Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Training with a "Hefty" Return....

Training can only go so far. You need to show the many different ways that the teams training can be used during incidents and service to the community. That is what happened on  Sunday for the divers of the Point Pleasant First Aid Dive team. The team was put to the test of trying to recover a large sinker mount from the bottom of Manasquan inlet. This is a mount of fishing line, sinkers and lures and anything from old t-shirts, fishing poles, and reels along with anything rolling across the bottom for the last twenty years.

Some of the team members have been working on this mount for the last few weeks, cutting and working it free from the bottom and grabbing what sinkers that they could find. Over the last few weeks about six feet of the mount was worked free and three hundred pounds of sinkers have been recovered.
Last Sunday we tried to pull the mount up but it was not coming up, we ran out of time and visibility as the visibility dropped after the tide started running out. So the team made plans for this Sunday for another attempt at removing this debris from the Inlet floor…
This Sunday we were ready for another try at the mount. This time it was a test for the divers to use all their skills learned over their training periods.  Under water knot tying (try tying knots with wet suit gloves on) running line for lifting and rigging lift bags. Everybody had a job to do and for this to work and everybody needed to do their job. The team was working against the clock, as we had a small window of slack tide to work in.
Once at the parking lot we got the dive truck set up so we could use the winch on the front of the truck to pull the sinker mount up and out of the water. A ladder was put in the water and made safe so the divers could get in and out of the water without having to swim very far. The lifting gear and lines were laid out so they could be ready to go.
The first teams job was to recover the line we used for lift last week and bring that to the surface, Ali. B and Sue.L did this in just minutes and had the line and all knots needed for the lift ready to go. This line was hooked up to the winch on the dive truck and pulled tight. With this done Joe(OJ). S and Joe.S could use this line to take the lift bag and lines down to the mount and get it rigged up for the lift. With this done Greg.M came down with a tank of air to fill the lift bag and began to fill the bag.

Once the lift bag was full, we had five hundred pounds of lift pulling the mount up and the winch pulling it from shore. But the mount only came up so far! Now it was time to start cutting any fishing lines that held the mount down. Knifes came out and the cutting began! As the teams started cutting more and more lines free, more pull was applied from the winch on the dive truck and slowly the mount started to come free.

Most of the cutting was done with little or no visibility. As the sinker mount broke free of the bottom it kicked up the mud and silt from all those years of sitting on the bottom. But that’s how we train, to work in anything! With Joe and Joe and Greg cutting the lines it got to the point that Joe reached in to grab more line to cut he found nothing! The mount was gone!! Then he looked up and there it was floating free of the bottom. Not all of it was floating, we had pulled so much out that part of it was still dragging across the bottom.
 From the surface the team working the winch just saw the lift bag pop up and just kept pulling it in with the winch. Once a check was made to see everyone was OK, we got Ali and Sue out of the water and into a nice warm truck. It was anything but warm both in the water and on land. The water temperature was around fifty degrees and on land it was twenty nine degrees with a wind chill of nine degrees, It  was cold! But that’s what we have to work in!
Joe, Joe and Greg stayed with the mount and worked getting it rigged to lift it out of the water. They moved the lift bag half way down the mount and filled it so the mount was free of the bottom. The winch pulled the mount up and over the sea wall and in to the parking lot. It had to be almost twenty feet long when we laid it all out.
 It was so big we had to cut it up into six parts to load it up in fifty gallon drums to get it back to the building to go through it looking for sinkers and lures.
After all the cleaning was done the team walked away with one hundred and eighty three pounds of sinkers. But we also know that that part of the inlet is now free of this snag, the fishermen will not be losing any more of their gear and fish will no longer be getting hung up and dying there!

The team would like to thank Alex’s inlet bait and tackleshop on inlet drive for pointing out this obstruction and asking if we could do something about it. Without this tip we may have not found this spot and for him to offer the warmth of his shop and bathrooms for the divers on a very cold and long day!
Chet Nesley
Chief Diver



Saturday, November 16, 2013


I don’t remember how it started but it was many years ago. We always saw sinkers on the dive teams training dives and I started picking them up and the next thing you know everyone was doing it. We got buckets full of sinkers now what are we going to do with them!
Someone from the fire company said sell them at your fishing flea market in February and that’s what we did. The fire company gives the dive team a table and we sell everything we find underwater. Sinkers, old bottles, lures, fishing poles and reels, boat anchors, you name it we’ll sell it. One year Tom and Sue found a three foot tall concrete owl and it was the first thing we sold that year!! A concrete owl!!!
The money we get goes right back into gear for the team, ( IE, underwater still camera and a underwater video camera, dry suits, whatever the team needs.
We help the fishermen by cleaning up the snags that cover the bottom in the inlet. We also get to show them the stills and the videos of what’s on the bottom. We do get to free up fish that get hung up in the fishing gear that is hung on the bottom.

