Imagine doing heavy-duty construction work while wearing a thick rubber suit and a metal helmet that lets you move with all the grace of a jousting knight. Now imagine doing that in deep-ocean waters while breathing through a hose, and you have an idea of what the Port of Long Beach salvage-and-recovery divers do on a regular basis.
The Haiti earthquake disaster earlier this year underscored the importance of keeping port facilities open after a catastrophic event. Ports are a lifeline for emergency supplies and key to economic recovery. A shutdown of the port complex in Long Beach and Los Angeles would cost the US economy an estimated $1 billion a day with devastating consequences across the land.
The Port of Long Beach is the only port in the country with a deepwater salvage-and-recovery team. The team regularly clears the waterways of debris for safe passage of ships and trains for disaster preparedness.
Recently, the Port of Long Beach Harbor Patrol’s Dive Team participated in Patriot Partner, a set of joint emergency salvage and recovery exercises in conjunction with the US Navy on Pier T. The Port and the Navy have the only dive teams in the region equipped and trained for emergency salvage and recovery.