />

Mainstream <strong>Commercial</strong> Divers, Inc. ..............................................80<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> & Marine Services, Inc. ......................................82<br />

Divers Institute <strong>of</strong> Technology ........................................................84<br />

W.J. Castle P.E. & Associates, P.C. ..................................................86<br />

DRS Marine Inc. ..........................................................................88<br />

Global <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage, Inc. ........................................................90<br />

Marine <strong>Diving</strong> Technology Class <strong>of</strong> 1973—<br />

Santa Barbara City College.......................................................92<br />

American Marine Corporation ........................................................94<br />

Teichman Group <strong>of</strong> Companies ........................................................96<br />

STS Chile<br />

(STS Marine Engineering and Constructing Limited) ......................98<br />

Walker <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Underwater</strong> Construction LLC ..................................100<br />

Marion Hill Associates <strong>Diving</strong> and Marine Services Group.................102<br />

ONYX Services, Inc. ....................................................................104<br />

U.S. <strong>Underwater</strong> Services, LLC .....................................................105<br />

Subsalve USA.............................................................................106<br />

Hammerhead Marine Services, LLC<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Services, Inc. .............................................107<br />

Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> Company, Inc. .......................................................108<br />

Chesapeake Bay <strong>Diving</strong>, Inc..........................................................109<br />

Resolve Marine Group .................................................................110<br />

Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International...............................111<br />

Enviroscience, Inc.<br />

Historical <strong>Diving</strong> Society USA<br />

Lakes & Rivers<br />

Contractors, Inc.<br />

National University<br />

Polytechnic Institute<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ocean Corporation<br />

Randive, Inc.<br />






Approaching fifty years <strong>of</strong> industry<br />

innovation and job creation<br />

Above: Co-Founder, John Chiangi, Sr.,<br />

in 1972 preparing to test radiological dive<br />

equipment to be used at <strong>the</strong> Yankee Rowe<br />

Nuclear Plant.<br />

Below: UCC divers completing <strong>the</strong> first<br />

successful radiological dives at <strong>the</strong> Yankee<br />

Rowe Nuclear Plant in January <strong>of</strong> 1973.<br />

<strong>Underwater</strong> Construction Corporation (UCC)<br />

was founded in 1969 by John Chiangi, Sr.<br />

and Stuart Leech. Both men had previously<br />

worked for a Connecticut-based company<br />

called Marine Contracting, Inc. where <strong>the</strong>y<br />

gained <strong>the</strong>ir respective knowledge in commercial<br />

diving. It was here in <strong>the</strong> 1960s<br />

that <strong>the</strong>y performed <strong>the</strong> first commercial<br />

saturation dives at Smith Mountain Dam in<br />

Virginia. Although very little commercial<br />

diving had been performed at power plants<br />

in <strong>the</strong> past, this method <strong>of</strong> diving service<br />

was rapidly growing in <strong>the</strong> industry. <strong>The</strong><br />

founders took this experience and shaped<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir vision to expand UCC’s diving services<br />

into <strong>the</strong> fossil, nuclear, and hydro-electric<br />

power markets.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company’s first significant<br />

milestones occurred in <strong>the</strong> early 1970s when<br />

UCC pioneered radiological diving, and<br />

made <strong>the</strong> first <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se dives at <strong>the</strong> Yankee<br />

Rowe Nuclear Plant in Rowe, Massachusetts.<br />

This inventive approach, although new,<br />

caught on quickly and, by <strong>the</strong> early 1980s,<br />

<strong>the</strong> company’s radiological diving was<br />

being performed in several nuclear plants<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> domestic United States. UCC’s<br />

unique ability to <strong>of</strong>fer such a specialized<br />

service helped <strong>the</strong> company expand its<br />

marine diving applications at an accelerated<br />

pace. Throughout <strong>the</strong> 1980s, UCC had<br />

numerous service contracts with customers<br />

in <strong>the</strong> power industry, as well as with owners<br />

<strong>of</strong> several water dependent facilities.<br />

In 1986 <strong>the</strong> founders decided it was time<br />

to leave <strong>the</strong> company when it was acquired<br />

by a publicly owned asbestos abatement company<br />

named <strong>The</strong> Brand Companies. Under<br />

public ownership, Chiangi’s son, John, Jr.,<br />

took over as president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company. At<br />

this time, UCC was still relatively small with<br />

annual revenues <strong>of</strong> less than 5 million and<br />

roughly thirty employees. However, UCC’s<br />

new parent company pushed for rapid growth<br />

regardless <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> means. By <strong>the</strong> late 1980s,<br />

UCC, through its parent company, began<br />

acquiring and starting-up separate companies,<br />

most <strong>of</strong> which were unrelated to diving.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> next several years, UCC struggled<br />

with its identity and navigated through<br />

name and ownership changes when <strong>The</strong><br />

Brand Companies was finally acquired.<br />

Despite <strong>the</strong>se hurdles, UCC continued to<br />

grow in both <strong>the</strong> specialized radiological<br />

diving and marine diving services. In fact,<br />

1987 would be <strong>the</strong> year <strong>the</strong> company<br />

completed its first international project at a<br />

nuclear plant in Taiwan. As a result, <strong>the</strong><br />

company went on to successfully complete<br />

several nuclear plant projects throughout<br />

Taiwan from <strong>the</strong> late 1980s and into <strong>the</strong><br />

early 2000s.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


<strong>The</strong> year 1989 proved to be a monumental<br />

year for UCC when its parent company<br />

acquired Lakeshore Marine, located in<br />

St. Joseph, Michigan. This allowed <strong>the</strong> company<br />

to expand its operations west to <strong>the</strong><br />

Great Lakes region and service a host <strong>of</strong> new<br />

customers. Additionally, it enabled UCC to<br />

more effectively service existing clients, like<br />

one noteworthy customer located on Lake<br />

Michigan, which UCC signed a contract with<br />

in 1987, and happens to be UCC’s longest<br />

running contract to date. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

primary Midwest <strong>of</strong>fice eventually relocated<br />

to Stevensville, Michigan, where it remains<br />

today. Over <strong>the</strong> past twenty-eight years <strong>the</strong><br />

hard work and effort <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Midwest division<br />

now accounts for roughly thirty percent <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> company’s combined annual revenues.<br />

Also in 1989, while still under <strong>the</strong> pressures<br />

<strong>of</strong> its parent company, UCC took on<br />

two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest projects <strong>the</strong> company had<br />

ever performed up until that time. <strong>The</strong> first<br />

was a massive re-rack project at a nuclear<br />

plant in California. This was a two-year<br />

project that alone accounted for roughly one<br />

half <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company’s annual revenues. <strong>The</strong><br />

second was a challenging marine construction<br />

project for Metro-North Commuter Railroad<br />

in Connecticut that involved <strong>the</strong> extensive<br />

rehabilitation <strong>of</strong> four railroad bridges over<br />

a two-year period. Both projects were a<br />

great success and helped <strong>the</strong> company gain<br />

substantial recognition in <strong>the</strong> nuclear and<br />

marine diving industry.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> early 1990s, ano<strong>the</strong>r significant<br />

milestone achievement for UCC came from<br />

<strong>the</strong> company’s extensive R&D with underwater<br />

welding, which was a highly-specialized<br />

service that nuclear power plants around <strong>the</strong><br />

world could benefit from. UCC had already<br />

caught <strong>the</strong> attention <strong>of</strong> a worldwide reactor<br />

service company, which hired <strong>the</strong>m to perform<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir first international underwater<br />

welding project at <strong>the</strong> C<strong>of</strong>rentes nuclear site<br />

in Spain. This endeavor created a viable new<br />

market and a multitude <strong>of</strong> new welding projects<br />

for UCC to be involved in. In 1991, UCC<br />

received approval from Japanese authorities to<br />

weld in Japan, thus creating additional new<br />

opportunities for <strong>the</strong> company. To enhance<br />

this endeavor, a state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art hyperbaric<br />

facility was established in Essex, Connecticut,<br />

where it is still used today to perform R&D,<br />

and underwater welding training and certifications<br />

used on safety-related components<br />

around <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

In 1994, after eight years as president,<br />

John, Jr., parted with <strong>the</strong> company his<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>r founded some twenty-five years before.<br />

Ra<strong>the</strong>r than replace him, <strong>the</strong> parent company<br />

chose to leave <strong>the</strong> business in <strong>the</strong> capable<br />

hands <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> existing management group, all<br />

<strong>of</strong> whom had worked for <strong>the</strong> company for<br />

many years. In that same year, UCC began<br />

a relationship with one <strong>of</strong> its long-time<br />

competitors in <strong>the</strong> re-racking market that<br />

Above: UCC diver/welder entering<br />

<strong>the</strong> water at a nuclear plant where<br />

modifications were performed on<br />

reactor components.<br />

Below: View <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> internal portion <strong>of</strong><br />

a reactor vessel inside a nuclear plant.<br />

<strong>The</strong> purple glow is <strong>the</strong> highly-irradiated<br />

fuel that will be removed prior to diving.<br />

Even with <strong>the</strong> fuel removed, advanced<br />

methods are necessary to protect <strong>the</strong> diver<br />

from radiation exposure. This is one <strong>of</strong><br />

several areas within a nuclear facility that<br />

UCC conducts highly-specialized diving.<br />



Left: <strong>The</strong> three new owners along with<br />

representatives from <strong>the</strong> Connecticut<br />

Development Authority (CDA) and Webster<br />

Bank shortly after acquiring <strong>the</strong> company in<br />

December <strong>of</strong> 1996. From left to right; UCC<br />

Vice President/Secretary Michael Pellini;<br />

UCC President/CEO John Lawton; CDA<br />

Representative; Vice President/Treasurer<br />

William Feeley and Webster<br />

Bank representative.<br />

Right: UCC completing extensive dam<br />

rehabilitation on <strong>the</strong> Tennessee River in<br />

1999. <strong>The</strong> work involved repairs to <strong>the</strong><br />

downstream apron <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> dam over a period<br />

<strong>of</strong> several months.<br />

proved to be a significant move that continues<br />

to benefit <strong>the</strong> company to this day. <strong>The</strong> <strong>of</strong>fices<br />

in Connecticut and Michigan continued to<br />

grow as <strong>the</strong> company attained more annual<br />

contracts and took on such large projects as<br />

<strong>the</strong> Keokuk Dam on <strong>the</strong> Mississippi River<br />

in Iowa as well as chemical feed line installations<br />

and mollusk remediation throughout<br />

Lake Michigan.<br />

For <strong>the</strong> next several years <strong>the</strong> underwater<br />

welding program was intensifying and providing<br />

UCC many new opportunities both<br />

domestically as well as internationally. By<br />

1995, UCC had completed its first safetyrelated<br />

welds at a Nuclear Plant in North<br />

Carolina and its first dryer cut-up at a<br />

nuclear site in Japan. <strong>The</strong>se were two significant<br />

advancements in UCC’s welding and<br />

reactor services program that brought <strong>the</strong><br />

company additional and well deserved recognition<br />

in <strong>the</strong> nuclear industry.<br />

In 1996, UCC was awarded a long-term<br />

contract in Ludington, Michigan, which helped<br />

<strong>the</strong> company grow to roughly $10 million<br />

in annual revenues. <strong>The</strong>n, after a decade <strong>of</strong><br />

public ownership, <strong>the</strong> company was privately<br />

acquired by three standout employees who<br />

were part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> management group entrusted<br />

to run <strong>the</strong> company in 1994. All three had<br />

worked many years for <strong>the</strong> company as<br />

divers and, eventually, in management. <strong>The</strong><br />

new leadership team was comprised <strong>of</strong><br />

John Lawton, who served as president while<br />

Michael Pellini and William Feeley served<br />

as <strong>the</strong> company’s two vice presidents. <strong>The</strong><br />

acquisition was successful due in part to <strong>the</strong><br />

assistance it received from Connecticut state<br />

agencies like <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Economic<br />

and Community Development (DECD) and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Connecticut Development Authority<br />

(CDA). <strong>The</strong>se two agencies, in combination<br />

with Webster Bank, helped <strong>the</strong> three new<br />

owners accomplish <strong>the</strong> transaction and<br />

reclaim <strong>the</strong> company’s original name, which<br />

is synonymous with commercial diving.<br />

Also in 1996, UCC made an important<br />

decision to open a new <strong>of</strong>fice in Soddy Daisy,<br />

Tennessee, to service <strong>the</strong> vast network <strong>of</strong><br />

power producing facilities along <strong>the</strong><br />

Tennessee Valley River System. By early 1997<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice was staffed and fully operational.<br />

This expansion into Tennessee helped <strong>the</strong><br />

company in its pursuit <strong>of</strong> future growth in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>ast region. Some twenty years later,<br />

through <strong>the</strong> talented leadership and support<br />

staff, <strong>the</strong> Tennessee <strong>of</strong>fice now accounts for<br />

roughly twenty-five percent <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company’s<br />

annual revenues.<br />

<strong>The</strong> impact <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> aggressive new ownership<br />

was apparent almost immediately, and by<br />

<strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 1997, UCC had annual revenues <strong>of</strong><br />

approximately $11 million and seventy-five<br />

employees. <strong>The</strong> new management group was<br />

mostly comprised <strong>of</strong> veteran employees who<br />

had worked as divers for <strong>the</strong> company for<br />

many years; “<strong>The</strong>y are a diverse and talented<br />

group <strong>of</strong> individuals that William Feeley and<br />

I have worked with for many years, both<br />

diving and in management. <strong>The</strong> fact that<br />

<strong>the</strong>y all still work at <strong>the</strong> company in major<br />

roles is a true testament to <strong>the</strong>ir dedication.<br />

We could have never achieved our success<br />

without this group and <strong>the</strong> people that<br />

support <strong>the</strong>m,” comments Pellini.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


By 1998 <strong>the</strong> company was well into developing<br />

its nuclear underwater coatings program.<br />

This involved state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art methods<br />

and products that could withstand high levels<br />

<strong>of</strong> radiation as well as be applied underwater<br />

in nuclear plants on various underwater<br />

components without <strong>the</strong> need for dewatering.<br />

Moreover, <strong>the</strong> company was heavily involved<br />

with large-scale modification projects at<br />

nuclear plants with one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m requiring<br />

upwards <strong>of</strong> fifty-six divers, many <strong>of</strong> whom<br />

were highly skilled underwater welders.<br />

In 1998, UCC was awarded a first-<strong>of</strong>-itskind<br />

project at a world-famous <strong>the</strong>me park<br />

in Orlando, Florida. This project involved<br />

<strong>the</strong> extensive rehabilitation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest<br />

salt water aquarium in <strong>the</strong> world. It was a<br />

technically challenging project that had<br />

more than twenty divers working for several<br />

months while <strong>the</strong> attraction stayed open to<br />

<strong>the</strong> public. At this same time, UCC was<br />

continuing to forge strong relationships with<br />

some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world’s largest companies in <strong>the</strong><br />

nuclear industry in preparation for <strong>the</strong> future.<br />

Business slowed slightly in <strong>the</strong> early 2000s<br />

as some nuclear contracts came to an end.<br />

However, <strong>the</strong> company rebounded in 2003,<br />

when it acquired work for all three <strong>of</strong> its<br />

regional <strong>of</strong>fices. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> projects undertaken<br />

by UCC was a highly technical and challenging<br />

assignment in Japan for one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest<br />

manufacturers <strong>of</strong> nuclear reactors in <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

More than thirty divers worked at <strong>the</strong> site<br />

for several months and <strong>the</strong> outcome <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

project proved a tremendous success, bringing<br />

forward more opportunities in Japan.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 2004, UCC had record<br />

growth, which roughly tripled its annual<br />

revenues since <strong>the</strong> three new owners acquired<br />

it in 1996. <strong>The</strong> Connecticut corporate <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

was responsible for roughly two thirds <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> company’s revenues that year due to a<br />

large influx <strong>of</strong> nuclear plant services.<br />

Additionally, <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r two <strong>of</strong>fices, Michigan<br />

and Tennessee, were continuing to grow in<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir respective regions, which represented<br />

<strong>the</strong> remaining one-third. UCC continued to<br />

prosper over <strong>the</strong> next few years with projects<br />

involving its specialized underwater coatings,<br />

reactor services and welding, marine services<br />

and general diving.<br />

In 2008, UCC had an incredible year;<br />

when <strong>the</strong> company had its second-best<br />

revenue year in history. UCC had a considerable<br />

amount <strong>of</strong> both radiological and marine<br />

diving services during <strong>the</strong> year. <strong>The</strong> Michigan<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice had two large projects: one at a nuclear<br />

site in Florida and <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r for a utility<br />

customer on Lake Michigan. <strong>The</strong> Michigan<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice achieved its highest revenues to date.<br />

In addition, <strong>the</strong> Connecticut and Tennessee<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices had successful years with <strong>the</strong>ir large<br />

client base, which continued to grow steadily.<br />

UCC marked <strong>the</strong> completion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company’s<br />

fortieth year <strong>of</strong> service and its sixth straight<br />

year <strong>of</strong> sustainable growth.<br />

Above: UCC completing turnkey repairs on<br />

multiple mooring cells at an Ohio River<br />

fossil plant in 2012.<br />

Below: UCC diver preparing to complete a<br />

dive on Lake Michigan. In <strong>the</strong> background is<br />

<strong>the</strong> company’s eighty-foot Jack-up Barge<br />

that supports multiple diving operations.<br />



Left: Equipment being mobilized to<br />

Ludington, Michigan, where UCC personnel<br />

annually install, maintain and remove <strong>the</strong><br />

largest barrier net in North America.<br />

UCC has been responsible for this 2.4 mile<br />

net since 1996.<br />

Right: UCC diver/welder completing<br />

underwater test welds in preparation to<br />

travel abroad to a nuclear plant where<br />

reactor modifications were performed.<br />

Work remained consistent for <strong>the</strong> next few<br />

years and, by 2011, UCC’s Michigan <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

expanded its marine diving operations fur<strong>the</strong>r<br />

west to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In addition,<br />

<strong>the</strong> acquisition <strong>of</strong> Seaview <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>of</strong> Seymour,<br />

Wisconsin in 2014, provided this <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

<strong>the</strong> ability to expand into Green Bay and<br />

<strong>the</strong> surrounding areas. UCC continued its<br />

acquisitions and in 2015 made two additional<br />

purchases to expand its Midwest division.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first was Sea-Brex <strong>Diving</strong> located just<br />

a short distance from UCC’s existing <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

in Stevensville. <strong>The</strong> second was Great Lakes<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> located in Rockford, Michigan. Now<br />

with three acquisitions, all within two years,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Michigan <strong>of</strong>fice needed a larger location.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> 2015, UCC moved across<br />

<strong>the</strong> street into its new 50,000-square-foot<br />

facility. At this same time, <strong>the</strong> Connecticut<br />

division was making a relentless push to enter<br />

<strong>the</strong> decommissioning market in <strong>the</strong> United<br />

Kingdom. Success came when <strong>the</strong> company<br />

was awarded a contract at a nuclear site<br />

in England. This, in turn, led UCC to open<br />

its first international subsidiary, <strong>Underwater</strong><br />

Construction Corporation, UK, LTD. In 2016,<br />

UCC pioneered <strong>the</strong> first radiological dives<br />

in <strong>the</strong> country, fur<strong>the</strong>r establishing itself as<br />

an elite diving authority.<br />

In 2014, Lawton retired from <strong>the</strong> company<br />

after serving as its president for <strong>the</strong> previous<br />

eighteen years. <strong>The</strong> two remaining owners,<br />

Pellini and Feeley remained as co-chairmen<br />

and promoted <strong>the</strong> company’s Chief Financial<br />

Officer Raymond Palumbo, to <strong>the</strong> position <strong>of</strong><br />

President and CEO. Ironically, after being so<br />

intrigued with UCC, Palumbo came to <strong>the</strong><br />

company eighteen years prior in 1996 from<br />

<strong>the</strong> very same bank (Webster Bank) that<br />

assisted <strong>the</strong> three owners with <strong>the</strong> purchase.<br />

In 2014 and 2015 <strong>the</strong> company’s international<br />

reputation was fur<strong>the</strong>r enhanced when<br />

UCC was awarded multiple reactor projects<br />

with a worldwide reactor service company<br />

at a nuclear plant in Mexico. <strong>The</strong>se projects<br />

involved highly technical applications, extensive<br />

tooling design and mock-ups to complete<br />

steam dryer repairs on several reactor units.<br />

Today, UCC is recognized as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

largest in-land diving companies <strong>of</strong> its kind,<br />

both in <strong>the</strong> United States and internationally.<br />

UCC’s corporate headquarters, along with its<br />

three regional <strong>of</strong>fices and international<br />

subsidiary, provide marine diving and radiological<br />

diving to many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest utility<br />

owners in <strong>the</strong> power generation industry. In<br />

addition, UCC provides a variety <strong>of</strong> services<br />

to numerous clients and diverse industries,<br />

including port authorities, private waterfront<br />

owners, government and municipal owners,<br />

<strong>the</strong> DOE, manufacturing owners, general<br />

contractors, and many more. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

vast expertise in radiological diving has<br />

afforded UCC <strong>the</strong> incredible opportunity to<br />

work with some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest companies in<br />

<strong>the</strong> power generation industry. To its credit,<br />

UCC has performed highly specialized radiological<br />

diving throughout <strong>the</strong> domestic<br />

United States and worldwide in more than<br />

twenty-two countries including, Japan, South<br />

Korea, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Spain, Sweden,<br />

Switzerland, and England, to name a few.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company is proud to employ more<br />

than 200 commercial divers and support<br />

staff. <strong>The</strong>ir marine diving operations support<br />

customers throughout New England, <strong>the</strong><br />

Mid-Atlantic, <strong>the</strong> Midwest, <strong>the</strong> Tennessee<br />

Valley and sou<strong>the</strong>rn area regions, as well<br />

as numerous locations across <strong>the</strong> domestic<br />

United States. All <strong>the</strong> company’s international<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


services are performed from its corporate<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice located in Essex, Connecticut, where<br />

roughly one-half <strong>of</strong> its workforce is located.<br />

UCC has been an active member in many<br />

organizations, including <strong>the</strong> Long Island<br />

Marine Community for many years and is<br />

a proud member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Connecticut Maritime<br />

