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[00:00:00] Jay: [00:00:22] The candidates themselves, they tend to love rigging and lifting day. It's a big thrilling day. You're down there and there's a car [00:00:30] underwater and you have to figure out how to hook these straps up and how to bring it up and then how to set it back on the bottom and how to unhook things. And that's sort of the big, you see a lot of smiles that day during the training.
Justin: [00:00:42] it's episode 26 of dive in the podcast with special guest Sergeant Jay white
Welcome to dive in the [00:01:00] podcast. Your favorite podcast about all types of diving, scuba tech, freediving, and more. We cover it all... Every week on Monday we post new episodes filled with diving news. Interesting dive topics, ocean advocacy, and much more. Hi everyone, I'm Justin,
April: [00:01:12] I'm April,
Amit: [00:01:12] I'm Amit ,
and we're the hosts of Dive In: The Podcast. This week we're speaking to Sergeant Jay White. Jay's the National Training Coordinator for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police dive program in Canada, and is in charge of the RCMP National Underwater Recovery Training Center, or as [00:01:30] they call it, NURTC in Nanaimo BC. Jay is an ER DI Instructor Trainer with 33 years of teaching experience in the diving industry, including the last 16 years teaching public safety diving. Jay has 20 years experience as a public safety diver, performed over 1200 public safety dives alone. He's also an East coast kid who cut his teeth diving in the Bay of Fundy and an all around nice guy, Jay, welcome to the show.
Jay: [00:01:56] Oh, great. Thank you for having me. I'm a very excited to be here. [00:02:00]
Justin: [00:02:00] We've spent a bit of time ramping up to this, Mark on before and now you and, , happy to hear what, you have to say.
Jay: [00:02:06] I talked to Mark and I listened to Merck show and, uh, I, it's a great podcast. It's my first podcast that I listened to. So, uh, I'm quite excited to be part of it.
Justin: [00:02:15] Well, that's exciting. We're happy to, you know, burst your podcast bubble, so to speak. We'll come back to you in a minute. Jay and before we get too far into the show, I wanted to mention last week's episode, we had the interview with Sophie Morgan, and, uh, that was [00:02:30] really interesting. Nick set that up, unfortunately, Nick's not on the episode tonight. I don't know about you guys, April and Amit, I went out and actually bought Blue Planet 2. I so rarely actually buy things now that everything is available via streaming, but for 20 bucks for 10 hours of beautiful 4k video. Uh, that was really awesome. And that's, Sophie's a segment that she worked on with the flying Trivoli was kind of wild.
Amit: [00:02:52] Yeah. So I don't know if you picked that up for 20 bucks, for the entire episode, I think that's well worth it. When you consider the amount of work that goes into something like that, I might [00:03:00] have to pick one up myself.
Justin: [00:03:01] Yeah, most definitely. And April our Pro Tip didn't quite work out for latex seals is still a good pro tip for hair, but, uh, something to watch out with latex seals, you found out not so great, eh?
April: [00:03:11] Yeah. I mean, Amit asked me last week, if coconut oil doesn't make damage to latex seals. And I don't know, I had no idea, but I guess it does. So be careful on those latex seals. I have silicone seals, uh, and I haven't had any problems, but apparently latex does damage.
Justin: [00:03:28] Yeah, Apparently there's a whole industry [00:03:30] of people out there that use latex for things. So, um, they found out that coconut oil, is not good
April: [00:03:36] it with oil.
Amit: [00:03:37] That's
Justin: [00:03:37] not
April: [00:03:38] good.
Justin: [00:03:40] In the news tonight, uh, there's a man named Bill Lambert from Rockford, Illinois in the U S Illinois. Cause there's no noise in Illinois.
Um, he, uh, he began diving , just two years ago and became the oldest man to scuba dive officially, according to Guinness Book of World Records at 98 years old. And he's [00:04:00] been doing this for two years is now a hundred years old. He did a 27 minute 40 foot dive, with the dive guide. And, his goal is to live to 101 and break his record again.
Amit: [00:04:12] That was pretty impressive,
Justin: [00:04:13] good scuba goals.
Amit: [00:04:14] Yeah, I gotta say, I mean, the fact that you're going to pick it up at 98 years old and hit a couple of dives. I, Hey, if I'm still here at 98, I hope I can do it.
Justin: [00:04:23] Yeah. Jane bigs diving into her 80s was pretty impressive. Uh, this, uh, this gentleman, dry diving at a hundred [00:04:30] is a he's crazy.
Let's cool. Well, hopefully I went, I'm a hundred. I'm still diving.