So when you see us out there with those PVC pipe tubes that what we’re doing, training to work underwater and getting sinkers and making the inlet just that much cleaner.
In 2012 we recovered 2264lbs of sinkers and that is not counting the few hundred lures we also had or the fishing poles.
In 2011 it was 2154lbs of sinkers  and lures. Every year we get over a ton of sinkers and lures. It’s like a never ending job. As fast as we clean up a snag we find another one. I know we been doing this for  over  ten years and we always get over a ton, so if you do the math that’s ten tons recovered.

May be we should say you can rent them cause we only get them back again later.

We don’t always keep what we find, we have returned phones, rings, watches, pocketbooks, fishing poles, car keys.
Chet Nesley
Chief Diver

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bay Head FD ~100 Years~

Today was the 100th anniversary of the Bayhead Fire Department! The Point Pleasant Dive Teams truck was specifically requested for their celebration because it is an antique! Yes, this is true our 1985 truck was the third oldest there, right after Bayhead’s fire trucks.

Chet, Bob S, Gibby and a tag along Liz, met at the building at 1030 and prepared the truck for its departure. We cleaned it, and Chet spent some time detailing it, specifically where the truck needed some extra attention.

We arrived a few minutes to noon and watched as they dedicated two large granite monuments with the names of deceased members. Unfortunately, a few nights ago they were vandalized by being tipped over. However, this did not stop the celebration, their spirits were very high!

After the dedication, the Chief of Bayhead FD led all the invited towns’ fire trucks through Bayhead in a parade. There was food and drinks when we returned and we spent the remainder of the afternoon enjoying the company of many locals and firefighters. Congratulations to the Bayhead Fire Department on One Hundred Years of Service!  


Monday, October 07, 2013

BEHIND THE GLASS MAGAZINE - "Insight & Interviews from Behind the Scenes" article....

Impressive article from the "Behind the Glass" magazine which provides Insight & Interviews from behind the scenes of the finest Aquariums and Zoos...
Click here: "Behind The Glass"

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Gulf Stream....

My friend and prior Captain of the Sportfishing charter boat Sea Boots that I worked on while living in the Florida Keys, had a interesting tidbit about the Gulf Stream on his weekly radio show "This Week in Fishing"... 

The above photo shows a small fishing boat that snagged a deep water Crab trap rope in it's propeller and was in danger of sinking. It may appear that the fishing boat is "backing down" and the Coast Guard inflatable is in power ahead but in fact both boats are NOT moving and it is the Gulf Stream current running past them. The small Coast Guard boat was not able to cut the trap line and our boat the Sea Boots took tow of the small fishing boat by the bow and pulled it 180degrees into the current where there was then slack in the line to be cut...

Interesting facts about the flow and strength of the Gulf Stream current:

Off the Atlantic seaboard of the United States, the Gulf Stream flows at a rate nearly 300 times faster than the typical flow of the Amazon River. The velocity of the current is fastest near the surface, with the maximum speed typically about 5.6 miles per hour (nine kilometers per hour). The average speed of the Gulf Stream, however, is four miles per hour (6.4 kilometers per hour). The current slows to a speed of about one mile per hour (1.6 kilometers per hour) as it widens to the north.
The Gulf Stream transports nearly four billion cubic feet of water per second, an amount greater than that carried by all of the world's rivers combined.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Dive Team Duty Crew "Saves the Day"!!...

Point Pleasant First Aid and Emergency Squad, an all volunteer first aid squad, has the coverage area from the Manasquan Inlet to the southern end of Mantoloking where Route 35 splits into two separate highways north and south.

This year the squad and it's Dive Team set up dive duty crews that would make sure they had a Dive Team crew available from 5 PM until 8:30PM. This would allow for quicker response times to water emergencies in their coverage area after the lifeguards went off duty.

Each year more and more people visit the beaches and stay later or just go onto the beach after hours for free. This means more people swimming in unprotected water.

Saturday evening, 8-31-13, on one of the last days of the official season as the Dive Team crew were walking on the beach near Martell's and Jenk's, a woman struck up a conversation, asking why they were there. As they spoke she looked up and saw her son get caught in a RIP CURRENT that sucked the boy underwater. The diver, Paul DeSalvo, sprung into action and swam out and had to search under the surface for the 10 year old. He managed to grab him and bring him back to shore safely.

