Advanced Skills

Lessons for Life: Inexperienced Diver Drowns in Cave System

A Diver Loses His Life After Exploring a Cave

Miko Maciaszek


Diving was diving, right? Rex was sure his experience diving on wrecks and reefs would carry him through. After all, it wasn’t the first time he had ventured inside of something with a roof over his head.

Rex decided to take a quick look into the cave system attached to the lake he was diving. It was dark, but he had a small light with him. He kept it in his BC pocket and had almost forgotten about it as he geared up. Rex thought the cave system was pretty cool — until he turned around and couldn’t see the way back out.


Rex was 47 years old, with an advanced open water certifcation. He had a couple of specialty ratings, but no training diving in caverns, caves or overhead environments. He had logged a few hundred dives over 10 years; most of his experience came from boat dives in Florida and in the Caribbean.


Rex met three friends at a nearby open-water dive site that local instructors used for training. It was a freshwater spring with a large lake divers could explore. The spring’s owners had installed platforms that divers used to perform skills, as well as hoops to practice buoyancy control.

Off to one side of the facility, the natural spring exited an underwater cave. There was a cavern where divers could swim around, keeping the lake directly behind them while experiencing the feeling of the rock face looming large in front of them and over their heads. Beyond that cavern area, divers with the proper training could enter an expansive cave system.

Before Rex and his buddies were allowed to dive in the lake, the site operators briefed the foursome and warned them to stay away from the cave, telling them that many divers had died by going inside without the proper preparation, training and equipment. Rex and his friends signed releases agreeing to take responsibility for their actions, and a statement acknowledging they had been warned not to go inside the cave system. They were told they weren’t allowed to take lights along on the dive, a final measure to keep inexperienced divers from going inside the cave.


After a couple of circuits around the open-water portion of the lake, Rex began to grow bored with the dive. There wasn’t much to see or do, and he wasn’t interested in practicing his buoyancy control swimming through the hoops or the manufactured swim-throughs. He started to get curious about the cave system and then remembered he had a small light in his BC pocket. While his friends were seeing how close they could get to a foating hoop without touching it, he decided to swim away and explore the cave. He told himself he would just go inside the opening to see what it was like. It couldn’t be very different from going into the pilot house of a shipwreck. He had a roof over his head when he did that too.

Rex ignored the warning sign positioned just outside the cave. It took some effort to get through the opening — the water flowing out of the underground spring pushed against him as he crawled through. Inside, Rex took a moment to let his eyes adjust while he shined the light around the cave’s first opening. There wasn’t much to see in that first room, but he knew the cave opened up just a little farther in. He had seen pictures in the dive shop. Rex finned even farther ahead, looking at the tunnels that ventured of to either side and shining his small light around to see what he could see. The water pressure from the spring dropped of significantly inside the cave, so Rex was able to swim more easily.

After a few more minutes, Rex realized his buddies were probably wondering where he was. He checked his air supply and realized it was getting low. He had been in the water about 40 minutes and had worked hard to get inside the cave. He turned to go out and realized he wasn’t sure where the opening to the surface was. He had kicked up quite a bit of the fine silt that covered the bottom of the cave, making the water hazy.

Rex became nervous, but he began swimming back the way he thought he had come, certain he would see the opening just around the next bend in the tunnel. He never found it.
When Rex’s buddies realized he was gone, they immediately began looking for Rex around the cave entrance. The water flowing out of the cave made it difficult for them to do more than peek their heads inside. They didn’t have lights with them, so they couldn’t see anything. They noticed quite a bit of silt coming out of the cave and decided they needed to get help.

They hoped they would find Rex on the surface, waiting for them. He wasn’t there. Rex’s body was recovered several days later.


There’s a saying that watching your air pressure go down to zero is no way to spend the rest of your life. Every year, divers learn this terrible lesson.

Rex made several mistakes, but none more ill-fated than simply letting his ego and curiosity take the place of good sense and sound decisions. He disregarded a warning sign that told him divers had died inside the cave he was about to enter, and he ignored the signs telling him he was not allowed to take a light into the water.

