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Volunteer Divers Support Olympic Coast Mission

From Left: Volunteer divers Pete Gelbman, Mike Racine, Joe Radosevic (front), Walter Jaccard (rear), and Steve White; and Team Ocean Dive Program Coordinator Mitchell Tartt
From Left: Volunteer divers Pete Gelbman, Mike Racine, Joe Radosevic (front), Walter Jaccard (rear), and Steve White; and Team Ocean Dive Program Coordinator Mitchell Tartt
This September, members of the Washington Scuba Alliance and the Submerged Cultural Resources Exploration Team completed NOAA Science Diver Certification and Nautical Archaeological Society Level I training to become the first Team Ocean volunteer dive team authorized to support the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Maritime Heritage Program.

“Team Ocean offers a great opportunity for trained divers to volunteer their time to make a difference in support of sanctuary programs,” said Mitchell Tartt, national dive coordinator for the sanctuary system.

Volunteer science diver Steve White measures the propeller shaft of the S.S. Andalusia.
Volunteer science diver Steve White measures the propeller shaft of the S.S. Andalusia.
For their inaugural mission, five volunteer and two sanctuary divers participated in a mission to support maritime heritage research at Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, as well as the first sea trial and evaluation of the new sanctuary research vessel SRVx. Over the course of four days, 165 hours of volunteer time and 25 dives, the dive team worked to locate and map the wreckage of the steamship Andalusia — formerly the World War I-era USS Volunteer — located near the sanctuary.

With the raw field data in hand, the volunteers drafted a general site map illustrating the boundaries of the wreck site and the location of significant features, including the stern and bow sections, three boilers, the propeller shaft, and significant sections of the hull framing. This information will be added to the Olympic Coast sanctuary’s maritime heritage resource library and provided to the State Historical Preservation Office, as well as the Makah Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

SS Volunteer underway, circa mid-1918. She was USS Volunteer in 1918-1919
S.S. Volunteer underway, circa mid-1918. She was USS Volunteer in 1918-1919.

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