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