Coalition. <strong>The</strong> company takes an active and<br />

responsible role in supporting several charitable<br />

programs both nationally recognized as<br />

well as in its own communities.<br />

“It’s no doubt that our competitive edge<br />

is our dedicated people,” comments Pellini.<br />

“We have highly talented people in <strong>the</strong><br />

company that have been with us for more<br />

than twenty years. This includes some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

best underwater welders in <strong>the</strong> world, as well<br />

as divers who are well trained on nuclear<br />

components. We also have some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

best marine staff, who are performing some<br />

very challenging marine-related work on<br />

Lake Michigan, <strong>the</strong> Tennessee River and<br />

throughout New England, from mooring cell<br />

repairs to dam rehabilitation.” Pellini also<br />

adds, “Although <strong>the</strong> business has grown<br />

four times under <strong>the</strong> current ownership<br />

that took over twenty years ago, it all comes<br />

down to our people.”<br />

UCC has <strong>the</strong> expertise, resources, and<br />

flexibility to perform large turnkey projects or<br />

support small local tasks on a call-out basis.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company strives to provide innovative,<br />

high-quality, cost-effective services that are<br />

consistent with its commitment to <strong>the</strong><br />

safety <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> employees and customers. UCC<br />

meets or exceeds <strong>the</strong> requirements <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Occupational Safety and Health Administration<br />

(OSHA) and <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong><br />

Contractors International (ADCI). All divers<br />

are certified as commercial divers and maintain<br />

current first aid and CPR certifications.<br />

<strong>The</strong> goal is to bring only <strong>the</strong> highest degree <strong>of</strong><br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essionalism to every job. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

is an equal opportunity employer and has<br />

been a proud member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADCI for more<br />

than twenty years.<br />

“We see a very bright future for <strong>Underwater</strong><br />

Construction Corporation,” says Pellini. “We’re<br />

coming <strong>of</strong>f our third year <strong>of</strong> record growth<br />

and enjoyed our best year ever in 2016.<br />

We already have a considerable amount <strong>of</strong><br />

new work for <strong>the</strong> next year or two and<br />

anticipate doing even better as we continue<br />

to grow even fur<strong>the</strong>r. We are anticipating<br />

growth in <strong>the</strong> specific areas that we understand<br />

well and will continue to foster strong<br />

relationships with our customers.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> company would like to acknowledge<br />

its senior managers: Keith McClintock, Philip<br />

McDermott, Darrell Moody, and James Nichols,<br />

as well as <strong>the</strong>ir dedicated and hardworking<br />

operations managers, project managers,<br />

supervisors, divers and support staff and,<br />

finally, to <strong>the</strong> assistance it received some<br />

twenty years ago from <strong>the</strong> two Connecticut<br />

agencies and Webster Bank. This has helped<br />

<strong>the</strong> company create and maintain jobs in<br />

Connecticut as well as in o<strong>the</strong>r states<br />

where UCC has regional <strong>of</strong>fice locations.<br />

UCC looks to continue its successful growth<br />

as it nears close to its fiftieth-year anniversary.<br />

For more information on UCC’s mission<br />

and services, please visit www.uccdive.com.<br />

Above: Five <strong>of</strong> UCC’s veteran employees<br />

receiving <strong>the</strong>ir Mark IV dive helmet for<br />

twenty years <strong>of</strong> outstanding service in 2016.<br />

To date, UCC has recognized forty<br />

employees for twenty years <strong>of</strong> service.<br />

Clockwise from left to right; Donald Hunt,<br />

Phillip Such, William Lee, Jon Shelton,<br />

and Mark Pawlus.<br />

Below: Today’s senior management<br />

staff from left to right; Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Regional Manager Darrell Moody;<br />

Co-Chairman/Treasurer William Feeley;<br />

Midwest Regional Manager Keith<br />

McClintock; Co-Chairman/Secretary<br />

Michael Pellini; Director <strong>of</strong> Finance<br />

James Nichols; Nuclear and Nor<strong>the</strong>ast<br />

Regional Manager Philip McDermott and<br />

President/CEO Raymond Palumbo.<br />



J.F. BRENNAN<br />


Above: A an early picture <strong>of</strong> a diver suiting<br />

up on a Brennan bridge construction<br />

project, c. 1937.<br />

Below Left: Sealing a c<strong>of</strong>ferdam, c. 1938<br />

Below Right: Missouri River articulated<br />

block mat installation, c. 1994. Left to<br />

right: Craig Bar<strong>the</strong>ld, Darryl Balu, and<br />

Mike Boser.<br />

J.F. Brennan Company (Brennan) is a<br />

marine construction, environmental services,<br />

and harbor management company headquartered<br />

in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Over <strong>the</strong> last<br />

century, Brennan has worked along <strong>the</strong><br />

inland waterways on challenging above- and<br />

below-water construction projects. Since <strong>the</strong><br />

beginning, diving has always been an essential<br />

part <strong>of</strong> serving <strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong> clients who own<br />

and operate water-based infrastructure.<br />

Brennan was founded as Brennan Bro<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

Construction in 1919 when bro<strong>the</strong>rs, James<br />

and Eugene Brennan, left <strong>the</strong> family farm<br />

and began to build bridges in nor<strong>the</strong>ast Iowa.<br />

As <strong>the</strong>y grew, <strong>the</strong>y took on larger projects,<br />

many <strong>of</strong> which were located on rivers and<br />

streams. <strong>The</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs eventually hired Walt<br />

Boltz, who had dive experience and could<br />

carry out an underwater inspection or help<br />

seal a c<strong>of</strong>ferdam. Using rudimentary equipment,<br />

this individual would depend heavily<br />

on topside crews to help position him<br />

correctly, supply air, and retrieve him from<br />

<strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> river.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> mid-1950s <strong>the</strong> construction <strong>of</strong> an<br />

improved U.S. highway system had provided<br />

many opportunities for <strong>the</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs to<br />

expand into southwestern Wisconsin and<br />

sou<strong>the</strong>astern Minnesota. Larger projects<br />

required floating marine plants, so <strong>the</strong>y began<br />

building barges to support <strong>the</strong>ir equipment.<br />

In 1959 <strong>the</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs split and James<br />

formed J.F. Brennan Company in La Crosse,<br />

Wisconsin. Work continued on bridge structures,<br />

but as <strong>the</strong> next generation began to take<br />

leadership roles, <strong>the</strong>y started focusing on<br />

work for <strong>the</strong> U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army<br />

Corps <strong>of</strong> Engineers. James’ son, Ralph, and<br />

son-in-law, Roger Binsfeld, continued to build<br />

a substantial fleet <strong>of</strong> barges and workboats to<br />

serve both public and private owners <strong>of</strong> riverbased<br />

infrastructure. Brennan quickly morphed<br />

into a marine contractor who pursued<br />

work along <strong>the</strong> Upper Mississippi River from<br />

St. Louis, Missouri to St. Paul, Minnesota.<br />

In 1971, Roger decided it was time to have<br />

a full-time diver on staff. He heard that a<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


young crew member named Ray Kronfrost<br />

had taken a scuba class <strong>the</strong> previous winter.<br />

Roger asked Ray to assist with a few dive<br />

inspections. Before long, Ray was assisting<br />

with salvage work. In 1976, Ray went to commercial<br />

dive school and returned to work as<br />

Brennan’s only diver for over a decade.<br />

Throughout <strong>the</strong> 1980s and 1990s, Brennan<br />

became one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest marine contractors<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Upper Mississippi River. As needed,<br />

freelance divers were hired to support <strong>the</strong><br />

growing needs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> topside construction<br />

crews. In 1993, Tony Binsfeld, <strong>the</strong> third<br />

generation <strong>of</strong> ownership, saw an opportunity<br />

to expand beyond <strong>the</strong> Mississippi River and<br />

provide services to utility companies that<br />

owned hydroelectric dams. He hired a<br />

seasoned superintendent, Earl Boser, who<br />

brought five individuals with him, including<br />

two certified divers; his son, Michael Boser,<br />

and Darrell Belleau. This crew made up <strong>the</strong><br />

newly formed Industrial Division, which<br />

specialized in both above and below-water<br />

concrete repairs and scour remediation. Earl<br />

had high expectations for his divers and<br />

was adamant about working hard and doing<br />

things <strong>the</strong> right way. His younger son, Neil<br />

Boser, began diving soon afterward to keep up<br />

with growing demand and later become a lead<br />

superintendent. In 1996, Tony hired David<br />

Cullum who, for <strong>the</strong> next twenty-two years,<br />

grew <strong>the</strong> division and served a large number<br />

<strong>of</strong> industrial clients throughout <strong>the</strong> country.<br />

This division specialized in preplaced<br />

aggregate concrete, a tried and true method <strong>of</strong><br />

underwater concrete placement that is<br />

especially resistant to <strong>the</strong> yearly freeze-thaw<br />

cycles found in <strong>the</strong> Midwest.<br />

By 1999 <strong>the</strong> demand for diving for lock<br />

and dam and railroad projects was so great<br />

that Brennan created an <strong>of</strong>ficial dive program<br />

separate from <strong>the</strong> Industrial Division. Craig<br />

Bar<strong>the</strong>ld, an experienced Brennan crew<br />

member, attended dive school and earned his<br />

commercial diving certificate. His role was to<br />

assist <strong>the</strong> growing marine construction<br />

operations with all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir diving needs.<br />

Under Craig’s leadership, <strong>the</strong> Dive<br />

Department grew to as many as twelve divers<br />

who traveled throughout <strong>the</strong> country and<br />

worked for a variety <strong>of</strong> owners <strong>of</strong> water-based<br />

infrastructure. His crew included a multitude<br />

<strong>of</strong> individuals who would become <strong>the</strong><br />

foundation on which future dive operations<br />

were built.<br />

<strong>The</strong> story <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Brennan Dive Group cannot<br />

be told without including Pro-Dive<br />

Incorporated. Pro-Dive was founded in 1975<br />

Above: Ray Kronfrost standing in front <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Winona, Minnesota, Railroad Bridge<br />

Crossing in 1978<br />

Below: Gary Dondlinger and Mike Boser at<br />

a timber cribbing repair job in 1995.<br />



Above: Jon Burchill performing an<br />

underwater bridge repair for <strong>the</strong> Minnesota<br />

DOT in Minneapolis, Minnesota, c. 2015.<br />

Below: Jacob Rodgers assisting Ross Brocies<br />

in Sabula, Illinois, c. 2014.<br />

by Randy Jacobs and his two partners, who<br />

focused on <strong>the</strong> inland towing industry by<br />

patching leaking barges and clearing fouled<br />

wheels. <strong>The</strong>y grew slowly through <strong>the</strong> 1980s<br />

and 1990s, pioneering new technologies<br />

such as lightweight diving helmets and<br />

band masks with bailout bottles. Located in<br />

Ottawa, Illinois, <strong>the</strong>y worked mostly along<br />

<strong>the</strong> Illinois River and Upper Mississippi River<br />

in support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rehabilitation projects on<br />

various lock and dams.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> early 1990s, <strong>the</strong> ADC increased its<br />

presence in <strong>the</strong> Midwest. Randy embraced <strong>the</strong><br />

opportunity to learn new methods and share<br />

ideas with o<strong>the</strong>r divers who worked along<br />

<strong>the</strong> inland waterways. Randy and Pro-Dive<br />

became one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> founding members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Midwest Chapter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADC, with Randy<br />

serving in a number <strong>of</strong> positions, including<br />

<strong>the</strong> chapter representative on <strong>the</strong> ADC Board<br />

<strong>of</strong> Directors.<br />

Throughout <strong>the</strong> 1990s and 2000s, Pro-<br />

Dive built a loyal customer base as <strong>the</strong><br />

industry and Pro-Dive changed to accommodate<br />

new regulations. Pro-Dive crews carried<br />

out contaminated and potable water projects,<br />

water-based structure inspections, hull<br />

inspections, pipeline inspections, concrete<br />

repairs, and several o<strong>the</strong>r inland diving<br />

activities. During this time, Pro-Dive teamed<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


with Brennan on numerous opportunities to<br />

complete large-scale and technically advanced<br />

dive projects. <strong>The</strong> two companies were culturally<br />

aligned and, when working toge<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong><br />

crews were indistinguishable. <strong>The</strong> Pro-Dive<br />

crews integrated completely with fellow<br />

Brennan divers and topside crews.<br />

In 2014, J.F. Brennan Company acquired<br />

Pro-Dive and, under Randy’s leadership, a<br />

stand-alone Dive Group was formed. All<br />

diving was consolidated under Randy, numbering<br />

nearly twenty divers initially. <strong>The</strong><br />

combination <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> two firms opened <strong>the</strong><br />

door for rapid growth into several market<br />

areas such as dam construction, marine construction,<br />

railroad services, environmental<br />

services, and harbor management services.<br />

As <strong>of</strong> 2018, <strong>the</strong> Brennan Dive Group numbers<br />

over fifty ADCI Certified <strong>Commercial</strong><br />

Divers. Backed by some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest assets<br />

and most experienced construction crews<br />

along <strong>the</strong> inland waterways, <strong>the</strong> scope and<br />

ability <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Brennan Dive Group has<br />

expanded to include deep water diving,<br />

underwater construction and repair, environmental<br />

remediation, penetration dives, vessel<br />

repair and more. Safety is at <strong>the</strong> center <strong>of</strong> each<br />

and every project at Brennan as evident by its<br />

world-class safety program and exemplary<br />

safety statistics. Continued investment in <strong>the</strong><br />

latest technologies and a company culture<br />

that promotes innovation will ensure <strong>the</strong><br />

Brennan Dive Group remains on <strong>the</strong> cutting<br />

edge <strong>of</strong> underwater capabilities. As Brennan<br />

enters its fourth generation <strong>of</strong> leadership, <strong>the</strong><br />

Dive Group is an integral part <strong>of</strong> Brennan’s<br />

ability to better serve its clients and meet <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

high expectations.<br />

To learn more about J.F. Brennan, check<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir website at www.jfbrennan.com.<br />

Above: Eric Hanson climbing out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

river at Lock and Dam 16 on <strong>the</strong> Upper<br />

Mississippi River, c. 2016.<br />

Below Left: Blake Rocque and Tony Labarge<br />

heading out to a dive job.<br />

Below Right: Bro<strong>the</strong>rs Klayton and Tanner<br />

Brietbach assisting with a dive chamber in<br />

Hot Springs, Arkansas, c. 2017.<br />




Top, right: Joe Logan on left.<br />

Below: Scott Anderson, Oakland,<br />

California.<br />

Bottom, right: Scott Anderson at <strong>the</strong><br />

Defiant wreck.<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage has been deeply<br />

involved with <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> Deep Sea<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> and Marine Construction communities<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Americas for over seventy years.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm was started in 1947 by Campbell<br />

“Cam” Logan who was a U.S. Navy diver during<br />

World War II and received his training on<br />

board <strong>the</strong> USS Normandy, which sank in New<br />

York Harbor after she caught fire. Cam went<br />

on to become <strong>the</strong> Chief Navy <strong>Diving</strong> Officer at<br />

Mayport, Florida, after <strong>the</strong> war and spent his<br />

USN time supporting ships husbandry and<br />

aircraft recovery operations. Campbell separated<br />

from <strong>the</strong> USN in 1947 and started<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage.<br />

Marine vessel salvage jobs from hurricanes,<br />

accidents and mishaps were always<br />

available to <strong>the</strong> company from <strong>the</strong> beginning.<br />

However, heavy marine salvage was<br />

sporadic and unscheduled, prompting<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage to branch out<br />

and <strong>of</strong>fer marine construction diving support<br />

services for bridges, dams, power plants,<br />

electric cables, communication cables, oil,<br />

gas, and water pipelines as well as services<br />

for heavy industries such as pulp/paper<br />

and hydroelectric power. Additionally,<br />

underwater welding and burning has been<br />

and continues to be a major part <strong>of</strong> day to<br />

day operations.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


During <strong>the</strong> 1950s, oil and gas production<br />

and interstate pipelines became one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> main<br />

areas <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> business revenue with <strong>the</strong> explosion<br />

<strong>of</strong> production volume and discoveries in <strong>the</strong><br />

U.S. Gulf States. Pipelines were being installed<br />

across lakes and rivers from Houston, Texas, and<br />

Houma, Louisiana—North and East to Chicago,<br />

Detroit, New York, and <strong>the</strong> entire east coast.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se pipelines, some <strong>of</strong> which are still in operation<br />

today provide <strong>the</strong> fuel oil, diesel, natural<br />

gas and gasoline that run our country. All long<br />

term Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage divers to this day<br />

are experts at subaqueous pipeline installation,<br />

repair, cathodic protection, and inspection.<br />

Cam’s bro<strong>the</strong>r, Joe, a pr<strong>of</strong>essional engineer,<br />

came on board to help with <strong>the</strong> business in<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1950s. Cam and Joe maintained steady<br />

work installing, maintaining and inspecting<br />

<strong>the</strong> new subaqueous pipelines river and lake<br />

crossings. Cam and Joe split up <strong>the</strong> work with<br />

Cam working <strong>the</strong> pipelines, and Joe working<br />

<strong>the</strong> bridges and cables.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r individuals who helped build <strong>the</strong><br />

company in its early days include Jack Mixer,<br />

who came on board as project manager in <strong>the</strong><br />

early 1970s after a tour with <strong>the</strong> US Army in<br />

Vietnam and eventually became company<br />

president. Jack was married to Jane Mixer formerly,<br />

Jane Logan, Cam’s daughter.<br />

Susan Armel, served over forty years as<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice manager and bookkeeper. Susan always<br />

had a smile for all and a can-do positive attitude<br />

that was infectious. Susan had many<br />

clients far and wide, both foreign and domestic,<br />

wondering if she was single once <strong>the</strong>y<br />

heard her beautiful sou<strong>the</strong>rn drawl. Many<br />

Logan project managers were questioned at<br />

length at remote job sites about <strong>the</strong> mysterious<br />

beauty in Florida with <strong>the</strong> enchanting<br />

sou<strong>the</strong>rn accent that answered <strong>the</strong> phones.<br />

LDS expanded into <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, Central<br />

America, South America, Cuba, and even had<br />

projects in <strong>the</strong> Persian Gulf. Expansion was<br />

mainly by referral and word <strong>of</strong> mouth in <strong>the</strong><br />

early days. As projects were completed successfully,<br />

more clients enquired and vetted <strong>the</strong><br />

company. <strong>The</strong> result was virtually nonstop<br />

contracts and potential opportunities moving<br />

forward with <strong>the</strong> surge in oil production and<br />

energy demands, coupled with civil infrastructure<br />

projects <strong>of</strong> a growing nation.<br />

Departing from its usual business and<br />

going Hollywood, Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage<br />

provided <strong>the</strong> divers and diving support for<br />

<strong>the</strong> popular movie, <strong>The</strong> Creature from <strong>the</strong><br />

Black Lagoon in 1954. This was a fun<br />

“Outside our Wheelhouse” project that <strong>the</strong><br />

divers enjoyed while trying to woo <strong>the</strong><br />

glamorous Hollywood actresses.<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage went on to<br />

become <strong>the</strong> number one leading commercial<br />

diving support provider in <strong>the</strong><br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>astern United States, while also<br />

regularly working all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> states east <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Mississippi River as well as a handful<br />

<strong>of</strong> states west <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> river.<br />

Among <strong>the</strong> many services provided<br />

today by Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage are diving<br />

construction, inspection, and repair services<br />

in support <strong>of</strong> subaqueous oil and gas<br />

pipelines, fiber optic cables, dock and pier<br />

construction, bridge construction, dam<br />

inspection and repair, underwater welding<br />

and burning, vessel salvage, marine oil spill<br />

response, industrial diving, emergency<br />

response, trans-oceanic subaqueous cable<br />

landings, ships husbandry, and pile driving.<br />

Scott Anderson joined <strong>the</strong> company in <strong>the</strong><br />

early 1980s after a tour <strong>of</strong> duty with <strong>the</strong> U.S. Air<br />

Force. Scott received his deep sea diver training<br />

at Coastal School <strong>of</strong> Deep Sea <strong>Diving</strong> in Oakland,<br />

California, prior to moving to Florida in 1984.<br />

With a 200-foot Air Ticket from Coastal, Scott<br />

started as a diver, progressing to dive supervisor,<br />

project manager and eventually becoming vice<br />

president through 2008. Logging over 3500<br />

commercial dives, inland, coastal, and <strong>of</strong>fshore<br />

Top: Scott Anderson, Acosta Bridge,<br />

Florida, 1989.<br />

Above: Chris Davis wet welding.<br />



Above: Chris Davis and Joe Busuttil, Royal<br />

Navy Submarine.<br />

Top, right: Brandon Fuhrman Offshore<br />

Jacksonville, Florida.<br />

by <strong>the</strong> age <strong>of</strong> fifty-five. Scott is well suited to provide<br />

an experienced, safe and productive environment<br />

for new and current employees. Scott<br />

has negotiated, managed, administered, and executed<br />

large marine construction and industrial<br />

diving projects in <strong>the</strong> USA, USVI, Puerto Rico,<br />

Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Honduras,<br />

Panama, Bahamas, Curacao, Cuba, and Belize.<br />

Chris Davis joined LDS in <strong>the</strong> early 2000s<br />

after serving in Iraq with <strong>the</strong> U.S. Army. Chris<br />

received his commercial diver training at<br />

Divers Academy, International. Chris started<br />

out as a diver and progressed to dive supervisor,<br />

diving superintendent, and project manager.<br />

Chris has worked with LDS over <strong>the</strong><br />

years and managed projects in <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexico, USA, Puerto Rico and <strong>the</strong> Bahamas.<br />

