NOAA Diving Program supports deeper dives
NOAA Diver Randy Kosaki collects new species of sea horse and dragonet fish during a closed circuit rebreather (CCR) dive down to a maximum depth of 300 feet in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Last September, NOAA Divers from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) dove to the deepest depths any NOAA Diver has yet reached, down to a maximum of 300 feet, to survey areas around the North Western Hawaiian Islands.
To ensure safe operations, these accomplished Closed Circuit Rebreather (CCR) divers conducted mandatory work-up dives and gained operational experience at various successive depths prior to launching this particular mission. In addition, the NOAA Diving Program (NDP) provided a hyperbaric chamber and a chamber operator (Katie Mahaffey) to support the mission.
The PMNM team will again sail on NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai to conduct more mesophotic surveys in the 200 ft and 300 ft range at the beginning of November, this time in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS). The NDP will again support this mission with a hyperbaric chamber, a chamber operator (Bill Gordon) and a CCR diver (NDP Manager Greg McFall). Their goal will be to collect specimens for population genetics analysis. These studies allow Federal and State resource managers to better understand the resources under their jurisdictions.