Diving inside a cave or just about any overhead environment requires training, practice, experience and specialized equipment. In a cave-diving course, Rex would have learned not to enter a cave system with only half a tank of air and other rules regarding breathing-gas management. He would have practiced laying a line into the cave using a reel so he could find his way back out. He also would have practiced finning techniques that would keep him from stirring up the silt on the bottom of the cave. He also would have learned that he needed to carry a primary light and at least one backup light, in case one failed. And, of course, he wouldn’t have gone into the cave in the first place without a buddy.


1 Don’t Go Do not enter a cave or other overhead environment without specialized training or equipment.

2 Understand Your Limitations Experience in one environment does not necessarily mean you can dive everywhere. If you’re diving somewhere new, make a guided dive to learn the local ropes.

3 Follow the Rules Rules such as not carrying lights into a lake attached to a cave system are there for your protection.

Eric Douglas co-authored the book Scuba Diving Safety, and has written a series of adventure novels, children’s books, and short stories — all with an ocean and scuba-diving theme. Check out his website at

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Dive Hacks: Expert Tips for Liveaboard Adventures

Savvy divers know that liveaboards are the ultimate way to travel for maximum water time and major pampering. These floating palaces of dive lust cruise some of the most exotic and prolific regions on the planet, putting their guests into the best possible conditions at optimal times for mind-blowing encounters. When your plush stateroom and gourmet meals are bobbing gently above a world-class dive site, a vacation doesn’t get much easier. All that’s required is to roll out of bed and into your wetsuit, because your gear is already assembled and waiting for you, attached to a full cylinder. Consider enjoying this scenario for seven to 10 days in a row, and the fantasy that is liveaboard diving comes into clear and wonderful focus.

All of this bliss comes at a price, however. This method of travel represents a significant investment, one that frequently cashes out at a more expensive price tag than a land-based alternative. And because you’re typically isolated from civilization, it pays to come prepared with a highly tuned game plan, the right equipment and a few tricks to which only liveaboard veterans are privy. To even the playing field for every diver, I asked Lauren Hill, the New Zealand-born captain of the Aggressor Fleet’s Cayman Aggressor IV, for her expert advice. A veteran of six years at the helm and a half-dozen more as an instructor and guide, Hill is one of the most customer-focused liveaboard hosts I’ve ever encountered; her advice can help you make the most of your luxury-travel investment.


Diving from a liveaboard means that, more often than not, you’ll be anchored in a prime spot that day boats can take considerable time to reach. And captains know how to maximize local conditions to serve up the best spots on any given day. Advantage: you. So make the most of the opportunity by rising with the sun and being there when the reef comes to life. Piloting the CAIV gives Hill early-bird entry to some of her favorite sites in the Caymans: “Nancy’s Cup of Tea on Little Cayman as a dawn dive is always a ‘wow’ dive when the reef is waking up around you and the reef sharks come in close to check us out.”


Without the pressure land-based operators have to get their guests in the water and back on a schedule, liveaboard divers have the ultimate luxury of time. Whether you’re diving from the yacht or by tender, the relaxed schedule can take some getting used to. “As all our dives are from the mothership, there is no need to take of on a mission swimming 2 miles away underwater,” says Hill. “All our dives are right under the boat, so our guests can slow down and smell the roses — and relax.”


The glorious isolation of being on a yacht far out at sea is a fantasy many of us share. But it can quickly turn into a nightmare when equipment malfunctions and you can’t hit the local dive store for that key part or replacement piece. “A big mistake our divers make is not testing their gear after having it serviced,” Hill says. “First dive of the week, and we have free-flowing this and malfunctioning that and the cry of, ‘But I just had it serviced.’ Go for a couple of local dives at home before your trip, even if it’s just in the pool.” You can’t always count on the boat staff to have a particular part, so a well-stocked save-a-dive kit is a must.

Hill advises that “having backup equipment if you own an unusual brand, for example, or a spare battery for your flashlight that regular batteries don’t fit,” can help liveaboard guests avoid missing dives when disaster strikes. “And photographers should pack backup fiber-optic cables and strobe connectors, and a backup SD card or hard drive too.”


