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Deep Sea Diving

Diving (underwater) is the act of entering water and remaining below the surface to explore, to work, or simply to have fun. Diving is popular all over the world. It is usually done in the ocean, but divers also explore other bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and ponds. Snorkeling on the surface (or just below) is a common form of diving, but many people use scuba, which stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. Scuba divers carry a tank of air that allows them to breathe while deep underwater.

Early Diving
The ancient Greeks practiced commercial and military diving, usually with little or no equipment. In the Iliad, Homer describes the use of divers in the Trojan Wars; Greek laws regulating those who dived for sunken treasure are found as early as the third century BC. Before the introduction of modern apparatus, divers submerged with the aid of a rope and a stone weight; using the rope as a guide for position, the naked diver quickly scooped up whatever commodity was being sought.

Deep Sea diving for a common man

A wonderful world of incredible beauty lies before the eyes of the diver. The diversity of the underwater world, the wealth and beauty of its fauna and flora, the constant interchange of images and unique harmony make up an ideal place for modern man to cast off the stress of everyday life.

Deep sea diving is the easiest way to become acquainted with the underwater environment. It takes only one's breathe, basic equipment - which includes a mask, a respirator, a pair of flippers and diving suit, for each individual to see the sea-bed revealed before his astonished eyes.

Throughout history, people have been fascinated by life underwater, and the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) estimates that there are now 6 million active divers worldwide. They engage in many different types of diving, of which wreck, cave, commercial, and military diving are just a few. The most common form of diving is sport diving, or recreational diving, which is practiced at depths of less than 130 ft (39 m). From these depths, divers can make a straight ascent to the surface. Diving beyond this limit requires advanced training.

Deep Sea Diving Fundamentals

Because popular dive sites such as coral reefs and wrecks are typically not near land, most diving is done from boats. In some locations, however, divers can enter the water from shore. On a typical outing, the divers decide beforehand how long they will remain underwater and how deep they will descend. While the divers are underwater, at least one person serves as a spotter by remaining on the boat or on shore. All groups, whether diving from a boat or from shore, are required to fly a diver down flag (a red flag with a white diagonal slash) to alert boaters that people are underwater.

After divers put on their gear and double-check their equipment, they enter the water and descend. As they descend, the surrounding water pressure increases, causing a slight discomfort, or squeeze, in their ears and sinuses. Divers relieve this discomfort by holding their noses and blowing gently. This technique is called equalization, as it equalizes the pressure within the divers� bodies with that of the surrounding water, allowing them to proceed safely.

The amount of time a diver can remain underwater depends on several elements. The deeper the descent, the more rapidly the diver consumes air. Thus, shallow dives can last longer than deeper ones. In addition, some people consume air at a quicker rate than others. Several factors influence how efficiently a diver uses air, including diving experience, physical fitness, general relaxation, and a healthy lifestyle that limits tobacco and alcohol intake. Most divers can spend 45 minutes to an hour at 40 ft (12 m) below the surface, the level of a medium-depth dive.

A diver completes the dive by ascending slowly to the surface. Most divers ascend at a rate of 60 ft (18 m) per minute in order to avoid such risks as air embolisms and decompression sickness.

The advantages are endless if you want an adventurous career. Diving is exciting, demanding, and different. You are required to travel and see places that are not an everyday site. If you're good, the pay is great and promotions are regular. There is satisfaction, pride, and respect in the diving career.

Along with advantages, there are a number of disadvantages. Obviously, if you don't want a demanding profession, deep sea diving isn't for you. You have to wear all of the diving gear in cold water and it can become very uncomfortable. Commercial diving is not an easy profession and can also be dangerous if you are not careful.

Deep Sea Diving Hazards and Safety Measures

Hazards associated with recreational diving stem chiefly from breathing air under pressure, though a few marine animals also pose hazards. Most hazards can be avoided if divers follow the safety procedures taught in certification courses and do not attempt dives beyond their ability and experience.

