With the summer comes the busy season for inshore commercial divers in BC. The shop that I work for, Inland Divers, is no stranger to the bustle of the season, or the variety of jobs that come down the pipe to us. In the past, I’ve been involved in inspections, water intake installations, salvage work, and more. With school ending, my first big job was out in Peachland, where we were working in concert with Shoreline to build an extension to the Peachland Yacht Club’s marina.
Each day we were there for out part of the construction effort ran the same. We’d meet at the shop, make sure all of our gear was in order, and then head down to the site. Once there, our supervisor would give us our safety brief, then our tasks for the day. Given the nature of the work, we used a combination of scuba and surface supply gear. The dives themselves were shallow, but quite long. When we shifted to pneumatic tools, we got a new safety brief, and exclusively used surface supply gear. This was a great extra for me, as I love surface supply time, and need the tool dives.
Unfortunately, I was one of the 30m restricted surface supply divers trained just prior to CSA changing the standards to allow for us to use tools and do burning and cutting work. Fortunately, a few dives with the tools is all we need to get on track, so this job gave me an opportunity to get a few checks in the box. Pneumatic tools are something I’ve run into on the surface, so I was at least familiar with the ideas around their operation. The pneumatic drill was new to me, but not too bad to use. The impact hammer was old hat though, as I’d used it on the surface many times. The bubbles generated made for some extra fun while operating. Overall, it was a good practical experience for me, and the job got done, and it was done right.
Like many inshore jobs, the setting added extra challenges. The diver on the inside of the marina had a relatively easy entry, but the diver on the outside of it, with the impact hammer, had to do a high water entry to get into location. Communications were key to, as we had to maintain comms with two divers, tenders, and all over the roar of the compressor. Hydration also played a large role in our diving operations, as we were working hard in warm, shallow water. It was a bit of a challenge at times, but not one we weren’t able to overcome with good planning and experience.
Like any job though, it came to an end, and a few days later we were in Osoyoos on a completely different task. Different jobs and different conditions are part of what makes inshore diving in BC great!