Chris continues to play an integral role in all<br />

phases <strong>of</strong> field operations for <strong>the</strong> company<br />

with an emphasis and specialty in Marine<br />

Substructures and Subaqueous pipelines.<br />

Sarah Anderson joined <strong>the</strong> company in<br />

2008 as <strong>of</strong>fice manager and bookkeeper. Sarah<br />

graduated from <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Central<br />

Florida in 1999 and now oversees all day to<br />

day <strong>of</strong>fice duties and staff as well as helping<br />

with project logistics and <strong>the</strong> Puerto Rico operation’s<br />

admin side. Sarah handles all regulatory<br />

compliance and also works closely with <strong>the</strong><br />

Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International<br />

to ensure adherence to ADCI Consensus<br />

Standards. Scott and Sarah purchased <strong>the</strong> business<br />

from <strong>the</strong> original owners in 2008 and continue<br />

to operate <strong>the</strong> corporation today.<br />

Joe Busuttil first joined LDS in 2002 after<br />

ten years <strong>of</strong> mixed gas diving experience in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico. Joe started out as diver<br />

and quickly progressed to dive supervisor. Joe<br />

is now a fulltime estimator and project manager.<br />

He plays an integral role in all phases <strong>of</strong><br />

daily operations from marine construction to<br />

ships husbandry.<br />

Sharon Carey came on board in 2010 as an<br />

administrative and staff manager. Sharon handles<br />

day to day admin and ensures ADCI/EM<br />

385 diver requirement compliance in addition<br />

to project planning.<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage domestically has<br />

been involved with many major heavy construction<br />

bridge projects in Florida and<br />

Georgia, including <strong>the</strong> Bridge <strong>of</strong> Lions in Saint<br />

Augustine; I-95 Fuller Warren Bridge; Main<br />

Street Bridge; Wonderwood Bridge, and Beach<br />

Boulevard Bridges in Jacksonville, Florida.<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage and <strong>the</strong> USCG<br />

negotiated a Basic Order Agreement (BOA) in<br />

1990 to cover casualty vessels and marine oil<br />

spill response in <strong>the</strong> USCG 7th District from<br />

Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico.<br />

This BOA is in effect today with dive teams<br />

ready to deploy and be operational within<br />

twenty-four hours <strong>of</strong> activation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm’s recent subaqueous fiber optic<br />

cable projects include <strong>the</strong> Undersea Warfare<br />

Training Range (USWTR) Cables for <strong>the</strong><br />

United States Navy <strong>of</strong>fshore Jacksonville;<br />

Alcatel Fiber Optic Cable landings in<br />

Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale, Florida;<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


and Alcatel Fiber Optics in Cable landing<br />

Condado Beach, Puerto Rico.<br />

Ships Husbandry on large ocean-going vessels<br />

is a significant portion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> work carried<br />

out over <strong>the</strong> years and today from Jacksonville<br />

to Panama and all ports in between. Logan<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage is certified as an In Water<br />

Survey Specialist with <strong>the</strong> American Bureau <strong>of</strong><br />

Shipping (ABS), Det Norske Veritas<br />

Germanischer Lloyds (DNV-GL), and Lloyds<br />

Register (LR). Class surveyors rely on Logan<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage to inspect and document<br />

existing vessel conditions for dry dock extensions,<br />

vessel certifications, and purchases.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r services include underwater welding,<br />

in water hull repair, coatings, cathodic protection<br />

and running gear maintenance.<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage has performed<br />

many projects in Central America with <strong>the</strong><br />

majority in Honduras since <strong>the</strong> early 1980s<br />

during times <strong>of</strong> severe civil unrest and<br />

peace from Chouleteca to Roatan. Panama<br />

diving operations have been carried out from<br />

Colon to <strong>the</strong> Canal to Fort Sherman/US<br />

ARMY. Most recently a project was completed<br />

in Belize City.<br />

Caribbean operational response has included<br />

multiple projects in <strong>the</strong> Dominican<br />

Republic in Santo Domingo, Puerto Haina,<br />

and Boca Chica. Haitian diving and salvage<br />

operations have been successfully carried out<br />

in Port Au Prince and Saint-Marc. Cuban projects<br />

have been limited to GITMO in <strong>the</strong> recent<br />

past. Bahamian operations have been carried<br />

out in Abaco, West End, Freeport, Treasure<br />

Island, and on <strong>the</strong> Grand Bahama Bank.<br />

Jamaican operations are still in play<br />

today with crews working regularly in<br />

Kingston and Port Royal in support <strong>of</strong> shipping<br />

and civil infrastructure.<br />

Providing special operations to a variety <strong>of</strong><br />

clients, on one such project, Logan <strong>Diving</strong> &<br />

Salvage was contracted to help move <strong>the</strong><br />

Shuttle Explorer to Houston Space Center via<br />

barge assisting with boat service and delivery<br />

docking. Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage is also<br />

involved with <strong>the</strong> current private space programs<br />

and reusable rocket recovery.<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage is headquartered<br />

in Jacksonville, Florida, and also operates a<br />

Caribbean Division out <strong>of</strong> Catano, Puerto<br />

Rico. Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage maintains a<br />

full-time residence and equipment warehouse<br />

in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a registered<br />

Puerto Rican Corporate Entity, LDS is well<br />

positioned to respond to <strong>the</strong> Caribbean from<br />

its San Juan facilities.<br />

Scott ran <strong>the</strong> Puerto Rico <strong>of</strong>fice from <strong>the</strong><br />

late 1980s to 2011. Shifting time between<br />

<strong>the</strong> states and <strong>the</strong> island as needed. Revenue<br />

and volume <strong>of</strong> work increased steadily.<br />

<strong>Working</strong> in San Juan, Mayaguez, Guayanilla,<br />

Guayama, Arecibo, Rincon, Fajardo, and<br />

Humacao to name a few, Logan <strong>Diving</strong> &<br />

Salvage has been blessed with a large network<br />

<strong>of</strong> friends and associates in Puerto Rico and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caribbean maritime communities.<br />

Continuing to this day to support <strong>the</strong> maritime<br />

shipping and port infrastructure interest<br />

in Puerto Rico, <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, USVI, Haiti,<br />

Jamaica, and <strong>the</strong> Dominican Republic from<br />

<strong>the</strong> Puerto Rico Office.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company currently has approximately<br />

twenty-five employees, over seventy-five percent<br />

<strong>of</strong> whom are honorably discharged veterans<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> U.S. Armed Forces.<br />

LDS has doubled its <strong>of</strong>fice and warehouse<br />

space in Jacksonville to 20,000 square feet in<br />

<strong>the</strong> last five years and maintains ten high<br />

speed-low drag dive work boats, and dive<br />

trailers ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company has enjoyed constant growth <strong>of</strong><br />

plus twenty percent annually since 2008.<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage supports our<br />

veterans and a number <strong>of</strong> community and<br />

charitable activities, including East Pointe<br />

Church, Fellowship <strong>of</strong> Christian Athletes,<br />

Rivertown Church Haiti Outreach, Haven for<br />

Hope, Dreams Come True, Vietnam Veterans,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> VFW.<br />

To learn more about Logan <strong>Diving</strong> &<br />

Salvage and its services, check <strong>the</strong>ir website<br />

at www.logandiving.com.<br />

Logan <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage was contracted to<br />

help move <strong>the</strong> Shuttle Explorer to Houston<br />

Space Center.<br />




& MARINE<br />


INC.<br />

Tom Eason.<br />

Tom Eason’s exposure to commercial diving<br />

began in high school and college when<br />

he worked at a local marina and on <strong>of</strong>fshore<br />

fishing boats in Charleston, South Carolina.<br />

After graduating from college in 1976, Eason<br />

founded Eason <strong>Diving</strong> Company as a sole<br />

proprietorship and began diving on recreational<br />

and workboats to clean <strong>the</strong> hulls,<br />

change propellers, and o<strong>the</strong>r routine underwater<br />

maintenance and repairs. <strong>The</strong> business<br />

quickly grew into working for local shipyards,<br />

repairing and maintaining <strong>the</strong>ir drydocks<br />

and railways, as well as performing ship<br />

husbandry services for <strong>the</strong> large U.S. Navy<br />

fleet home ported in Charleston. As a selftaught<br />

commercial diver, Eason attended <strong>the</strong><br />

Ocean Corporation in Houston for formal<br />

underwater burning and welding training.<br />

In 1980 <strong>the</strong> company was incorporated as<br />

Eason <strong>Diving</strong> & Marine Contractors, Inc. with<br />

Eason as its president. <strong>The</strong> company’s <strong>of</strong>fices<br />

and workshops were built adjacent to <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

Naval Base in Charleston, where <strong>the</strong>y remain<br />

in use today.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> early 1980s, Eason <strong>Diving</strong> expanded<br />

geographically and began providing diving<br />

services to an increasingly diverse clientele<br />

including power plants, engineering firms,<br />

marine construction companies, <strong>the</strong> railroad,<br />

and governmental agencies including state<br />

DOT’s, U.S. Army Corps <strong>of</strong> Engineers, U.S.<br />

Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection<br />

Agency, U.S. Department <strong>of</strong> Energy, and<br />

NOAA. With <strong>the</strong> closing <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Charleston<br />

Naval Base in <strong>the</strong> mid-1990s, <strong>the</strong> company<br />

greatly increased its services to <strong>the</strong> hydroelectric<br />

and nuclear power generation industries<br />

heavily concentrated in <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>ast United<br />

States, where it continues to work for <strong>the</strong><br />

same clients today. Extensive diving work<br />

on <strong>the</strong> fuel handling systems and working<br />

in spent fuel pools <strong>of</strong> nuclear power plants<br />

became a specialty, with procedures developed<br />

to protect <strong>the</strong> diver from radioactivity. In<br />

1991, Eason attended <strong>the</strong> first <strong>Underwater</strong><br />

Bridge Substructures Course held for divers<br />

at New Mexico State University and <strong>the</strong><br />

firm inspected over a thousand DOT and<br />

railroad bridges.<br />

In 1994 <strong>the</strong> tank barge, Morris J. Berman,<br />

grounded near San Juan, Puerto Rico spilling<br />

800,000 gallons <strong>of</strong> crude oil onto <strong>the</strong> economically<br />

and environmentally sensitive shoreline<br />

areas. Eason <strong>Diving</strong> was tasked with <strong>the</strong> underwater<br />

cleanup <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> submerged oil that sank in<br />

<strong>the</strong>se areas. Eason <strong>Diving</strong>, utilizing twelve<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


divers with Eason as <strong>the</strong><br />

site Dive Supervisor,<br />

worked sixty-one days<br />

nonstop to successfully<br />

and safely complete <strong>the</strong> oil<br />

recovery work. Eason<br />

coauthored <strong>the</strong> Federal<br />

On-Scene Coordinator<br />

(FOSC) report and presented<br />

<strong>the</strong> oil recovery<br />

section by divers at <strong>the</strong><br />

1995 International Oil<br />

Spill Conference held in<br />

Long Beach, California.<br />

Performing <strong>the</strong> Berman<br />

and numerous o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

vessel casualty cleanups, Eason <strong>Diving</strong><br />

became <strong>the</strong> preferred contractor to <strong>the</strong><br />

USCG and U.S. EPA in responding to oil and<br />

hazardous material spills requiring diving in<br />

contaminated water.<br />

In 2001, as a result <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> USCG encountering<br />

questionable commercial diving<br />

activities during salvage and pollution<br />

response operations, Eason was asked to<br />

assist <strong>the</strong> District 7 Marine Safety Division<br />

in developing guidelines for conducting<br />

compliant and safe diving operations. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

guidelines, in <strong>the</strong> form <strong>of</strong> a “<strong>Commercial</strong><br />

Divers’ Checklist” were ultimately incorporated<br />

into <strong>the</strong> Coast Guard <strong>Diving</strong> Policies and<br />

Procedures Manual.<br />

From <strong>the</strong> beginning as a one man operation<br />

to eventually employing fifteen full-time<br />

divers, with double that during peak work<br />

periods, <strong>the</strong> company was fortunate to<br />

employ many dedicated and skilled personnel<br />

over <strong>the</strong> years. Eason <strong>Diving</strong>’s work practices<br />

exceeded <strong>the</strong> OSHA <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong><br />

Standard and as a long-time member<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contactors<br />

International, complied with <strong>the</strong>ir more rigorous<br />

Consensus Standards with <strong>the</strong> company<br />

always ensuring that equipment and personnel<br />

certifications were kept current.<br />

“Most importantly, I owned and operated<br />

a very safe commercial diving company for<br />

forty years, never having had an employee<br />

encounter a life threatening injury,” Eason<br />

says. “This became a goal I was obsessed<br />

with and spared no cost in obtaining <strong>the</strong><br />

proper equipment to make every diving<br />

job as safe as possible.” Eason insisted that<br />

no job be undertaken unless <strong>the</strong> company<br />

could adequately address every potential<br />

hazard and alleviate concern for diver safety.<br />

A remote operated vehicle (ROV) and current<br />

flow meters were purchased to deploy prior<br />

to diver entry in situations <strong>of</strong> potential differential<br />

pressure, and custom dive boats with<br />

entry doors were built providing safer diver<br />

ingress and egress.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> late 1990s, Eason made multiple<br />

trips to Russia and a trip to Azerbaijan as a<br />

volunteer for an American nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization<br />

assisting emerging local diving companies<br />

in operating <strong>the</strong>ir businesses after <strong>the</strong><br />

collapse <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Soviet Union.<br />

During his career, Eason served on<br />

many local commissions including <strong>the</strong><br />

Charleston Commissioners <strong>of</strong> Pilotage,<br />

<strong>the</strong> South Carolina Maritime Security<br />

Commission, and <strong>the</strong> USCG Federal Area<br />

Maritime Security Committee. He also served<br />

on <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors,<br />

International Board <strong>of</strong> Directors as <strong>the</strong><br />

elected Vice Chair and Chair <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> East<br />

Coast Chapter for ten years.<br />

In 2014, Moran Environmental Recovery,<br />

LLC (MER) acquired Eason <strong>Diving</strong> & Marine<br />

Contractors, Inc. and merged it into subsequently<br />

acquired Mainstream <strong>Commercial</strong><br />

Divers (MCDI) in 2017. At that time, Eason<br />

retired from day-to-day operations but<br />

remains involved in <strong>the</strong> diving industry as an<br />

advocate for diver safety.<br />





DIVERS, INC.<br />

Craig Fortenbery.<br />

Mainstream <strong>Commercial</strong> Divers, Inc., headquartered<br />

in Murray, Kentucky was founded in<br />

1988 by Craig Fortenbery. While in college,<br />

Craig lived at <strong>the</strong> University’s biology station<br />

on <strong>the</strong> Tennessee River and performed <strong>the</strong> diving<br />

work for several pr<strong>of</strong>essors’ environmental<br />

studies. One <strong>of</strong> his primary pr<strong>of</strong>essors introduced<br />

him to <strong>the</strong> owner <strong>of</strong> a small commercial<br />

diving firm and Craig began working for <strong>the</strong><br />

firm as he put himself through college.<br />

Finding he enjoyed <strong>the</strong> challenges inherent<br />

with this type <strong>of</strong> work, he received additional<br />

commercial training and worked for o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

companies and on government contracts as a<br />

diver until founding Mainstream.<br />

Since its formation, Mainstream has grown<br />

to become one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nation’s largest inland<br />

commercial diving contractors providing<br />

diving and technical services nationwide in<br />

environments ranging from shallow water,<br />

utilizing air as <strong>the</strong> breathing medium, to<br />

deeper projects using mixed gas.<br />

Mainstream provides full-service underwater<br />

construction, repair, and inspection work<br />

as well as technical services including hydrographic<br />

surveying, engineering and design<br />

services, environmental surveys and biological<br />

assessments (especially related to endangered<br />

freshwater mussels) as well as confined space<br />

entry services. <strong>The</strong> company has worked on<br />

in-water structures <strong>of</strong> all types, successfully<br />

completing many difficult projects across <strong>the</strong><br />

country. <strong>The</strong> company is committed to providing<br />

underwater construction and inspection<br />

services <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> highest quality while maintaining<br />

an impeccable safety record.<br />

MCDI has personnel with extensive training<br />

and experience in underwater inspection and<br />

construction techniques and has successfully<br />

performed underwater inspection, construction,<br />

and maintenance projects on numerous<br />

dams, large and small bridges, pipelines, water<br />

intake and outfall systems, stilling basins,<br />

mooring cells and mooring dolphins, docks,<br />

water storage tanks, wastewater treatment facilities,<br />

marine ways, and commercial vessels and<br />

barges. MCDI crews routinely work at heavy<br />

construction sites, major industrial sites, power<br />

plants, and governmental sites. A major factor<br />

in MCDI’s reputation as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> premier<br />

inland commercial diving companies is its<br />

divers, all <strong>of</strong> whom, in addition to <strong>the</strong>ir commercial<br />

dive school training, are certified commercial<br />

divers through <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International (ADCI.)<br />

<strong>The</strong> MCDI facility in Kentucky is comprised<br />

<strong>of</strong> three custom-built buildings making<br />

up approximately 20,000 square feet <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice,<br />

shop, and equipment warehouse space on a<br />

three and a half-acre site. <strong>The</strong> facility has a<br />

7,000-gallon, 15-foot-deep, dive training/test<br />

tank for underwater welding and cutting<br />

training and for practice performing complicated<br />

underwater tasks. <strong>The</strong> facility also has a<br />

large classroom, which is used for training as<br />

well as project planning meetings.<br />

Due to <strong>the</strong> large number <strong>of</strong> underwater<br />

construction, inspection, and repair projects<br />

performed by MCDI, <strong>the</strong> company has an<br />

extensive inventory <strong>of</strong> specialty equipment to<br />

support daily operations including mixed gas<br />

diving equipment, decompression chambers,<br />

all types <strong>of</strong> underwater tooling for construction<br />

and inspection projects, truck-able<br />

barges, crane, vessels, etc.<br />

MCDI is a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International (ADCI),<br />

whose goals are to promote safety, education<br />

and communication within <strong>the</strong> diving<br />

industry. In addition to certifying commercial<br />

divers, <strong>the</strong> ADCI publishes <strong>the</strong> most<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


comprehensive set <strong>of</strong> safety standards for commercial<br />

diving operations, <strong>the</strong> International<br />

Consensus Standards for <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong><br />

and <strong>Underwater</strong> Operations. <strong>The</strong> ACDI diver<br />

certification program and <strong>the</strong> ADCI Consensus<br />

Standards are recognized by <strong>the</strong> U.S. Coast<br />

Guard and OSHA. MCDI meets or exceeds all<br />

OSHA, USCG, and <strong>the</strong> ADCI Consensus<br />

Standard requirements.<br />

Craig, founder <strong>of</strong> MCDI, is highly regarded<br />

in <strong>the</strong> industry and is a long time board<br />

member and <strong>the</strong> immediate past president<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors<br />

International. Craig wrote <strong>the</strong> current MCDI<br />

diving safe practices manual and, as an ADCI<br />

Board member, Executive Committee member,<br />

and Consensus Standards Review Committee<br />

member, was actively involved in writing <strong>the</strong><br />

newest edition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADCI Consensus<br />

Standards (Version 6.2). Craig states, “I feel<br />

that one <strong>of</strong> my most valuable and fulfilling contributions<br />

to this industry has been my active<br />

involvement with <strong>the</strong> ADCI, working with its<br />

many talented members as we have developed<br />

and implemented <strong>the</strong> most comprehensive set<br />

<strong>of</strong> diving safety standards in existence.”<br />

MCDI’s dive operations manager and diving<br />

supervisors are responsible for <strong>the</strong> implementation<br />

and adherence <strong>of</strong> MCDI’s safety<br />

program at each individual jobsite but all<br />

employees have <strong>the</strong> right and obligation to<br />

stop a job if an unsafe condition exists. Craig<br />

is most proud <strong>of</strong> Mainstream’s exemplary safety<br />

record through <strong>the</strong> company’s many years<br />

<strong>of</strong> operation.<br />

MCDI utilizes only commercially certified<br />

divers—not recreationally trained SCUBA<br />

divers—and all required extensive equipment<br />

and personnel certifications, training and testing<br />

are kept current. Additionally, Mainstream<br />

has its own in-house training programs that<br />

foster continued education and knowledge for<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir divers for <strong>the</strong> unique situations <strong>the</strong>y may<br />

encounter in <strong>the</strong> inland diving environment.<br />

In October 2015, Mainstream <strong>Commercial</strong><br />

Divers, Inc. was acquired by Moran<br />

Environmental Recovery (MER). MER is a<br />

diversified environmental company that previously<br />

(in 2014) had acquired Eason <strong>Diving</strong> and<br />

Marine Contractors located in Charleston,<br />

South Carolina. Prior to <strong>the</strong>se acquisitions,<br />

Mainstream and Eason had performed numerous<br />

jobs toge<strong>the</strong>r and had a strong relationship<br />

and comparable approach to safety and quality<br />

in <strong>the</strong> workplace. In January 2017, Mainstream<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> Divers, Inc., and Eason <strong>Diving</strong> &<br />

Marine Contractors, Inc., merged to become<br />

one company with both <strong>the</strong> Murray and<br />

Charleston locations working under <strong>the</strong><br />

Mainstream <strong>Commercial</strong> Divers, Inc. name as<br />

part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> MER family <strong>of</strong> companies. Since<br />

