Category Archives: Scuba History

Where did the term SCUBA come from?

The report titled On Using Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus was written by Walter A. Hahn and Christian J. Lambertsen in 1952. A really interesting read from the early days of Scuba Diving. They cover the swimmer, the physics and physiology of diving along with training in both open circuit and closed circuit scuba. They are quick to point out that this is not a training manual.

On Using SCUBA


24. Travel Insurance, Wind Power in the US and Scott Carpenter – Astronaut and Aquanaut

In this episode we discuss dive travel insurance, the current state of wind power, and Scott Carpenter – Astronaut and Aquanaut.

Who doesn’t like a great scuba diving trip? As we know, we need to plan our trips well in advance and in many cases make a significant investment. Things happen and we should really protect that investment with trip insurance. There are a number of products out there to insure your dive travel. Divers Alert Network and DiveAssure offer a variety of products that cover single trips or annual trip insurance. You can check out these options on their websites.

2019 was the 2nd warmest year on record. No doubt that carbon dioxide is contributing. Wind power is a great option to help reduce emissions. You can gain a great deal of information on the state of wind power in the United States at the American Wind Energy Association web site. In 2018 wind energy reduced 201 million metric tons of carbon dioxide avoided the equivalent of taking 42.7 million cars off the road. Wind energy is part of the solution.

Scott Carpenter was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and he was also a pioneer aquanaut. His book that he co-authored with his daughter details his journey. He joined George Bond as part of the Navy’s saturation diving program and participated in both the Sealab I and Sealab II projects. His 30 days underwater on Sealab II was a record for living underwater. After his diving career was finished he rejoined NASA and was instrumental in the development of underwater training to simulate being weightless. Scott Carpenter was a true American hero.

Scuba Shack Radio #21 – 12-15-19

In this episode we discuss the Ikelite Olympus TG-6 package, stony coral tissue loss disease, and some history of New England diving.

The Ikelite Olympus TG-6 package comes with the Olympus TG-6 camera, the Ikelite housing, the action tray II with left handle, RC1 TTL (Through the Lens) receiver, a fiber optic cord, the Ikelite DS51 strobe and the compact ball arm for quick release. The camera features four underwater modes – normal, wide, macro, and microscope with 3 filter settings including shallow, mid and deep. You can add a 3 or 6 inch wide angle dome port. The camera shoots both JPEG and RAW formats. If you want to edit RAW images, you can download the Olympus Workspace application. You can edit JPEG in your favorite editing software.

Stony coral tissue loss disease was first detected in Florida in 2014 and has spread to Jamaica, the Mexican Caribbean, St. Martin, St. Thomas and the Dominican Republic. It is suspected to be caused by bacterium but still not definitive. You can get a great deal of detail on stony coral tissue loss disease on the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) program website This outbreak is different because of the number of coral species effected, its high prevalence, rapid mortality, the high rate of transmission, its large geographic area and the long duration of the outbreak. Interventions include topical application of chlorine and amoxicillin, epoxy, amputation or relocation.

Jim Cahill was a New England diver who is one of the pioneers of scuba diving in the United States. An original Navy Underwater Demolition Team member who started a salvage business after getting out of the Navy. He is credited with being a co-founder of NAUI, an original member of the Boston YMCA Sea Rovers and started New England Dive. Some of Jim’s adventures are recounted in a book written by his brother, Robert Ellis Cahill, titled “Diary of the Depths”. This book has some interesting stories. A couple of chapters are stories by Frank Sanger and double amputee diver who worked with Jim. You can read about the early days of salvage diving including a highly publicized murder case in MA, recovery efforts on a jet that crashed in Boston Harbor and the Texas Tower in the Atlantic.

Scuba Shack Radio #18 – 11-3-19

In this episode we discuss the Halcyon Traveler BC, the Keeling Curve, and some more of our diving history with the salvage of the submarine S-51 in 1925/26.

The Halcyon Traveler BC is a great light weight BC with the control and stability of the backplate and wing configuration. The Traveler BC is a 30 pound lift capacity wing and weighs in at just about 7 pounds – half the weight of the Infinity BC with a stainless steel backplate and tank adapter. The nylon backplate has four weight pouches that can hold up to 12 pounds total. You can also add the Halcyon active control ballast pockets on the waist band or the trim tab pockets on the tank bands. The Halcyon Traveler BC is fantastic for dive travel to warm water destinations.

The Keeling Curve is a graph of the accumulated CO2 in our atmosphere from 1958 to the present. It is named for the scientist Charles David Keeling. It has been described as one of the most important works of the 20th century. It shows the rise from 315 parts per million (PPM) in 1958 to 406 PPM in 2018. This dramatic increase is alarming. The Keeling Curve also shows the seasonal variation of CO2. Until the mid 20th century scientist thought the ocean would easily absorb the excess CO2. Now we know that isn’t happening.

The book “On the Bottom” by Commander Edward Ellsberg is the story of the salvage of the submarine S-51 that sank after colliding with a steamer in 1925. The book tells an incredible story of our diving history. Working at a depth of 132 feet, the divers needed to secure the submarine inside and outside and then rig it for lifting. The salvage operation required a great deal of innovation and ingenuity along with unbelievable courage.