The entire summer of training and preparing for just such an incident paid off in split second of action.

The odds of him going under while the rescue team was in sight are unbelievable but he is alive and well and, thankfully, not the subject of a search and recovery by the area emergency services.

Several important factors are brought to the squads attention with a call like this;
1st No swimming in unprotected waters unless you have others with you...

2nd  Watch out for Rip Currents. Especially without lifeguards present or after hours or off season...

3rd  If you or a family member are dragged under the water and have water in the lungs and are coughing and spitting up, it is vitally important to seek medical attention at the hospital...

Many people have died from a secondary drowning or "Dry Drowning," where they have enough water in there lungs to suffocate as they lay down or go to sleep.

Enjoy the water but be careful, we want you to come back again next season.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Object recovery...

The Dive Team got another call from Bay Head about another object in the water.  (The last time it was an underwater mine, so now what?)  Tom C. and I headed out to answer the call, ON THE SAME BEACH AS THE MINE, with the First Aid Captain right behind.  On arrival, we spoke with the head of the beach patrol, who informed us of a pipe sticking up out of the bottom in the swimming area.  The lifeguards had tried to pull it out, but couldn’t get it to move.  But they did mark it with a float.
Tom and I suited up in dive gear and Sabrina suited up in her surface rescue gear to be our surface support.  The “dive” part was easy – short swim, flat ocean, and good vis.  Sure enough, attached to the float was a 2 inch diameter steel pipe, with about 5 feet sticking out of the bottom.  We just had to get it out.

The lifeguards had tried to pull it out with no success, so we had no idea how long the rest of it was.  They were thinking we might have to dig, but I was thinking about a WET PAINT sign that makes you want to touch something!  I just gave it a pull, and it started moving.  Being on SCUBA, we could get a good look at how it was inserted into the sand, so we just kept working it from the right angle, and 12-14 feet of pipe came free.  We swam it in and handed it over to beach patrol.
In the meantime, Sabrina did do a bit of talking with people on the beach about the First Aid Squad and Dive Team.  She assured them that, other than this random object, the swimming beaches are generally clean and safe.

A few days later the team got a call from Someone Who Wished He Hadn’t Dropped His Only Boat Keys off a Dock.  He had apparently dropped his only boat keys off a dock and asked if we could help recover them.  We got to the marina and suited up within an hour.
Someone showed us exactly where the keys were dropped, but he was concerned that they might truly be lost - it was only two keys on a large rubber band, the current may have taken them away entirely, and the bay bottom is incredibly muddy in that area.

Even with these challenges, the search area was narrowed down to one boat slip, so we decided to put one diver in at a time.  I started out with maybe 4 INCHES on visibility.  Even on this bright, sunny day, in 7 feet of water, you needed a dive light.  It took 45 minutes, but got the keys back.
Never say Never!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Wooden Boat 2013

Each year we are proud to be a part of the Wooden Boat Festival sponsored by the Toms River Seaport Society and Maritime Museum. The day includes a collection of wooden boats moored along the canal, vendors selling nautical goods, pirates and of course the Pt. Pleasant Dive Team touch tank and display.


The Dive Teams day starts at 5:30 am as we don our scuba equipment to collect our specimens for the touch tank. It takes about an hour to collect the proper specimens and enough water to keep our touch tank and our specimens healthy throughout the long day ahead.

Our displays at the festival included photos of various marine life found off the Jersey coast, a multimedia display showing artifact recovery, marine life and Dive Team drills, our shell display case, a sample of our bottle collection and of course “Dry Suit Guy” – a fully suited representation of what equipment we wear during our dives.

We spent quite a bit of time explaining about the different bottles and artifacts we find on our dives. It never fails to interest people when they find out the age of some of the bottles we find. Chief Nesley is quite good at dating bottles and makes it seem so simple once you know the features to identify. One of the games we played was to ask “What is the oldest thing on the table?”. Each time someone from the Dive Team would reply “Chief Nesley!”. Sorry Chief, but you have a few years to go to beat that lump of coal!!

The highlight of our display was our Touch Tank. Kids and adults alike had a great time learning about the marine life of New Jersey from members of our Dive Team. Our Touch tank included specimens such as the Sea Star (or Starfish as most would call them), Spider Crabs, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Star Coral and the Red Bearded Sponge.

