March 2020

MUD ClubMarch Meeting: CANCELLED

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 Andrews University, Biology Amphitheater, Price Hall, Berrien Springs, MI Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.   (3rd Tuesday of every month except December)

March Meeting:  Items that would have been addressed include:

2020 DUES ($15) Send your dues to: Ted Tomaszcwski, 2255 Shiawasee Ln, Stevensville, Mi. 49127 Make the check out to Ted and note it is for 2020 MUD dues.

There were 17 members and 1 visitor (Dewayne Thole) in attendance at the February Meeting.

Dive events and road trips mentioned:

Kevin Ailes presented the program “Buoy it and they will come” on day 1 of the three day “Underwater Cultural Resources Public Access and Research Conference” in February. The programs were presented in partnership with NOAA and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and hosted by Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.

Several Muddies attended the “Great Lakes Shipwrecks Festival” held Feb 29 at the Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor. Attendance seemed to be up considerably from last year. There were a number of new presenters and many “fresh” presentations. Club member Kevin Ailes gave his presentation “Buoy it and they will come” and then with Amy Schuring and Gary Passon setup and staffed the Michigan U/W Preserve’s Council’s booth.

Comments and discussion:

Comments were made on the 1988 Abandoned Shipwreck law and the need to continue protecting Michigan wrecks and their artifacts. This discussion included examples where specific items on known shipwrecks have been removed thereby detracting from the wreck’s history and enticement to dive on. Discussion included information on the attempted removal of the J.D. Marshall from the bottomlands and the dangers to the North Shore Tug from anchor dragging.

Feedback was given on the open pool time at the St. Joseph HS for experienced divers while the Wolf’s Marine Discover Scuba Class was held. A good number of divers practiced doff & downing gear, working on “trim” while swimming thru hula hoops suspended from the bottom at different height’s, practicing buddy breathing under different scenarios, and deploying surface marker buoys (SMB’s) using finger reels with & without using gloves.

It was mentioned that the “2020 South Haven’s HarborFest” will be held June 12-14. And Karen Mann informed us that the Mermaid MegaFest will be held at 5264 CR-687, Lake Arvesta Resort in South Haven, MI. This event will encompass all the principals of MegaFest but expand into further entertainment from Live Bands, 2 Mermaid Tanks, waterpark fun, exciting night time aerial and water performances.

It was also mentioned that in January Divers Alert Network (DAN) launched new dive accident insurance plans that provide better coverage with fewer restrictions; among these plans is a new Guardian Plan that is available to people age 70 and over. Today these plans are available in 39 states. For members in the remaining states, except for Washington and Vermont, they offer other dive accident insurance plans that do not have age limitations.

If you do not have DAN, check them out at

Kevin brought his magnetometer along for show & tell.

During the meeting Mack identified the need to update specific parts of the Michigan Underwaters Divers Club Constitution and By-Laws. Articles IV, V, IX, XI and XVI were reviewed, changes identified, voted on and approved.

Several newer members were asking about obtaining club hats, sweatshirts and jacket with the club logo and emblem. Mack relocated the disks containing the embroidery and turned those over to Ted Tomaszcwski who is now working to see where the work can be done and at what cost.

Upcoming events:

South Haven Michigan Maritime Lecture Series: Underwater Preserve Buoys Program by Kevin Ailes – May 27, 2020

Marquette’s Lower Harbor Underwater Cleanup.  Diver Don Scuba (DDS) 2nd annual Marquette Lower Harbor Cleanup is in the planning stages – August?

Ecology Dive – Niles -September- TBD

2020 Diver Related Events:

For those looking for a dive or dive buddy, keep checking in and updating the MUD Club Facebook site for winter “Thrill of the Chill” dives.

Check out these dive shops and their web sites that Muddy Divers use:Wolf’s Marine Dive Shop, Benton Harbor, MISub Aquatic Sports & Service (SASS), Battle Creek, MI Divers Inc., Ann Arbor, MI Hart City Scuba, Elkhart, IN Just Add H2O, South Bend, IN [Michiana Divers] Altek Sports – West Michigan Adaptive Diving, Zeeland, MI

Divers Corner:  Lessons for Life:    

In August 2016: I led a group of 12 divers on a recreational dive trip to Tobermory, Canada. Some of the divers were new to cold water, and some were seasoned cold-water divers, but they all were ready for three days of diving the 1800s shipwrecks for which the area is known. I had led trips here before and was excited to share these sites with a new group.

