October 2021 – Newsletter

October 2021 – Newsletter

Next Meeting: Tuesday, October 19, 2021 Southwest Michigan Regional Airport, 1123 Territorial Rd, Benton Harbor, Mi.

Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. (3rd Tuesday of every month)

Standard Agenda – Club President / Officer calls the meeting to order.

  1. Club Officer asks if there are any Visitors and ask them to introduce themselves.

(Member ship applications and club activity waiver paperwork available from the club secretary)2.

2. Present Specific Club Information:

  • September Meeting Overview

The September meeting’s attendance was the best since before COVID.

In addition we had three new diver’s join the club. They are Jerry Wentland, Matt Bryant (Benton Harbor) who are experienced divers, and Alex Zeisberg (St. Joseph) recently certified diver from Wolf’s Dive Shop. And the longest traveled member at this month’s meeting was Susan Devault coming up from Indiana.

Items discussed included the status on T-shirt sales and $ collection, then there was some discussion on obtaining sweatshirts, Club Hats, Club Patches (which we are out off as of the last meeting) and Club Tank Stickers/ decals. The location of the disk that has the logos/ designs are currently unknown.

Discussion had occurred on whether the club should offer a reward for information on how or who may be tampering with official preserve buoys. It was noted that there is an individual that will provide up to $250 if the club or the SWMUP decides to go that route.

It was noted that the club web site calendar requires updating.

A request for volunteers was made by Jim S to assist in recovery of the SJYC buoys with two takers.

Bob Sweeney mentioned that the “Great Lakes Wrecking Crew’s” fall meet & greet at Gilboa was coming up and many changes were under way there under its new management.

And the last item was a challenging name that shipwreck quiz that had most of us stumped even on some “we” should have known.

  • Current Treasury Report
  • ATTENTIONElections for 2022 Officers is coming up in November.

           We need motivated people to volunteer for the following positions.

President: V.P.: Treasurer: Secretary: Newsletter Editor: MUD Club Website Editor:

Note: Ted Tomaszewski has agreed to continue as Treasurer and Amy Ailes said she is available for office also. Who else will toss their hat in the ring? Remember the club can only be as good as those that support it.  

  • Discussion on: Status on T-shirt sales – Sweatshirt Plans – Club Hats – Club Patches, Club Tank Stickers, interest in doing a November “Turkey Dive” at Fisherman’s Park in Benton Harbor or elsewhere. And lastly where are members are going for food & conversation after the meeting?                       
  • 3. Identify dive events upcoming or planned. (Dives & Road Trips) 

+ Adaptive Diver Clinic/ West Michigan Adaptive Diving\ Moby’s Dive Shop, Date: Nov. 20 Time: A.M. Session 10 a.m.-Noon; P.M. Session 1-3 pm, East Grand Rapids High School Pool, 2211 Lake Drive, East Grand Rapids, Michigan

+ Anyone interested in organizing a News Year Night Dive?

+ Anyone going to an already planned Jan 1 Dive (with SASS/ Other). 

  • 4. Identify & discuss diving-related news important to divers.
  • 5. Present any Show & Tell that anyone would like to share – Please!
  • 6. Attendees speak about current diving experiences or “lessons learned” or reinforced from a dive near miss or not!
  • 7. Open session.
  • 8. Club Meeting Adjourned

Editors Notes:

Mary Beth Thar has been pro-active and enthusiastic President for the last 5 years, but it is time to offer another individual the opportunity to lead the club. In addition, Mack is retiring after (+45 years) as the club Secretary, Newsletter Editor/ Publisher, and MUD Club Website Editor. It’s going to be great to have new blood in those positions.

Please, if You have an interest in helping to maintain the club and see it grow in the future, please strongly consider running for one of these positions.

Historically we have elected officers from those attending the November meeting but would really like it if ALL members participated by voting in person or via email.

It is understood that many our members are not local and we have enjoyed a influx of new divers. It’s understood that that makes it impossible for them to have a preference for whom to vote for or participate on a monthly basis.  We understand that but do not want you to feel left out.

If You have good computer skills, are familiar with “WordPress”, and want the challenge, then maintaining and updating our Mud Club Website (“mudclub.scubaobsessed.com”) might be a good fit. Information, pictures and completed activities, dive sites visited can easily be sent to you by club members using email for inclusion.

Newsletter Editor can also be done remotely but does require our club members to contribute information and pictures. It can be of dive trips, weekend dives, treasures found, local dive related items in the news, and safety stories/ personnel lessons learned.

Being able to attend all the meeting is something that a Club Secretary would need to be able to do. Good notes are invaluable to maintaining the club history, monthly operation, feed back to the newsletter editor and meeting information/ history for monthly agenda generation.

                We need you because You are US! The club can only be as good as its participating members.

 Member: A member is a patron of the club who is registered via a completed club’s Membership Application form, Activity Waiver form, been approved and current in club dues. Members of a club’s Facebook group are not considered members of the club for the purposes of Official Club Membership and not entitled to purchase club related swag. The club members are collectively referred to as the membership.

Executive: The elected members who handle the day-to-day operations of the club are ultimately responsible for the activities of the club. At minimum, the executive must be composed of the President, Vice President, the Secretary and Treasurer. Many clubs also have a Newsletter Editor, Club Web site controller and Facebook Group Administer with strict acceptance standards.

Committee’s: The club’s membership itself may elect club members to committee positions in charge of portfolios (Establishing events & controlling items like a weekly or monthly club dives, Annual Club Picnic, Membership marketing) to assist them in the operation of the club. The committees collectively operate under the direction and supervision of the Executive’s.

Club Regulations: The Club constitution is the guiding club document. A majority +2 are required to change or modify the club constitution. A simple majority in voting for officers.

