Alaska Shipwreck and SCUBA
A reader in Hawaii who vacations in Alaska wrote asking about one of that state's better known shipwrecks, Princess Kathleen. Can you tell me the what, where and when of this wreck?
The Princess Kathleen was a 6,000-ton Canadian passenger liner that went aground on Lena Point, Alaska, on September 6, 1952. Due to sea and weather (see photos) the wreck slid off the point into about 120 feet of water the following day.
Due to the depth and diving conditions in this area the vessel has never been salvaged. Can Alaska divers give Cross-Talk the skinny on Princess Kathleen? Send available information to me at Skin Diver, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Diving's Very Own Acronym
For some years there have been attempts to determine when and by whom the acronym SCUBA was first used. Combing the shelves of my dive library, I stumbled upon a manual titled On Using Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus by Walter A. Hahn and Christian J. Lambertson. Published by the National Research Council in 1953 as Publication 275, it was in this manual that the breath-saving acronym SCUBA first appeared.
In April 1954 that information was prepared and republished with almost no changes in a special report titled Diving With Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. It was eventually edited and republished to bring Publication 275 in line with the U.S. Navy Manual. The mission statement for the new edition was written by E. H. Lanphier LT. (MC) USN and J. V. Dwyer Jr. LCDR USN.
It was early recognized, the importance of self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, which is now referred to as "SCUBA" for the sake of convenience, lies only to a minor degree in its ability to replace standard deep sea and light-weight diving gear, Lanphier and Dwyer wrote. These remain superior in many jobs for which they have long been used. The greatest contribution of SCUBA has been the opening-up of vast new fields of underwater activity.
This passage was relevant in 1954, but that was before tek diving entered the scuba lexicon. Nevertheless, clarifying the idea of scuba and its safety was the primary concern for the diving community at large. Special Reports 1-54 through 11-54 of this 1954 manual illustrate the need for the sports official sanctioning: diving has not been surveyed adequately in any authoritative publication. These reports are being incorporated almost unaltered into the Manual of Submarine Medicine Practice (NavPers 10838). They are purely secondary to the Diving Manual.
Preventative Maintenance of Scuba Regulators
For some divers the season for getting wet is over until the next century, a mere month or so away. Now is the time for gear inspection, especially for you vagabond divers roaming the globe for choice spots. Diving gear can be divided into two categories: life support or life saving.
Most important as a life support item is the regulator. Designed for extreme precision, the diver's safety depends on its proper functioning. Only preventive maintenance is required to keep regulators in safe operating condition.
The most important preventive measure is to remove all residue accumulated during the dive such as silt, sand, salt, mud or polluted water. Try to make provisions for adequate fresh water at the dive site to rinse the regulator. You can even do this while still attached to the tank, running a stream of fresh water across the second stage and the mouthpiece.
Within an hour or two of the last dive, rinse the complete air system. This may not remove all contaminants, so the rinse should be followed as soon as possible by a soak in warm, clean fresh water. This will involve removing the air supply system from the tank.
Manufacturers recommend that divers have their regulators checked each year, both externally and internally, by an approved dealer of their equipment. The frequency of inspection and maintenance depends on the level of abuse dealt the equipment. Manufacturers usually don't honor warranties if the equipment is serviced by a non-authorized dealer.
Get in the habit of buying gear from authorized dealers, as they are the ones best equipped to deal with any repairs or problems.