dive sequence

While every dive is unique, below is a typical dive sequence.

Pre-Dive

  1. Every dive begins with a pre-dive brief on board the surface support vessel.
  2. Following the pre-dive brief, the team of up to three Mission Specialists, a content expert and the submersible pilot transfer to the submersible where the crew completes a final check of life support, navigation, and communication systems.
  3. At the conclusion of the systems check, all stations (sub crew, platform crew, and topside support crews) pause for a 5-minute “Stopski” – a pre-planned timeout adopted from NASA launch protocols. During this period, everyone involved in the launch operation evaluate their surroundings and system readiness to ensure all crew and systems are ready to dive.
  4. After the Stopski, and a go/no-go from all stations, the Mission Director gives the go-ahead for the dive to begin.

Top: a dive team on the 2021 Titanic Expedition
Bottom: the Mission Director gives the go-ahead to begin the dive.

Dive

  1. The sub and the launch and recovery platform are fully submerged. After underwater communications are confirmed the sub disengages from the platform to begin the descent to the dive site.
  2. During the descent, Mission Specialists observe and document wildlife in the water column and assist the pilot with communications and navigation toward the dive target using vectors from the surface and sonar imaging.
  3. Once on site, the crew will typically spend about three hours exploring the dive site focused first on achieving specific dive objectives that contribute to the overall expedition goals. Primary and backup dive objectives are determined in collaboration with the science team and may include conducting laser and sonar scans or capturing images of specific objects based on research objectives. A typical dive plan also includes time for exploring specific areas of interest that the dive team chooses.
  4. Throughout the dive Mission Specialist support the pilot in various support roles such as sonar and laser scanner operation, tracking and communications, observation and documentation, and photography and videography.
  5. Each crew member has an individual tablet to monitor sonar images, track the sub’s depth and location or view the exterior cameras for a 180° view of the surroundings.
  6. Once the dive objectives have been completed, or the crew is ready to ascend, the pilot will adjust the sub’s buoyancy to ascend to the surface. During the ascent, the dive team may begin the process of extracting and storing image, sonar and laser scan files to be transferred off of the sub. Upon reaching the surface, the sub will land on the submerged platform that is then brought to the surface and the crew transferred to the ship.

Top: Titan on submerged platform. Ready for lift off to begin the dive.
Bottom: a view of Titanic's anchor through Titan's viewport.

Post-Dive

  1. Following the dive, the team reviews images and data from the sonar and laser scans to help prepare the objectives for the next dive.
  2. The dive sequence concludes with a post-dive debrief to share images and experiences.

Mission Specialists review dive footage during the 2021 Titanic Expedition.

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