Amit: [00:04:34] Yeah. And I mean, the thing with Jane is like, she was like a diving legend she'd been diving for, well, for as long as anyone could remember, but this guy's picking it up. Like he's not even learned to dive until he's 98. Right. So it's like, it's not to diminish anything about Jane, but imagine like her experience and how many people, like she's taught friends of mine to dive.
And so when you look at this and you think like, wow, I've never done this and I'm 98, I'm going to pick up a new hobby, you know, it's, uh, [00:05:00] I got to give them some serious props on that. I I'm quite impressed.
Justin: [00:05:04] Yeah, definitely. Well, happy birthday bill. And we'll see you next year. On the on episode, I don't know, 75, 80 something. I don't know
April: [00:05:12] Yeah, maybe we'll have as a, we'll have him on a guest
Justin: [00:05:15] That's it. Yeah. So, , we'll look forward to that. I also look forward to, uh, chatting some more with you, Jay. Thanks again , for joining us.
we, uh, we introduced your credentials earlier in the show, um, but you've been diving for a long time long before you joined the RCMP. Can you, uh, tell us the [00:05:30] backstory of, Jay the diver before the RCMP officer?
Jay: [00:05:33] Yeah, I, uh, I'm an East Coast boy, uh, born and raised in New Brunswick and, uh, spent my summers down where family has a cottage on Grand Lake snorkeling around the tea, colored water, looking at rocks and. When I was in grade seven, uh, my teacher actually had a reading period and we had to take a book off the shelf.
And there was a book called Deep Dive about a young kid who learned to scuba dive. And, uh, [00:06:00] I read that book three times. I think that year. And at the time this was in, this was in the seventies and at the time you had to be 16 to get certified. So, when I started at the University of New Brunswick, I became a certified diver, my first term of university and spent my, my university years, uh, with the UNB scuba club and diving the Bay of Fundy and doing every long weekend to, in trips to Halifax, to dive the Latisha and the, the Costa Rican trade or the [00:06:30] stern was still sitting on the shore at that time.
And, uh, diving the Perry and the Isleworth, that was sort of our, our big trips. And, uh, I became an instructor in 1988, uh, and taught recreationally for years until I joined the RCMP. And then after in, I went transferred to Newfoundland, uh, was my first posting and I joined the dive team over there and then transferred to Nova Scotia and spent some time in Nova Scotia on [00:07:00] the dive team.
Before they offered me a full time job, uh, as a, at the dive school here in the West coast. So we decided to move from the East coast to the West and, and, uh, take the adventure.
April: [00:07:13] other than the obvious reason being that you're a diver, was there anything else that led you to deciding to join the URT?
Jay: [00:07:21] You know what it's sort of. A little bit, like all of the people who come to diving, like I used to tell people, I, I love diving. Uh, you [00:07:30] know, I met my wife through diving my kids, dive. We enjoy diving. When we travel, we enjoy diving as a family. And I used to quit the dive program three times a year. I would get in the water and it would be super cold and super dark.
And I'd be like, Oh, this sucks. This is for younger people. And when I'm done. This dive I'm done. And then you get out and have a cup of coffee. so I like the challenge. I like how hard it is. I like that most people say, I wouldn't want to do your job when they find out what I [00:08:00] do for a living. Um, so it just kind of plays into my personality as well, but the diving's a big part of it.
April: [00:08:08] So, I guess you saying that, how did you become the National Training Coordinator of the National Underwater Recovery Training Center?
Jay: [00:08:17] I had a recreational background. I actually, when I joined the RCMP dive program, I was already an instructor and I had been teaching in the recreational world for, at that time. 12 or 13 years. [00:08:30] So once I was in the program for a little while and had some experience operationally, they started using me on a part time basis where when they ran courses nationally, they bring out guest instructors.
Like we now bring out Mark Bishop from Halifax. And I did that for three or four years where I would come out once or twice a year to the West coast, stay here for three weeks, four weeks, teach a teach a course and then go back to my regular job. And finally, the [00:09:00] school was just getting evolving at that time.
And there was a new position came open and I got a phone call and asked if I would like to transfer. So, my wife and I had long conversations and it's a big move. I'm from New Brunswick. She's from PEI. So to move to the far side of the country was a, was a big decision and we hummed and hawed about it.
And then we said, you know what, we'll go for a trial and see if we like it. And we, we gave herself a time of three years to come out [00:09:30] and that was 12 years ago. And so I came out as an instructor in the, in the, uh, in the dive school. And then when my boss retired, uh, I had reached my instructor trainer status. So I was quite literally the only one in the URT program qualified to take his job when he retired. So I applied for it and got it. So I moved from one office to the other.