Mainstream and Eason crews have worked<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r on many large projects over <strong>the</strong> years,<br />

making <strong>the</strong> transition to becoming one company<br />

was a natural fit.<br />

Looking to <strong>the</strong> future, <strong>the</strong> merger <strong>of</strong> Eason<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> & Marine Contractors and Mainstream<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> Divers will provide <strong>the</strong> resources<br />

for <strong>the</strong> company to provide even better services<br />

to its customers in <strong>the</strong> years to come.<br />




DIVING &<br />

MARINE<br />


<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> & Marine Services, Inc.<br />

has provided quality diving services for over<br />

forty years and its name and reputation are well<br />

known throughout <strong>the</strong> inland diving industry.<br />

Wayne Brusate explains he started diving<br />

in 1971 as a sport diver. Occasionally, someone<br />

would ask him to recover <strong>the</strong>ir wallet<br />

or fishing gear in <strong>the</strong> St. Clair River. This<br />

soon expanded into recovering larger things<br />

like outboard motors and small boats and<br />

<strong>the</strong>n automobiles.<br />

Around 1975, Wayne started working for<br />

his uncle, Keith Malcolm, at Malcolm Marine<br />

in St. Clair, Michigan, as a deckhand/diver.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company did all sorts <strong>of</strong> marine work<br />

from seawall construction, tug and barge work,<br />

to Great Lakes salvage jobs. “I learned a lot<br />

in those years,” Wayne says. “Salvage jobs<br />

were tough and when working ‘no cure, no<br />

pay’ it could cost you more to complete <strong>the</strong><br />

salvage than what you were going to be paid.”<br />

By 1977, Wayne felt he was ready to go out<br />

on his own and founded <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong><br />

& Marine Services, Inc., based in Marysville,<br />

Michigan. Wayne looked after <strong>the</strong> diving part<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> business while his wife, Donna, ran<br />

a daycare, managed <strong>the</strong> bookkeeping and<br />

answered <strong>the</strong> business phone at home.<br />

Wayne recalls that it was difficult building<br />

a client base, and to fill in <strong>the</strong> gaps, he <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

worked for marine contractors doing pile<br />

driving and underwater work as needed.<br />

He credits Charlie Cosgro, a heavy gear diver,<br />

with teaching him how to work safely in<br />

tough, zero visibility conditions.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


“Work was not steady during <strong>the</strong> early<br />

years <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> business,” Wayne recalls. “When<br />

we had a job, I would contact some <strong>of</strong> my<br />

fellow divers and put a crew toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Greg Lashbrook, Arnie Chickonoski and<br />

Tom Clingenpeel were very skilled both<br />

underwater and topside. As work increased,<br />

we added additional personnel, including<br />

Kathy Johnson and Colette Wi<strong>the</strong>rspoon,<br />

two very experienced divers.” Wayne notes<br />

that while Kathy and Colette may not have<br />

been as physically strong as some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> male<br />

divers, <strong>the</strong>y were pretty smart. “This proved<br />

to be just as effective as brawn and <strong>the</strong>y<br />

had no problems going through eighteen and<br />

twenty-four inch pipes, which most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

guys could not do,” Wayne adds.<br />

Many <strong>of</strong> Wayne’s divers came right out <strong>of</strong><br />

Dive School and one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, Roger Randall,<br />

ended up marrying Wayne and Donna’s<br />

daughter, Laura. Roger went on to start his<br />

own dredging business. Both daughters,<br />

Laura and Anna, are divers and <strong>the</strong> grandchildren<br />

also enjoy <strong>the</strong> water.<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> & Marine Services,<br />

Inc. has grown steadily over <strong>the</strong> years and<br />

its dive crews have performed numerous<br />

salvage operations, sonar surveys, zebra<br />

mussel removal and maintenance <strong>of</strong> various<br />

industrial and municipal facilities throughout<br />

<strong>the</strong> Great Lakes region.<br />

<strong>The</strong> list <strong>of</strong> unique services provided by<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> & Marine Services, Inc.,<br />

includes confined space diving in deep<br />

vertical shafts containing high methane<br />

levels. This highly specialized crew has been<br />

called in to perform critical repairs from<br />

California to Florida.<br />

For details about <strong>the</strong>se services, consult<br />

<strong>the</strong> firm’s website at www.workingdiver.com.<br />

As a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong><br />

Contractors International since 1993, <strong>Commercial</strong><br />

<strong>Diving</strong> and Marine Services, Inc., holds to <strong>the</strong><br />

highest commercial diving safety and operational<br />

standards in <strong>the</strong> country.<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> & Marine Services, Inc.,<br />

is a union company and all divers and tenders<br />

are proud members <strong>of</strong> Pile Drivers Local 687 in<br />

Detroit, Michigan. Keith Mear and Ted Binnall,<br />

each with more than twenty years with <strong>the</strong> company<br />

are <strong>the</strong> lead dive supervisors.<br />

Wayne has always been active in <strong>the</strong> local<br />

search and rescue community. He joined<br />

<strong>the</strong> local sheriff dive team in 1971 and<br />

remains very active. He joined a volunteer<br />

fire department in 1985 and retired from<br />

fire service in 2006.<br />

Today, Wayne works primarily on <strong>the</strong><br />

administration side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> business, bidding<br />

<strong>the</strong> work and troubleshooting difficult jobs.<br />

Looking back on <strong>the</strong> company’s success,<br />

Wayne says he learned early in his career<br />

that dedicated employees, top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> line<br />

equipment and a desire to be <strong>the</strong> best would<br />

build <strong>the</strong> company’s reputation and clientele.<br />

Opposite, top: <strong>Working</strong> in <strong>the</strong><br />

St. Clair River.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Salvage team.<br />

Top: Lake Huron pipeline work.<br />

Above: Decontamination <strong>of</strong> diver.<br />



DIVERS<br />



Divers Institute <strong>of</strong> Technology (DIT) in<br />

Seattle is pleased to congratulate ADCI as<br />

we both celebrate fifty years serving <strong>the</strong> commercial<br />

diving industry. Since its inception,<br />

DIT has trained thousands <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

divers for elite commercial diving companies<br />

worldwide. DIT’s comprehensive seven-month<br />

program trains divers in initial skills and<br />

certification requirements for both U.S. and<br />

international commercial diving.<br />

DIT’s educational philosophy is to provide<br />

high-quality education that is sound in<br />

concept; implemented by an experienced,<br />

competent, and dedicated faculty; and<br />

designed to serve those seeking a solid<br />

foundation in <strong>the</strong> skills and knowledge<br />

required for <strong>the</strong> commercial diving industry.<br />

DIT emphasizes hands-on training that is<br />

relevant to employers’ needs and focuses on<br />

areas which <strong>of</strong>fer long-term employment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> school was founded in 1968 by<br />

John Manlove after a twenty-year U.S. Navy<br />

diving career that included training<br />

personnel for advanced qualifications. John<br />

was joined by co-founder Leiter Hockett,<br />

who was later succeeded by Navy Veteran<br />

Dyer ‘Jack’ Bisplingh<strong>of</strong>f as co-owner and<br />

president. Navy Veteran Charles ‘Chuck’<br />

Litzo joined <strong>the</strong> early leadership team and<br />

helped students acquire financial aid to<br />

attend DIT.<br />

Graduate, instructor and later owner,<br />

John Ritter recalls, “<strong>The</strong> school was like a<br />

family. <strong>The</strong> original facilities were a converted<br />

refrigeration barge salvaged by John Manlove.<br />

Ra<strong>the</strong>r than pay John for <strong>the</strong> work, <strong>the</strong><br />

owners gave him <strong>the</strong> barge. He had an idea,<br />

and a school was born.” Some students<br />

cleaned <strong>the</strong> barge and kept <strong>the</strong> pumps<br />

running in exchange for free lodging in <strong>the</strong><br />

crow’s nest.<br />

DIT was a family investment. Manlove’s<br />

wife, Marlene, wrote <strong>the</strong> first DIT brochure<br />

and helped establish <strong>the</strong><br />

business and John, Jr., was<br />

an instructor. <strong>The</strong> Manloves’<br />

six children spent weekends<br />

literally scraping candle wax<br />

<strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> floors <strong>of</strong> “<strong>The</strong> Barge.”<br />

“On Fridays, after classes<br />

ended, John would hold<br />

‘church’ in his <strong>of</strong>fice to hear <strong>the</strong> BS from <strong>the</strong><br />

week,” recalls daughter, Lizabeth Manlove<br />

Horton. “He always served ‘mountain oysters’<br />

to <strong>the</strong> most unsuspecting newbie. I’m sure<br />

booze shots were also involved.”<br />

“At times Dad would get a call that a<br />

student had gotten into a scrape <strong>of</strong> some<br />

sort and he’d go straighten it out,” remembers<br />

daughter, Cindy Manlove Moran. “Dad touched<br />

a lot <strong>of</strong> lives. His no-nonsense way was<br />

rough, but fair. He didn’t mince his words.<br />

He was called ‘Big John’ because <strong>of</strong> his<br />

stature and also because <strong>of</strong> his character<br />

and presence.”<br />

“He was a giant <strong>of</strong> a man with a huge<br />

heart, loved <strong>the</strong> ocean and was so very proud<br />

<strong>of</strong> his vision,” Horton says.<br />

DIT was first accredited in 1973 (NATTS),<br />

maintaining continuous accreditation in good<br />

standing ever since, including a transfer to<br />

ACCSC in <strong>the</strong> 1990s.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> original location’s floating barge<br />

sank into <strong>the</strong> ship canal connecting Lake<br />

Union and Puget Sound, DIT relocated to<br />

Eleventh Avenue in Ballard. Five portable<br />

trailers served as classrooms and administrative<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices. Dive stations were four floating<br />

barges with <strong>the</strong> deep dive vessel, <strong>the</strong> sixtyfive<br />

foot, M/V Response.<br />

Manlove retired in 1986, selling <strong>the</strong> school<br />

to retired First Class Navy Diver Ritter, who<br />

<strong>the</strong>n ran DIT for thirteen years; however,<br />

Manlove was soon back assisting at <strong>the</strong><br />

school. He conducted diver training at DIT<br />

until <strong>the</strong> day he died—January 3, 2006.<br />

<strong>The</strong> school changed hands again in 1999<br />

when Jamestown Marine Services (JMS), led<br />

by retired Navy Commander Bruce Banks<br />

and retired Navy Engineering Duty Officer<br />

Captain Jack Ringelberg, purchased DIT.<br />

JMS was well-poised to assume school<br />

leadership and expand into <strong>the</strong> international<br />

diving community. <strong>The</strong> two principles provided<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


extensive expertise in marine engineering,<br />

diving instruction and underwater operations.<br />

Commander Banks was a Navy Special<br />

Operations Officer who held command <strong>of</strong><br />

two salvage vessels, served as <strong>the</strong> executive<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Navy Experimental <strong>Diving</strong><br />

Unit (NEDU), and as commanding <strong>of</strong>ficer<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Naval <strong>Diving</strong> and Salvage Training<br />

Center (NDSTC). Captain Ringelberg specialized<br />

in Naval Architecture and was commanding<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer at NEDU. In 2000, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

appointed retired Navy Commander and<br />

former saturation diver, John Paul Johnston<br />

as DIT’s executive director.<br />

DIT expanded into <strong>the</strong> international<br />

standards arena in 1999, collaborating with<br />

<strong>the</strong> Workers’ Compensation Board <strong>of</strong> British<br />

Columbia. Navy Master Diver Richard<br />

“Ragman” Radecki, Banks, and o<strong>the</strong>rs continued<br />

writing, developing and implementing<br />

new commercial diver training standards<br />

under <strong>the</strong> auspices <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Canadian Standards<br />

Association. In 2003, DIT became <strong>the</strong> first<br />

U.S. diver training establishment accredited by<br />

Diver Certification Board <strong>of</strong> Canada (DCBC).<br />

ADCI Executive Director Phil Newsum was<br />

<strong>the</strong> first DCBC certified diver in <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

School facilities have been continually<br />

upgraded and expanded since 1999. In 2011,<br />

DIT moved to its current Seattle campus at<br />

1341 North Northlake Way, now housing<br />

four floating barges as dive training stations,<br />

a designated welding and metals shop with<br />

two underwater welding tanks, and <strong>the</strong><br />

M/V Response.<br />

DIT is staffed by an experienced instructor<br />

team: many are graduates who returned to<br />

teach after diving careers <strong>of</strong>fshore, inland and<br />

internationally; approximately fifty percent<br />

are veterans. Average tenure among current<br />

instructors is five years; several have taught<br />

more than ten years.<br />

DIT prides itself on <strong>the</strong> quality <strong>of</strong> graduates<br />

entering <strong>the</strong> diving industry upon graduation.<br />

Significant numbers <strong>of</strong> DIT graduates<br />

have gone on to highly successful pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

commercial, recreational, and regulatory<br />

diving careers, including industry leaders <strong>of</strong><br />

several notable commercial diving companies.<br />

Divers Institute <strong>of</strong> Technology has proudly<br />

supplied skilled divers to <strong>the</strong> marine industry<br />

for half a century and plans to follow that<br />

same path into <strong>the</strong> future with growth in new<br />

areas <strong>of</strong> marine technologies.<br />



W.J. CASTLE,<br />

P.E. &<br />


P.C.<br />

W.J. Castle, P.E. & Associates, P.C. was<br />

founded by William J. Castle, P.E., S.E. in<br />

1983. W.J. Castle & Associates is a consulting<br />

engineering company specializing in bridge,<br />

marine, and structural engineering, including<br />

underwater inspection and evaluation. W.J.<br />

Castle is a certified VOSB (Veteran-Owned<br />

Small Business) and SBE (Small Business<br />

Enterprise) engineering firm located in<br />

Hainesport, New Jersey. He is a licensed pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

engineer in New Jersey, Pennsylvania,<br />

New York, Maryland, Florida, Virginia, West<br />

Virginia, and Delaware.<br />

A native <strong>of</strong> Pennsylvania, Castle received<br />

a two-year degree in Civil Engineering<br />

Technology from Penn State University. After<br />

gaining considerable experience in bridge<br />

design from working at PennDOT and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

consulting engineering firms, Castle became<br />

<strong>the</strong> Bridge Engineer at Burlington County,<br />

New Jersey in 1974. Eventually, he decided to<br />

start his own company and stay in Burlington<br />

County, New Jersey.<br />

“I had always wanted to own my own<br />

business, so I thought I would give it a shot,”<br />

Castle explains. “I opened a one-man shop<br />

in my house and gave myself three months<br />

to see if I could come up with enough work to<br />

keep going.”<br />

In <strong>the</strong> early 1980s, <strong>the</strong>re were very few<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional engineer-divers in <strong>the</strong> whole<br />

country, so Castle developed an underwater<br />

inspection program to work with contractors<br />

and engineers. He credits Jim Caldwell <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Caldwell Marine with helping him with commercial<br />

diving and developing that field <strong>of</strong><br />

engineering in his company.<br />

“I was able to gain a lot <strong>of</strong> experience and<br />

underwater diving soon became our trademark,”<br />

Castle says. “<strong>The</strong>se abilities also helped<br />

attract o<strong>the</strong>r types <strong>of</strong> engineering work.”<br />

Over a period <strong>of</strong> several years and different<br />

locations, <strong>the</strong> company eventually moved to<br />

its current location in Hainesport, New Jersey<br />

with a staff <strong>of</strong> fifteen. In 2006, Castle purchased<br />

three acres in Hainesport, designed his<br />

building, and constructed <strong>the</strong> current 10,000-<br />

square-foot headquarters.<br />

W.J. Castle & Associates has a diverse list <strong>of</strong><br />

services including: design, rehabilitation, and<br />

inspection <strong>of</strong> various marine structures, hydrographic<br />

survey, sonar imaging, submarine cable<br />

location and repair, and NDT testing, etc.<br />

However, underwater inspection remains one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> core services <strong>of</strong>fered. All divers are certified<br />

ADC commercial divers and are members<br />

<strong>of</strong> ADC. Much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> diving equipment has<br />

been custom designed based upon <strong>the</strong> extensive<br />

experience obtained through <strong>the</strong> years and<br />

built to Castle’s specifications with great attention<br />

given to mobility and efficiency required<br />

for underwater inspection.<br />

A few years ago, W.J. Castle invested in<br />

sonar technology as a way to stay up-to-date<br />

with <strong>the</strong> latest technology. Kongsberg-Mesotech<br />

Scanning Sonar and JW Fisher Side Scan Sonar<br />

imaging have been instrumental in both <strong>the</strong><br />

inspection and construction fields enabling W.J.<br />

Castle to perform top notch work.<br />

As business increased, Castle saw an opportunity<br />

to expand. He and his wife, Janet, decided<br />

to start a construction company, with Janet<br />

as owner and president. Hydro-Marine<br />

Construction Co., Inc., specializing in marine<br />

construction, was founded in 1997. A certified<br />

Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) in multiple<br />

states, Hydro-Marine is Union affiliated and is<br />

staffed with highly trained, certified commercial<br />

divers who are dedicated to <strong>the</strong> highest quality<br />

underwater diving contracting. In 1999, Castle<br />

developed a third company, Simplified Bridge<br />

Systems, Inc. (SBS), which specializes in <strong>the</strong><br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


custom design and fabrication <strong>of</strong> small to medium<br />

span bridges. <strong>The</strong>se three companies, now<br />

referred to as “<strong>The</strong> Castle Group”, <strong>of</strong>fer a<br />

diverse field <strong>of</strong> services in both engineering and<br />

construction. As a result <strong>of</strong> this unique organization,<br />

Castle’s engineers have extensive experience<br />

in not only underwater inspection and<br />

design, but actual construction providing <strong>the</strong><br />

most comprehensive inspection, design and<br />

construction services that are practical, functional,<br />

cost efficient, and designed to work in<br />

<strong>the</strong> complexity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> real world.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Castle Group’s clientele has included<br />

both private organizations such as marinas,<br />

condominium associations, oil companies,<br />

major contractors and <strong>the</strong> public sector.<br />

Castle’s Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Engineers are highly qualified<br />

as both commercial divers and structural<br />

engineers providing a “unique blend” <strong>of</strong> technical<br />

and practical abilities. This “blend” <strong>of</strong><br />

knowledge provides a more efficient and accurate<br />

underwater inspection, which results in a<br />

complete structural evaluation.<br />

Innovation to engineering problems has been<br />

a key component to Castle’s continued success<br />

in <strong>the</strong> ever competing field <strong>of</strong> engineering.<br />

W.J. Castle, P.E. & Associates, P.C. is located<br />

at 1345 Route 38, Hainesport, New Jersey,<br />

and has a satellite <strong>of</strong>fice in Philadelphia.<br />

Centrally located, W.J. Castle can easily travel<br />

to Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania for<br />

any inspection or construction project.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Castle Group has grown in recent years<br />

and now employs over 20 people, including<br />

13 engineering staff and 18 union divers as<br />

needed. <strong>The</strong> Castle Group has worked in<br />

Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania<br />

and Virginia and o<strong>the</strong>r surrounding states.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm’s growth was given a big boost<br />

four years ago when it was selected to shore<br />

up and streng<strong>the</strong>n a failing foundation at <strong>the</strong><br />

Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.<br />

Castle came up with an innovative engineering<br />

concept to solve <strong>the</strong> problem and when<br />

additional problems were discovered with <strong>the</strong><br />

foundation, <strong>the</strong> $3 million project became a<br />

$4.5 million project.<br />

<strong>The</strong> key to keeping <strong>the</strong> company equitable<br />

is diversification. <strong>The</strong> Castle Group is not<br />

content to sticking with one type <strong>of</strong> client or<br />

one type <strong>of</strong> service. <strong>The</strong> economy fluctuates<br />

and as one source dries up, ano<strong>the</strong>r may open<br />

if you are ready and willing to go after it.<br />

Looking to <strong>the</strong> future, Castle hopes to see<br />

<strong>the</strong> companies grow by thirty to fifty percent,<br />

which would take it to around $10 million in<br />

annual revenues. Castle feels he and his wife<br />

have been successful because <strong>the</strong>y have tried<br />

to look ahead and not take anything for granted.<br />

“Nothing lasts forever and you have to<br />

keep moving, keep up with <strong>the</strong> trends, diversify<br />

and move into new fields,” he says.<br />

William has been involved with both <strong>the</strong><br />

Pennsylvania State University Advisory<br />

Council and Development Fund and has set<br />

up scholarships at both Penn State and<br />

Burlington County College. Castle has been a<br />

member <strong>of</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors<br />

for several years and served three years as<br />

director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> association’s East Coast<br />

Chapter. He is active in a number <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

engineering associations and involved<br />

in local church and civic endeavors. He<br />

was a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ASCE Committee that<br />

developed standards for <strong>the</strong> underwater<br />

inspection on piers and o<strong>the</strong>r marine structures<br />

in 2001. He also helped develop a twoweek<br />

and one-week underwater inspection<br />

course at Penn State University and NJIT.<br />

Castle is approved by numerous states to<br />

give certified talks that provide PDH for<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Engineers.<br />

Janet is a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADC, Women’s<br />

Business Enterprise National Council, and<br />

Utility Transportation Contractors Association.<br />

In addition to being a certified commercial<br />

diver, Janet is actually involved with church<br />

activities and has taken missonary trips to<br />

Nicaragua. She is also active in regional organization<br />

and CEO meetings, which has helped<br />

<strong>the</strong> Castle Group to improve its overall organization<br />

and become more efficient.<br />




INC.<br />

Top: Owner Richard Williams.<br />

Bottom: Vice President and Dive Supervisor<br />

Jeff Williams.<br />

DRS Marine Inc., a commercial diving company<br />

located in <strong>the</strong> San Francisco Bay Area,<br />

has provided a wide range <strong>of</strong> maritime services<br />

for more than three decades. DRS Marine can<br />

handle any task in <strong>the</strong> marine or diving industry<br />

24/7, 365 days a year, from wharf pile<br />

repair, ship husbandry, dams and powerhouses<br />

to underwater welding and diffuser outfall<br />

pipelines by utilizing surface-supplied air diving<br />

or mix-gas diving techniques to 260 feet.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company was founded in 1985 by<br />

