My dad was a sports diver since he was 16. Now at 50, he still dives with me at times! He showed me old videos of the Cousteau Adventures and when I was eight, my dad took me on my first dive at the Maidens, Ayrshire (I had a pony bottle and US Divers regulator, no buoyancy control device).
I was hooked, and I performed another 30 dives until I was 13.
Engineering & Underwater Projects
As a teenager, my dad and I created and designed a surface supplied dive system: two compressors, an umbilical, secondary air supply, shackle belt and dump weights (sort of like Hookah diving). After the first test of the system, we found it to be brilliant. After a few modifications, my dad let me use the system and introduced me to a new perspective of diving – loud, proud, lots of bubbles and plenty of air (compressors would last six hours on a single charge).
Of course, I wore a cylinder on my back as a bail-out. I know it seems a bit risky, but I have over 400 hours use of it to a max depth of 40 feet, and my dad has close 200 hours underwater time. Not once has it failed!
As well as the surface-supplied system, we produced a few more pieces of diving gear. Last year we created an airlift which works better than we thought it would. My dad is currently creating a Hookah twin hose so the bubbles are behind the diver. We also designed and constructed a submersible habitat for an underwater air-space; however, it flooded and marine life took it over.
I still mainly practice scuba diving in and around the Scottish coasts, improving my skills with mask removal and buoyancy, doing my deco-stops and not venturing beyond my limits.
Training in the Military
After a further 89 dives (only with scuba) at the age of 15, I was selected by the Sea Cadets to go through a rugged training programme which involved me going to HMS Raleigh, Plymouth and getting trained by the Royal Navy. I passed with 100% on the practicals and 94% theory test.
We trained with basic scuba and how to use a full face mask. I really enjoyed the course at Raleigh, I completed 34 dives in 16 days! There was a lot of safety involved, and they repeated one phrase that’s stuck with me:
Two in, two out…even if it means dragging a corpse.
The Royal Navy taught me well and proudly. Unlike Scuba Schools International (SSI), the Professional Association of Diving Instructors certification in the Royal Navy was more of a professional standard of training, almost as if they were training me to be a Royal Navy diver.
Shallow Beauty: My Goals & Dreams
What kind of diver am I?
Funny, I don’t often bother going deep as 50 metres – even 30 metres. My main goal is to be in for as long as I can, and obviously the shallower I am the less pressure and less air I use. Therefore, I mainly range between 3-20 metres, plus there is more to see at the shallows!
I mainly use my Interspiro ‘AGA’ Divator FFM and am always on open-circuit; however, I would like to try a dive with a rebreather some day. But I still use the surface-supplied system (that can be used with my FFM). I am somewhat an experimental, recreational diver that has spent time with an Aqua-lung and been in a real underwater habitat. So people say I’m an Aquanaut due to the hours I’ve been underwater. Much longer than anyone in any local dive clubs.
I wouldn’t really say I am, but it’s awesome to be known as an Aquanaut.
Our Future & Diving Design
Whats next for us?
My dad, myself and a few other team members (including designers) are trying to develop a Next Gen dive helmet based on Kirby Morgan’s designs and Genesis. We are looking for ways to improve the helmets; however, the first base model will only be used for shallow water use, but later Mk-II models will be for deeper dives.
I’m still in education in Scotland, S5.
Diving Education & Career Goals
On the July 8, I went to The Underwater Centre Fort William to do the Intro day, where I got to try the KM-37 and the rest of the commercial gear. I managed to complete a task in the onshore sea water tank. I loved every minute of my visit, and Charlie from the dive centre was very helpful! I loved the diving environment, umbilicals, ROV’s dive helmets, drysuits and cylinders and wet and closed diving bells. It just put me in pure amazement. After this, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in commercial diving!
After advice from the dive centre, I took up a welding course at college (MMA stick welding) which I was really good at and fairly enjoyed. It was a 12-week course at Kilmarnock college and the lecturers were really friendly. On my twelfth week, I sat the practical and theory tests. I passed both with a “95% Perfect weld.”
I was over the moon with this achievement, and I still weld today – love it!
My plans for the future is to continue education at school and pick up a few extra engineering courses at college and continue diving. And when I turn 18 and leave school, I will go through the commercial diving course at the Underwater Centre Fort William and hopefully get a job as a diver, even if it’s in the worst conditions – cold, zero visibility, I will be ready to dive and get the job done.
I fully realise the dangers and social difficulties of being a commercial diver, but I know this is the right path for me. Combine my passion for engineering, diving and hard work to a super career as a commercial diver.
Adam Townsend has many years of experience in scuba diving and is working toward a full-fledged career as a commercial diver involved in underwater construction, repair and engineering.