With the availability of up to five dives per day, liveaboard guests can rack up serious bottom time, but they can also chill themselves to the verge of hypothermia — even in tropical waters. Being mindful of your internal body temperature can be the difference between performing at your best and shivering in discomfort.

“I always encourage guests to get completely dry and changed between dives,” Hill says. “Your core temp will warm up faster, and you will probably stay warmer and enjoy the next dive even more.”


You’ll be on board with the same group of strangers for an extended period. Even though a common love of diving is a great icebreaker, Hill has seen enough good and bad chemistry experiments to pick up a few best practices. “There are a few key ways to make friends or just get along when you are on a yacht for a week or more,” she says. “In your cabin and on the dive deck, keep your belongings, equipment, and diving and photo gear all in your space. Don’t be that guy or gal who takes over the cabin or the dive deck with all of your worldly possessions.”

Hill’s final piece of advice: “Try not to be a know-it-all,” she says. “It’s great that you are enthusiastic and you have all of this knowledge to share, but don’t force it upon your fellow divers — you’ll only drive them away. Move around the group, sitting with different people at mealtimes, and just be social. Best of all, just relax, bring a sense of humor and enjoy the ride.”


Capt. Lauren Hill’s recommended scuba accessories and common household items to make the most of your liveaboard trip.

A GOOD FLASHLIGHT Think small, bright and rechargeable (or with plenty of extra batteries).

SURFACE-MARKER BUOY Make sure you never dive without one.

TWO OR THREE SWIMSUITS So you’ll always have a dry one.

BATTERIES Bring backups for your computer, camera and everything else that uses them.

SUNSCREEN Nothing is worse than getting fried your first day on board, then suffering the rest of the week
when you strap your BC on sunburned shoulders.

SEASICKNESS MEDS Be proactive about taking them, because when it’s too late, it’s too late.

CONDITIONER Girls or guys with long hair, not all boats supply it (your hair will appreciate it).

PRESENTS FOR THE CAPTAIN AND CREW Bring (and leave on the boat) DVDs of new movies and TV series, books, magazines, etc. The crew will love you.

Click here for liveaboard dive deals and for some of our favorite liveaboard destinations!

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Diving Down Under: Australia’s Olwolgin Cave System

The adventure starts, as all Nullarbor trips do, with packing. Spare batteries — camera, strobes, primary light, backup lights, video lights, headlight for camping. Food — cooked and frozen pasta and stews, roasted nuts; don’t forget the washing-up bucket. Tanks and tents, underwater lights, drinking-water drums, a camping stove, hundreds of feet of guideline. There are no opportunities to buy on arrival when you’re on a road trip to the middle of nowhere. We will be completely self-sufficient for the duration of our stay, camping by the cave entrance, generating our own power and filling our own tanks. From my home in Melbourne, Australia, it’s more than 1,400 miles to Olwolgin Cave.


Most stories of diving the Nullarbor caves talk about the route. First, major multilane highways. Then, after Adelaide, gentle rolling hills and billboards. As the farmed greenery fades away nearly 1,000 miles later, options disappear. From here, it’s a single-lane highway snaking along the southern coastline of our continent.

We pass suicidal kangaroos and thundering road trains, and stop for the night in a tiny country town. Two days later we are on the Nullarbor proper, where the Southern Ocean crashes against high limestone cliffs.

The Nullarbor Plain was named from the Latin “null” and “arbor,” meaning “no trees.” It makes fat and feature-less into a feature. The limestone cliffs swerve inland from the sea, and we drive down onto the lower plains. From the highway turnoff, it’s a slower and bumpier journey along a dirt track.

The entrance to Olwolgin Cave is just under a mile from our campsite. After initial trips walking tanks between camp and cave in backpacks, some bright spark pointed out that the sandy walking track had become quite fat. The next trip out saw an explosion of wheelbarrows. The key to correct wheelbarrowing of dive gear is to move most of the weight over the front wheel, reducing stress on the arms. Of course, if you move all of the gear to the front, the wheelbarrow is almost impossible to steer and will tip over uncontrollably. Like many things in life, it’s a balance.