Richard Williams and several partners,<br />

including Don Mays, Dom Ferreria, and Buck<br />

Kamphausen. Williams, who serves as president,<br />

grew up on a high sierra ranch in<br />

California and attended Oklahoma State<br />

University, where he studied Chemistry and<br />

Geology. He went on to complete dive school<br />

in 1978 and worked several marine jobs<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> industry before starting his<br />

own company.<br />

“We struggled during <strong>the</strong> first year and<br />

decided we needed more organization,”<br />

Williams explains. “We incorporated <strong>the</strong> firm,<br />

worked up a pr<strong>of</strong>essional business plan,<br />

elected a president, and began building <strong>the</strong><br />

company. We concentrated on serving our customers…<strong>the</strong><br />

word-<strong>of</strong>-mouth about our service<br />

and capabilities is really what got us going.”<br />

DRS continues its philosophy <strong>of</strong> treating every<br />

client’s request with 110 percent effort and<br />

results, no matter <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> project.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s thirty-three years <strong>of</strong><br />

success is directly attributable to teamwork,<br />

safety, and pride <strong>of</strong> craftsmanship. “At DRS,<br />

<strong>the</strong> goal is to complete each job safely, on<br />

time, and with excellent quality,” says<br />

Williams. <strong>The</strong> company is driven by a team <strong>of</strong><br />

marine craftsman, many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m long-term<br />

with over fifteen years <strong>of</strong> service, who bring a<br />

wide variety <strong>of</strong> skills, knowledge, and experience<br />

to each project.<br />

In 1995, DRS added ROV (remotely operated<br />

vehicle) technology to <strong>the</strong>ir portfolio to<br />

provide underwater inspection services for<br />

various projects. <strong>The</strong> company expanded<br />

again in 1997 when Williams bought out<br />

Sweetwater Construction, a marine pile driving<br />

firm. Services added include sheet pile<br />

c<strong>of</strong>ferdams, wharf pile driving, abandon mine<br />

closures, marshland restoration and levee<br />

maintenance projects.<br />

Williams estimates that three-quarters<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company’s projects represent repeat<br />

business, an indication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> trust and confidence<br />

customers place in DRS Marine. Most<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company’s business originates from<br />

California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington,<br />

Hawaii, and has recently expanded into<br />

South Carolina.<br />

Here are a few <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> projects successfully<br />

completed by DRS Marine:<br />

• On a Central Valley Dam in California,<br />

DRS did a complete removal <strong>of</strong> a thirty-ton<br />

bulkhead and its hydraulic system in 150<br />

feet <strong>of</strong> water, finishing several days ahead<br />

<strong>of</strong> schedule. DRS returned <strong>the</strong> following<br />

year and cycled <strong>the</strong> refurbished bulkhead<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


in/out for lower tunnel repairs. Work was<br />

accomplished utilizing mixed-gas diving<br />

technique to a depth <strong>of</strong> 260 feet.<br />

• Pile driving activities include constructing<br />

a new 350-foot pier at Lake Tahoe, Nevada<br />

for <strong>the</strong> United States Forest Service. <strong>The</strong><br />

largest crane barge ever on <strong>the</strong> lake was<br />

put toge<strong>the</strong>r for this operation. Crew completed<br />

<strong>the</strong> project during <strong>the</strong> winter <strong>of</strong><br />

2013 in three feet <strong>of</strong> snow.<br />

• For <strong>the</strong> construction <strong>of</strong> Calaveras Dam,<br />

DRS removed <strong>the</strong> original outlet screen for<br />

<strong>the</strong> dam and executed a full bottom survey<br />

for layout <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> entire project. A 300-<br />

cubic yard concrete foundation was placed<br />

on CIDH piles, which support <strong>the</strong> new fish<br />

screen outlet structure. Dredging, concrete<br />

placement, formwork layout, drill support,<br />

crane work, heavy steel and demolition<br />

were all completed successfully.<br />

DRS owns its headquarters in Vallejo,<br />

California, encompassing two large warehouses,<br />

administrative <strong>of</strong>fices, and storage yard<br />

with diving, fabrication and heavy construction<br />

equipment, all located on a two-and-ahalf-acre<br />

tract. A facility in Oakley, California,<br />

harbors tug boats, crane barges, and pile<br />

driving equipment.<br />

“Company growth <strong>the</strong> last five years has<br />

skyrocketed,” says Williams. “We’re finding<br />

that a lot more <strong>of</strong> our clients want turnkey<br />

jobs and we are able to give <strong>the</strong>m that. We can<br />

provide it all so <strong>the</strong>y don’t need to involve<br />

several different companies for one project.”<br />

DRS Marine will continue to groom long-term<br />

employees to become successors for <strong>the</strong> company<br />

to maintain its legacy <strong>of</strong> service.<br />

DRS Marine is a member <strong>of</strong> ADCI and contributes<br />

annually to <strong>the</strong> Civil Air Patrol and<br />

Vallejo Police sponsored Christmas Shopping<br />

for Children.<br />

For more information about DRS Marine<br />

Inc., visit <strong>the</strong> website at www.drsmarine.com.<br />

“I want to give thanks to my wife Patty for<br />

all <strong>the</strong> help and support she gave along <strong>the</strong><br />

way. I also wish to give <strong>the</strong> greatest appreciation<br />

to all <strong>the</strong> men/women that protect this<br />

country and make it possible for all <strong>of</strong><br />

us to live and prosper in this great nation,<br />

including my fa<strong>the</strong>r, Walter Williams (WWII);<br />

my bro<strong>the</strong>r, Howard Williams (Cold War);<br />

and bro<strong>the</strong>r, Clifford Williams, Bronze Star<br />

recipient, (Iraq War).”<br />

God Bless America.<br />

Bottom: Vice President and Dive Supervisor<br />

Mark Land.<br />



Above: Bolting <strong>the</strong> company sign down.<br />


Below: Salvage and wreck operations<br />

involve complex planning and adherence<br />

to strict environmental and insurance<br />

requirements. Every call is unique and <strong>the</strong><br />

Global team is quick to respond with a<br />

thorough plan.<br />

Global <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage, Inc. is a leading<br />

provider <strong>of</strong> marine construction and infrastructure<br />

services and an internationally<br />

recognized casualty responder.<br />

Global was founded nearly forty years ago<br />

and <strong>the</strong> importance <strong>of</strong> responding quickly to<br />

any challenge is embedded in <strong>the</strong> company’s<br />

DNA. Once <strong>the</strong> small group <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

divers decided to form Global in 1979, events<br />

moved very quickly. <strong>The</strong> company’s first<br />

president, Greg Harem, was met at a bar at<br />

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport shortly<br />

after touching down from a dive job in<br />

Texas by a group that included John Graham,<br />

Thom Davis, Mark Niccoli, Joe Antonucci and<br />

Norm McCullum. Harem was sworn in over<br />

drinks before he even got to baggage claim.<br />

Tim Beaver soon joined <strong>the</strong> ranks as well.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company was founded with <strong>the</strong><br />

purpose <strong>of</strong> providing day-to-day diving,<br />

ship husbandry, marine construction, small<br />

vessel salvage, and spill response services in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Puget Sound region. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

philosophy was simple: provide tough, smart,<br />

and pr<strong>of</strong>essional services for <strong>the</strong> maritime<br />

community, deliver outstanding customer<br />

service, and focus on employee safety.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> early days, a Global crew would<br />

clean up small oil spills in <strong>the</strong>ir Harbor<br />

Island neighborhood, responding in sandals,<br />

shorts, and T-shirts. After <strong>the</strong> jobs, Jackie<br />

Lewis (<strong>of</strong>fice manager AKA “<strong>The</strong> Queen”)<br />

would walk over with a roll <strong>of</strong> paper towels<br />

and root beer floats.<br />

<strong>The</strong> jobs soon got much bigger and <strong>the</strong><br />

company grew quickly as it established a<br />

reputation for having crews available any<br />

time <strong>of</strong> day or night. “We never wanted to tell<br />

a customer that we couldn’t do something<br />

or give <strong>the</strong>m any reason to look elsewhere,”<br />

explains Graham. “When o<strong>the</strong>r companies<br />

did that, <strong>the</strong>ir customers came looking to<br />

us and we never let <strong>the</strong>m down.”<br />

Global soon earned a reputation as <strong>the</strong><br />

company to call on for any marine construction,<br />

emergency response or salvage job.<br />

Today, Global is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> few full-service<br />

underwater marine contractors that provides<br />

project management, in-house engineering,<br />

marine and upland environmental services,<br />

as well as <strong>the</strong> full spectrum <strong>of</strong> commercial<br />

diving services. This is done through Global’s<br />

five core services—marine construction,<br />

marine casualty response, energy support<br />

services, marine and environmental services,<br />

and Global technical services.<br />

Global has been involved in several<br />

high-pr<strong>of</strong>ile projects over <strong>the</strong> years. On<br />

December 22, 1988, <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong> Grays<br />

Harbor, Washington, <strong>the</strong> towline connecting<br />

<strong>the</strong> tug Ocean Service to <strong>the</strong> Nestucca<br />

snapped. While trying to recapture <strong>the</strong><br />

drifting barge in severe wea<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong> port<br />

rudder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ocean Service punctured a<br />

cargo tank resulting in a release <strong>of</strong> 227,000<br />

gallons <strong>of</strong> fuel into <strong>the</strong> bay. <strong>The</strong> spill required<br />

a massive response and Global hired approximately<br />

thirty workers from nearby tribes<br />

to assist.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


Global was also one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first subcontractors<br />

brought in to assist when <strong>the</strong><br />

Exxon Valdez caused one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest oil<br />

spills in U.S. history. Global crew members<br />

were on site in Valdez, Alaska, for <strong>the</strong> next<br />

year-and-a-half, working on lightering <strong>the</strong><br />

vessel and supporting <strong>the</strong> oil spill cleanup.<br />

In 2000, Vice President <strong>of</strong> Marine<br />

Construction Mike Langen and CEO/President<br />

Devon Grennan, laid <strong>the</strong> groundwork for a<br />

new company initiative—Safety, Quality <strong>of</strong><br />

Service, and Growth (SQG). This shifted<br />

some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company’s structure from<br />

remaining founders Graham and Beaver and<br />

involved a larger group to have a voice in <strong>the</strong><br />

future direction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company.<br />

After Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Global’s<br />

focus on safety and quality ushered in an<br />

entirely new category <strong>of</strong> dive work. <strong>The</strong><br />

hurricane left several downed platforms in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico—most needing saturation<br />

divers to remove <strong>the</strong> downed platforms<br />

and control and kill <strong>the</strong> trapped live wells.<br />

Global navigated a major growth effort<br />

between 2000 and 2009, including <strong>the</strong><br />

acquisition <strong>of</strong> Inshore Divers <strong>of</strong> Rio Vista,<br />

California in 2004 and Offshore Divers <strong>of</strong><br />

Anchorage, Alaska in 2009.<br />

Today, Global is headquartered in Seattle,<br />

Washington, and operates an Alaska <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

in Anchorage, a nor<strong>the</strong>rn California <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

in Vallejo, a sou<strong>the</strong>rn California <strong>of</strong>fice in<br />

Signal Hill, and a Texas <strong>of</strong>fice in Houston,<br />

along with several remote <strong>of</strong>fices that<br />

facilitate immediate response operations<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> country. Currently, <strong>the</strong><br />

company has approximately 250 fulltime<br />

employees.<br />

Global’s leadership team includes CEO/<br />

President Devon Grennan; Vice President <strong>of</strong><br />

Operations Dan Pierson; Vice President <strong>of</strong><br />

Marine Construction, Engineering and<br />

Technology Mike Langen; Vice President <strong>of</strong><br />

Casualty Response David Devilbiss; Vice<br />

President <strong>of</strong> Finance and Administration<br />

Trinity Ng-Yeung; and Vice President <strong>of</strong><br />

Quality Assurance Jennifer Jensen.<br />

Global employees are deeply involved in<br />

many community organizations, including<br />

Seattle Children’s Hospital. Over <strong>the</strong> past ten<br />

years, Global employees and partners have<br />

helped raise more than $300,000 to support<br />

<strong>the</strong> hospital’s mission.<br />

In addition, Global has been a supporter<br />

<strong>of</strong> Puget Sound Maritime (PSM) for more<br />

than a decade. PSM’s mission is to create<br />

appreciation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Puget Sound region’s<br />

maritime past to better understand <strong>the</strong> present.<br />

Global <strong>Diving</strong> & Salvage, Inc., is an active<br />

participant in <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong><br />

Contractors International (ADCI). Dan Pierson<br />

currently serves on <strong>the</strong> association’s board<br />

<strong>of</strong> directors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s continued growth and<br />

success has been built by execution <strong>of</strong> its<br />

guiding core values <strong>of</strong> honesty, teamwork,<br />

and pr<strong>of</strong>essional pride. “As proud as we are <strong>of</strong><br />

our history, and where we have been, we have<br />

many chapters still left that we are writing,”<br />

says Grennan. “And everyone at Global gets<br />

to contribute to <strong>the</strong> story. We’re honored<br />

to work with such a committed group <strong>of</strong><br />

people who exhibit <strong>the</strong> same principles.”<br />

Below: Global has more than thirtyfive<br />

years <strong>of</strong> underwater construction<br />

experience. <strong>The</strong> company addresses needs<br />

<strong>of</strong> customers in both public and private<br />

sectors; creating custom solutions for<br />

complex problems.<br />



MARINE<br />

DIVING<br />


CLASS OF<br />

1973–SANTA<br />



Marine Technology Program Instructors:<br />

Bob Christensen, Jim Parker, and<br />

Ramsey Parks.<br />

Friendships forged and lessons learned<br />

forty-five years ago still bind <strong>the</strong> 1973 graduates<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Marine <strong>Diving</strong> program at Santa<br />

Barbara City College. Twenty-six <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> original<br />

forty-four classmates in <strong>the</strong> Class <strong>of</strong> 1973<br />

entered <strong>the</strong> workforce immediately after graduation.<br />

As many as fifteen are still active in <strong>the</strong><br />

industry and a number have developed <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

own companies, ranging from a tourist<br />

submarine business in <strong>the</strong> Asia Pacific to a<br />

civil engineering diving firm in San Francisco.<br />

Graduates <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Class <strong>of</strong> 1973 have<br />

managed <strong>the</strong> deepest dive ever recorded in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico, developed underwater<br />

welding and nondestructive testing technology,<br />

and participated in <strong>the</strong> top-secret mission<br />

to recover a Russian nuclear submarine.<br />

“Our class was unique because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> close<br />

bonds created toge<strong>the</strong>r at <strong>the</strong> MT Noble Street<br />

shop playing volleyball, building Jorgie’s Reef<br />

on <strong>the</strong> beach near SBCC, learning to operate<br />

Otto’s boats out <strong>of</strong> Santa Barbara Harbor, and<br />

making dives in <strong>the</strong> ADS IV bell system <strong>of</strong>fshore,”<br />

says Tom Belcher. Ano<strong>the</strong>r graduate,<br />

Gary Kane, notes that, “Our instructors were<br />

legends in <strong>the</strong> industry and became a major<br />

influence on all <strong>of</strong> us.”<br />

Three <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> instructors best remembered<br />

by <strong>the</strong> Class <strong>of</strong> 1973 are Bob Christensen, Jim<br />

Parker, and Ramsey Parks. <strong>The</strong>y conducted<br />

classes for <strong>the</strong> two-year program that included<br />

everything from physical oceanography to<br />

fundamentals <strong>of</strong> marine engines and compressors,<br />

and from underwater construction to<br />

marine law and economics.<br />

“We couldn’t ask for any better and <strong>the</strong>y<br />

certainly trained us on how to act, figure out,<br />

and defend ourselves and to develop our<br />

abilities and skill sets into what we were to<br />

become,” comments Belcher.<br />

“We were trained pr<strong>of</strong>essionally by our great<br />

teachers and we owe <strong>the</strong>m big time,” adds Pete<br />

Metson. “<strong>The</strong>y provided us with <strong>the</strong> opportunity<br />

to have a successful career, make a lot <strong>of</strong><br />

money, and work with a lot <strong>of</strong> great people.”<br />

Among <strong>the</strong> graduates who went on to successful<br />

careers in <strong>the</strong> industry are Gary Kane,<br />

John McClure, Pete Metson, Tom Belcher,<br />

Tom Ulrich, Ray Chamberlain, William “Billy”<br />

Robinson, and Greg Bryant.<br />

Ulrich grew up in Santa Barbara and<br />

had his scuba certification by <strong>the</strong> age <strong>of</strong><br />

fourteen. His early career took him to many<br />

locations including <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico, <strong>the</strong><br />

North Sea, Mexico, Japan, <strong>the</strong> Pacific Basin,<br />

and his current home in Alaska. He has made<br />

it through <strong>the</strong> ranks to become Alaska<br />

Regional Manager and Vice President with<br />

American Marine International.<br />

Chamberlain has spent forty years <strong>of</strong>fshore<br />

working in diving internationally, ROVs, and<br />

as a client’s representative. Chamberlain<br />

believes that <strong>the</strong> marine technology program<br />

at SBCC gave its graduates <strong>the</strong> skills and confidence<br />

to pursue <strong>the</strong>ir ambitions. “I have<br />

fond memories and lots <strong>of</strong> gratitude for our<br />

instructors,” he says.<br />

Metson went to work for SubSea<br />

International soon after graduation and wasted<br />

little time in rising up <strong>the</strong> corporate ladder,<br />

eventually becoming <strong>the</strong> number two man.<br />

Metson was involved in building <strong>the</strong> first<br />

permanent North Sea fixed platform jacket<br />

installations in <strong>the</strong> BP Forties Field. He<br />

obtained his MBA from Tulane and completed<br />

his dive career by helping build SSI into a<br />

mega-firm that is now a major part <strong>of</strong> SubSea<br />

Seven, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest underwater contractors<br />

in <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

Kane left Santa Barbara and spent <strong>the</strong><br />

next ten years establishing himself in <strong>the</strong><br />

industry, working with Metson, Belcher,<br />

Ulrich, Robinson, Chamberlain, and o<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

in <strong>the</strong> North Sea. After returning to <strong>the</strong> Gulf<br />

<strong>of</strong> Mexico, he continued working <strong>of</strong>fshore<br />

where he supervised a working saturation<br />

dive to 1,073 feet, a record still today. Moving<br />

on in his career, he opened his own consultancy<br />

company in 1996, which he sold in<br />

2015. An active writer, he has written over a<br />

dozen articles for <strong>Underwater</strong> Magazine.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


McClure started his diving career as a Navy<br />

diver in <strong>the</strong> rivers <strong>of</strong> Vietnam. After discharge,<br />

he graduated from <strong>the</strong> new SBCC Marine<br />

Technology Program. McClure’s commercial<br />

dive experience includes thousands <strong>of</strong> hours<br />

underwater, involving a full spectrum <strong>of</strong> projects<br />

deep to shallow, from simple to complex,<br />

using many modes <strong>of</strong> diving. He worked for<br />

Union Carbide for fourteen years, becoming<br />

project manager, and is currently Vice<br />

President/COO <strong>of</strong> Pacific Subsea Saipan, Inc.,<br />

engaged in tour submarine operations in Asia.<br />

Belcher’s varied career has involved him<br />

in dive projects throughout <strong>the</strong> world. He<br />

founded <strong>Underwater</strong> Resources in 1982<br />

and spent thirty-five years performing<br />

shallow/deep air, gas diving services to 230<br />

feet, ROV and sonar inspections, and heavy<br />

civil construction. Belcher developed techniques,<br />

equipment and methodology to<br />

conduct te<strong>the</strong>red dive penetrations within<br />

flooded tunnels/pipelines up to 3,000 feet<br />

to perform internal inspections and repairs.<br />

Robinson worked in <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico<br />

and <strong>the</strong> North Sea, conducting air, gas, and<br />

sat diving. He is a talented leader <strong>of</strong> people<br />

and became operations manager for geophysical<br />

survey projects. Robinson is experienced<br />

in all facets <strong>of</strong> shallow and deep-water diving.<br />

Bryant worked throughout Sou<strong>the</strong>ast<br />

Asia and became <strong>the</strong> diving superintendent<br />

<strong>of</strong> a 1,000-foot saturation system in <strong>the</strong><br />

Philippines. He received a BSME degree from<br />

Cal Poly and became an assistant pr<strong>of</strong>essor in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Marine Technology program. He <strong>the</strong>n<br />

became a Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Engineer and partnered<br />

with McClure in Pacific Offshore Contractors<br />

before becoming robotics system manager for<br />

NASA’s space station. Bryant has also worked<br />

for Walt Disney and Universal Studios and<br />

was involved in <strong>the</strong> motion picture, <strong>The</strong> Abyss.<br />

Bryant remains active as a commercial diver<br />

and engineer.<br />

Two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Class <strong>of</strong> 1973 were lost while<br />

working. Richard Walker died at 500 feet in<br />

<strong>the</strong> North Sea and ano<strong>the</strong>r classmate, Ron<br />

Smith, was killed during an accidental detonation<br />

<strong>of</strong> explosives. “<strong>The</strong> memories <strong>of</strong> Dick<br />

and Ron and <strong>the</strong> circumstances <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir deaths<br />

still to this day play a part in my pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

decisions,” says Kane<br />

Those from <strong>the</strong> Class <strong>of</strong> 1973 who went<br />

on to careers in <strong>the</strong> industry include: Tom<br />

Belcher, Gib Blevins, Greg Bryant, Ray<br />

Chamberlain, John Colgate, Ken Corsen, Walt<br />

Croson, Andy Culwell, Burt Davis, Hal<br />

Epstein, Gary Fisher, Bob Hargis, Wade<br />

Harris, Pat Helmstetter, Gary Kane, Joe Krivi,<br />

Leslie Lynch, Gary Margadant, John McClure,<br />

Pete Metson, Craig Roberts, Billy Robinson,<br />

Bill Rudolph, Ron Smith, Jack Spinney, Jim<br />

‘Diego’ Terres, Tom Ulrich, Richard Walker,<br />

and Russ Westfall.<br />

“Our Class <strong>of</strong> ’73 was on <strong>the</strong> cutting edge<br />

<strong>of</strong> changes in deep diving technology, and we<br />

were among <strong>the</strong> pioneer divers and technicians<br />

who responded to <strong>the</strong> industry need to<br />

expand limits and work deeper,” comments<br />

McClure. “We have remained connected over<br />

<strong>the</strong> years both pr<strong>of</strong>essionally and socially.<br />

