ERD Experience Training Tools – Submerged Car
Mermaids Dive Pattaya, Thailand, have long been renowned for unique diver training and cutting edge tools to get the job done. Pro-active PADI Course Director Steve Blumenthal introduced the ERD training in late 2005 for divers to gain new dive skills and knowledge. Essentially the ERD diver experience training can be used as if thinking of entry into the field of public safety diving i.e. assisting on Police or Rescue dive teams. Some that take the program are not interested in this part of the dive industry but took the training to strengthen skills already possessed and build new hardy skills in search and recovery diving, self confidence in tricky situations (low visibility and currents etc) and team skills building. All participant divers have stated how much of a better and more aware diver they are for the training (as well as the course being superb fun and a great challenge).
PERT training requires for a search and recovery mission on a different level – a submerged automobile must be found and recovered by lifting to the surface – this requires great skill and attention. In order to make the dive training as real as possible a practical car was designed and built at Mermaids.
The vehicle to be submerged consists of 11 pieces and weighs in at well over 100 Kilos – it was completed in December 2005 and finally entered the water in January 2006. It has seats for realistic scenarios for the driver and passenger to be rescued, hinged doors and the front and back windows can be kicked out for realism.
All involved met at the shop for the day ahead. Kurt, Mermaids ERD instructor went through the procedure of the day and how the car was to be set. It was decided that a shallow depth to the roof would be used for testing the car.
As the car breaks down into 11 manageable pieces they can be easily transported in the back of one of Mermaids trucks to the boat or the beach – the beach was decided upon for the test ‘drive’.
Piece by piece the car is taken to the shore line. Easy to assemble in place the car is bolted together and in place fairly quickly. With the use of lift bags and floatation devices the car can be moved to any spot that it is desired to be submerged. For deeper water the pieces will be submerged independently and then assembled at depth. Full face mask and scuba gear was to be used for the project – there were many volunteers.
Kurt, pictured above left, has thousands of hours of real emergency and rescue dives under his belt (Including Hurricane Katrina). Very experienced he led in running the project. With team work the vehicle was positioned ready for the testing.
After a successful day the vehicle is now ready for the pert dive programs.
Many thanks to the diver team that successfully assisted in piecing the diving project together for the dummy run.
The car will be used for ad-hoc dive training where required but full time ERD training is for the professional response teams to train you. The ERD Experience (www.pert-training.com) diver training requires the sunken car to be at a depth of 5 – 10 meters of water. Utilizing diver lift bags, other tools and many skills the submerged vehicle will be lifted. The following considerations and skills for the ERD 2 experience car lifting are:
- Location of the object and marking if necessary.
- Computation of required lift for the sunken car. All relevant calculations and conversions are to be examined and demonstrated. Considerations for air expansion during ascent, and all other areas of the lift.
- Rigging procedures including stability of the car, structural stability of the bottom composition, the impact of water movement methods of rigging the car and all other considerations for object integrity.
- Diver safety including divers positioning, determining potential hazards and emergency dumping procedures.