Because we are down below the cliff line and close to the water table, the entrance to Olwolgin is a small depression rather than a massive doline. A rocky overhang shields two pools of water from the midday sun. Both were first dived in early 2002; the more promising-looking pool was declared a no-go — too small, with no way on. The smaller, harder-to-climb-into pool did the opposite — it opened up to a maze of shallow tunnels. Over the course of a few years and a lot of trips, the known extent of the tunnels was festooned with orange guideline, and the map rapidly expanded.

Unlike the clear-blue water and huge tunnels of the deep caves above the cliff line, Olwolgin features dark-green water. In some underwater caves elsewhere on the planet, divers can see a halocline — a clearly visible layer where heavier salt water and the overlying fresh water mix. In Olwolgin, this layer is dispersed through the tunnel, with the different salinity concentrations blending smoothly into each other. When we unavoidably swim through the mix, the disturbance creates a blurry layer of water that bends and traps light. I watch my buddy, Tim Muscat, swim past, seeing the wake of his gentle fin kicks in whirling fuzzy water behind him.

The mixing layers have created fantastic shapes, eroding the limestone at every level. But it makes photographs difficult — I cannot take a picture through water that someone has swum through. Instead, I find myself swimming hard up against one wall before turning into the middle of the tunnel and doubling back toward my following buddy. As long as both Tim and I keep moving forward into undisturbed water, the photos are clear and sharp. If I stop, the fuzzy mixing layer envelops the front of my camera housing. There are a few midwater collisions as we try to get the timing right. Tim is remarkably patient with my camera obsession. Distracting, unseen tunnels beckon left and right at every intersection of the guideline.

Tree roots from the surface have found their way down to the cave below, spreading out on subterranean surfaces until they drop into the depths under their own weight. The saltier layers farther down kill the roots, and the tree starts anew, growing another net of roots on the surface. The ghostly remains underneath form a fragile, tangled web hanging in the water. Signage reminds divers to swim along set pathways, ensuring that neither water movement nor a careless exhalation destroys these eerie creations. I try to get close enough for photos while staying far enough away to protect the roots from my presence.


The rest of the team is not here for photographs. After several years of exploration and new tunnel discoveries via the first entrance pool, the cave seemed to have given up most of its secrets. Then, on a trip in late 2010, original explorer Paul Hosie decided to have one more look into that promising pool on the other side of the depression. With years of familiarity with the cave and its small crevices, he pushed down a twisty underwater chimney and through nearly 200 feet of a very small fattener. With an epic effort behind him — and a long, zero-viz exit — he was rewarded with a massive tunnel ahead. Suddenly, the push for newly discovered cave tunnels was on again, and the “downstream” Olwolgin rapidly showed itself to be larger, longer and more complex than the originally discovered “upstream” side.

While the others eagerly push into unknown territory and find inter-connecting side passages, I rejoice in being able to maneuver my large camera housing through the very small entrance. The rock scalloping in this newly revealed side of the system is stunning, and bigger tunnels give more room to swim around the fuzzy waters. Tim and I have limited time, and we select the most photogenic areas to visit, capturing images of places seen only by two or three divers so far.

Over the past five years, downstream Olwolgin has been the gift that keeps on giving. The exploration frontier is now more than a mile from the entrance, with more than 5 miles of mapped passages. There are huge rooms that make you wonder what’s holding up the roof, and tiny restrictions to convince you that you’ve reached the end of the cave — until squeezing through reveals large, continuing passages. In places, the roof has one set of bubbles down the middle, evidence that the exploration divers swam straight through to new territory, and no one has looked closely at either wall yet.

It’s a stunning cave, and it’s a privilege to be the first to dive these unseen places.


Olwolgin is classified as an advanced dive site. Bookings of qualified divers are managed through the Western Australia Department of Lands. By limiting the number of divers, each diver has a better experience underwater, and the impact on the cave is reduced.

To become qualified for cave diving in Australia requires three courses after your Advanced Open Water cert: Deep Cavern, Cave and Advanced Cave. Each has experience requirements and prerequisites. Divers with other cave qualifications can complete crossover courses with the CDAA; international visitors can obtain a visitors permit and temporary membership of the CDAA with a local sponsor.