Sharing common goals and life experiences<br />

with classmates is <strong>the</strong> adhesive that bonds us<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r today.”<br />

Top: Marine Tech Field Lab, Bell<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> Class.<br />

Below: Left to right: John McClure, Tom<br />

Ulrich, Billy Robinson, Gary Kane, Ray<br />

Chamberlain, Pete Metson, Greg Bryant<br />

and Tom Belcher.<br />




MARINE<br />


Since its beginnings as a start-up commercial<br />

diving business called American Divers<br />

Inc., in 1973, American Marine Corporation,<br />

has grown to become one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> more respected<br />

firms in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> industry.<br />

American Marine Corporation (AMC)<br />

provides commercial diving, specialty marine<br />

contracting and vessel support services to<br />

clients in both <strong>the</strong> public and private<br />

sectors. AMC has been responsible for prime<br />

construction projects ranging from new pier<br />

and breakwater construction to harbor dredging<br />

and ocean outfall installation and repair.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company operates workboats, derrick<br />

barges, flat barges, cranes, dive vessels, and<br />

crew boats. <strong>The</strong> firm’s three operating regions<br />

are Hawaii and <strong>the</strong> outer Pacific Islands, <strong>the</strong><br />

west coast <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States, and Alaska.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company is based out <strong>of</strong> Honolulu,<br />

Hawaii, <strong>the</strong> original location. From <strong>the</strong>se<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices, operations extend nationally, and at<br />

times internationally.<br />

AMC began nearly forty-five years ago<br />

when a partnership was formed within a small<br />

dive shop adjacent to Honolulu Harbor.<br />

Pat Wolter, was born and raised in France<br />

and by 1973 had started American Divers<br />

Inc., <strong>the</strong> first formal diving company in Hawaii<br />

to provide general commercial diving services,<br />

with a focus on dive support for marine<br />

construction companies. Robert Shahnazarian<br />

had come to Hawaii from New Jersey on a<br />

University <strong>of</strong> Hawaii swimming scholarship<br />

and it was a natural first step for him<br />

to be involved in waterfront activities. Scott<br />

Vuillemot, starting from a young age, had been<br />

involved in <strong>of</strong>fshore federal funded infrastructure<br />

projects in <strong>the</strong> Islands and had spent time<br />

on <strong>the</strong> West Coast in formal commercial dive<br />

school training. <strong>The</strong>se three young men were<br />

<strong>the</strong> core <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> initial expansion <strong>of</strong> American<br />

Divers Inc., which incorporated in 1975.<br />

<strong>The</strong> focus <strong>of</strong> this expansion was <strong>the</strong> installation<br />

<strong>of</strong> coastal ocean outfall projects as funded<br />

by federal law. In 1972 <strong>the</strong> law became<br />

known as <strong>the</strong> Clean Water Act. This law established<br />

<strong>the</strong> basic structure for regulating pollutant<br />

discharges into <strong>the</strong> waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United<br />

States and gave <strong>the</strong> EPA <strong>the</strong> authority to implement<br />

pollution control programs such as<br />

setting wastewater standards for industry. In<br />

Hawaii, <strong>the</strong>re were three primary ocean outfalls<br />

to be constructed as well as significant<br />

repair projects to existing systems. Good work<br />

for this young group <strong>of</strong> motivated divers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> pivotal year for <strong>the</strong> young company<br />

was 1979. <strong>The</strong> Hawaii outfall projects were<br />

drying up, but similar new opportunities were<br />

opening up in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean in Puerto Rico.<br />

Larger marine construction companies had<br />

been pleased with <strong>the</strong> work <strong>of</strong> American<br />

Divers, Inc., and <strong>of</strong>fered <strong>the</strong>m work on <strong>the</strong><br />

Bayamon Ocean Outfall serving San Juan<br />

Puerto Rico. This significant project called for<br />

support boats so Pat and Scott made <strong>the</strong> first<br />

<strong>of</strong> many trips to New Orleans, searching for<br />

reliable support vessels. <strong>The</strong>y decided on two<br />

boats; a small tug and crew boat. <strong>The</strong>se vessels<br />

added ano<strong>the</strong>r business line to <strong>the</strong> company<br />

and American Workboats was formed in 1979.<br />

Puerto Rico provided American Workboats<br />

and American Divers, Inc., with good and<br />

steady work for over four years. While Pat ran<br />

<strong>the</strong> established Hawaii operation, Bob and Scott<br />

ran <strong>the</strong> two companies in Puerto Rico, providing<br />

solid dive and vessel support services on<br />

three large outfall projects, in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean.<br />

Subsequent to <strong>the</strong> completion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

major projects in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, <strong>the</strong> work<br />

dried up to a point where a decision was made<br />

to relocate <strong>the</strong> division on <strong>the</strong> West Coast.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


This primary regional location <strong>of</strong> American<br />

Divers Inc., and American Workboats grew<br />

steadily between 1983 and 1987, fueled by<br />

several large projects in Sou<strong>the</strong>rn California,<br />

including construction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Diablo Canyon<br />

nuclear power plant and <strong>the</strong> San Rafael ocean<br />

outfall project. <strong>The</strong> West Coast proved itself as<br />

a good market for <strong>the</strong>se maturing businesses.<br />

Tragedy struck <strong>the</strong> company in 1987 when<br />

Pat’s helicopter crashed as he was landing on a<br />

grounded barge to consider wreck removal<br />

options <strong>of</strong>f <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Big Island <strong>of</strong> Hawaii. Pat was<br />

killed, and in short order, everything changed<br />

for <strong>the</strong> company. That evening, Scott flew back<br />

to Hawaii to take over management <strong>of</strong> that<br />

division, after being away for eight years.<br />

Pat’s death convinced Bob and Scott to seriously<br />

discuss and plan <strong>the</strong> future <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company<br />

as well as to write a new business plan. <strong>The</strong><br />

first step in this plan was <strong>the</strong> establishment <strong>of</strong><br />

an administrative arm to help <strong>the</strong> company<br />

manage and track growth, and provide customer<br />

service and support. Ano<strong>the</strong>r decision,<br />

was to create an environmental arm to prosecute<br />

and support coastal spills and waterfront<br />

environmental needs. Pacific Environmental<br />

Corporation (PENCO) was formed.<br />

<strong>The</strong> following decade was a time for development<br />

for <strong>the</strong> companies, including an opportunity<br />

for permanent expansion in Alaska. In<br />

1993 a decision was made to enter <strong>the</strong> market<br />

through <strong>the</strong> acquisition <strong>of</strong> equipment and personnel<br />

<strong>of</strong> a failing marine group in <strong>the</strong> region.<br />

By 1998, with <strong>the</strong> company growing rapidly,<br />

Bob and Scott decided it was time to formalize<br />

a new structure for <strong>the</strong> company’s<br />

future. <strong>The</strong> companies were realigned to serve<br />

three basic markets in <strong>the</strong> three regions and<br />

American Marine Services Group (AMSG) was<br />

developed as a reference to <strong>the</strong> overall organization.<br />

American Divers, Inc., was renamed<br />

to become American Marine Corporation.<br />

“A major part <strong>of</strong> our growth philosophy is<br />

to plan and control <strong>the</strong> various facets <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

businesses, from <strong>the</strong> administration to personnel<br />

and equipment,” Scott explains.<br />

“Things along <strong>the</strong> road don’t always work out<br />

<strong>the</strong> way a plan is originally conceived, but<br />

perseverance and good business practices go a<br />

long way toward reaching your goals.”<br />

Today, AMSG focuses on specialty marine<br />

construction projects, commercial diving, tug<br />

and work vessel support, crew boat operations,<br />

and vessel inspection and repair services.<br />

<strong>The</strong> environmental arm under PENCO has<br />

developed into a nationally recognized group<br />

<strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essionals. Although <strong>the</strong> AMSG <strong>of</strong>fices<br />

are in <strong>the</strong> Pacific region, <strong>the</strong> company performs<br />

work routinely on <strong>the</strong> Gulf and East<br />

Coasts, North Slope Alaska, Central America,<br />

and internationally. Offices in Honolulu,<br />

Anchorage, and Los Angeles are staffed with<br />

local personnel who have spent <strong>the</strong> majority<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir careers in those regions <strong>of</strong>fering a<br />

solid basis <strong>of</strong> local knowledge.<br />

American Marine Services Group and<br />

its operating companies; American Marne<br />

Corporation, Pacific Environmental Corporation<br />

and American Workboats currently are moving<br />

in <strong>the</strong> direction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> second generation with<br />

<strong>the</strong> intent <strong>of</strong> providing “Excellence in<br />

Operations” for ano<strong>the</strong>r fifty years.<br />

To learn more about American Marine<br />

Corporation, check <strong>the</strong> website at<br />

www.amarinecorp.com. Pacific Environmental<br />

Corporation may be located at www.penco.org.<br />



Above: Teichman Group Founder, Rudy<br />

Teichman, on a salvage project.<br />

Below: <strong>Diving</strong> operations.<br />


<strong>The</strong> Teichman Group <strong>of</strong> Companies operates<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most extensive emergency<br />

response networks in <strong>the</strong> world and is<br />

committed to serving <strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> shipping<br />

and energy industries with <strong>the</strong> highest<br />

standards <strong>of</strong> safety and quality.<br />

Pre-positioned throughout <strong>the</strong> United<br />

States, its territories, Singapore, Europe, and<br />

South America, <strong>the</strong> Teichman Group owns<br />

and maintains a comprehensive inventory<br />

<strong>of</strong> state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art commercial diving, fast<br />

response firefighting systems, inert gas and<br />

nitrogen generators, high capacity dewatering<br />

pumps, ship-to-ship lightering systems,<br />

anti-pollution systems, three-dimensional<br />

sonar, remotely operated vehicle systems,<br />

and myriad <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r response equipment.<br />

Equipment is packaged so it can be rapidly<br />

transported by air, land, or sea. <strong>The</strong> specialized<br />

portable assets are complemented by<br />

floating and portable heavy lift and salvage<br />

support vessels ready to meet both routine<br />

and emergency response challenges.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company was established in 1957<br />

when Rudy Teichman, an experienced<br />

machinist, established T&T Marine Ways,<br />

Inc., a small shipyard at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> Teichman<br />

Point in Galveston, Texas. At first, <strong>the</strong> business<br />

consisted <strong>of</strong> a dock for working on<br />

small vessels, a machine shop, and a small<br />

dredge. Later, a marine railway was built to<br />

perform dry repairs on small vessels. In 1960,<br />

Rudy bought a wooden tug named Josephine,<br />

that he rebuilt to provide towing services<br />

to <strong>the</strong> area.<br />

<strong>The</strong> shipyard was destroyed when Hurricane<br />

Carla hit Galveston in 1961, but Rudy started<br />

over and by 1964, was expanding, hiring<br />

more employees, and building bigger and<br />

better facilities.<br />

Recognizing <strong>the</strong> need for a salvage and<br />

diving company along <strong>the</strong> Texas coast,<br />

Rudy started T&T Marine Salvage, Inc., to<br />

raise sunken boats and barges. In 1976,<br />

Rudy bought a steam crane with a capacity<br />

<strong>of</strong> seventy-five tons for heavy lift work.<br />

Today, T&T owns and operates a wide<br />

assortment <strong>of</strong> equipment, providing a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> services including heavy lift, response,<br />

salvage, and marine firefighting.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Teichman Group’s dedicated commercial<br />

diving company, T&T Subsea, provides<br />

high quality marine salvage support, ship<br />

husbandry and under hull cleaning, class<br />

approved hull and propeller repairs, vessel<br />

and facility inspections, marine construction,<br />

and contaminated water diving, among o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

underwater services worldwide.<br />

T&T Subsea continues to retain a competitive<br />

advantage by providing safe and high<br />

quality services, while faithfully adhering to<br />

T&T founder’s core values <strong>of</strong> honesty, integrity,<br />

and hard work. On every project, T&T Subsea<br />

provides comprehensive reports, including<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


photographs and video documentation that<br />

fully satisfy classification society and regulatory<br />

requirements. Additionally, T&T implements<br />

a comprehensive quality-assurance program<br />

that includes client feedback throughout <strong>the</strong><br />

project. This valuable customer feedback<br />

ensures <strong>the</strong> company is continuously improving<br />

processes and procedures.<br />

Rudy’s son, Kevin, learned <strong>the</strong> business<br />

and operational aspects <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> salvage industry<br />

from <strong>the</strong> ground up, under his fa<strong>the</strong>r’s<br />

mentorship. Following Rudy’s passing in<br />

2012, Kevin stepped forward to lead and<br />

expand <strong>the</strong> Teichman Group into what is<br />

now, an international corporation with<br />

bases <strong>of</strong> operation around <strong>the</strong> world. As<br />

Managing Director, Kevin, has implemented a<br />

strategic plan that includes expanding <strong>of</strong>fices<br />

in Europe, South America and Asia. His<br />

efforts have been attributed with enhancing<br />

marine safety, emergency response, and<br />

environmental protection efforts worldwide.<br />

In addition to <strong>the</strong> salvage and diving<br />

businesses, Kevin also helps manage two oil<br />

spill response cooperatives, Clean Gulf<br />

Associates and Clean Channels Cooperative,<br />

including managing all emergency response<br />

equipment and personnel. <strong>The</strong> Teichman<br />

Group <strong>of</strong> Companies now maintains one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nation’s largest inventory <strong>of</strong> portable<br />

salvage and oil spill response equipment.<br />

In addition, T&T has developed a comprehensive<br />

non-floating oil detection and<br />

recovery capability to meet national U.S.<br />

Coast Guard classification requirements.<br />

Under Kevin’s leadership, <strong>the</strong> Teichman<br />

Group’s fleet <strong>of</strong> boats, and salvage and oil<br />

spill response equipment inventory continues<br />

to grow. <strong>The</strong> company now has <strong>the</strong> capacity<br />

to recover more than two million barrels <strong>of</strong><br />

oil per day with more than 300,000 feet<br />

<strong>of</strong> containment boom. Given <strong>the</strong> Teichman<br />

Group’s capacity and capabilities, <strong>the</strong> company<br />

is contracted by over 100 oil and gas<br />

producers with over sixty percent <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

tank ship industry selecting T&T to be<br />

named as <strong>the</strong>ir salvor <strong>of</strong> choice on <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

vessel response plans.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Teichman Group has responded to<br />

hundreds <strong>of</strong> marine casualty incidents and oil<br />

spills, from saving sinking <strong>of</strong>fshore oil rigs<br />

to refloating <strong>the</strong> Battleship Texas that saw<br />

battle in both World Wars. Additionally, T&T<br />

has successfully completed marine salvage<br />

operations from <strong>the</strong> Equator to <strong>the</strong> Arctic.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company is based in Galveston, Texas,<br />

with bases <strong>of</strong> operation throughout <strong>the</strong><br />

U.S., Singapore, Peru, Germany, Ne<strong>the</strong>rlands,<br />

and Guam.<br />

For more information about <strong>the</strong> Teichman<br />

Group <strong>of</strong> Companies, check <strong>the</strong> website at<br />

www.teichmangroup.com.<br />

Above: Offshore salvage operations.<br />

Below: Lightering a grounded ship.<br />






AND<br />


LIMITED)<br />

STS Chile is <strong>the</strong> largest and<br />

most experienced subsea engineering<br />

and services company in<br />

Chile and a leader in Latin<br />

America. STS designs and builds<br />

maritime and underwater works<br />

through sophisticated engineering<br />

and <strong>the</strong> best construction methods<br />

that <strong>of</strong>fer safety and ensures<br />

<strong>the</strong> highest quality possible.<br />

Founded in 1960 by Claudio<br />

Castro Jonas with <strong>the</strong> passion <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> pioneers opening and developing<br />

<strong>the</strong> future <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> underwater<br />

world, STS provides integral<br />

maintenance <strong>of</strong> ports and underwater pier<br />

structures; repair <strong>of</strong> underwater oil and gas<br />

pipelines; underwater engineering design and<br />

construction <strong>of</strong> underwater lines. In addition,<br />

<strong>the</strong> company is involved in rescues and salvages;<br />

supports construction and installation<br />

stages <strong>of</strong> oil platforms and underwater lines;<br />

constructs submerged structures; and provides<br />

general maintenance <strong>of</strong> SPM.<br />

In recent years, STS Chile has conducted a<br />

re-engineering process based on <strong>the</strong> highest<br />

international standards, developing and<br />

incorporating management control and quality<br />

assurance as well as <strong>the</strong> business assurance<br />

concept according to ISO 9001 standards.<br />

STS is <strong>the</strong> first maritime company in Chile to<br />

be certified with <strong>the</strong> new 2015 version by <strong>the</strong><br />

prestigious and demanding Lloyd’s Register<br />

QA. <strong>The</strong> company is also certified with integrated<br />

management system ISO 14001:2015<br />

and OHSA 18001, all accredited in <strong>the</strong><br />

United Kingdom.<br />

To date, STS is <strong>the</strong> first company in Latin<br />

America to be audited and certified by<br />

ADC International for 2016, under <strong>the</strong> standards<br />

<strong>of</strong> underwater operations according to<br />

International Consensus Standards version 6.2<br />

auditing initiative.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se high standard certifications confirm<br />

STS’s goal <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fering clients <strong>the</strong> best quality<br />

and safe engineering and underwater construction<br />

services.<br />

STS encourages a safety oriented philosophy<br />

and is proud <strong>of</strong> a record <strong>of</strong> over two<br />

million underwater man hours without<br />

accidents. <strong>The</strong> company incorporates <strong>the</strong><br />

Health Safety Environmental and Community<br />

(HSEC) system as its guide.<br />

STS has <strong>the</strong> largest infrastructure <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

diving systems and equipment in Chile<br />

and Latin America. An internationally certified<br />

staff develops continuous maintenance and<br />

update processes for more than 500 tons <strong>of</strong><br />

equipment. This allows <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong><br />

parallel projects in Chile and overseas with <strong>the</strong><br />

highest standards <strong>of</strong> ISO 9001:2015 QAQC.<br />

STS is <strong>the</strong> first company in Chile to<br />

become a general member <strong>of</strong> Association <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International (ADCI) to<br />

participate in conferences, seminars, and<br />

international expositions to promote technological<br />

advances on safety in commercial diving<br />

through <strong>the</strong> best industry practices and<br />

international standards. CEO Castro is also<br />

founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Chilean Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong><br />

Contractors and Chairman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Chilean<br />

Chapter <strong>of</strong> ADCI.<br />

Safety is a primary concern <strong>of</strong> STS and has<br />

recorded more than two million underwater<br />

immersions without accident during its fiftyseven<br />

years <strong>of</strong> existence. During this period,<br />

STS has executed more than eighty percent <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> maintenance and installation <strong>of</strong> oil and<br />

gas terminals throughout Chile. This allows<br />

STS to <strong>of</strong>fer more technical and economic<br />

advantages for providing highly efficient and<br />

economically viable underwater service<br />

promptly in Latin America and beyond.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company currently employs fifty-seven<br />

people in management, engineering, design,<br />

administration and maintenance. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

employees are based in two main <strong>of</strong>fices:<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


Marine Engineering in Vina del Mar and<br />

Subsea Operations and administrative staff in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Port <strong>of</strong> Quintero. <strong>The</strong> company contracts<br />

with surface-supplied air divers and supervisors,<br />

mixed gas, ROV personnel and bell saturation<br />

dive supervisors, depending on <strong>the</strong> size<br />

and scope <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> projects being executed.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company has produced continuous<br />

growth <strong>of</strong> more than ten percent annually<br />

for <strong>the</strong> past ten years. Customers include<br />

international engineering companies, mining,<br />

ports, oil and gas, power plants and desalination<br />

plants. Project sizes and revenue are up<br />

to ten million USD, but has developed bigger<br />

multimillion dollar marine projects in joint<br />

ventures or partnerships.<br />

STS contributes directly to its local communities<br />

in Quintero by sponsoring elder<br />

homes and programs for disabled children.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company funds a scholarship for academic<br />

excellence in one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most prestigious<br />

schools in Chile. STS also donates funds<br />

for ADCI scholarships. Because <strong>of</strong> its HSEC<br />

philosophy, STS is involved with every local<br />

community in which it performs projects.<br />

<strong>The</strong> business plan for STS Chile includes<br />

becoming <strong>the</strong> leader in engineering design<br />

and construction <strong>of</strong> Marine Works for<br />

Desalination Plants in <strong>the</strong> American South<br />

Pacific and internationalization to grow its<br />

Latin American market during <strong>the</strong> next five<br />

years in subsea engineering and saturation,<br />

deep dive projects and to grow its marine<br />

engineering projects abroad.<br />



WALKER<br />

DIVING<br />



LLC<br />

Top: Diver in a forty-eight inch water main<br />

in New Jersey (2009).<br />

Bottom: Founder Glenn Walker working on<br />

a diving helmet (1970).<br />

Walker <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Underwater</strong> Construction,<br />

LLC, based in Hammonton, New Jersey, has<br />

been a well-known name in commercial<br />

diving in <strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>ast for sixty years. <strong>The</strong><br />

company was founded in 1957 by Glenn<br />

Walker. His family had been in commercial<br />

fishing on <strong>the</strong> New Jersey coast for generations.<br />

However, when <strong>the</strong> family sold <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

boat, Glenn stayed in <strong>the</strong> water and took up<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r maritime career. Operating as Glenn<br />

Walker, Inc., his new company grew steadily<br />

from a one man diving operation, to a company<br />

that employed ten divers and provided<br />

diving services across <strong>the</strong> eastern half <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

United States, from New Jersey to Missouri.<br />

<strong>The</strong> diving company still proudly bears <strong>the</strong><br />

Walker name to this day.<br />

In 1973, Glenn decided to leave <strong>the</strong> diving<br />

industry to pursue o<strong>the</strong>r adventures. He sold<br />

<strong>the</strong> business to Harry Streit and headed<br />

westward. Harry had been working at <strong>the</strong><br />

Philadelphia Naval Station and was looking<br />

for a business opportunity and new adventures<br />

<strong>of</strong> his own. With <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong> some<br />

friends, Harry acquired <strong>the</strong> diving company<br />

and renamed it Walker <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors,<br />