The weather was a scorcher this year. Everyone was doing their best to stay in what little shade they could find. Hydration was the key word of the day. Of course a few Italian Ices didn’t hurt either. The canal’s waters were quite tempting throughout the day, but we refrained from jumping in the cool inviting waters in fear that everyone at the festival would join us!
12 hours after starting our day and we were finally on our way back to the RR Bridge to release our marine specimens. The Chief and Joe S. took a few minutes in the refreshing waters to cool off. A much needed treat after a long day in the heat.
A huge thanks goes out to all who helped make our 2013 Wooden Boat Festival Display a great success. We hope to see everyone next year!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

East Coast Scuba "Bottles & Artifacts".

New bottle site up on Facebook with many of the historical bottles found along the East coast.....

Search: East Coast Scuba "Bottles & Artifacts" on Facebook to view the page.....

Thursday, June 27, 2013

You never know what you’re going to find!...


What started out as just another day of sweeping  the beach’s clear of storm debris turned out to be so much more for the Dive Team. Tom C., Gibby, and I checked the water this morning and saw it was just right for continuing our beach sweeps of the swimming  beachs along the shore. With a flat ocean and good visibility we could get a lot done.

Launching rescue 34 at the foot of bay avenue and coming around  and out into the ocean for the run down the beach to Mount street in Bay Head. We got our tow lines set up and we got the divers in the water and headed south for Mantoloking. Keep in the depth range of eight to ten feet as this is the area that swimmers would be in at low tide.

  After five hours of towing we covered an area from Mount street to just a quarter mile short of the Mantoloking bridge. We called it a day at this point and headed back to get cleaned up. With the boat and all our gear back it the building getting cleaned up, that’s when the real fun started.


We got a call from the Bay Head life guards about something in the water and could we come down and check it out. With Gibby and Tom on a first aid call, Sammie and I jumped in 342 with Jerry and Jen and our gear and headed off to Bay head. As we walked down the beach Sabrina the first aid captain came over and told us the life guards would point out where it was. I walked out to the area the life guards were pointing to and started looking for the object, within seconds I found it and started looking really close to it, with one to two foot waves rolling in it was not that easy to get a close look at it.
  It was big and round and made of metal I could see that much but not much more, so I started fanning some of the sand away from it. At some point in time I stood up and let the people on the beach that I was OK. I wanted to mark the spot so I stood on it and took land ranges , It was right about this time at I figured out what I was standing on! It was a bugs bunny moment, If you remember the bugs bunny cartoons as a kid, do remember the one were bugs was in the bomb make plant with the hammer! Well that how I felt, I was standing on an underwater mine! The kind of thing that sink really big ships!  I went down again just to make certain that what I saw.  I could be wrong! I wasn’t, it was a really big mine and it was time for me to go!

Getting back to the beach everyone is looking at me for some idea as to what it is and all I could get out was “call EOD” (you know the navy guys that take care of stuff that blows up!). That got everyone moving ,  mostly off the beach. The Bay Head police took over and we headed back to the building to finish cleaning up and getting everything ready for whatever came our way.

Two hours later we got a call to go stand by in Bay Head as the EOD divers were on scene. We talked to the navy divers and showed them the land ranges for it and they came out and said the same thing I knew, It’s a mine! Plans were made to meet at 0500 the next morning to work on it.

At 0500 the tide was just coming off low tide and starting to come back in, so  the EOD guys packed ten pounds of C-4 around the mine and sat back and waited for the tide to come in, as they wanted as much water on top of the mine as they could get.
  At 1100 the take cover sound was made and that was the end to the mine! Talking to the EOD guys the mine could have had as much as six hundred pounds of power in it! That would have made a really big bang! But with the mine being flooded none of the mines power went off.
But a really big peace did land on the beach. After the water calmed down the EOD divers went back in the water to check to see at nothing was left. The all clear was sounded and life could go back normal.
  The head of the beach patrol did ask if the dive team could go in and remove anything that was left over from the mine. I told him we would be back in an hour with more divers and the dive truck to do a search of the area.

Tom C, Gibby, Sammie and I got geared up and headed back to Bay Head to do the search. The plan was I would find the spot the mine was in and mark it and gibby and tom would do half circle sweeps around the marker out to an hundred fifty feet. I found the spot it was in by using my land ranges and found some of the sand bags the navy divers used to hold the C-4 in place. Tom  and gibby did their sweeps and I looked around the sand bags and we did come up with a few parts of the mine. After being in the water over an hour we found what was to be found and finished up. It was nice to get back to the building and get cleaned up.

Like I said “you never ever know what you’re going to find!