Justin: [00:09:56] You're talking there about bringing Mark out and then how you used to come out and part time [00:10:00] basis to, uh, to do the training. What kind of qualifications or agency qualifications , in order to certify candidates?
Jay: [00:10:07] Uh, all of our trainers, uh, that come out are all certified URT divers. So they've all taken our courses. They all dive operationally. And on top of that, they're all in, at the bare minimum. Eh, A certified ERDI instructor through, uh, through international training. We, uh, we have our own instructor trainers. We run our own in, in [00:10:30] house instructor development course and instructor evaluation. They need to be your current instructor with the international standards in good standing. And then we will use them as a guest instructor.
Amit: [00:10:41] I want to back up on, on one little piece there, Jay, just, just to ask the question, did you ever consider when they offered you that spot, knowing that you were the only guy that was qualified to take it? Did you ever just say, Hmm, I can shut this program down right now, if I want and say no.
Jay: [00:10:58] No, but I, I was, [00:11:00] like my job, my job before that was, I was 80% diving in 20% admin. Now it's 50% diving in 50% admin. So there were times I sort of wondered. Should I take it? And, but I always go with the philosophy that I can live with my own wrong decisions, more than easier than I can live with someone else's.
So I thought, well, I better take it.
Amit: [00:11:24] Uh, like that philosophy. So I was, I was wondering as well. , if you could tell us a bit about the process of [00:11:30] becoming a certified URT diver. So what does a candidate need to do before they make it out to Nanaimo, to hang out with you guys and start their training? What are they? What's the start of that process?
Jay: [00:11:40] Well, the start is they, whatever province they happen to be in, they call the team leader in that province. Be it a Mark Bishop, or a whoever, whoever happens to lead the team in their area. Um, there is, uh, a four day what they call a pre-selection course. And the pre-selection course is almost like [00:12:00] an open water checkout dive.
They just go out and take these people in their own gear. Just go out and see what sort of skills they have. And just kind of run them through a few paces, get them to do mask clearing skills and get them to do regulator clearing skills and check on their buoyancy. And then if they check out through that, they will do a full face mask course and a dry suit course because all of our divers dive in dry suits with full face mask.
So at that point, they need to develop [00:12:30] 25 hours of bottom time. So once they have and that's total that's including the recreational hours, that's the bare minimum. We've had people with 25 hours. We've had people with a thousand hours, and all numbers in between. So once they are, through that process, Their name goes on a list for the induction course.
And we run the induction course at the most once a year. Our next one is slated for September, 2021. We take a maximum of 12 students. It's a five week [00:13:00] course, uh, out here and then I'm OBC during the course, they will dive every day but one, and a lot of them will log between 50 and 60 dives in the five weeks.
So a lot of in and out of the water, some of the dives are 10 minutes long. Some of them are an hour.
Amit: [00:13:15] You're kind of getting into, I guess my next question is, which is, you know, so I guess we're calling them candidates, not, maybe not cadets in this case, but so they make it through those trials and then they, you know, they end up qualifying for their 25 hours. They get sent out to Nanaimo [00:13:30] and they make it into this induction course.
You mentioned the length of the course, so what are these guys actually doing? Like I have in my head, like, you know, are we talking like some kind of Navy Seals BUDS training action happening here? Or is it something different than that?
Jay: [00:13:42] No, it's a, I tell them at the start of the course, if I'm screaming and hollering at them, and there's a reason, uh, for the most part we're, we're there to teach them. We're not there to break them down and build them back up. It's a very strenuous course. We have a list of 24 [00:14:00] competencies that 24 basic skills that a URT diver needs to have.
And we go through those one at a time there's classroom sessions, there's dry land sessions, then there's dives that they do it. And then there's evaluations. And it's everything from doing line tending, searches and different search techniques on the line to underwater navigation, to diving and zero visibility to.
How to take proper crime scene photos underwater, how to collect evidence underwater, uh, rigging and [00:14:30] lifting, hooking up lift bags on vehicles and lifting vehicles, , deep dive techniques, uh, how to do a hull search and pier searches and using a metal detector underwater. So there's a whole gamut of skills that they have to go through during the five weeks.
Amit: [00:14:48] That's quite a lot.
Jay: [00:14:49] Yeah, it's a pretty intense course. I keep the records for the last 20 years. We have about a 75% pass rate.
Amit: [00:14:57] Okay. That was going to be one of my questions there as well. [00:15:00] So not everybody's going to make it through this course, but obviously it sounds like a supportive environment, as opposed to like, you know, you're the ones where you're trying to weed out people. It's more like a, how can we get you guys through this type of thing if I'm correct there?