Inc. By keeping <strong>the</strong> Walker name, he kept <strong>the</strong><br />

goodwill and contacts that had been built up<br />

over <strong>the</strong> years.<br />

Harry owned and operated <strong>the</strong> business for<br />

more than thirty years during which time he<br />

employed almost every member <strong>of</strong> his family,<br />

making this a true family business. Walker<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> took on numerous unique and challenging<br />

projects. One project involved several<br />

years <strong>of</strong> surface decompression diving for <strong>the</strong><br />

US Army Corps <strong>of</strong> Engineers in Georgia,<br />

while ano<strong>the</strong>r required designing special<br />

pipe to slip-line a siphon for <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong><br />

Philadelphia. By taking on bold challenges<br />

and succeeding where o<strong>the</strong>rs were reluctant<br />

to go, Walker <strong>Diving</strong> became <strong>the</strong> largest<br />

inland diving company in <strong>the</strong> eastern half <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> nation. In <strong>the</strong> late 1980s, Harry bought<br />

Portadam, Inc. (a portable dam company) and<br />

founded W. H. Streit, Inc. (a marine construction<br />

company.) <strong>The</strong> family ran all three affiliated<br />

companies until <strong>the</strong>y were sold upon<br />

Harry’s retirement in October 2004.<br />

Several years before he retired, Harry<br />

signed Walker <strong>Diving</strong> and W. H. Streit with<br />

Local Union 454, <strong>the</strong> Wharf and Dock<br />

Builders <strong>of</strong> Philadelphia, which is <strong>the</strong> local<br />

union <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United Bro<strong>the</strong>rhood <strong>of</strong><br />

Carpenters. Becoming a union employer<br />

allowed Walker <strong>Diving</strong> to rapidly hire<br />

large numbers <strong>of</strong> capable, experienced<br />

divers and to work for many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> larger<br />

heavy and highway contractors who were<br />

also union affiliated. This partnership with<br />

organized labor continues to provide Walker<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> with many benefits including <strong>the</strong> ability<br />

to rapidly hire large numbers <strong>of</strong> capable<br />

experienced divers and <strong>the</strong> ability to use <strong>the</strong><br />

nationwide training resources <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United<br />

Bro<strong>the</strong>rhood <strong>of</strong> Carpenters.<br />

In 2004 when Alex Kalafatides purchased<br />

<strong>the</strong> diving company, he renamed it Walker<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Underwater</strong> Construction Corp. Alex<br />

had grown up in a maritime family, and he<br />

and his wife provided renewed energy to <strong>the</strong><br />

small diving company, which had in recent<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


years been overshadowed by W. H. Streit, Inc.<br />

With <strong>the</strong>ir efforts, <strong>the</strong> Walker <strong>Diving</strong> name<br />

again became well known in <strong>the</strong> industry.<br />

Additionally, <strong>the</strong>y brought on an experienced<br />

and capable project management staff. Those<br />

managers continue to allow Walker <strong>Diving</strong><br />

to solve <strong>the</strong> complex underwater challenges<br />

presented by <strong>the</strong> aging infrastructure in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>ast.<br />

In 2009 <strong>the</strong> Kalafatideses decided to focus<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir efforts on ano<strong>the</strong>r business opportunity<br />

and <strong>the</strong> diving company was again sold. <strong>The</strong><br />

new and current owner, David Earp, is a Navy<br />

veteran who grew up in New Jersey. With a<br />

degree in Ocean Engineering from <strong>the</strong> US<br />

Naval Academy and ten years <strong>of</strong> experience<br />

leading Navy Divers and SEALs, David was<br />

thrilled by <strong>the</strong> opportunity to remain in <strong>the</strong><br />

diving community in a new capacity. He has<br />

retained to this day <strong>the</strong> business name,<br />

Walker <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Underwater</strong> Construction.<br />

Since David’s arrival in 2009, Walker<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> has grown rapidly. With more<br />

resources and improved equipment, <strong>the</strong> experienced<br />

management team at Walker <strong>Diving</strong> is<br />

once again competing for and successfully<br />

completing larger and more challenging<br />

underwater projects. Walker <strong>Diving</strong> has been<br />

selected to build several intake and outfall<br />

systems for new natural gas power plants.<br />

Additionally, Walker <strong>Diving</strong> has established<br />

itself as a capable and trustworthy partner<br />

in <strong>the</strong> construction industry, frequently<br />

employed by larger marine contractors when<br />

<strong>the</strong>y need to add additional diving capability,<br />

beyond <strong>the</strong>ir in-house dive crews. Walker<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> provides services as a subcontractor to<br />

both union and non-union general contractors.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y also perform as a prime contractor<br />

when <strong>the</strong> scope <strong>of</strong> work is an appropriate fit.<br />

In recent years, Walker <strong>Diving</strong> has modernized<br />

its facilities, equipment and procedures.<br />

<strong>The</strong> staff has expanded to include more<br />

project managers, a full time safety director<br />

and additional <strong>of</strong>fice staff to keep up with <strong>the</strong><br />

increasingly complex regulations in <strong>the</strong> construction<br />

industry. <strong>The</strong> expanded team works<br />

hard each day to live up to its slogan, “<strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Experts.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> aging infrastructure in <strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>ast<br />

will continue to provide complex underwater<br />

challenges and <strong>the</strong> Walker <strong>Diving</strong> team is prepared<br />

to provide <strong>the</strong> required solutions. Walker<br />

<strong>Diving</strong> looks forward to engaging with our construction<br />

colleagues to solve challenging underwater<br />

problems in <strong>the</strong> region and to driving<br />

innovation in <strong>the</strong> inland diving industry.<br />

Top: Diver on a jobsite in New York harbor.<br />

Skyline can be seen in background (2017).<br />

Bottom, left: David Earp prepping for a dive<br />

while in <strong>the</strong> Navy (1997).<br />

Bottom, right: Barge used to construct a new<br />

cooling water intake for a power plant in<br />

Pennsylvania (2010).<br />






MARINE<br />


GROUP<br />

Top: Divers in <strong>the</strong> Gatehouse.<br />

Below: Howard Kline.<br />

Marion Hill Associates, an<br />

inland diving and marine construction<br />

contractor located<br />

near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,<br />

provides a unique mix <strong>of</strong> topside<br />

and marine contractors,<br />

commercial divers, and environmental<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essionals. Teams<br />

from MHA routinely handle<br />

unique problems encountered<br />

in underwater construction.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company was founded<br />

in December 1980 by Richard<br />

Riley, Sr., and Richard “Rich”<br />

Riley, Jr. Richard Sr. was a<br />

partner in a construction company<br />

that specialized in plant<br />

and mill construction. When<br />

<strong>the</strong> company was awarded a<br />

contract to build a hydroelectric<br />

plant outside Pittsburgh,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re were no local marine<br />

contractors willing to take on<br />

<strong>the</strong> project. Having some<br />

experience in scuba, he completed<br />

<strong>the</strong> project with a<br />

small team. Rich enjoyed <strong>the</strong><br />

work so much he decided to<br />

attend dive school at <strong>the</strong> Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Dive<br />

School <strong>of</strong> New York, which was operated by<br />

Andre Galerne.<br />

After graduating from dive school, Rich<br />

went to work for Galerne on an international<br />

project. Once <strong>the</strong> project was completed,<br />

Rich returned to Pittsburgh for a brief<br />

respite and met Tracy, who would become<br />

his wife. At that point, he decided to put<br />

away his passport and focus his efforts on<br />

developing a company to service <strong>the</strong><br />

Pittsburgh region.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> contacts developed in <strong>the</strong><br />

days <strong>of</strong> steel mill construction, Marion Hill<br />

Associates was able to gain a foothold in <strong>the</strong><br />

Pittsburgh marketplace. <strong>The</strong> growth <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

relationships provided access to bigger and<br />

better projects.<br />

MHA’s first underwater project was to<br />

place 1,000 cubic yards <strong>of</strong> concrete underneath<br />

a hydroelectric plant. This was<br />

done with a two-man dive team, while a<br />

third man floated on an inner tube keeping<br />

time on <strong>the</strong> surface. It took two different<br />

concrete contractors to keep up with <strong>the</strong><br />

supply for <strong>the</strong> project. <strong>The</strong> tremie was<br />

moved into place with come-a-longs and<br />

<strong>the</strong> total underwater placement was completed<br />

in ten hours.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


Today, MHA is comprised <strong>of</strong> approximately<br />

twenty divers, tenders, operators, pilots,<br />

laborers, and mechanics. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

prides itself on <strong>of</strong>fering a wide variety <strong>of</strong> services<br />

for nearly any inland marine customer.<br />

MHA has long-standing relationships with<br />

power plants, steel mills, paper mills, water<br />

authorities, drilling contractors, nuclear<br />

power plants, sewage treatment, and most<br />

any o<strong>the</strong>r business that calls <strong>the</strong> river home.<br />

MHA also has a marine construction division<br />

that <strong>of</strong>fers services ranging from piledriving<br />

dock building to river drilling. MHA<br />

is proud to service customers ranging from<br />

small property owners looking to have a dock<br />

built at a riverfront home, all <strong>the</strong> way up to<br />

multi-year contracts with such companies as<br />

General Electric, Department <strong>of</strong> Defense, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> USACE.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company strives for safety in all its<br />

construction and diving projects and has<br />

been awarded <strong>the</strong> Chief <strong>of</strong> Engineers Safe<br />

Performance Award for <strong>Underwater</strong> <strong>Diving</strong><br />

Projects performed in <strong>the</strong> Pittsburgh Division<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> U.S. Army Corps <strong>of</strong> Engineers, and a<br />

Public Service Commendation by <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

Coast Guard. MHA is committed to providing<br />

a safe working environment for its employees,<br />

subcontractors and job site owners.<br />

A number <strong>of</strong> dedicated individuals<br />

have contributed to <strong>the</strong> company’s growth<br />

and success over <strong>the</strong> years. Vice President<br />

Leen Dykstra has an extensive background<br />

in inland construction diving and has been<br />

with <strong>the</strong> company more than twenty years.<br />

MHA employs 15 to 20 divers spread across<br />

3 dive teams. <strong>The</strong> dive supervisors—Mike<br />

Folweiler, Josh Gostomski, and Steve<br />

Benaventeùhave all been with <strong>the</strong> company<br />

for ten years or more. MHA also operates a<br />

marine construction division headed by<br />

Superintendent Les May.<br />

Rich’s son, Gwynn Riley, now serves <strong>the</strong><br />

company as Business Development Manager<br />

and represents <strong>the</strong> third generation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

family involved in <strong>the</strong> firm.<br />

MHA regularly donates time, money<br />

and equipment to <strong>the</strong> Boy Scouts <strong>of</strong> America.<br />

Rich is <strong>the</strong> recipient <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> James E. West<br />

Fellowship Award, which acknowledges<br />

distinguished contributions to <strong>the</strong> Boy<br />

Scouts <strong>of</strong> America. MHA is also <strong>the</strong> proud<br />

recipient <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> U.S. Army Corps <strong>of</strong> Engineers<br />

safety award.<br />

Marion Hill Associates is located at 1740<br />

Fifth Avenue in New Brighton, Pennsylvania.<br />

To learn more about <strong>the</strong> company, check <strong>the</strong><br />

website at www.marionhilldivers.com.<br />

Top: A dock used by Marion Hill.<br />




INC.<br />

Above: ONYX setting articulating concrete<br />

mats on a pipeline in Biscayne Bay, Florida.<br />

Below: Splashing a diver to inspect pipe.<br />

ONYX Services, Inc. is a diversified pipeline<br />

services company based in Houston, Texas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company specializes in pipeline inspection,<br />

maintenance and repair. ONYX partners<br />

with a broad range <strong>of</strong> clients across all energy<br />

sectors and environments, including land,<br />

marsh, and underwater.<br />

ONYX Services, Inc., began in January<br />

2012 after a small group with knowledge<br />

and experience in oil and gas service agreed<br />

to pursue a common goal <strong>of</strong> working for<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves and owning a business.<br />

<strong>The</strong> mission <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> new company was<br />

to provide all pipeline operators a one<br />

call resource for <strong>the</strong>ir inspection, repair,<br />

maintenance, and construction needs on<br />

land, marsh, or underwater. Pr<strong>of</strong>essional,<br />

knowledgeable and experienced crews provide<br />

and implement cost effective solutions<br />

for any location, wherever customers work.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y summed up <strong>the</strong> services <strong>the</strong>y <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

with <strong>the</strong> slogan, “Got Pipe? Get ONYX!”<br />

It took a few months to secure all <strong>the</strong><br />

permits, licenses, and insurance required<br />

to get <strong>the</strong> business going. Finally, several<br />

experienced people were hired and ONYX<br />

hung out its shingle and began work in <strong>the</strong><br />

North Houston, Texas, area. Starting with<br />

some basic equipment and a leased building<br />

and land purchased three years later, it was<br />

not long before <strong>the</strong> first small project was<br />

awarded. Soon, through word-<strong>of</strong>-mouth and<br />

lots <strong>of</strong> cold calling, more and more projects<br />

were awarded. ONYX has now performed<br />

work in all <strong>the</strong> contiguous forty-eight states.<br />

ONYX had to overcome a major challenge<br />

when a drought-ending flood early in 2014<br />

left six inches <strong>of</strong> water in <strong>the</strong> building after<br />

<strong>the</strong> rain stopped. With no power in <strong>the</strong> area,<br />

but plenty <strong>of</strong> customers calling for ONYX’s<br />

services, all employees not already working<br />

on projects started cleaning <strong>the</strong> building<br />

while continuing to answer <strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir clients. This went on for several days<br />

and on through <strong>the</strong> weekend before things<br />

began to gain a semblance <strong>of</strong> order. However,<br />

ONYX’s clients never realized <strong>the</strong> chaos<br />

caused by <strong>the</strong> flooded building as all <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

needs were met during <strong>the</strong> post-flood cleanup.<br />

ONYX has grown steadily year after year<br />

and had approximately fifty employees in<br />

2016. <strong>The</strong> company and its employees take<br />

great pride in supporting <strong>the</strong> local high<br />

schools and many youth teams in <strong>the</strong> area.<br />

Looking to <strong>the</strong> future, ONYX plans to<br />

remain highly diversified in its clientele<br />

and services with a focus on North America<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Upstream and Midstream oil and<br />

gas sectors.<br />

To learn more about ONYX Services, check<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir website at www.onyxincorporated.com.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


U.S. <strong>Underwater</strong> Services, LLC has a solid<br />

history <strong>of</strong> more than two decades as a commercial<br />

diving contractor in <strong>the</strong> inland, Gulf<br />

<strong>of</strong> Mexico and international markets. USUS<br />

provides a wide range <strong>of</strong> commercial diving,<br />

inspection, repair and maintenance services to<br />

industries such as oil and gas, shipping, public<br />

works, defense and marine infrastructure.<br />

USUS was founded in Burleson, Texas, in<br />

1995 by a young entrepreneur and sport<br />

diving enthusiast who saw an opportunity<br />

to utilize diving to assist local municipalities<br />

in maintaining <strong>the</strong>ir water systems.<br />

Soon after, commercially trained and certified<br />

divers were added to <strong>the</strong> team, providing<br />

legitimization and a path to becoming a true<br />

commercial diving contractor. By 1997 <strong>the</strong><br />

company had expanded into <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore<br />

Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico market, and over <strong>the</strong> next<br />

several years, USUS expanded its client base<br />

and rig support/diving services to nearly every<br />

major <strong>of</strong>fshore driller in <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico.<br />

Key individuals in <strong>the</strong> company’s early<br />

years included <strong>the</strong> Canadian duo <strong>of</strong> Jason<br />

Smith and Scott Miller, as well as Scott<br />

Farris, Bryan Nicholls, David Wolfe, Compton<br />

Cooper, Rich Campbell and Craig L<strong>of</strong>tin.<br />

In 2006, private equity firm, Benford Capital,<br />

purchased controlling interest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company.<br />

<strong>The</strong> following year, Australian-based Neptune<br />

Marine Services purchased USUS and integrated<br />

<strong>the</strong> company into its international portfolio<br />

<strong>of</strong> oilfield and energy service companies.<br />

After <strong>the</strong> devastating Hurricanes Katrina,<br />

Rita and Ike in 2005-2007, USUS was<br />

involved in a variety <strong>of</strong> post-hurricane work,<br />

including platform inspections, site surveys,<br />

debris removal and subsea structural repairs.<br />

<strong>The</strong> additional <strong>of</strong>fshore work generated by<br />

<strong>the</strong>se storms enabled USUS to expand its<br />

service <strong>of</strong>ferings and accelerated <strong>the</strong> company’s<br />

growth for <strong>the</strong> next several years.<br />

In 2010, USUS recorded several significant<br />

milestones, some <strong>of</strong> which included: <strong>the</strong><br />

rebranding <strong>of</strong> USUS to Neptune <strong>Underwater</strong><br />

Services; <strong>the</strong> relocation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> operations<br />

base to a newly remodeled 50,000-squarefoot<br />

facility in Mansfield, Texas; <strong>the</strong><br />

completion <strong>of</strong> its largest multi-platform<br />

inspection campaign; and <strong>the</strong> deepest mixed<br />

gas diving projects in <strong>the</strong> company’s history.<br />


In 2012 <strong>the</strong> management team <strong>of</strong> USUS,<br />

with <strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> Benford Capital and<br />

Coppermine Capital, purchased <strong>the</strong> assets <strong>of</strong><br />

NUS in a management buyout. <strong>The</strong> new privately<br />

held entity, U.S. <strong>Underwater</strong> Services,<br />

LLC was formed; reestablishing <strong>the</strong> USUS<br />

brand within <strong>the</strong> commercial diving industry.<br />

USUS prides itself on being an employer <strong>of</strong><br />

veterans and a supporter <strong>of</strong> veteran’s causes.<br />

In 2014 <strong>the</strong> company was recognized as a<br />

Patriotic Employer by <strong>the</strong> Office <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Secretary <strong>of</strong> Defense for its support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

National Guard and Reserves.<br />

U.S. <strong>Underwater</strong> Services joined ADCI in<br />

1996, only a year after its founding. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s current President/COO, Bryan<br />

Nicholls, has served on <strong>the</strong> ADCI Board<br />

<strong>of</strong> Directors since 2009, was second vice<br />

president from 2014-2017, and was elected<br />

president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADCI in 2017.<br />




Above: Crew at work on <strong>the</strong> salvage <strong>of</strong> a<br />

vintage submarine.<br />

Below: <strong>The</strong> front cover <strong>of</strong> a Subsalve USA<br />

product catalog.<br />

Bottom: A diver ascending to <strong>the</strong> surface<br />

with an anchor secured to an underwater<br />

lift bag.<br />

Richard Fryburg knew exactly what he<br />

wanted to do as a career! Fryburg started<br />

diving at age fifteen and at seventeen, he failed<br />

at raising <strong>the</strong> 300-ton sunken tug boat Mount<br />

Hope from Narragansett Bay using 5,000-gallon<br />

oil tanks. Fryburg began designing and<br />

manufacturing underwater lift bags in his parent’s<br />

garage in Worcester, Massachusetts and<br />

in 1977 Subsalve USA was born.<br />

Fryburg graduated from Long Island<br />

University in 1977 with a degree in marine<br />

geology. He was far more interested in developing<br />

underwater flotation than working for<br />

<strong>of</strong>fshore drilling companies. With <strong>the</strong> help<br />

<strong>of</strong> his fa<strong>the</strong>r, George, he moved Subsalve USA<br />

to Providence, Rhode Island, and began<br />

marketing and manufacturing a line <strong>of</strong> underwater<br />

lift bags and traveling to trade shows<br />

around <strong>the</strong> country. This created <strong>the</strong> Subsalve<br />

USA brand and enabled expanding <strong>the</strong> product<br />

line to a larger range <strong>of</strong> standard open<br />

bottom and enclosed lift bags. Subsalve USA<br />

grew to <strong>of</strong>fer custom flotation devices and<br />

systems for special applications that exceed<br />

<strong>the</strong> capabilities <strong>of</strong> standard products. <strong>The</strong><br />

company developed proprietary products,<br />

including <strong>the</strong> Quad Bag—a multipurpose dive<br />

bag, <strong>the</strong> VRS-2000—vehicle recovery system<br />

and <strong>the</strong> MarkV/ORCA <strong>Underwater</strong> Ordnance<br />

Disposal System.<br />

Subsalve USA developed <strong>the</strong> skill and<br />

experience to become an innovator in buoyancy<br />

and engineered inflatable products<br />

including: Pipe Pluggers used in construction<br />

operations; Inflat-a-Tank—inflatable containment<br />

and storage bladders; Water Load Test<br />

Bags for crane testing; Fend-Air—a product<br />

line <strong>of</strong> marine inflatable fenders; and Aircraft<br />

Lift Bags–used to remove crashed or crippled<br />

aircraft from runways.<br />

Subsalve USA was awarded a U.S. Navy<br />

EOD contract for 170 units <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> government<br />

designed MARK II Mod I Flotation Bladder<br />

for use in <strong>the</strong> removal <strong>of</strong> mines. Over <strong>the</strong><br />

following years, Fryburg worked with <strong>the</strong><br />

U.S. Navy to modify <strong>the</strong> outdated system,<br />

ultimately developing Subsalve’s state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>art<br />

Mark V-Explosive <strong>Underwater</strong> Ordnance<br />

Disposal System, which has been delivered to<br />

<strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy and twenty Navies worldwide.<br />

Following <strong>the</strong> 9/11 attack, demand for <strong>the</strong><br />

system increased and resulted in modifications<br />

to <strong>the</strong> system and a sole source development<br />

contract with <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy with <strong>the</strong> new<br />

