Extreme cold water and ice conditions demand specialized training in the search, rescue, and recovery tactics used in this environment and continuing training is a must to maintain a ready status team.
The Point Pleasant Rescue Dive Team is made up of a strong team of dedicated Scuba divers who are all volunteers and spend a considerable amount of their free time training and increasing their skills. They also volunteer much of their time supporting the Point Pleasant First-Aid team which they are associated with.
I am fortunate to know many of these Rescue divers and have trained and certified with many of the team members. I am able to return to the Jersey Shore every month or so to dive and train with this team and I find their dedication to the team and the community refreshing and commendable. This team spends a considerable amount of time diving and are usually in the water 2 to 3 times a week as compared to many teams that only train once a month if that. Unfortunately many First-Aid\Rescue teams have a large percentage of members who are in it to “Wear the Jacket” and be seen as part of the unit. Both the Point Pleasant First-Aid and Rescue Dive Teams have very impressive staffs that are also very visible in the community.
Team Captain and PADI master Dive Instructor Chet Nesley has been instrumental in developing the team and has incorporated many of the Dive Masters that he has certified into the Rescue Dive Team. Following is a description of this weekends training session…
“Did ice diver training today. Did surface rescue and did ice dive training for the new members Dan sager, Eric Poplick, Mark Ostovish. We have a lot of pictures, I'm sending them to you as I get them!" Dive and weather information, air temp 30f, water temp 29f, Visibility under the ice 0-5 feet."
A newspaper reporter was there, If it makes the paper I'll let you know.
Cold water rescues are not common for the fact is many people do not go into the water during these frigid conditions except in the case of an accident. Yearly “Polar Bear Plunges” are an exception and this team covers that event also with equipped divers in the water to assist those who choose to run into a frigid ocean…
Most cold water rescue scenarios involve a motor vehicle accident that results in the vehicle entering the water and submerged, and boating incidents. A remarkable fact in cold water rescue scenarios is a condition where the body will shut down to protect the “Core” system for survival purposes. This will extend the “Survivability” of the person in the cold water a considerable amount. I dug out my old Dive Master training manual and found the following description in “The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving” which has an incredible amount of information about diving Physics, Physiology, equipment, and training procedures. Something that Chief Diver Chet Nesley required me to learn, and maintain, to keep my certification current…
"The Bradycardia response to apnea has sometimes been called tha mammalian diving reflex because it is found in diving mammals such as whales, seals and porpoises. The diving reflex in man is believed to have helped prevent deaths in near drowning accidents in youths in water below 50 degrees. Un these incidents, the near drowning victims have recovered with resuscitation, even after periods of 20 minutes or more without breathing. There are no apparent aftereffects."
"Physiologists believe the diving reflex concentrates the blood in the brain and heart, distributing the limited oxygen supply only to critical areas. That cold water on the faces seems to trigger the response explains why the diving reflex has been noted less in warm-water near drowning accidents…"