Humboldt State Dive Program Brings Deep Water Recovery Skills to North Coast – Times-Standard


In an effort to enhance deep-water recovery and rescue efforts across the north coast, Humboldt State University will launch a public safety diving training program starting in August.

After 50 hours of training led by the National Association of Underwater Instructors, the cohort of six will be certified as a Public Safety Volunteer Diver for the Humboldt Bay Fire Dive Team. Emergency responders across northern California have been invited to attend future certification events, according to a press release from HSU.

“The main agency we work with is Humboldt Bay Fire. The other agencies would be those that have mutual aid agreements with Humboldt Bay Fire, ”said Richard Alvarez, diving safety officer and professor of kinesiology at HSU. “For example, if lifeguards at state parks or the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office needed divers on call, they would contact HBF and we would be deployed if necessary. The aim is to provide the greatest benefit to the community as a whole.

The training will be tailored to the local environment “which requires a higher risk diving category,” Alvarez said.

“In a rescue and recovery scenario, divers often enter dangerous waters with poor visibility and barriers such as fluid leaks and sharp edges from submerged vehicles,” he said. “We will train divers to have the skills and knowledge to handle dangerous situations safely.”

Humboldt Bay Fire spokeswoman Amy Conlin said the county has not had an official dive rescue team since the 1990s.

“Since then, many volunteer divers have used their time, equipment and expertise to help fill this void, assuming their own risks and associated responsibilities,” she said. “After the unfortunate death of 19-year-old kayaker Nicholas Brunner in Trinidad in June 2020, where volunteer divers found and returned Nicholas’ body to his family, the recognition of the need for a formal team became unmistakably evident.”

Conlin said divers will be trained in search, body recovery, evidence recovery and documentation. The team will be fully operational by fall.

“This could not have been accomplished without the family of Nicholas Brunner, who requested that any donation on behalf of Nicholas go towards the creation of a dive team for Humboldt County, and without the cooperation of volunteer divers who saw this need for change, ”she said. , noting that nearly $ 15,000 in funds have been raised so far. “The Brunner family also created the Nicolas Brunner Memorial Dive Award to support students in their diving education at HSU.”

“The generosity of the Brunner family and donations from the community made this possible,” said Alvarez. “Deep water recovery can be so important to a family after a tragic loss of life. We hope never to be called but we will be prepared and trained, ready to serve our community. “

Donations to the Humboldt Bay Fire Dive Team can be made at or Coast Central account number 354141 “Humboldt Dive Team”.

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