SWL Dive Team receives safety award
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – SWL Dive Team receives safety award for more than 50 years of safe diving operations. (Photo Credit: Erin Jimenez) VIEW ORIGINAL
SWL Dive Team receives safety award
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – SWL Dive Team is recognized for over 50 years of safe diving operations. (Photo Credit: Erin Jimenez) VIEW ORIGINAL

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District Dive Team recently received a safety award for 50 years of successful dive missions.

Little Rock District Commander Col. Eric Noe presented District Dive Coordinator Lee Rye and Assistant District Dive Coordinator Kirk Boston with a safety award for going 50 years without a recordable safety mishap.

Throughout the years the Little Rock District has had 50 divers, 42 tenders and five dive safety personnel on their team. They completed 831 missions, 117 of them were for other districts. The team has gone on 8,494 dives with a total of 318,072 minutes underwater. Over the years the dive team had many great recoveries, debris removals, inspections, and installations. Some notable missions would be the recovery of the “Bosque” vessel, the emergency dives at lock 13 and 12 for debris removal and replaced the transducer on M/V Ozark twice.

In 2012 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated their Forward Response Technical Dive Team. Dive teams are composed of USACE employees. Divers are required to go through extensive dive and safety training, gaining through knowledge and supervised experience before beginning their role on the team. The dive team was created to evaluate the structural integrity of essential waterfront facilities. The teams complete projects such as inspections, lock clearing and repairs, plant and biological surveys, and even zebra mussel data collection. Divers inspect locks and dams to ship hulls and seawalls.

The dive team is one of many parts that function together to keep the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System flowing from the Port of Catoosa in Oklahoma to the Mississippi River. They are an integral part of ensuring navigation, hydropower production, and recreation are available for the nation, state of Arkansas and cities along the river.