Executive Protection – SCUBA Operations
I’m sure other operators in the field have done this but this was my first exposure to anything like this in the private security field. I know of details that require agents to have various skillsets such as horseback riding, skiing and other things like that but I personally hadn’t run into any details that preferred scuba diving. Being that I’m from the Bahamas, I can swim and actually love spending time in the water so naturally, I was excited when an opportunity arose for me to complete a dive training pipeline.
My training was conducted with SCUBA Center Temecula and my instructor was Phil Rubino ( @PhilRubino6 ). Phil was one of the best parts of my training, I give him my highest recommendation as someone to learn the art of scuba diving from! My training pipeline consisted of 5 PADI certifications to include: Open water, advanced open water, peak performance buoyancy, enriched air diver, rescue diver. The entire dive training pipeline took me about a month and a half to complete and it was an absolute blast. I learned so much with scuba Phil that I recommend him as an instructor for anyone who is looking to get into the sport.
Considerations for EP dive operations:
On the dive, the executive protection agent is another layer of safety and security primarily with regards to troubleshooting any problems a client may have with their gear, medical emergencies and or any oversights or mistakes that could be made on the dive with regards to oxygen supply and things of that nature. Your primary concern is to make sure that your client is not only enjoying his or herself on the dive but also to make sure that the dive is being conducted safely. Primarily your monitoring your client’s body language, dive computer, and the surroundings. Secondarily you are monitoring the lead diver who may be leading you in guiding you on the dive. You want to make sure that the person leading the dive is making the safest decision with consideration to you and your client and that he knows how much oxygen you both have when it is appropriate. If the lead diver becomes unsure, uncomfortable or wants to redirect the dive you want to be in the loop as quickly as possible In order to guide your client seamlessly to safety.
Before you arrive with your client be sure to get a full brief of the dive, where you are going and every piece of pertinent information about the dive before bringing your client. In a perfect world, you could even go on the dive with the same person who will lead you on the dive when you come with your client just like you would advance any venue.
Prior to going on the dive, go over a few things that will be pertinent to the dive. You should review your dive plan, the water temperature at the surface and down below in order to make sure you have the right gear. Check each other’s oxygen and make sure it is the right mixture. Make sure everyone’s gear is on and fully functional. Go over protocols for reassembling if you are somehow separated. Go over protocols for dealing with heavy currents and any other emergency scenarios that may arise that are relevant.
Hand and arm signals you and your client will use to communicate things such as:
- oxygen levels
- discomfort of any type
- making sure either of you is okay and good to go
- going back up to the surface
- out of oxygen
As well as really anything else you can come up with that you think maybe pertinent while you’re down in “the drink” but remember that the simpler your language is the better because you may have to communicate under considerable stress while conducting your operation.
I find it useful to swim over the client’s shoulder at an angle so I can see their dive computer without them needing to show it to me. I still make it a point to ask the client at the appropriate times in the dive how much oxygen they have left just so they are also aware of their oxygen levels as well.
Medical gear and considerations really depend on the level of training you have completed and are competent to. As a rescue diver, you will be trained on a number of rescue techniques that can be executed with a breathing seal, Dan O2 oxygen machine and basic first aid equipment, just to name a few pieces of gear. Is also important to be sure that you understand the emergency action plan relative to your dive site. It’s not a bad idea to bring a pony bottle of oxygen for clients additional to your octo.
These are definitely not all of the considerations but they are a good place to start. Remember that when you get in the water there will be many distractions, variables, and responsibilities that will take up everyone’s bandwidth. As everyone’s task load increases their awareness of many things such as safety or each other can be standing on their experience level so be sure to have your things wire type so you can give your client as much of your bandwidth, attention, and protection as possible during the dive. If you can do these things right executive protection dive operations can be the type of event that can truly bring you in your client closer in the end.
You as the executive protection agent should be the first one in the water and the last one out.
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