Jay: [00:15:13] Yeah, we asked the divisions that are that provinces at their team level to weed out, you know, because they spend a lot of money to send someone out to us. And there's been cases where someone has come out and they're woefully unprepared for the course and you know, within a day [00:15:30] or so we simply tell them, look, this is not. This is not a course for you, you know, go home, work on these skills and maybe if you get enough time and then come back.
Justin: [00:15:41] Have you, have you had people that have not made it the first time and come back and made it later.
Jay: [00:15:46] We've had 2.
Justin: [00:15:49] That's awesome.
Jay: [00:15:49] We've actually had two people, one, a one just needed time. He was a fantastic diver, lots of diving experience, really comfortable in the [00:16:00] water. But when you gave him tasks to do that, he couldn't concentrate on his diving. He had a hard time multitasking all the sudden his buoyancy was gone and he was having issues. And if he was concentrating on his buoyancy couldn't concentrate on the task and it was a little bit of mental overload. So we told him what he needed to work on and and he went away and worked on it and, uh, yeah. And came back and passed the course. And the other guy, he was, it was a bit of a, just, almost an emotional overload. [00:16:30] He just got. Totally, psyched himself until he just wasn't mentally ready to get in the water anymore. And he just fell on his own sword. And we said, well, you know, I talked to his team leader after and said, he's fixable. He just needs time. And he, he worked with his team and he came back and he's one of our top guys out here on the West coast now.
So I'm really happy. He came through as well.
Amit: [00:16:53] Yeah, that's a speaks to, I guess, the training philosophy that you guys have there. Um, and it's interesting. Cause we had a, we had a [00:17:00] previous episode where we interviewed Gary Dallas. Who's a pretty prolific instructor out in the UK. And he mentioned when you, when you chatted about buoyancy issues and task loading, the difference when. You're actually, you think that you're in a position where you can dive and you have control over your buoyancy and your stability in the water, but then at the introduction of other tasks that all falls to the wayside. And so having to move your you're diving to a different level before you start introducing those other tasks being [00:17:30] important. So you have very cool to see that it's a, it comes through in your guys's diving as well.
Jay: [00:17:34] Oh, yes. Um, I'm pretty big. And I talked to them from day one. Buoyancy is a huge issue and, uh, the people who struggle with buoyancy, uh, struggle in the course.
April: [00:17:46] So, I guess all that being said, is there any specific training agency or standardized training requirements you guys do?
Jay: [00:17:54] Yes, we follow ERDI, Emergency Eesponse Diving International t hey're a [00:18:00] branch of international training with SDI and TDI, they have the course training standards. Um, we sat down with their office in Florida and kind of went through our program and we well meet or exceed the standards on their course. And they're like, yeah, just keep doing what you're doing. And do it the way you're doing it and we're a super happy, so yeah, it's we still follow their standards. They get certified through them, just like our instructors get certified. So.
April: [00:18:28] So what's the hardest part of the [00:18:30] course.
Jay: [00:18:30] The probably the hardest skill is the zero visibility diving,
April: [00:18:36] Okay.
Jay: [00:18:37] Diving in, diving in black water, and we teach them and we do smaller article searches in black water. The reason it's the hardest is because a lot of people will say, for example, if you've never used a video camera underwater, there's a huge learning curve, but.
People who come like we have tech divers and cave divers come with advanced buoyancy skills. And so they can kind of [00:19:00] muscle through. Uh, with zero visibility diving, there's nobody trains for that. There's no comparable skill. So it's just, it's a learning curve for everybody. Uh, you have a spot on the bottom, set out we have it marked.
You can search it in about an hour and we put. Anywhere from three to five articles down there and they go down and they have to find these art and they have basically a tank of air. They have an hour [00:19:30] to find these items on the bottom. Some might be as small as a or a, uh, you know, and we might even put a bolt down there or something.
Something may be as big as a shotgun and they just, they have to be methodical. They have to be thorough or they can miss something so easy. So it's an hour of, you know, extreme concentration to make sure you're, we call it playing the piano. You move your hands, kind of like on a piano keyboard, [00:20:00] where you move out and then move ahead, one hand length, and then come back to the middle and then kind of pull yourself forward a little bit and do the next part.
That's probably the one skill that the most people struggle with.
Amit: [00:20:13] Well, it's kind of reminiscent of some of the lost line drills.
Jay: [00:20:16] Yeah. Well, it's very similar actually.
