Jump in! The water is like pea soup!

The other day I was talking with a police diver and his team, who had come to Miami to train with another department. The team was from Louisiana and most of their missions are around lake Pontchartrain. The team leader was commenting on how happy he was to be able to get his guys down here to train where there was visibility.

I would like to make 2 observations on this matter.

#1 – After the team leader made this comment, he continued in saying that all they have to train in back home, is dirty water that you can’t see anything in. I was thinking GREAT! That’s exactly what you should be training in, because that’s real world Public Safety Diving!

Now I do understand that you need to be able to see to learn certain skills. Skills like using lift bags. Learn in a controlled environment so you have that muscle memory when you really can’t see. I get it.

But is it necessary to travel 20 hours to find those locations? Absolutely not. Many divers think that going

back to the swimming pool is for newbies. For those open water wanna-be’s who are not yet worthy for real diving in that big dangerous ocean. Well their wrong. You might be able to find great, deep, pools at your local collage. Look for ones with a diving team. They usually have a diving well that’s 16 feet deep; more than suitable for learning the basics of lift bags. And while your there, work on some other skills that will push your ability’s as well as your teams. It’s not about the pool, but what you do in it.

This also gives a team leader the ability to evaluate how their divers dive. Do they have neutral buoyancy? do they actually know how to kick? Do they actually know how to tie that knot, or do they just say they do? Sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics to learn the hard stuff.

#2 –  What is visibility? The National Academy of Police Diving describes visibility like this:

  • Zero Visibility: The inability to visually observe any object at any distance from the faceplate of the mask.
  • Low Visibility: The inability to visually observe an object beyond the diver’s outstretched hand.
  • Black Water: The inability to visually observe an object because of the lack of light penetration.

Using the above terms, what kind of diving does your department have to deal with? If you have to learn in a pool first that’s fine; but nothing can replace the confidence and skill that comes from performing in the real thing.

I would love to hear what you think on this and any stories you might have from training, so leave a comment!