News: Cooperation at home
By Petty Officer 1st Class James Richardson
Underwater Construction Team 2
CHARLESTON, Ore. - Seabee divers from Underwater Construction Team TWO paired with members of the U.S. Coast Guard to locate sounding cables in Coos Bay, located in Charleston, Ore.
For more than 100 years there has been a Coast Guard station in the town of Charleston, Ore., at the mouth of Coos Bay. USCG Motor Life Boat Station Coos Bay resides there today. The “International Port of Coos Bay” is the seventh largest port on the West coast, accommodating both large bulk carriers and an active commercial fishing fleet. In the summer months it is also home to a seasonal detachment of USCG Motor Life Boats. MLBs are 47-feet crafts capable of self righting and reaching speeds of 23 knots.
On June 11, 2012, 11 Seabees in Construction Dive Detachment Bravo from Underwater Construction Team TWO arrived in Coos Bay for a 13-day stop during their PACOM deployment. They partnered with USCG members to locate and document the geographic position and condition of a sounding cable from its termination to a depth of 100 feet of sea water, a distance of 2.9 nautical miles from shore. During the month of June Coos Bay, OR experienced eight-foot tidal shifts, one to three-knot currents, four to five-foot swells and an average water temp of 55 degrees. Diving in these conditions required flawless execution of diving operations, with safety always in mind.
UCT TWO Seabee divers utilized the USCG MLBs to transport personnel and equipment to and from the dive site. In addition to the superb water transport in heavy swells the USCG MLB crew was a critical part of the emergency evacuation plan for diving (or other) casualties. According to Seabee Builder 2nd Class Charles Runyon “It was an honor to work alongside such highly skilled members of the USCG. Their expertise in seamanship, as a whole, made mission accomplishment possible during inclement weather, I couldn’t imagine transiting in and out of the Port without their support.”
During the first phase of the project, divers utilized side scan sonar and Remote Operated Vehicles to locate the cable. After locating the cable its GPS coordinates were recorded and used to conduct diving operations. Depending on Sea State and GPS issues, some days it was easier to locate the cable with the ROV and have divers following the ROV’s umbilical all the way to the cable. This was the case during the last two diving days. Over the last two days, divers conducted 13 dives to depths of 100 feet of sea water, totaling 130 minutes of bottom time.
The partnership between the USN Seabees and the USCG MLB crew was essential for mission accomplishment and provided a great opportunity for personnel from different services to learn and work together. Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Howard said, “It was an interesting diversion. I was impressed with the safety procedures that the dive team had in place and I saw how we could incorporate some of that in our operations." Seaman Galvin from the USCG MLB crew added, “What the Navy team did was some pretty cool stuff; I wish I could do that for a living!”
Following the last day of diving operations the Seabee divers stowed their gear and had a sports day with the Coast Guard personnel followed by a BBQ sponsored by UCT TWO personnel.
The officer-in-charge of CDD/B, Construction Electrician Chief Adam Winters had nothing but good things to say about his interaction with the USCG personnel at Coos Bay, stating, “The Coos Bay Coast Guard personnel are true professionals. It is obvious they take a great deal of pride in their work, their unit and the Coast Guard. Skipper Chavtur immediately made us feel at home and offered any support we needed. They are a well equipped well trained unit, I glad the detachment was able to gain the experience in working alongside another branch of the Military. I would jump at the chance to work with the USCG again.”