April: [00:20:18] Say Justin, what were you looking for in the Lake a couple of weeks ago? And couldn't find it a Apple watch. That's
Justin: [00:20:25] An Apple watch and yeah. In six inches of visibility, it was uh, yeah. [00:20:30]
I, uh, yeah, so that's a that's. Yeah, that can be pretty bad. I've also done dove for golf balls in a. In a, in some very disgusting, low vis ponds. And so I can, I've got a, I've got a sense of what you guys do and, uh, I applaud you for it.
so I guess we're kind of hitting on this ready all a little bit, but when we spoke to, , Sergeant Mark Bishop, while back , about public safety diving in general, um, and the differences between that and recreational or technical diving, uh, what's your perspective on those [00:21:00] differences?
Jay: [00:21:00] Uh, the biggest difference is like we're not teaching people to dive. All of our people are certified divers when they come, uh, we may refine their technique a little bit. But we're teaching basically how to do police work underwater.
Justin: [00:21:16] right.
Jay: [00:21:17] and you know, they've gone with the idea that it's easier to teach a police officer to dive than it is to teach a diver how to do police work.
you know, because there's a lot comes into it. Report writing, possible testimony in court, [00:21:30] evidence collection crime scene photography. For example, when we teach underwater video, I don't teach them how to take crime scene photographs, because they already know how to do that.
They're all police officers. We teach them how to do that underwater. So it's, there are a lot of things or comparable, you know, a lot of things are comparable to commercial diving in relation to hooking up cars and rigging stuff. Uh, a lot of it is comparable [00:22:00] to, you know, the surface supply diving is the same, you know, working at, but some of it is, is unique evidence collection, um, and documenting scenes.
We basically do can do plan drawings of the bottom, taking measurements so that we can draw it to scale. What the bottom looked like on a certain scene. If we need to, , that's sort of unique to our world over the recreational world.
Justin: [00:22:25] Yeah. what kind of specialized gear do you guys use? Uh, you mentioned dry suits and full face [00:22:30] masks. Is there anything else notable?
Jay: [00:22:32] Uh, yeah, so we, we have a dry suits, full face mask. We use through water communications so we can talk back and forth or we're hard wire communication. Uh, we spend a lot of time in the water by ourselves where you have one diaper in the water and you have a standby divers sitting on the shore, fully dressed.
Um, we use underwater metal detectors, A fair bit, which you know, is sort of unique to the, to the recreational world. [00:23:00] And as technology moves forward, the program is getting into sonars, side scan sonar, mechanical scanning sonars. We just got our first remote operated vehicle in ROV, just in March. So we are teaching ourselves how to use it so we can develop training for other teams to come out and learn how to use an ROV for a search.
Justin: [00:23:20] Right.
Jay: [00:23:21] know, if we need to, instead of putting a diver in the water,
Justin: [00:23:24] Yeah. And I imagine a sonar probably sees a little bit better than human eyes sometimes. Sometimes.
[00:23:30] Jay: [00:23:30] Yes sometimes. And you know, it's like anything else. It's a, it's a great tool in the toolbox, but it's not the end all be all. There are conditions that it works very, very well. There are conditions that it doesn't work at all. And you know, you just have to look at your conditions and think, okay, what is the best way to accomplish this task and what tools?
Sometimes it's a diver. Sometimes it's a sonar.
Justin: [00:23:55] Yeah, that's a great perspective. And a good perspective in diving in general is just [00:24:00] knowing the proper tool for the dive doing. Um, we're gonna take a quick break here, Jay, and, go out to commercial and we'll be right back.
Amit: [00:24:17] All right.
And welcome back. We're chatting with Sergeant Jay White. Who's the National Training Coordinator for the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team. And, uh, Jay, uh, we had spoken, I had mentioned this earlier that we'd spoken to Gary [00:24:30] Dallas a few episodes ago. Uh, one of the things that was a pretty cool story that he gave was, um, he uses this, uh, this training tool called dive for scenarios.
And in that students are sort of put into scenarios that mimic. Legitimate problems that they can encounter while on a dive. Um, do you guys use any sort of training that's similar to this, just to get your guys, uh, you know, into, I guess that level of training.
Jay: [00:24:55] Uh, we do, but we use it on our supervisors course, um, more than the [00:25:00] induction course, because the way our program is set up, basically it takes four or five people to put one diver in the water. Uh, there's always a trained supervisor on site. And the super, if you, as a diver run into a problem, your sole job is to tell the dive supervisor what your problem is.
And the supervisor will come up with the best idea on how to deal with it. Uh, so our scenario, our supervisor [00:25:30] course is a scenario based training of three weeks where you supervise. Basically every kind of dive that we have. So yeah, we'll run. You will supervise the line, tended search, dive, and guaranteed something in that dive is going to go wrong.
