HMCS Malahat divers back in the water

Divers from HMCS Malahat enjoyed ideal dive  conditions near the breakwater off Ogden Point.

Divers from HMCS Malahat enjoyed ideal dive conditions near the breakwater off Ogden Point.

A/SLt Donald Den, HMCS Malahat Public Affairs Officer ~

Saturday July 18 marked the first time naval reserve divers from HMCS Malahat were able to conduct a boat dive since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Blessed with beautiful clear weather and calm seas off the Breakwater at Ogden Point, 12 divers got into the water to maintain their proficiency.

Canadian Armed Forces regulations dictate divers in the Royal Canadian Navy must be both current (dive at least once every 90 days) and proficient (participate in at least six cycles in a 90-day period) in their skills. However, the pandemic delayed the training by almost two months.

Divers prepared leading up to this open-water excursion with practice dives off the jetty by the unit.

The COVID-19 factor also meant additional safety protocols and sanitization.

“Everything needs to be sanitized, the diving gear, the regulators, the boats, everything,” said CPO2 Sean Ratz, Malahat Dive Officer. “It is a lot more to think about for sure; we are still able to function, it’s just a bit more complicated.”

Once on the boat, they were not able to maintain appropriate social distance, so everyone on board, including the divers, wore face masks until they donned their dive masks.

“The morale was great on the day of the dive,” Chief Ratz notes, pleased with how the team responded. “Everyone worked hard, and, in the end, everyone was just happy to get back in the water.”

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