Olwolgin is a challenging place to take photos, with green, blurry water and things like navigation to concentrate on. Photographing here takes special techniques to capture the cave.

1 Add more light Although the water is dark, the cave walls are white. By putting extra strobes on your buddy, you can extend the light beyond the camera and bring depth to the photos.

2 Keep swimming The mixing halocline layer will make every photo look out of focus. Keep moving forward into undisturbed water to get a clear shot.

3 Pre-focus Modern cameras are great at low-light focusing, but they still struggle in darker caves. Your buddy might not appreciate a primary light in her face for focusing each shot. Pre-focus the camera at the right distance, and snap happily.

4 Go wide Tunnels here can be large, but there are beautiful sights in the smaller areas too. The little tunnels don’t provide an opportunity to back up to capture it all, so a very wide-angle lens is key.

5 Be gentle Olwolgin has some beautiful and very delicate features such as tree roots and scalloped rocks. Before you get close to them to photograph, work out how to carefully approach each one, and think through how you’re going to swim away afterward without causing damage.


Olwolgin is a long way from anywhere, and there are no commercial operators running cave-diving trips to the region. PLANNING a trip to the Australian desert carries its own risks completely separate from the cave-diving experience. A car breakdown without appropriate EQUIPMENT can leave you stranded and in serious trouble. Things like additional spare tires, a satellite phone and an extensive first-aid kit should all come into consideration. From a diving perspective, there are no spares on site. The most innocuous failure (like a drysuit seal or a smashed prescription mask) can leave a diver sitting at camp while the rest of the team enjoys themselves underwater. Think through your kit and consider things you don’t have a second option for because they rarely break. Both the car trip across the country and the wheelbarrow trip into the cave can lead to unexpected gear breakage before you even hit the water. COSTS for diving here are not huge; the ACCOMMODATIONS come at the cost of a BYO tent. Fuel for the vehicle, a hotel room for a night along the way, and beer for your stay-at-home dive buddies so you can borrow their dive gear for extra spares are the largest expense items. TEMPERATURES can climb to more than 100 degrees during the day and drop below freezing at night at any time of year. So, although spring and fall tend to be milder, a warm sleeping bag and a big hat are essential. Once in the cave, the water stays a constant 61 degrees year-round.

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The World’s Dirtiest Dive Jobs

For most divers, spending time underwater is all about having fun. But some see the underwater world in a totally different way: as a job — and a challenging one at that. From commercial divers to underwater investigators, we spoke to five brave men and women who earn their livings in treacherous environments, where their skill and experience keeps them safe when they work — underwater.

Nuclear Reactor Diver

Commercial diving — working underwater, usually wearing a helmet with surface-supplied air rather than a scuba tank — encompasses a variety of diving jobs, but few raise eyebrows so much as those in and around nuclear reactors.

Before she went to commercial-diving school, Kyra Richter had been a scuba diver for 10 years, working as a dive instructor in Asia and the Caribbean, and as a technical cave diver in Mexico’s cenotes. “Despite all this, I knew as a woman I’d have a hard time in the male-dominated environment of offshore commercial diving, even though my dream was to be a saturation diver,” she says. “One of my instructors had photos of himself working in a nuclear plant, and it fascinated me from day one.”

Today, Richter is a nuclear-dive-program supervisor for a plant in Michigan and has consulted on programs in the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. “Nuclear diving is a mix of inland and industrial diving, which means we work in rivers, lakes and oceans, and in man-made intake tunnels, condensers, pools, tanks and other structures inside the plant,” Richter explains. “We work in open or closed systems, clean or dirty water, which is contaminated water that contains radioactive isotopes.”

But for all the eyebrow-raising nuclear diving might cause, Richter says it’s one of the safest forms of commercial diving. “There is a lot less expense-cutting and a lot more support from the industry to appropriately staff a job,” she says. However, that doesn’t mean it’s without risk.

she says. Overexposing a diver to radiation is highly unlikely. “That’s why we clean all areas prior to work, do surveys of the work area, and the divers carry probes so that they can survey each area themselves before they walk into them,” she explains. “We’re also remotely monitored by radiation-protection technicians who can get instant readings on the doses we’re receiving.”

