March 2018

MUD Club

Next Meeting: Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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:

Normal Meeting sequence is as follows:

  1. Introduce Visitors.
  2. Present Specific Club Information.
  3. Identify dive events upcoming or planned. (Dives & Road Trips)
  4. Identify & discuss diving-related news important to divers.
  5. Present any Show & Tell.
  6. Attendees speak about current diving experiences or lessons learned.
  7. Open session.

 February Meeting Highlights:

 There were 18 members present at the meeting; several members in attendance paid their 2018 dues.

Discussed attending Our World Underwater (OWU-Chicago). Mentioned its change of location, consolidation of booths that were mostly travel sites, and what several of attendees said was a lack of presentation depth normally associated with the event. Only a few members said they were going to the March 3rd Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival (Lansing), so hopefully we may have a report in March. Karen M. brought up an opportunity for divers to attend a training program. The program is run in conjunction with the Maritime Archaeology Survey Team (MAST) in Ohio and will take place April 28-29. The club is looking to sponsor or help arrange First Aid, CPR/AED, and Oxygen Provider classes for interested divers and others at a future date. The Club has received new pads for the AED and a new battery as a backup. Still looking to pick up a Ambu bag (bag valve mask) to add to the club dive kit. The club safety box is available for members, and the AED is also available for dive events or special dives. Contact Jim Scholz at Wolfs Marine Dive shop for pickup. Not sure if there is sufficient interest in setting up a scuba booth or table at the Sportsman Dinner this year. If you are interested in doing so, please contact Mack. Kevin Ailes shared his current cold water dives, and Lee Reeves shared his warm water shipwreck dives in Aruba. Congratulations are in order to club members Kevin Ailes and Darrin Jillison, the new President and V.P., respectively, of the Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve (SWMUP). The meeting closed with discussion on the newsletter article on First Aid.

2018 Diver Related Events:

  • March 17-18 “Wolfs Open House” Benton Harbor, MI
  • March 24 “Mysteries & Histories” Shipwreck Show, Holland, MI.
  • April 28-29 “Nautical Archaeology Training Workshop” Toledo, OH
  • ????? “Great Lakes Wrecking Crew Meet & Greet, Gilboa Quarry, OH

 Thrill of the Chill Dives:

“Thrill of the Chill” dives. As always, please keep updating the club site on Facebook for “Time & Place” for Dives.

Check out these dive shops that Muddy Divers use:

Wolf’s Marine Dive Shop Benton Harbor, MI (

Sub Aquatic Sports & Service 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:

How to Survive 75 Hours Alone in the Ocean

This case study digs into the medical records of a lost diver’s incredible survival story.

In February 2006, Robert Hewitt was scuba diving near Mana Island, off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Hewitt was an experienced navy diving instructor with 20 years in the service, and he told his dive buddy that he would swim back to shore himself. Instead, when he next surfaced, he had been pulled several hundred meters away by a strong current. The dive boat had moved on, and Hewitt was left alone, the tide pushing him farther and farther from shore.

A team of researchers, led by a physiologist, took a closer look at what happened next: Hewitt’s progressive deterioration over the next four days and three nights, how he survived, and what took place after his eventual rescue. It’s an interesting glimpse at a branch of extreme physiology that most of us hope we’ll never encounter.

The most pressing challenge facing Hewitt was the water temperature of 61 to 63°F well below body temperature. According to physiological models, when water is 59°F, the median survival time is between 4.8 and 7.7 hours. Amazingly, Hewitt spent the next 75 hours in the water, drifting back and forth over a distance of nearly 40 miles before he was spotted by Navy diving friends and rescued. In general, immersion in cold water produces a four-stage response.

Hewitt had two key defenses against the cold shock: a five-millimeter custom-fit wetsuit and habituation from more than 1,000 previous dives, which eventually blunts the initial shock response.

The 1st stage is cold shock, which peaks within 30 seconds and diminishes after a few minutes.

The 2nd stage of immersion is peripheral muscle cooling. For every 1.8°F that muscles cool, maximum muscle power drops by about 3 percent. That means you can lose the ability to swim before your core actually gets hypothermic. Hewitt did indeed lose the ability to swim at some points during his ordeal—sometimes because he lost consciousness—but he had a buoyancy compensator that kept him floating with his head above water.

The 3rd stage is deep body cooling, which affects both physical and mental function, eventually results in loss of consciousness, and then death. No one took Hewitt’s temperature until he had been wrapped in blankets and received warm drinks after his rescue. At that point, it was 96.3°F which isn’t particularly low. He did have some episodes of confusion and disorientation that suggest he was on the border of hypothermia, but it’s hard to be sure.

The 4th and final stage of immersion, if you make it that far, is the “circum-rescue” phase. It’s apparently quite common for people to collapse during rescue, thanks in part to the change in pressure when you leave the water and the strong nervous system reaction to the idea of being rescued. With this in mind, Hewitt’s rescuers kept him horizontal to maintain blood flow to the brain and gave him “verbal encouragement” to keep fighting for his life.

One key factor that helped stave off hypothermia was the fact that Hewitt is “a large, muscular male”; at 5’11” and 220 pounds, he clearly had a decent amount of insulation. In fact, for every 1 percent increase in body fat, you slow your rate of heat loss by 0.18°F per hour—a big deal when you extrapolate to 75 hours. Hewitt also tried to maintain the fetal position, which minimizes heat loss and extends survival time in cool water.

Major issues: 1) dehydration 2) prolonged soaking in seawater 3) friction from his wetsuit and fins 4) psychological challenge.

 Click the link to read this amazing story and learn what you can do to prevent YOUR getting in this predicament.


 Words of wisdom are most often generated from an adverse learning “experience.”

              Surface support is seldom thought about until it is needed.

You got in the water easy enough, but can you get out just as easily?

 Remember: ANYONE can call off a dive at any time.

                   It’s always OK to say “No”.

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