IAmA saturation diver (aquanaut) who has spent 30 days under 778 feet of water. AMA!
I’ve been working as a commercial diver for 13 years. I’m hosting this AMA with some help from Atlas Obscura, who wrote about life as a saturation diver. I do construction and demolition work hundreds of feet deep in the ocean and spend weeks living in a pressurized environment—often a small, metal tube with about five other people. Over the years, I’ve been able to work for many different dive companies at locations all over the earth.
Diving hundreds of feet below sea level involves breathing pressurized air and working at pressures of over 110 psi (nearly twice the pressure inside a bicycle tire). While underwater, we breathe in a mixture of helium, oxygen and nitrogen to prevent a condition called nitrogen narcosis, which mimics the feeling of being drunk. Gas from the compressed air we breathe dissolves into our blood and tissues, so when we resurface, we have to go extremely slowly, or we risk bubbles of gas forming inside our bodies, giving us a painful, possibly fatal condition known as “the bends.”
My deepest dive was a 30 day saturation campaign at 778 feet of sea water. We were installing 36 inch diameter pipe line tie in spool pieces. One bolt and two end nuts weighed in at 220 lbs.
After a decade of working in the music industry as a musician and sound engineer I felt I needed a change. I graduated from Divers Institute of Technology Seattle WA in 2005 and moved to the heart of the US offshore oil field… Louisiana. I was able to be part of a massive gulf wide clean up due to hurricane Katrina. The spectrum of work was vast, anything from small pipeline bypass projects to the complete decommissioning of many toppled oil platforms.
I have also been able to work for a few land based diving companies that took part in various civil engineering campaigns. Mostly installing up to date pumping stations for the local water districts of the southern US.
- Global Diving and Marine Contractors
- Epic Diving and Marine
- Ranger Offshore Inc.
- American Underwater Services
- Chapman Marine
If you’d like to donate to support my family and me through cancer treatment, here’s a link: https://www.gofundme.com/shannonhoveysbandp
This is a link to a saturation documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbAxa-_3h6E
Divers Institute link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slq9lkHWs0I
EDIT: Hey everybody, I had a great time hanging out with you. Thanks for all the questions. Good luck to all of you planning on entering this challenging field. Please share my family’s go fund me link.