General Meeting: A General Meeting is the normal a monthly meeting, open to all club members and visitors, purpose is to update members on the club’s progress and make formal decisions (such establishing committees). The yearly General Mud Club Meeting to elect new executive members is held in November and the first club’s Annual General Meeting is referred to as the “January – Inaugural” General Meeting.

Typically, the President will chair club and committee meeting, or the Vice President will chair the meeting in their absence.

Meeting Agendas:

Club members may bring up items to discuss at the at the meeting but is preferred they be submitted prior to the meeting to so it can be added in the Newsletter or club president’s agenda prior to the meeting. The monthly agenda has historically been the Monthly Club Newsletter. New topic items, when possible, should be presented to the Newsletter Editor for inclusion into the newsletter.

The agenda of a General Meeting will typically include items such as reporting from executive and committee members, elections (if required), proposed motions and general business.

LESSONS FOR LIFE:   Trapped and Alone Under a Shipwreck

Tim was making good progress surveying the 40-foot pleasure craft. It had sunk quickly after colliding with another boat on the way back to the river marina. The people on board had made it to shore, but now the boat was roughly 50 feet down in the freshwater river. Tim identified several solid places on the boat where he could ­attach his lift bags and raise it to the surface. He was looking forward to cashing the check for this one, and the insurance company would be happy to make some of their money back.

Before heading to the surface, Tim decided to take a quick look at the bow. The boat listed slightly to port where it rested on the bottom, and he wanted to make sure there wasn’t a hole in the hull — that would make the recovery more difficult. Tim used his scooter to blow some of the mud and silt from the river bottom out of the way, but he still couldn’t tell if the hull was intact or not. He moved in closer, continuing to blast silt with the scooter and feeling down the side of the boat with his hand. Then the boat shifted

Tim was 43 years old and in good shape. He was well-known on the river and often helped boaters at the local marina by cleaning hulls and diving to retrieve lost rudders and lower outboard units. He was a technical diver and a divemaster with plenty of experience, both in the freshwater river and in ocean environments.

During a busy weekend on the river, a recreational boater had collided with another vessel and lost control of his large pleasure craft. The boat had gone down in just a few minutes. The marina’s owner asked Tim if he would take a look at the watercraft to see about bringing it to the surface. There was a local commercial diver who was willing to do the job, but it would be a couple of weeks before he could get to it, and he wanted too much money.

Tim had never tried to raise ­anything larger than a boat engine from the river bottom, but he ­happily ­accepted the job for about half of what the commercial diver wanted to charge.

He would have to make several dives to place his lift bags on the boat, and then he would make another to fill them all and bring the boat to the surface. He planned to begin that series of dives the following morning and had a couple of friends coming to help him with equipment.

Before getting started, Tim decided to make a survey dive and determine how many lift bags he would need. He didn’t ask anyone to come along.

The boat had sunk out of the main shipping channel and was marked with a buoy to help other boaters stay away. Tim geared up on shore and swam from the riverbank to the buoy before he began his descent. He was ­carrying an underwater scooter to help him maintain his position against the river current and get back to his exit point. He placed his diver-down flag on top of the marker buoy and got to work.

Tim completed his survey of the sunken pleasure craft, marking locations for lift bags on an underwater slate he carried with him. The only thing left was the hull against the river bottom. Tim checked it out as thoroughly as he could, but the silt and muddy river bottom made it difficult to see the impact area. He held onto the boat and turned his scooter around, attempting to blow the mud out of the way and get a better look.

Without warning, the boat rolled toward Tim, trapping him on the bottom of the river.

It took several hours before ­anyone on the surface noticed Tim’s dive flag and called for help. The local fire ­department’s dive team recovered Tim’s body about four hours after he began the dive, according to his dive computer.

Divers are often asked to work on boats or recover small items lost ­underwater. Most of the time, the ­diver comes out just fine. In this case, the job was not as simple as recovering the lower unit of an outboard motor dropped from the dock.

Tim didn’t realize the magnitude of the recovery he had taken on — and the danger he had put himself in — until it was too late. Commercial divers have surface tenders, redundant or surface-supplied air sources, and communication systems linking them to their surface support in case they get in trouble.

Tim didn’t have any of those things.

Tim put himself in danger well ­before any actual recovery work ­began. (1) The first was making a solo dive without telling anyone or having any sort of surface support. (2) The second was improperly using an ­underwater scooter. When he turned the DPV around to blow away the silt and mud, it pulled him farther underneath the boat — and well beyond his dive training.

As a technical diver, Tim ­understood the risks of being in an overhead environment but allowed himself to get beneath the boat anyway.

Any time there is something that inhibits a direct ascent to the surface, the level of complication rises. It is probable that Tim’s experience and training led him to be overconfident in his approach to this survey dive. It was a simple dive to 50 feet, one he had made many times before. Only this time, he got in trouble and had no ­support system to help him out.

There is no way of knowing what Tim’s last minutes were like, but struggling to get free from the ­entrapment and then panicking when he realized he was going to die must have been terrible. Surface support, a dive buddy, or even a rope tied to the surface to signal for help could have saved his life.

1) Avoid Overconfidence: You may have dived a site “a hundred times before,” but when adding a new task or skill, make sure you are properly trained.

2) Leave it to the Professionals: Don’t take on commercial-diving jobs without the proper training and support.

3) Become a Solo Diver: If you want to make a solo dive, get the training and equipment ­necessary to do so safely.

4) Communicate the Plan: Let others know your dive plan so they can look for you when you are missed; establish emergency protocols.

Author Eric Douglas -September 2, 2016


There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence.

And when You are diving and You become uncomfortable for ANY reason on the way to a dive, just before the getting in the water, or as the dive progresses, can and should stop your dive.

At the minimum, the life you save may be your own!

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