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Underwater Adventure

Bassi Gruen

Splash! The diver hits the surface of the water and plunges below the surface. A minute passes, and then another. This diver doesn’t resurface in a fountain of spray. He goes deeper and deeper, into the depths of the sea. Welcome to the world of professional diving.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There are many ways in which divers help us. Offshore divers maintain and build the structures that are used to harvest underwater sources of oil and gas. Since these deposits are often in the middle of the sea, the divers may live on a ship for weeks at a time. Onshore diving is similar work, but revolves around building bridges, dams, and other structures near the shore.

Military divers can sabotage the enemy by planting mines under their ships. They also search for and detonate explosive devices that may be attached to their ships. Divers are also used to spy on the enemy. Naval divers in the army are used to maintain, clean, and repair ships, investigate unidentified divers, and demolish ship wrecks.

Divers are used closer to home by the police. They search for evidence that may have been tossed into a river, and look for contraband (forbidden goods) that were hidden under ships.

Ever wonder who took the stunning pictures of fish and underwater coral that you see in your science book? Media divers dive to take pictures of films. These photographers have special cases for their equipment so it’s not ruined by the water. Underwater photography is particularly challenging since the longer wavelengths of sunlight (which produce the colors red and orange) are absorbed by the water, resulting in everything appearing blue-green. In order to compensate for that, all underwater pictures must be taken from very close up and with a good flash.

Not all divers dive in water. HazMat (short for hazardous materials) divers may dive into paper pulp, liquid cement, landfills, or an oil spill. They dive in order to do maintenance work on underwater vales or pumps, repair damaged pipes, clean up after a pollution accident, or perform other necessary work. Such divers need to take special shots before diving and need a decontamination plan for them and their suits once they surface.


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