The single largest risk scuba divers face is pressure-related injury. Decompression sickness, also called the bends, is an injury that occurs when a diver ascends too quickly, or dives too deeply for too long. Throughout a dive, the body absorbs nitrogen (an element of air) from breathing compressed air. The deeper a diver descends, the denser the air that is breathed and the more nitrogen absorbed. This nitrogen forms tiny bubbles in the diver�s tissues and bloodstream. If a diver ascends to the surface too quickly, these bubbles remain trapped inside the body and can cause extreme pain in joints and organs. Severe cases of decompression sickness can be fatal. For this reason, all divers attempt to ascend slowly from every dive, to allow excess nitrogen to escape the body gradually. Divers who suspect they are suffering from decompression sickness should seek medical attention immediately.

Another pressure-related injury is an air embolism. It occurs when a diver ascends too rapidly and the gases in the diver�s bloodstream form a large bubble. If large enough, the bubble can block the flow of blood to the brain and be fatal.

To avoid these injuries, divers calculate how long it is safe to stay at certain depths and how long they should spend on the surface before diving again. Divers must also wait at least 12 hours, and sometimes 24 hours, after a dive before flying on a plane. Because air pressure changes rapidly when a plane increases its altitude, flying too soon after diving can result in decompression sickness.

Most marine animals pose no threat to divers. In fact, divers pose far more threat to the animals. Coral, for example, can be killed by a diver�s single touch. However, a few forms of marine life can injure divers. Jellyfish, fire coral, stinging coral, and sea urchins are the most common threats. In rare cases, poisonous fish and sharks can also injure people. In general, animals only attack humans when they are provoked. Scuba diving should be a visual experience, and divers should avoid touching anything plant, animal, or object.

Other risks inherent in recreational diving include running out of air, breathing contaminated air, or being injured by a boat. Certification courses not only teach divers how to avoid these problems, but also how to treat a fellow diver when an injury occurs.

Career in Deep Sea Diving

As long as there is water, there is a need for commercial divers. There isn't a lot of daring people to work on construction underwater and so there is definitely a need for divers. There is always a work if you want it and a shortage of entry-level positions.

How to Start a Diving Career
Skills that are needed to work underwater should first be taught above the water. These skills are best learned at a vocational school. After completing a two-year voctech school, check out the six diving academies and enroll in one. As with any physical career, it is easier if you are young. Most students range between the ages of 19 and 30. If you want adventure, start a career in diving. Another way to get involved with diving is to join the Navy.

Deep sea diving as a Career

Deep sea diving or commercial diving involves any manmade underwater equipment. Commercial divers work on ships, bridges, dams, critical pipeline systems, offshore oilfield sites, and search and recovery projects. Commercial divers may dive anywhere where there is water. Commercial diving is not something that you just go out and do. There has to be a lot of hands on time, things you can't learn from a book. Diving involves science and nuclear technology. Every dive is unique, exciting, and adventurous.

Starting salaries range between $18,000 and $35,000 a year. The salary of a deep-sea diver is determined by work experience, quality, and work attitude. Pay usually increases and can range from $60,000 to $100,000.

Working Conditions
Deep sea diving can be very dangerous, but only if not taken seriously. Dives is made in clear blue water and range from 80 feet to 200 feet underwater. Diving is very hard, dirty work. One must work on anything that is underwater. Divers usually work only eight or nine months of the year. Along with underwater work, you also occasionally do paper work in the office.

Education & Training Needed
There are six accredited deep-sea diving schools in the United States. They are located in Delaware, New Jersey, Texas, two in California, and one in Seattle, Washington. Training usually lasts four to thirteen months before becoming a journeyman. Accredited diving school training meets all association requirements. Commercial divers must have a commercial diver certification and can advance with ASNT certified Level I NDT Technicians, and eventually certified as Diver Medics by National Association of Diver Medical Technicians. Before enrolling and earning degrees, you must be 18 and have either a high school diploma, GED, or pass different tests according to the school you are planning on entering. You must also be in good physical health. Another skill needed before entering a diving school is mechanical and swimming abilities. It is best to complete a technical or vocational school before entering a diving school.