It's the best course to teach because I'm a horrible diver on that course. am continually getting fouled and I'm embolizing and I'm panicking underwater and it trains the supervisor on [00:26:00] how to problem solve and whether or not they give the diver time to solve the problem, whether or not they splash the standby diver, whether or not they simply abort the dive and have the diver come up.
That's all the decisions that the dive supervisor. We other than a basic dive rescue skills on the induction course, we don't really run through, uh, scenarios like that until you get to that almost management level of the dive site.
Amit: [00:26:28] And I guess that kinda makes sense when [00:26:30] you, when you consider sort of the structure of the RCMP and, you know, the fact that it's a, it's a police agency and you would have definitive command and control type scenarios. So that's, yeah, that, that tends to make sense, I guess, in my head, when I think about it that way.
Jay: [00:26:44] Well, and you have to have one person on a working dive site calling the shots. And even if we go out on an operational call, because we still do operations with the BC dive team. And, uh, you know, I'm the senior diver in the [00:27:00] country and I'm I'm underwater. And I can see my target that I'm heading for. I'm 20 feet away.
And I get a call from the supervisor to abort and return to the surface immediately. I don't ask questions. I don't hesitate. I'm leaving bottom. Now my max depth is, and I leave bottom. And when I get up, I find out there was a major issue with the boat. The boat was dragging in the current and they had to get me out.
So it's a, you know, you just can't have. You [00:27:30] can't have too many people trying to call the shots because the dive program is that in general tends to attract very strong personality people. And it would just be chaos. If we all had our say.
Amit: [00:27:42] that makes sense.
April: [00:27:43] So, I guess that being said, just kind of on a little bit of a different note, what are the fun components that the candidates really seem to love doing, or even that the instructors love to do?
Jay: [00:27:54] my favorite dive on induction is night dive night. we have a seven point [00:28:00] compass course set up and it's early on in the course and the candidates are required to navigate this compass course. At night in the dark with a float and a buddy. And normally the first time through it's just chaos. swim along behind and watch them. I've seen them swim. Just pass the sign, 15 feet to the writing, keep right on swimming. Cause they were so focused on their compass. They didn't look up. [00:28:30] It's really a key moment in the course because it's set up that way to task, load them. And for them to realize you have to have a plan going in the water. If your plan is we're going to go down here and swim to the first mark, that's not a plan. The plan is we're going to be here. I'm going to take the compass heading. You're going to do the fin kicks. You're going to stay on my right. I'll stay on your left. We're going to head that way. If we don't see the [00:29:00] mark at a certain point, we're going to stop and what are we going to do? So it's sort of a light bulb moment for the candidates. And they, once they realize that with a little bit of planning, they can have greater success. It becomes a fun night.
Amit: [00:29:15] Very cool. It sounds like, uh, it kind of translates over, I guess. I like, so I just finished doing some of my tech dive training and you know, it's very much was stressed. This idea of like, what is your plan? How good is your plan? And I thought one of the really cool things was our [00:29:30] instructor had put us through was a just letting us foul it up. Exactly. Like you said. Right. So that by the, the end of our dive that we thought was going to go so great because, you know, we're, we think we're decent divers and you get in the water and then you get out of the water and you realize, well, that was absolute train wreck to put it politely.
And you know, you're, you're looking at your buddy going like, wow, what the hell did we just do? Uh, so yeah, it sounds like it's a, it's kind of starts moving people. Even though they're in a recreational thing and you're dealing with it in a commercial way, [00:30:00] you're moving them towards the more technical aspects of diving.
Would that be a fair statement?
Jay: [00:30:05] Yes. Yeah. It's sort of, especially for the people who come on the course that have just a recreational background, it, uh, It's really starting to push their limits a little bit. The candidates themselves, they tend to love rigging and lifting day. Uh, you know, we have, we have vehicles in the water that they have to go and hook lift bags on and get air into them and then have them float to the [00:30:30] surface.
And. Uh, you know, it's a big thrilling day. You're down there and there's a car underwater and you have to figure out how to hook these straps up and how to bring it up and then how to set it back on the bottom and how to unhook things. And that's sort of the big, you see a lot of smiles that day during the training.
Amit: [00:30:50] So, I guess I'm gonna change it a little bit. And I know now we don't have time to get into all of them, but you've written several articles. I think that have been published. [00:31:00] And in one of those, if I'm not mistaken, you had talk about the importance of why you guys dive, uh, completely dry. So like head to toe so that nothing touches you.
