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The most extreme diving professions

Amateur divers dive for their own pleasure. But there are those for whom this is a completely different matter: work, and also difficult. From commercial divers to underwater forensic investigators, we spoke with five brave men and women who make a living by diving, and whose safety depends only on their knowledge, skills and experience.

Nuclear Power Diver

Commercial diving is work underwater, usually in a hard hat and with a surface air supply system. This lesson covers a number of different professions, but perhaps the most spectacular of them are those associated with a nuclear reactor.

The most extreme diving professions
Bob stefko
Kira Richter in her wetsuit near the Michigan Nuclear Power Plant, where she works.

Before entering the school of commercial divers, Kira Richter was a diver for 10 years, worked as an instructor in Asia and the Caribbean, made technical dives in Mexican cenotes. “Despite all this, I knew that it would be difficult for me to do offshore commercial diving – one of the few women in the profession where men predominate. But I dreamed of decompression dives, ”she says. “One of the instructors showed me his photographs while working at the nuclear power plant, and this fascinated me from day one.”

Today, Richter runs a submarine program at a Michigan nuclear power plant and also advises similar services in the UAE and South Korea. “Diving at nuclear power plants is a mixture of inland diving and industrial diving. This means that we dive in rivers, lakes and oceans, as well as in circulating drains, condensers, pools, cisterns, tanks and other man-made structures of the power plant, Richter explains. “We work in open and closed systems, in clean water, in dirty water, in water contaminated with radioactive isotopes.”

But to those who make big eyes, learning about her profession, Richter says that this is one of the safest types of commercial diving. “There are many professions where the employer is much more inclined to cut costs, and employees receive much less support from the industry,” she says. However, this does not mean that there is no risk at all in this paper.

“The worst options are to be left without air if the feed unit on the helmet freezes due to cold water, or gets lost during one of our many dives in complex confined spaces,” she explains. The probability that a diver will receive a dangerous dose of radiation is extremely small. “That’s why we clear the area before starting work, carefully check the working area, and each diver always has a sensor with him so that he can check his site on his own before starting work. In addition, the technicians responsible for radiation protection remotely observe us – they have all the current information about the radiation doses that we receive. ”

Forensic Investigator

When the bad guys want to hide the crime, they often try to get rid of the evidence by throwing them into the water.

The most extreme diving professions
Mike morgan
Officer Michael Berry on the Appomattox River in Virginia – his favorite place for training dives.

“Any bridge is a place where a criminal with a flick of his hand can throw a murder weapon into the water and think that he has got rid of it forever,” says Michael Berry, founder and head of Underwater Criminal Investigators (UCI). “My job is not only to find an abandoned object, but also to lift it out of the water so that it retains fingerprints, DNA or other evidence that the killer could leave.”

When Berry began working as a police diver, the standards for training this profession did not yet exist. “Everyone was taught under the Diver Rescue program, but in fact, for the most part, we were not engaged in salvation, but in search and ascent from the bottom to the surface,” he says. Michael Berry developed the first Underwater Criminal Investigator course for PADI. Today, UCI is a leader in training police divers.

Berry worked as an underwater forensic specialist for over 30 years. During this time he had to dive in all possible reservoirs, environments and conditions, as well as deal with aggressive representatives of the underwater world.

But most of all the troubles brought him bacteria. “I was diving in a career that over the years has turned into almost a hole with mud. My task was to find the stolen valuables, but I came across a bag full of decaying corpses of kittens and puppies, ”recalls Michael. – In the end, I got meningitis and went out of action for several months. He almost killed me! ”

Stained Wood Collector

For the technical diving instructor John Clitor, the rivers and swamps of Florida and Georgia are a drawless treasury of selected stained wood.

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