Divers use military skills for underwater work

Posted: 06/12/2011 in all marine news

Clark Byron

Mike Majer came to Savannah as a soldier. For eight years, he was in charge of the Special Operations SCUBA and HALO diving programs of the elite U.S. Army 1st Ranger Battalion based at Hunter Army Airfield. As most people know, SCUBA is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. HALO stands for High Altitude-Low Opening, a style of parachuting that Army SCUBA divers use.

In 1988, after the military, Mike started Majer Diving & Salvage Co. Inc., a full-service underwater diving company. A diving service like Majer’s is vital to a variety of marine industries, commercial and private. Majer’s does just about anything a diver may be needed to do in just about any kind of environment. The company does underwater inspections, repairs, salvage and recovery.

Majer’s employs four full-time divers and uses contractors when needed. These are not your average SCUBA divers. They are highly trained commercial divers skilled in a broad range of underwater tasks. The training required is successful completion of a commercial diving training program and certification by the Association of Diving Contractors (ADC). Ex-military divers are considered qualified already; Majer’s provides on-the-job training for specific assignments. It can be dangerous work.

“You just have to be careful,” said Majer.

Of course, the ancient days of brass diving bells are long past. Divers work in special dry suits with surface supply oxygen. Yellow Fiberglass helmets with communication devices allow them to communicate with the surface and other divers. There are also special suits to accommodate repair and recovery operations safely where there may toxic chemicals or high levels of pollutants.

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