Volume 2, Number 10, Page 2


November 1999


The origin of the NOAA Diving Program can be traced back many years prior to the formation of NOAA in October 1970. A series of articles will follow highlighting the development of diving research within NOAA. As early as 1948, hard hat divers were utilized to make scientific observations and assessments for the Dept. of Interior’s Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF). SCUBA became available in the U.S. in the late 1940’s and researchers wasted little time learning and utilizing this new technology for science. Scuba diving by BCF scientists began in 1953 and by 1955 personnel were regularly conducting diving investigations. In 1957, Dr. Harris B. Stewart, one of the pioneer diving scientists, joined the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey (USC&GS), where he was assigned to the Sea-Air Interaction Laboratory (SAIL), a joint C&GS, Weather Bureau/Office of Oceanography organization. In early 1958, the first operational use of scuba in C&GS took place at Winyah Bay, South Carolina where divers operating from the C&GS Ship Gilbert installed a platform on which to mount the prototype Roberts Radio-current meter and observe its operation. Later that same year, a second scuba operation took place off the C&GS Ship Hydrographer to study migrating sand waves on Georges’ Bank. In 1959, Dr. Stewart again took part in operation “Drum Drop” on Brown’s Ledge in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts which studied the disposal of radioactive wastes at sea. Between 1957 and 1960 BCF divers in Seattle began trawl diving studies to evaluate configurations of experimental net designs. In 1961, divers began to operate from the C&GS Ship Sosbee to determine least depths of shoal soundings and to install tide gauges in the Gulf of Mexico. Next issue: MUS&TEnd of article



A correction to last months note pertaining to the Luxfer requirement that scuba cylinders 15 years old and older must be visually inspected annually, as well as, inspected with Visual Plus or equivalent non-destructive testing equipment. A NOAA Safety Bulletin will be not be issued on this subject in the near future as the Visual Plus or similar testing is only required if you want to maintain manufacturerer’s warranty.End of article

NDC Hyperbaric Chamber

From October 18 - 29, 1999, NDC was the site of the 25th annual NOAA/UHMS Physicians Training in Diving Medicine. Thirty participants completed the internationally recognized two-week program mentored by Dr. J. Morgan Wells and Dick Rutkowski of the Undersea Research Foundation. The course consisted of lectures by a number of visiting experts in the field of hyperbarics and diving medicine and practical work with NDC hyperbaric chamber and surface supplied diving systems. Since its’ inception in 1974, this course has trained over 600 medical personnel.End of article  


Andrea Lim is currently working as a casual laborer in support of the SEP program. As of Nov 21st, she will be full-time permanent. She may be reached at 206/526-6446 or Please be sure to include descriptive paperwork with any requests or with equipment returned to NDC. End of article  


Annual operational reports are due from NOAA diving units. Reports are to have been completed by October 31. Delay no further and forwarding the information to your respective LODO with a copy to NDC. The annual report form is also found on the UDS website in the FORMS section. Information provided is used in the NDP Annual Report. Submission of photos, papers and news articles along with the report is welcomed. End of article

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