Training and Certification for Deep Sea Diving

Before taking a dive, enthusiasts must gain certification by passing a course offered by a certifying scuba diving agency. The largest agency worldwide is PADI, but there are many others, including the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) and the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools (NASDS). These agencies sponsor courses throughout the world, especially in places where diving is particularly popular, such as the Caribbean and Hawaii. All agencies require that participants be proficient swimmers, in reasonably good health, and at least 12 years old.

The course typically consists of classroom work, practice in a pool or other confined body of water, and dives in the open water, usually in a large lake or the ocean. In the course, students learn to use diving equipment, to equalize air pressure as they descend, to swim efficiently underwater, to clear the mask if water leaks in, and to ascend safely. Because divers cannot talk to each other underwater, they also learn how to communicate underwater with hand signals.

Scuba divingshould always be practiced with at least one other person, and partners should remain together throughout the dive. Certification courses teach divers the rules and advantages of the buddy system. Diving partners learn to double-check each other�s equipment, share a single air supply, and assist one another should a problem occur.

Another important skill taught in certification courses are how to achieve neutral buoyancy�a state in which the individual neither sinks nor floats. In this weightless state, a diver conserves energy and air and keeps diving equipment off the bottom where it could be damaged. Controlling breathing rate is also important. During exercises in water, diving students practice breathing in a slow, continuous manner.

To become certified, diving students must pass a written exam and a swimming proficiency test, and successfully demonstrate newly mastered skills in four open-water dives. Proficient divers then receive a certification card that allows them to make unsupervised dives, refill air tanks, and buy diving equipment worldwide. Stores that sell diving equipment and businesses that operate diving tours require this proof of certification.

Deep Sea Diving for people with special needs

Over the past few years more and more people are becoming involved in deep sea diving. This is not perchance since technological improvements made to diving equipment can help people whose physical condition is not excellent to make their dream come true and get to know from first hand the 'silent world' of the deep. Factors such as good training and adhering to the safety rules are the main elements of a good diver.

Companies specializing in diving equipment can also make available equipment for persons with special needs to enable them to experience the magic of the underwater world. Less physical strength, much imagination and more intellect is used by them and many have been rewarded for their efforts with the acquisition of the diver' certificate.

Training of divers with special needs for deep sea diving
Training persons with special needs does not differ in terms of the theory. The differences occur in the technical aspects, the safety rules and the tactics to be used between the trainers and the trainees.

In the initial instruction persons with special needs learn about entering the water, familiarization with the oxygen tank and the equipment, underwater breathing techniques and orientation techniques. It is imperative for the trainer to know the specific problems of his trainee in order to do the exercises and achieve the desired results.

In the initial training stage, the aim of the trainer is for each trainee to acquire confidence in his abilities and be able to do the exercises. Then, once the trainer is absolutely sure of his trainee's abilities, he proceeds to the second stage where there is participation in the training along with a number of other people. Things are easier at this stage but there must always be, apart from the trainers, helpers who will act if a problem were to arise.

Young children and diving

The charm of the underwater world can fascinate us all, even the youngest of children who 'thirst' for discoveries of the sea and its mysteries. Over the past few years, more and more children have decided to become acquainted with the wonderful world of the deep and become 'little' divers.

There are special training programs for children based on the rules of the World Federation for Deep Sea Diving, which demands special skills. The trainers work with children over the age of eight so that these tiny lovers of the sea world may have the possibility of underwater diving in shallow waters. The children of course need special diving equipment appropriate for their body size.

Equipments for Deep Sea Diving

Diving equipment depends on the location of the dive, but whether scuba diving or snorkeling, recreational divers need several basic items: a mask, a snorkel, fins, and, when necessary, an exposure suit to remain warm. Scuba divers wear special equipment to breathe underwater and to help control their position underwater.

Divers lose body heat 60 times faster underwater than on land, because water conducts heat much more efficiently than air does. To stay warm, scuba divers wear either a wet suit or a dry suit, depending on water temperature. Wet suits are usually worn in warm-water climates, such as the Caribbean Sea. A wet suit is made of neoprene rubber and absorbs and traps a thin layer of water, which the diver�s body quickly heats. In areas such as the North Atlantic or Pacific oceans, where water temperature drops below 10� C (50� F), divers wear dry suits to keep from freezing. A dry suit is made of waterproof materials that keep a diver completely dry. If water temperatures are extremely low, divers wear extra clothing underneath the suit.

