Beginning September 17, 2009 and ending September 20, 2009, the Hampton Bays Fire Department Dive Rescue Team hosted a Capsized Vessel Rescue Course instructed by Life Guard Systems of Hurley, NY. The 30+ hour long course taught divers the proper and safe way to stabilize and then enter under a capsized vessel where people are trapped in the resulting airspace and are unable to free themselves. They were instructed how to calm a victim, to equip them with breathing apparatus and remove them from under the vessel.
Ten Hampton Bays Fire Department Divers and six Dive Tenders were joined by members of the Southampton Town Police Dive Recovery Unit, Southampton Town Bay Constables, the Bayport Fire Department Dive Team and the Patchogue Fire Department Dive Team in the course. Each diver / tender completed a minimum of five dives consisting of; capsized vessel stabilization, capsized vessel entry, victim encounter/removal, entanglement management under zero visibility and trapped rescue diver rescue. (How to rescue a trapped fellow rescue diver)
All dive operations took place at the Tiana Bay Town Park on Dune Road, Hampton Bays in water depths of 4 to 12 feet utilizing a donated 26 foot 1974 wooden cuddy-cabin style craft that was intentionally overturned for the training.
Captain Roy Bittle of the Hampton Bays Fire Department, who is the Dive Team Leader, was the coordinator of the course and can be reached at 631-728-9191 for further information.
The Hampton Bays Fire Department would like to especially thank Les Trafford of SEA-TOW Shinnecock-Moriches for his assistance with the course.