Mark V/ORCA System. Subsalve USA now<br />

has contracts with <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy and many<br />

foreign navies for <strong>the</strong> MarkV/ORCA system.<br />

Under Fryburg’s guidance and tireless<br />

work ethic over <strong>the</strong> last forty years, Subsalve<br />

USA has become a world-leading innovator<br />

in buoyancy and engineered inflatables with<br />

brand recognition and loyalty around<br />

<strong>the</strong> world. Subsalve USA has had many highpr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

projects including James Cameron’s<br />

record-breaking solo dive to <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Mariana Trench documented by National<br />

Geographic, underwater habitats for Discovery<br />

Channel’s Shark Week and National Geographic,<br />

projects for NASA, Texas A & M University,<br />

Oracle Team USA, Disney, Exxon Mobil,<br />

Warner Bro<strong>the</strong>rs, Woods Hole Oceanographic,<br />

and many o<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

After forty years in business, Subsalve USA<br />

was acquired by Performance Inflatables in<br />

May 2017 with Fryburg taking a new position<br />

as Chief Growth Officer, which will insure<br />

that Subsalve USA will continue to <strong>of</strong>fer <strong>the</strong><br />

highest quality products and service available<br />

in <strong>the</strong> industry and will be raising <strong>the</strong> world<br />

to new heights for years to come.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


Looking back on a long and successful<br />

career, Jon Hazelbaker explains that he has<br />

been fascinated by <strong>the</strong> underwater world<br />

since childhood, watching Mike Nelson<br />

(Lloyd Bridges) on <strong>the</strong> television series, Sea<br />

Hunt. At age ten, Jon purchased his first scuba<br />

tank and regulator by mail for $40. By age<br />

twelve, he had purchased ano<strong>the</strong>r tank and<br />

started a pool cleaning business. As a teenager,<br />

he worked part-time in a dive shop, and<br />

for a small inland commercial dive firm.<br />

Jon’s career now spans nearly fifty years in<br />

<strong>the</strong> commercial diving and marine construction<br />

industries as an inland “hard-hat/heavy-gear”<br />

diver and as <strong>the</strong> owner/operator <strong>of</strong> commercial<br />

diving and marine construction companies.<br />

His career began in 1968 when he made<br />

his first commercial dives while working as<br />

a young diver for a small commercial dive<br />

firm in <strong>the</strong> Midwest. He attended commercial<br />

dive school after high school (1967) and<br />

joined <strong>the</strong> United Bro<strong>the</strong>rhood <strong>of</strong> Carpenters<br />

and Joiners as an apprentice in 1969.<br />

He became a journeyman “hard-hat” diver in<br />

1972 and maintained his membership in<br />

<strong>the</strong> union until his retirement in 2003.<br />

Jon founded his own dive firm,<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Services, Inc., in 1969<br />

and over a thirty-year span and with <strong>the</strong><br />

addition and assistance <strong>of</strong> two vital partners—Tony<br />

Kiefer (1978) and Thomas “Tim”<br />

Garnette (1983)—grew it to be one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

larger inland dive firms in <strong>the</strong> country. In<br />

1994, <strong>the</strong>y sold <strong>the</strong> firm to American Oilfield<br />

Divers, Inc., and Jon stayed on as a vice<br />

president and general manager <strong>of</strong> American<br />

Inland Marine, Inc., and, subsequently, Stolt<br />

Offshore-General Contracting Division.<br />

Jon has been a strong supporter <strong>of</strong> ADCI<br />

throughout his career. His company first<br />

joined ADCI in 1989 and he was elected to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Directors, where he served for<br />

seven years. He was <strong>the</strong> founding chair <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

association’s Midwest chapter and served in<br />

that capacity from 1990 to 1993. He chaired<br />

<strong>the</strong> ADCI National Committee on <strong>Underwater</strong><br />

Bridge Inspection Standards from 1990-1994.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bridge committee was <strong>the</strong> forerunner <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> present engineering diving committee,<br />

and was instrumental in making critical<br />

revisions to <strong>the</strong> FHWA Manual’s chapter on<br />



Also associated with:<br />



<strong>Underwater</strong> Inspection to eliminate<br />

references to recreational diving<br />

certifications, and more closely align<br />

with <strong>the</strong> ADCI consensus standard<br />

and current industry standards.<br />

In 2001, Jon was awarded <strong>the</strong><br />

Tom Devine Memorial Award, presented<br />

to those individuals making<br />

“significant contributions to <strong>the</strong><br />

practice <strong>of</strong> commercial diving.”<br />

He was inducted into <strong>the</strong> ADCI<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame in 2005,<br />

and in 2014, he was presented <strong>the</strong> ADCI<br />

President’s Award <strong>of</strong> Excellence.<br />

Today, Jon lives in South Florida with his<br />

wife, Colleen, and provides consulting services<br />

to <strong>the</strong> industry through his new company,<br />

Hammerhead Marine Services, LLC. He provides<br />

services as an expert witness on diving<br />

accidents and contract disputes; he served as<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> instructors for <strong>the</strong> U.S. Army Corps<br />

<strong>of</strong> Engineers Dive Safe Safety Administration<br />

courses; serves <strong>the</strong> ADCI on special projects;<br />

and as a designated third-party auditor, conducting<br />

dive safety audits on member dive<br />

firms, and commercial diving schools.<br />

Additional information is available at<br />

www.hammerheadmarineservicesllc.com.<br />

Jon Hazelbaker, founder<br />



Top: Jon Hazelbaker, raw water intake<br />

repair project, Lake Michigan.<br />

Above: Jon Hazelbaker receiving <strong>the</strong> 2014<br />

ADCI President’s Award <strong>of</strong> Excellence.<br />





Above: Donald Dryden.<br />

Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> Company, Inc., is owned<br />

and operated by Donald Dryden, whose family<br />

has been in <strong>the</strong> marine construction industry<br />

since <strong>the</strong> 1930s. Don started working in <strong>the</strong><br />

marine construction industry in 1970 and<br />

founded Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> in 1979. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

was incorporated in 1985.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s early success was due to <strong>the</strong><br />

fact that Don was an experienced journeyman<br />

dockbuilder prior to attending commercial<br />

dive school. Dive school taught him how to<br />

go underwater, he already knew how to work<br />

when he got <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> early days <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nuclear industry,<br />

Don and company pioneered some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

first diving in radioactively contaminated<br />

water on reactors and nuclear fuel handling<br />

systems. Over <strong>the</strong> past thirty-five years, <strong>the</strong><br />

company has conducted safe and efficient<br />

diving operations at eleven American nuclear<br />

power plants and has current blanket service<br />

agreements with two.<br />

In response to <strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nuclear<br />

power plant industry, Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> developed<br />

its on-call response program. Dryden is<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> few commercial dive companies<br />

that maintain a crew <strong>of</strong> divers with staged<br />

equipment on standby to respond to emergent<br />

work at any time <strong>of</strong> any day. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

emergent work dive crews <strong>of</strong>ten work<br />

at five or more different locations in one<br />

week. Clients know <strong>the</strong>y have a dependable,<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional, and well-equipped crew ready<br />

when <strong>the</strong>y need <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Today, Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> continues to perform<br />

marine construction, salvage and<br />

nuclear diving as well as potable water,<br />

contaminated water, marine structure inspection,<br />

and ship husbandry for domestic and<br />

international shipping.<br />

In 2013, Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> initiated <strong>the</strong><br />

development <strong>of</strong> a wet welding program. Today,<br />

Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> has qualified procedures and<br />

diver/welders to perform Class B structural<br />

welds as per AWS D3.6M:2010 for A36 and<br />

A572 steel. <strong>The</strong> company intends to qualify a<br />

stainless steel procedure for <strong>the</strong> nuclear<br />

industry by <strong>the</strong> fall <strong>of</strong> 2017. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

diver/welders provide pr<strong>of</strong>essional structural<br />

welding services directly from Dryden <strong>Diving</strong><br />

as well as for o<strong>the</strong>r diving companies requiring<br />

‘wet stick’ structural welds.<br />

Dryden <strong>Diving</strong>’s affiliation with <strong>the</strong> United<br />

Bro<strong>the</strong>rhood <strong>of</strong> Carpenters gives <strong>the</strong> company<br />

access to <strong>the</strong> approximately 1,000<br />

commercial divers in its membership<br />

nationwide. This ready pool <strong>of</strong> trained<br />

diving mechanics allows Dryden <strong>Diving</strong><br />

to operate anywhere in <strong>the</strong> United<br />

States with a largely local workforce.<br />

Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> has conducted diving<br />

operations a mile from its <strong>of</strong>fice in<br />

New Jersey to Palau in <strong>the</strong> Pacific Ocean.<br />

Dryden <strong>Diving</strong> Company, Inc., looks<br />

forward to continuing servicing <strong>the</strong><br />

broad customer base it has developed<br />

over <strong>the</strong> years and meeting <strong>the</strong> challenges<br />

<strong>of</strong> new technology and markets<br />

as <strong>the</strong>y arise. For additional information,<br />

visit www.drydendiving.com.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />


Chesapeake Bay <strong>Diving</strong>, Inc., based in<br />

Portsmouth, Virginia, provides a broad range<br />

<strong>of</strong> services, including ships husbandry, salvage,<br />

construction, water treatment facilities,<br />

power generation facilities, along with many<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r underwater needs. <strong>The</strong> firm’s experienced,<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional divers provide services<br />

coast-to-coast as well as internationally.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company was founded in 1986 by<br />

Bill and Donna Santabar. As Donna recalls,<br />

Bill noticed a ‘For Sale’ sign on <strong>the</strong> property<br />

next door to his one day and came in to<br />

announced he was going to buy <strong>the</strong> building<br />

and make it into a dive shop. “My reply was,<br />

‘You are crazy!’” Donna says. “It’s a good thing<br />

he didn’t listen to me.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> new business was a natural for Bill,<br />

who was <strong>the</strong> diving supervisor at <strong>the</strong> Norfolk<br />

Naval Shipyard after retiring from <strong>the</strong> Navy’s<br />

Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team at Fort<br />

<strong>Story</strong>. Bill earned numerous awards for developing<br />

underwater techniques and promoting<br />

efficiency while underwater.<br />

After operating <strong>the</strong> dive shop for fourteen<br />

years, Bill was ready to retire and play golf. <strong>The</strong><br />

business was sold in 2000 to three employees:<br />

Aaron Addison, Jay Wilson and Martin Dorn.<br />

Addison trained under Bill, Wilson was a scout<br />

swimmer in <strong>the</strong> Marine Corps before attending<br />

dive school and signing on with Chesapeake<br />

Bay <strong>Diving</strong>. Dorn served in <strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy and<br />

joined CBD shortly after. Bill deemed <strong>the</strong> trio<br />

capable <strong>of</strong> carrying on <strong>the</strong> Santabar legacy. “Bill<br />

was like a second fa<strong>the</strong>r to me,” Addison says.<br />

“We’ve tried to pick up where he left <strong>of</strong>f.”<br />

In recent years, Chesapeake Bay <strong>Diving</strong> has<br />

expanded its heavy salvage capability and has<br />

been involved in clean up following a number<br />

<strong>of</strong> Gulf Coast hurricanes. <strong>The</strong> company has<br />

<strong>the</strong> resources to cleanly extract petroleum or<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r products from submerged vessels while<br />

protecting <strong>the</strong> safety <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> local ecosystem.<br />

Chesapeake Bay <strong>Diving</strong> can design, manufacture<br />

and install any c<strong>of</strong>ferdam a vessel may<br />

need. It can also help set up a maintenance<br />

schedule for hull inspections, hull cleanings,<br />

propeller polishing, and seachest cleanings.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se inspections help lower fuel costs and<br />

insure hull integrity.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company is also involved in construction<br />

work, including form work, welding, burning,<br />


epoxy injection, and jacketing. In addition,<br />

Chesapeake Bay <strong>Diving</strong> provides turnkey power<br />

generation services that include stop logs, cleaning<br />

intake gratings and trash racks, repairing<br />

and replacing valve, and all o<strong>the</strong>r maintenance.<br />

Chesapeake Bay <strong>Diving</strong> also has <strong>the</strong><br />

means to locate and inspect submerged and<br />

buried pipelines to verify coverage prior to<br />

potential exposure, and to perform any o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

pipeline maintenance.<br />

“We’ve done about everything <strong>the</strong>re is to do<br />

over <strong>the</strong> years, from finding a lost engagement<br />

ring to huge salvage operations,” Addison<br />

comments. “We’ve got a well rounded group <strong>of</strong><br />

guys who are well trained and equipped.<br />

“We’re proud <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> work we do and look<br />

forward to carrying on <strong>the</strong> proud tradition<br />

begun by Bill Santabar.”<br />

Above: Chesapeake Bay <strong>Diving</strong> attending a<br />

container ship at <strong>the</strong> local cargo terminal.<br />

Bottom: Bill Santabar diving on <strong>the</strong><br />

Chesapeake Light Tower.<br />





Joe Farrell outside <strong>of</strong> Resolve Marine<br />

Group’s headquarters.<br />

Joe Farrell was only twelve years old<br />

when his family moved from <strong>the</strong> inner<br />

city <strong>of</strong> Boston to <strong>the</strong> Quincy, Massachusetts,<br />

coast, and at that age, he found a job<br />

with a boat rental firm. His love <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

sea was born from this experience and<br />

sparked a career that eventually became<br />

Resolve Marine Group, a worldwide leader<br />

in salvage and wreck removal, emergency<br />

response, and maritime training.<br />

At eighteen years <strong>of</strong> age, he joined <strong>the</strong><br />

United States Coast Guard. After attending a<br />

U.S. Navy diving school, he became a ship’s<br />

diver and an engineman on a USCG icebreaker<br />

working in <strong>the</strong> Arctic, followed by duty as<br />

an explosives advisor in Vietnam. After four<br />

years, he left <strong>the</strong> military and joined <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

Navy’s Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation<br />

Center (AUTEC) in Andros Island, Bahamas.<br />

He spent <strong>the</strong> next four years recovering torpedoes<br />

as a diver jumping out <strong>of</strong> helicopters,<br />

strapping <strong>the</strong> surface floating weapons and<br />

flying <strong>the</strong>m under <strong>the</strong> helicopters back to <strong>the</strong><br />

AUTEC base.<br />

After leaving <strong>the</strong> Bahamas, Joe served as<br />

<strong>the</strong> Chief Engineer on a large Dutch-built<br />

oceangoing salvage tugboat. After a few<br />

years working onboard <strong>the</strong> tug, <strong>the</strong> owners<br />

allowed Joe to use <strong>the</strong> tugboat in an attempt<br />

to independently develop work. Joe was able<br />

to use <strong>the</strong> tugboat to perform <strong>the</strong> salvage projects<br />

and eventually allowed to purchase <strong>the</strong><br />

vessel. He promptly renamed <strong>the</strong> tugboat<br />

Resolve after having resolved what he wanted<br />

to do in life.<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> next ten years, Resolve undertook<br />

salvage jobs in <strong>the</strong> warm waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Caribbean, working on various small<br />

freighters and island vessels. Following <strong>the</strong><br />

1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, <strong>the</strong><br />

Coast Guard established new regulations for<br />

OPA-90 and Joe realized if he wanted to<br />

remain in business, he would need to meet<br />

those requirements. In short, Resolve needed<br />

a shipboard firefighting team and <strong>the</strong> best way<br />

was to build his own training facility. Resolve<br />

soon became <strong>the</strong> only salvage company with<br />

an in-house team <strong>of</strong> experts who also served<br />

as pr<strong>of</strong>essional firefighting instructors. This<br />

effort led to establishment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Resolve<br />

Maritime Academy, which has trained more<br />

than 37,000 pr<strong>of</strong>essional marines and port<br />

firefighters from around <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

Resolve’s core business is vessel emergency<br />

response and has more fully stocked and<br />

owned response warehouses globally than any<br />

emergency vessel responder. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

operates worldwide and with facilities and<br />

staff in Singapore, Shanghai, Gibraltar,<br />

Mumbai, London, Rotterdam, Cape Town,<br />

Florida, Alabama, and Alaska, in addition to<br />

twenty-two OPA-90 SMFF depots in <strong>the</strong><br />

United States.<br />

Resolve has also successfully performed<br />

extremely complex salvage operations<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> world. <strong>The</strong> company has<br />

experienced salvage masters, naval architects,<br />

engineers and divers standing ready to assist<br />

clients around <strong>the</strong> clock.<br />

In 2006, Resolve, in conjunction with<br />

<strong>the</strong> U.S. Navy, sank <strong>the</strong> decommissioned<br />

USS Oriskany aircraft carrier to create <strong>the</strong><br />

world’s largest artificial reef <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong><br />

Pensacola, Florida. <strong>The</strong> challenging project<br />

took more than two years and more than 150<br />

full-time personnel. While completing <strong>the</strong><br />

project, Joe learned <strong>the</strong> Oriskany was <strong>the</strong><br />

aircraft carrier that a young Lieutenant<br />

Commander named John McCain flew <strong>of</strong>f on<br />

October 26, 1967. McCain was shot down<br />

over Hanoi and spent five and a half years as<br />

a captive <strong>of</strong> North Vietnam. It was also on <strong>the</strong><br />

deck <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Oriskany where McCain’s fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Admiral Jack McCain, assumed command <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Navy’s Pacific Fleet while his son was<br />

being tortured in Hanoi.<br />

As a token <strong>of</strong> appreciation, Joe saved a<br />

porthole from <strong>the</strong> Oriskany and presented it to<br />

McCain, now a U.S. Senator, in his <strong>of</strong>fice at<br />

<strong>the</strong> U.S. Capitol.<br />

For nearly thirty-eight years, Resolve<br />

Marine Group has met some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> biggest<br />

maritime challenges throughout <strong>the</strong> world. As<br />

Resolve has grown, it has remained steadfast<br />

in its commitment to reinvest pr<strong>of</strong>its in people<br />

and businesses that align with Resolve’s<br />

core mission: to protect life, <strong>the</strong> environment,<br />

and property at sea. Joe attributes his phenomenal<br />

and successful growth and good fortune<br />

to giving more <strong>the</strong>n you ask for in return<br />

and to simply treat people <strong>the</strong> way you would<br />

like to be treated.<br />

WORKING UNDERWATER: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />







<strong>The</strong> Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors<br />

International stands today as more than just a<br />

trade association. Since 1968, <strong>the</strong> ADCI has<br />

become <strong>the</strong> voice and symbol <strong>of</strong> safety for<br />

commercial diving and underwater operations.<br />

<strong>Industry</strong> stakeholders such as government<br />

regulatory agencies, militaries, schools,<br />

vendors, manufacturers, <strong>the</strong> medical and<br />

insurance communities, as well as those that<br />

engage in <strong>the</strong> operations <strong>of</strong> commercial diving<br />

all look to <strong>the</strong> ADCI as <strong>the</strong> premier entity for<br />

<strong>the</strong> establishment <strong>of</strong> industry best practices.<br />

One reason for <strong>the</strong> longstanding sustainability<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Association is its willingness to engage<br />

in open dialogue with <strong>the</strong> industry when developing<br />

<strong>the</strong> guidelines and recommendations<br />

within <strong>the</strong> International Consensus Standards<br />

for <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> and <strong>Underwater</strong><br />

Operations. <strong>The</strong> hallmark and strength <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Association is its diverse make up, which allows<br />

it to approach industry challenges on a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> levels. <strong>The</strong> ADCI’s regional chapter framework<br />

provides an outlet for both members and<br />

non-members to share <strong>the</strong>ir lessons learned and<br />

notable operations conducted, all <strong>of</strong> which supports<br />

<strong>the</strong> Association’s focus on safety, education,<br />

and communication.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re have been many individuals over<br />

<strong>the</strong> course <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> last fifty years who have<br />

helped make <strong>the</strong> ADCI what it is today. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

can be found in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Hall<br />

<strong>of</strong> Fame, serving on a committee or on <strong>the</strong><br />

Board <strong>of</strong> Directors. <strong>The</strong>y can be found working<br />

on a pipeline, a dam, or in an <strong>of</strong>fice.<br />

Supporters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Association serve <strong>the</strong> industry<br />

in a variety <strong>of</strong> different ways. Over <strong>the</strong><br />

course <strong>of</strong> its history, <strong>the</strong> ADCI has become<br />

adept at listening to and acting upon feedback<br />

in <strong>the</strong> best and most effective way to better<br />

<strong>the</strong> conduct <strong>of</strong> underwater operations. In<br />

short, <strong>the</strong> key to <strong>the</strong> ADCI’s first fifty years<br />

and <strong>the</strong> key to its next fifty years, will be its<br />

ability to embrace change and focus its efforts<br />

for change on positive terms.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> current Executive Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

ADCI, I am honored to serve in <strong>the</strong> footsteps<br />

<strong>of</strong> those who’ve paved <strong>the</strong> way for me to try to<br />

make a difference. I am also blessed to work<br />

every day with <strong>the</strong> longest tenured employee<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Association, <strong>the</strong> Grande Dame and my<br />

colleague, Barbara Treadway. No one person<br />

has seen more <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> progression <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ADCI<br />

firsthand than Barbara.<br />

I have also encountered o<strong>the</strong>rs who have<br />

helped me to lead organizational change, build<br />

positive industry relationships, learn from my<br />

mistakes, be open to new ideas, take <strong>the</strong><br />

initiative, and fix fatal flaws. I cherish <strong>the</strong><br />

opportunity to hold this position and be a part<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> positive impact that <strong>the</strong> Association <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International has on <strong>the</strong><br />

underwater industry.<br />

<strong>Underwater</strong> Intervention, UI 2018.<br />




American Marine Corporation.............................................................................................................................................................94<br />

Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> Contractors International ................................................................................................................................111<br />

Chesapeake Bay <strong>Diving</strong>, Inc. .............................................................................................................................................................109<br />

Collins Engineers, Inc. ........................................................................................................................................................................63<br />

<strong>Commercial</strong> <strong>Diving</strong> & Marine Services, Inc.........................................................................................................................................82<br />

Divers Institute <strong>of</strong> Technology.............................................................................................................................................................84<br />

DRS Marine Inc. ..............................................................................................................................................................................