Development of Diving Equipment
Inventors as early as the 17th century sought means whereby divers could stay underwater for extended periods. At that time, various types of diving dress and underwater armor attempted to supply fresh air through a surface pipe kept above the water by a float. Augustus Siebe devised the first practical diving equipment early in the 19th century in England. His first suit was of the open type, consisting of a helmet attached to a jacket made of waterproof material. Air was pumped to the helmet through a pipe from the surface, air pressure serving to keep the water level below the diver's head and the air finally escaping through open vents at the bottom of the jacket. The diver had to maintain a generally upright position; a fall could result in drowning because the air in the suit was likely to rush out through the vents. To correct this difficulty, Siebe later developed the closed type of diving suit that, with improvements, is still in general use. Instead of the earlier open vents, the closed type of suit had valves that let air out without letting water in, regardless of the diver's position. The limitations imposed on the helmet diver's lateral movement (because of the connection to the surface) led to early interest in alternative equipment that would permit freer movement, but the scuba apparatus was not developed by Jacques Yves Cousteau and Emil Gagnan until well into the 20th cent. In 1943 successful tests were made of the new compressed-air breathing apparatus, and it has been widely used since.

Development of Diving Vessels
Several types of large metallic structures have been used as underwater diving vessels since early times. Aristotle, as early as 360 BC mentions, sponge divers using primitive vessels. Otis Barton's bathysphere, a hollow, globular steel structure built to withstand tremendous pressure was used in undersea exploration in the 1930s, but an attached steel cable and winch limited its mobility. The first free and self-contained diving craft was Auguste Piccard 's bathyscaphe. His craft, the Trieste, descended (1960) to 35,000 ft (10,668 m), the deepest known point in the ocean.

Specialized Equipments
To breathe underwater, divers wear a metal tank filled with compressed air, and a regulator that attaches to the tank. The regulator reduces the pressure of the air to match the surrounding water pressure, so that the diver can breathe the air comfortably. The regulator also distributes the air among four hoses. One hose delivers air to a mouthpiece, through which the diver inhales and exhales. Another hose from the regulator attaches to an adjustable air bladder called a buoyancy compensator (or control) device (BCD or BC), which the diver wears as a vest. By adding air to the BCD, the diver becomes more buoyant and rises. By releasing air, the diver becomes less buoyant and sinks. With minor adjustments of air, the diver can achieve neutral buoyancy. A third hose attaches to pressure gauges that divers use to monitor how much air remains in the tank. A fourth hose attaches to a backup-breathing device called an alternate air source, or octopus.

Divers also wear a belt with lead weights to help them descend and stay underwater. The weights are spaced evenly around the belt for balance. Most divers carry from 5 to 20 lb (2.3 to 4 kg) of weight, depending on their body weight, the suit they are wearing, and where they are diving (buoyancy is greater in saltwater than in fresh water). A quick-release buckle enables the diver to shed the belt and rise to the surface in an emergency.

Emergency equipment includes a dive knife, in case the diver becomes entangled in fishing line or marine plants, and whistles, lights, or signaling devices, in case the diver is lost or swept out in a current. Divers should also have a tank of oxygen onboard, along with a marine radio and a first aid kit.

Modern Deep-Sea Diving: Helmet Diving Suits
Modern helmet diving suits usually consist of a waterproof one-piece suit made of canvas and rubber that entirely covers the wearer except for the head and hands. Heavy rubber bands seal the suit at the wrists, leaving the hands free. On the feet the diver wears leaded boots weighing about 40 lb (18 kg), and lead weights are fastened to the chest to maintain equilibrium. A metal helmet with side and front windows covers the head. A non-collapsible pipe connects the helmet to an air supply. An attached lifeline hauls the diver to the surface. Too rapid an ascent from great depths causes the diver to suffer decompression sickness. To prevent this, deep-sea divers either use an all-steel, armored diving suit or breathe a special mixture of nine gases developed by the Swiss mathematician Hannes Keller.