HMCS Malahat Divers back in the water

Photo by S1 Angel Ruis

Photo by S1 Angel Ruis

SLt Donald Den
HMCS Malahat PAO

Three weekends ago marked the sixth time divers from Victoria’s naval reserve division HMCS Malahat were able to conduct a training dive since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Malahat Port Inspection Divers dove off their jetty on Victoria’s Inner Harbour Saturday, Feb. 20 for most of the morning, with divers staying under the water for up to 30 minutes at a time.

Divers in the Canadian Armed Forces are required to dive at least once every 90 days to maintain their proficiency, otherwise there is significant additional training required to re-qualify.

In addition, Malahat was also able to dive a member from HMCS Discovery, Vancouver’s naval reserve division. Discovery, at present, does not have enough divers to conduct their own dives, so they come over to the Island at least once every 90 days.

COVID-19 originally presented barriers in Spring 2020, which delayed some of their training, but Malahat divers have adapted and become familiar with the additional health and safety precautions now required.

“It has really become normal to us now at this point,” says CPO2 Sean Ratz, Malahat’s Dive Officer. “Our divers are wearing non-medical masks up to the point they put their actual diving mask on, and anyone on the dive site is wearing a mask at all times – whether it’s a dive mask or a non-medical mask.”

Not only has Malahat been able to conduct six proficiency dives since the onset of COVID-19, many of its divers have gone on to a few larger dive exercises.

“I am very pleased with the way Malahat divers have adapted and led the way for modified diving during COVID-19,” says Cdr Cameron Miller, Malahat’s Commanding Officer, who attended the dive as an observer. “We ensure all precautions are in place so we can carry out training as we continue to to meet the objectives of the Royal Canadian Navy.”


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