The trip began with a dive briefing from Captain Tom, who led with some jokes before telling us how the ship we were about to dive was sunk on purpose for recreational divers, which explains why divers can see much of the ship at a depth of just 50 feet. Experienced divers can drop down to 103 feet to see the stern. Having previously dived this site a few times, I knew where all the fun parts were. My plan to navigate the wreck was to start at the bow and work my way across and over the shipwreck to the stern and then end the dive with a slow climb back to the bowline.

As my wife and I were getting set up, the rest of the group paired up. One diver, who was a new cold-water diver, paired up with two of his friends who already had a few cold-water dives under their weight belts. The captain soon dropped the ladder and said, “The pool is open.” My wife and I were last off the boat because I like to help divers who need assistance getting in the water.

We descended and followed our planned route to the bow and then moved toward the stern. We saw part of our group on the wreck, and everyone looked like they were having fun exploring the ship and keeping warm as best they could. My computer recorded the water temperature as 41°F at depth as I watched over the divers who had reduced bottom times due to their 7 mm wetsuits not providing much protection from the cold water, unlike my dry suit.

After spending 28 minutes on the wreck, my wife and I slowly made our way up the bowline for our safety stop. When we arrived on the surface, the other divers were already on the boat. As we were getting on board, Captain Tom said, “Not to alarm you, but I have one diver on oxygen.”

I thought the captain was joking again, but I soon realized it was no joke. I immediately checked on the diver, who looked panicked and was breathing heavily from an oxygen mask. It was the new cold-water diver who had dived with his two friends. The captain told me that the trio surfaced within five minutes of entering the water and had reached a maximum depth of 103 feet, according to their dive computers. He said he saw a lot of bubbles come to the surface before the divers returned.

I calmly asked the diver what had happened. He was a little shaken up but wasn’t as bad as I expected for someone with a possible dive injury. He said that his group had dropped straight down to the stern of the ship, and at 103 feet his regulator free flowed. Being in cold water surrounded by bubbles was disorienting, but he remembered he could still breathe off his regulator. When his two buddies noticed the problem, they grabbed him and began to ascend, possibly exceeding 30 feet per minute.

At a depth of about 50 feet, the diver’s tank was empty. He signaled to his buddy that he was out of air, and the buddy offered his spare regulator. They ascended to 15 feet, where the diver was calm enough to attempt a safety stop, but they didn’t stay for the full three minutes. When the divers returned to the boat and told the captain what happened, the diver was shaking and breathing hard, so the captain decided to administer oxygen. It took a while to calm the diver, who was scared and hyperventilating.

As soon as I heard his story, I called the DAN® Emergency Hotline. I have been a DAN member for 12 years and had my card in my dive bag. I told the person who answered the call that I was with a diver who possibly had an arterial gas embolism and asked if someone at DAN could help me perform a neurological exam. They immediately transferred me to a DAN medic, who listened to my retelling of the incident and asked to speak with the diver.

She asked the diver yes or no questions for a couple of minutes, and then he handed the phone back to me. The DAN medic directed me to ask the diver to do things such as “follow my finger with your eyes” and “lift both arms out like a zombie,” and I reported back my observations.

The DAN medic coached me through my first non-simulated neurological exam, which I performed exactly as I had been trained in my divemaster class. After the exam was over, the DAN medic talked to the diver and determined that his symptoms did not warrant an emergency evacuation. DAN advised him to cease diving for the rest of the day and to refrain from diving the next day as well to be safe. The medic gave me a list of things to watch for and told me to seek advanced medical care for the diver if I noticed any of those symptoms.

We made sure to go over free-flow procedures in every dive briefing from then on. The diver recovered while sitting out for five dives but completed the last two dives of the trip without problems. Fortunately, this situation ended on a positive note.

DAN was there when we needed them; I am thankful they were just a phone call away.


ANYONE can call off a dive at any time.

It is always OK to say “No”

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