I was wondering because you know, when, when you hear about this stuff, people's assumptions, I think is that sure you might be in a muddy pond, uh, or you might be in some place that's just a little bit brackish water, but there's a lot more to why you guys dive that way. Can you tell us a bit about both those factors?
[00:31:30] Jay: [00:31:30] Yes. It's, uh, actually, and it's, it's, uh, actually the article is titled after a phrase that I use when, uh, during the induction course. And, uh, it's Would You Lick a Dead Guy? It's because what happens without getting into too much more detail. Very shortly after death, the body starts to break down and within hours of a body being in the water there's fluids leaking [00:32:00] out.
Um, and if you're diving in that water, then you're basically swimming in the fluids that are coming out of this other person. And just like a surgeon always wears gloves. Uh, you know, it's sort of the same idea. So we dive completely encapsulated. Uh, like I said, I wear a full dry suit. I wear dry gloves.
So I have a dry hood, a full face mask. When I dive it is a catastrophic failure if [00:32:30] my hand gets wet, um, because You know, we don't want to come in contact with where we're diving and even, you know, like, yes, I know they have water treatment in Halifax Harbor, and I've been to Halifax many times and yes, you know, they, the mayor a few years ago, went for a swim and said the water was fine.
But if we're working there, we're working on the bottom and there's, you know, 400 years of chemicals. Sitting in the sediment at the bottom of that Harbor. And if you stir that up, [00:33:00] it's basically all around you. And if you're in a mask and regulator, it's in your ears and in your nose and in the old days of the, uh, The dive program before they went, encapsulated their stories about the, the summit and Halifax in 95,or 96, and the divers had to clear Pier 21 and one of the divers with this mask and regulator, when it cleared the pier and come up and had toilet paper in his mustache.
Amit: [00:33:25] Right.
April: [00:33:26] Oh, okay.
Jay: [00:33:28] So, yeah, so we [00:33:30] always, we always dive encapsulated. We train our people to work that way. And now even diving recreationally, I, I wear the same gear, so I'm just fully encapsulated all the time.
Justin: [00:33:43] That makes total sense. I've always talked about the, the bottoms of the waterways with people, you know, it's nice up top, but. Don't touch the bottom. Speaking of the bottom of things, I understand you were part of the deepest recovery, ever conducted by the RCMP.
Are you able to tell us a little bit about [00:34:00] that?
Jay: [00:34:00] Yeah, it was, uh, it was quite, uh, actually it's the same, operation where I had to abort. When I had found the first victim, it was a, a commercial boat, went down with, uh, two people missing and it was 170 feet to the mud, a hundred and 155 feet to the deck. Um, And we had to in, in a high current area. So we, uh, we're tasked with going down.
[00:34:30] We found the boat with the, with the sonar and had to go down and try and locate the two individuals that were missing. So guy was near the back door and the skipper was actually inside. we were on surface supply gear, involved, a dive to 145 feet. And then I had to crawl in through broken window and down a flight of stairs and around the corner into a little cubbyhole to find him.
And, uh, yeah, there he was. And I don't often because of the job we [00:35:00] often don't talk about. Victims as people it's sort of a defense mechanism, but, uh, this skipper, he was in the wheelhouse and as the boat was sinking, grabbed one of the crewman and threw them out the window. And, uh, as the water was rushing in and that crewman, he put out the windows, the only survivor.
And, uh, the skipper got washed down when went down with the ship saving one of his crew. So he's a [00:35:30] pretty big hero in my book.
Justin: [00:35:33] Yeah, most definitely. But that kind of leads me to wonder how deep are you guys capable of operating it or what kind of maximum depths are you able to, search for?
Jay: [00:35:42] On scuba or maximum operating depth is 40 meters. And on surface supply, we go to a 48 meters.
Amit: [00:35:50] That's actually a pretty deep diving,
Jay: [00:35:52] And, and to work and to actually function. So
Amit: [00:35:55] And so I won't get into it because I could, I could run down a road where I started asking you hundreds of [00:36:00] questions about that. But I was curious, Jay, uh, you know, I know you've done all kinds of dives, like, is there a most memorable dive that you, that you can think of or something that sticks out as being like one of the coolest dives you've been on?
It doesn't have to be work-related. I was just curious.
Jay: [00:36:14] Oh, I have so many, uh, you know, like emotionally, my favorite dive was probably the, the first dive I did with my wife and all three kids at the same time, uh, that the five of us did a family dive, which was sort of fun. [00:36:30] Uh, one of, one of the, my most memorable dives, uh, was when I was posted in Rocky Harbor, Newfoundland in Grossmore National Park.