Criminal Investigator

When bad guys want to cover up a crime, they often try to hide the evidence underwater.

says Michael Berry, founder and president of Underwater Criminal Investigators. “It’s my job to not only find these items, but also recover them in a way that preserves any fingerprints, DNA or other evidence that might be left behind.”

When Berry started working as a police diver, there was no standardized training. “Everybody was studying rescue diving, but the reality is, the majority of what we do is recovery,” he says. He went on to develop the first Underwater Criminal Investigator course for PADI; today, UCI is a leader in police search-and-recovery training.

Over the nearly 30 years he has worked as an underwater investigator, Berry has found himself diving in every type of environment imaginable, and has encountered his share of aggressive wildlife along the way.

The worst problem he encountered came from bacteria. “I was diving in a rock quarry that had turned to mud over the years, looking for stolen merchandise, and I came across a bag filled with the rotting corpses of puppies and kittens,” he says. “I ended up catching meningitis and was out of commission for months — it almost killed me.”

Deadhead Logger

For technical-diving instructor John Claytor, the swamps and river-beds of Florida and Georgia are a treasure trove of lost old-growth lumber.

His story starts in the late 19th century, when a logging boom was in full swing, harvesting old-growth trees and transporting them by barge along U.S. waterways.

Claytor says experts estimate around 10 percent of those logs were lost when barges carrying them sank. The low oxygen content at the bottom of these rivers and lakes preserved the wood, and the scarcity of the logs makes them valuable.

“I started diving around here in 1965, when I was in junior high, hunting for old bottles and Native American artifacts. Everywhere I dived, I’d see these logs all over the bottom, so I started keeping track,” Claytor says. “Years later, I had to screw my head on right and start making a living. I had a lot of MacGyver blood in me, so I went back to those old notes and started teaching myself how to pull those logs out and process them into lumber.”

Today, Claytor and his son bring the trees up, dry them out, cut them into lumber, and then use them to create custom projects like furniture and flooring.

But the work, called deadhead logging, is one of the most dangerous types of logging. Underwater crews have been featured on the History channel show Ax Men. “I try to block out the negative when I’m down there,” says Claytor. “I’ve dealt with every hazard you can think of, from poisonous-snake bites, alligators and 250-pound snapping turtles to getting caught in fishing lines and nets.”

However, he says the biggest risk is the logs themselves.

Safety/Croc Wrangler

South African divemaster Richard Bolter has a truly unpredictable and dangerous diving job in a rare niche of his own creation. “More people have gone to the moon than do what I do,” he says. That’s because he’s a fixer and safety diver who specializes in arranging and leading diving expeditions for underwater photographers who wish to go face to face with deadly, man-eating Nile crocodiles in Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta.

“I first got the idea while I was visiting the area with some friends on a bush holiday,” Bolter says. “During the summer months, the water gets crystal clear, and when I went under the water for the first time, I realized the crocs didn’t react the same as they do on the surface.” This led Bolter to establish certain rules of engagement that keep him and the divers that accompany him safe.

The most important rule: Never spend any time on the water’s surface, which sparks the crocs’ attention. “It’s military-style diving getting in and out of the water,” he says. Bolter also carefully vets any divers who want to hire him, and limits his services to professional documentary-film crews. “This environment is just not safe for tourist divers,” he says. “A company started bringing groups of tourists once, and soon a diver lost an arm to one of the crocs.”

Bolter says the key to successful encounters is cruising the canals, looking for crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks. “Usually they slip into the water when we pass by,” he says. “Then we jump in upstream and ride the current to where I predict they’ll settle on the bottom.” Underwater, the crocs are often placid, or at least have little interest in the divers. “They have very poor eyesight underwater, so they don’t really notice us, even up close,” he says. “But if you touch them anywhere near the side of the face, they attack.”

Offshore Saturation Diver

In the world of commercial divers, saturation diving is the endgame,” says Brian Lacey, a commercial and saturation diver based in Houston who freelances for oil and gas companies in the Gulf of Mexico, and overseas in countries such as Russia, India and Indonesia. “It’s the job everyone wants, and the only reason any of us do it is the money — it’s like being in jail for a month at a time.”

