In order to participate on the Sound Beach Dive Team either as a diver or part of the surface support team, all members must undergo thorough training. All members of the Dive Team are also active firefighters with the Sound Beach Volunteer Fire Department.
Initial Diving Certification
Members wishing to join the Dive Team as a diver must first have a current SCUBA certification from a nationally accredited diving agency (such as PADI or NAUI). This is a prerequisite for any diver wishing to join the Team. The Department will make arrangements for members to obtain their initial diving certification through one of the local dive shops if they do not have one already.
Divers are also required to have completed a course in dry suit diving.
Public Safety Diving Certification
Public safety diving is not like recreational diving. In order to participate on the team as a diver, new divers must first demonstrate competency in diving and swimming. Additionally, every diver on the team must complete a public safety diving (PSD) program. The PSD program covers such topics as PSD diving, diver fatalities, incident response, operations, search patterns, media relations, recovery operations, family relations and general dive team functions. The Department typically holds a public safety diving course every 1-2 years as well as refresher programs for current divers to maintain their PSD certification.
The Dive Team also holds advanced training programs covering such topics as current diving, ice diving, swift water rescue, cold water rescue and other programs.
Surface Support Personnel
Not everyone on the Dive Team is a diver. Non divers on the team are called “surface support personnel” and they are extremely valuable to the team. Surface support personnel assist the divers in getting outfitted, “tend” the divers when they are underwater, conduct witness interviews and help manage the diving operation. Surface support personnel attend the same PSD course as the divers but in a support function.