And, uh, I was there for four years and we looked at the charts in the area and there was one spot near Norris Point called God's Point that you could stand on shore and with your wrong hand, throw a rock in the water and it would land in 230 feet of water. And we're like, Oh, we should check that [00:37:00] out.
And, uh, so we jumped in the water. Having never been there, hadn't talked to anybody who had been there and we swam down and it was kind of that freshwater or saltwater mixed with a little bit of, uh, you know, with that little bit of waviness in it. And then we came out in about 20 feet of water and swam out over the edge.
And it's just a straight wall down to the point. I actually like backed up, you know, I confessed to hand swimming a little bit and then I'm like, Oh, wait a minute. I'm [00:37:30] swimming uh, this wall was, was phenomenal. We would go down and do a hundred feet and you could just see it falling straight away below you.
It would take half an hour to swim from one side to the other, uh, with no bottom, all the fish had oriented themselves to the wall. So they were all swimming on their sides. Uh, it's just, and I dove that a lot while I was posted there. It's probably one of my favorite dives and it's not a big site. I'd never, ever seen another diver there. [00:38:00]
Justin: [00:38:00] With all these dives you've done throughout your history of a pre RCMP diving and during RCMP diving and recreational dives with your family and all this, what, what keeps you in the water?
Jay: [00:38:12] I just love being underwater. I'm just, it's, uh, we've talked about this with my wife before, because I'm a little kind of all over the place I painted for a little while and I played the guitar for a little while and I did this and I have never tired of. [00:38:30] Swimming around in 40 feet of water looking at fish. I, I just, and I really don't know why. I just love, I love being on the shore between dives. I love tinkering with my gear. I love being an underwater. I love just swimming around looking at stuff. It doesn't matter. Like I'm, I'm one of these guys that after the safety stop, when you're swimming to the beach, If I have extra air in my tank, I'm just going to sit there in 10 feet of water and kind of poke around [00:39:00] and look at the little Perrywinkles until, until I'm down to my leave pressure, just stand up. It's I, I, it's just, it's a passion.
Amit: [00:39:11] Well, and you know, that that comes through and I got to say, uh, you know, I'm going to take this chance to, to say thank you, um, more or less, like straight up, because what that, I took a trip out to a BC and earlier this year, actually, it's only been that recent and, uh, you were very kind to take me [00:39:30] on two dives, where I got to play with an octopus, which was one of the coolest things that I've ever done.
Um, and we also fed a giant wolfish, which is also super cool. And, you know, so one thing I can say is that, that love that passion for diving came through. Very much when we did that. And there was even though, I guess you mentioned that's one of the crappiest conditions that you had. I had a, in, in years, to me, it was like, this is phenomenal diving, uh, coming from Nova Scotia, but you know what, you, you had a [00:40:00] huge smile on your face the entire time. Uh, and I really felt like I was just getting the tag along with a guy who loves doing what he's, what he's doing. So I just want to say thanks again for that.
Jay: [00:40:09] Well, you are quite welcome. It was a fantastic day. That was a, that was a great day. And like I said, I love diving. I love talking about diving and I'm not hard to convince to get into water. So next time you're coming. Let me know the door's always open.
Amit: [00:40:24] Although believe me, I'll be sending you a couple emails and texts on the next trip.
[00:40:30] Jay: [00:40:30] Just remember the pepperoni. That's all I ask
Amit: [00:40:32] That's that's that's right. So the folks that don't know my admission into that dive trip was a, it was some Chris' Brother's pepperoni. So that was the only way I could convince Jay to come out or bribe themselves. Yeah, I can, I can find a way to stow some of that baggage on the way up.
Justin: [00:40:47] We know the entry fee now. It's some Nova Scotia local pepperoni. Well again, thanks Jay, for chatting with us about what you do and about your passion. yeah, it's been really interesting and really, really informative.
Jay: [00:40:58] Yeah, you're quite welcome. [00:41:00] Thank you for having me. And, uh, any time, just let me know.
Justin: [00:41:03] Awesome. Well, we'll probably get you back, but we'll keep you on the show here for the last little bit. We've got a few more things to chat about and, with that being said, I'm gonna toss it over to April for this week.
April: [00:41:13] Yeah. So this week I'm going to talk a little bit about boat diving. We know I was in Tobermory, the weekend and we were doing boat diving a course and kind of reminded me of some stuff because back home in Nova Scotia, like the majority [00:41:30] of our diving is shore diving. So it's actually not super often that I get to dive off boats.
So it was a little bit of a treat. the kind of boat we were on, it kind of had like a platform off the back. So we would do a giant stride and rather than like a back roll, but a couple of things that we have to be careful of is also just like, making sure that you're stable.