That’s because saturation divers do their work while living inside a diving bell or compression chamber. As anyone with a scuba certification knows, a diver’s body absorbs nitrogen under pressure. Recreational divers minimize this with time limits and slow ascent rates to avoid the bends, but saturation divers go under pressure and stay there until their bodies becomes saturated with nitrogen and can’t absorb any more. Saturated divers can dive indefinitely at great depths, as long as they stay under pressure. When the job is done, they’re slowly decompressed inside the chamber.

“A standard run is 30 days down, with a two-man team taking turns, working five hours at a time in the water,” Lacey explains.

Although it’s boring, the saturation part of the job isn’t particularly dangerous. Lacey says the greatest risks arise when he’s actually on a dive, where his job is assembling or taking apart oil and gas equipment, such as oil rigs and pipelines. “Working with underwater cutting torches is probably the most dangerous thing we do,” he says. “As you cut, the torch puts of hydrogen gas, and if you happen to be under a ledge, the gas can pool, and a spark from your torch can cause a major explosion — I had a small explosion once that rocked my head so hard it knocked the defog soap from my mask plate into my eyes.”

Are you ready for a diving career? The proper training can prepare you for a job that offers a lot of adventure.

The Ocean Corporation is a diver-training facility in Houston. Its campus has a dive- tank training complex, two decompression chambers, a diving bell, and “nondestructive testing” inspection equipment. Ocean Corporation offers two training certification paths that lead to a number of commercial-diving career possibilities.

Ultimate Diver Training
This program prepares divers to perform inspections, repairs and support services for a
variety of projects or facilities including nuclear power plants, bridges, municipal wastewater facilities, dams, ship harbors, ports, water towers, resorts and cruise lines, and aquariums.

Nondestructive Testing Training
NDT inspectors use sophisticated technology and equipment to identify and diagnose flaws in steel and concrete without disrupting the integrity of a structure. Certified NDT technicians perform inspections all over the world, in nuclear power plants and oil refineries as well as on airplanes, oil rigs and more.

To learn more, visit

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5 Tips to Streamline Gear for Easy Diving

Wearing just enough weight underwater allows your BC to save air.


Wearing just enough weight underwater allows your BC to save air

Staying streamlined underwater has many benefits, from reducing your risk of snagging hoses on delicate corals to improving air consumption by reducing drag as you swim. Follow these five tips to help stay sleek on your next dive.

  1. CARRY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED: Loading down the D-rings with so much gear you look like a Christmas tree is a common mistake divers make. Instead of clipping on every gadget you own for every dive, be selective according to your dive plan. Shallow reef ? Leave the stage bottle behind. Wreck penetration?
    Trade your fish ID cards for a reel and dive lights.

  2. MINIMIZE AND SECURE HOSES: Never leave your hoses hanging, and cut out extra hoses when you can. For example, using a computer with a remote air sensor will eliminate the need for a high-pressure hose. Otherwise, make sure your octopus and gauges are clipped securely to your BC, with the hoses routed properly under your arms.

  3. STOW THE SNORKEL: For many divers, a snorkel can be cumbersome underwater, and a snag hazard. Sure, your open-water instructor said it was required equipment. But honestly, when is the last time you used it while scuba diving? Instead of clipping it on your mask, opt for a collapsible model that fits in your BC pocket.

  4. DIAL IN YOUR WEIGHT: Wearing too much weight underwater forces you to over inflate your BC, which causes drag and burns more air. Wear just enough weight that when you exhale completely at the surface, you sink to eye level. You’ll have to work a little to descend at first, but once you’re 5 to 10 feet down, you’ll have near-perfect buoyancy, without adding any air to your BC.

  5. GET THE RIGHT FIT: Comfortable, well-fitting gear is another key to staying streamlined, and the most important pieces to consider are your wetsuit and BC. The best way to get the right fit is to visit your local dive shop, where you can take your time to find the make, model and size that suit you perfectly. However, if you plan to use rental gear, show up at the dive center a little earlier than normal so you have time to try on a few sizes before heading to the boat.

For more information on getting the right scuba gear click here

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