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APPENDIX C OPERATIONAL SAFETY Chapter 4 of the report focused primarily on safety in the design and operation of the tourist submersible vessel itself. However, this system includes many interrelated elements of the entire operation. Professional societies and classification societies recognized by the Coast Guard have assisted in establishing system safety criteria for the submersible itself. This section, prepared for the committee, addresses facilities not ordinarily under the purview of these societies and authorities. Many of the comments in this appendix deal with fundamental even common sense—facility and operational considerations, which can be useful as a preliminary checklist in operational planning and hazard assessments. All facilities in the system should be reviewed as part of the safety certification process. They include: the check-in or ticket office (with or without souvenir shop); the route from there to embarkation/debarkation site to ferry; embark/debark site; the ferry itself; the ferry route to and from the submersible; the transfer site between the ferry and submersible; transfer equipment; the submersible itself; the dive site; the surface support safety boat; the shore logistics site; the tow boat used to move the submersible from shore logistics site to dive site; any major maintenance activity; and available standby rescue equipment. CHECK-IN OR TICKET OFFICE Safety begins in this office. Passenger safety orientation, using either a brief lecture or a video, could easily start here. Passengers should be informed about what can be carried onto the submersible and the number and size of carry-one permitted. Excess carry-one should be checked in the office for pickup on return. During the orientation, employees should carefully observe passengers to detect any nervousness or unusual activity. Employees should be coached on coping with these situations and advised to pass unusual observations on to those in charge of tourists as they move forward in the system. ROUTE FROM TICKET OFFICE TO EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION SITE This route should be as short and direct as possible, with a system guide directing tourists along it and warning of any safety hazards along the way. 97
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EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION SITE Adequate railings should be in place to prevent tourists from falling into the water. Life rings should be available for emergencies. A proper brow should be available for use of tourists in boarding the ferry. If necessary, employees should be positioned to assist tourists boarding. FERRY The ferry should comply with existing Coast Guard rules. The ferry capacity should be at least twice the submersible capacity plus crew. The seating and entry/exit positions on the ferry should be arranged to facilitate management of two groups of tourists as they simultaneously debark the ferry to the submersible and debark the submersible to the ferry. Safety orientation should continue on the ferry during the transit to the dive site. Repetition of safety information, without alarming the tourists, will permit the important safety information to be understood even in the predive excitement. The ferry should be equipped with both VHF (radio) and UQC (underwater telephone) capability. TRANSFER SITE BETWEEN FERRY AND SUBMERSIBLE The selection of this site will, in large part, establish the hazard level for the safety of the system. Movement between ferry and submersible can present a major hazard. A sheltered transfer site is preferred. TRANSFER EQUIPMENT Proper fenders should be used to dampen relative motion between ferry and submersible. If fenders are not used, and ferry and submersible get "out of step" in the seaway, damage can result to the ferry, submersible, or both. Undamped relative motion will exacerbate motion-related problems to passengers attempting to move about. A proper brow tended by crew members) will reduce the hazard and expedite transfer of passengers to and from the submersible. Separate brows should be used for incoming and outgoing passengers to enhance passenger control and expedite passenger flow. THE DIVE SITE This site should be thoroughly surveyed during site selection. Part of the survey should include determining that the area is clear of unexploded ordnance or pressure vessels, cables, or other types of entanglements. The bathymetry should be such that at no time, when passengers are aboard, should the submersible be in water deeper than the submersible design depth. The submersible should never operate beneath rock or coral outcropping or any other impediment to surfacing. Both the surface support safety boat and the ferry should remain well clear of the position overhead of the submersible while it is submerged. The direction and intensity of current in the dive area should be well known. Local unique weather phenomena should be well understood. Fetch, prevailing winds, and swell direction are factors in dive site selection. The submersible should be operated along a path so that, if power were lost, wind and current would not sweep it into nearby danger. THE SURFACE SUPPORT SAFETY BOAT This craft should be equipped with both VHF and UQC communications to communicate with the submersible. Should communications fail, the ferry should be summoned to perform this function until 98
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normal communications can be restored. Communications intervals with the submersible should not exceed 15 minutes. If communications with the submersible are lost for longer than 15 minutes, the submersible should be expected to surface. The surface support safety boat should linger nearby when the submersible is submerged but never directly overhead. This vessel should carry life jackets and life rafts sufficient to accommodate the occupants of the submersible and the safety boat crew. At least two suited scuba divers (one an emergency supporter for Buddy dives) should be available in the vicinity of the surface support safety boat to assist in the event of an emergency. These divers can also participate in other scheduled activities in the vicinity of the submersible. THE SHORE LOGISTICS SITE This site serves as an intermediate maintenance activity and replenishment base for the submersible. The site must be in a sheltered area with a proper pier or alongside space to provide safe berths for the submersible and, if possible, the ferry, surface support safety boat, and tow boat (if a separate boat other than the ferry or surface support safety boat is used for this purpose). Electrical, electronic, and mechanical repair or maintenance shops should be nearby. Air changing, battery charging, and possibly oxygen charging equipment must be available. Proper battery charging, O2 charging, and air charging procedures should be posted and adhered to. Proper housing, cleanliness, noise insulation, and other safety/protection features for these charging tac~l~t~es should be provided. A proper preventive maintenance program indicating required preventive maintenance, frequency, and dates performed should be available for reference and inspection. A configuration management plan should be conspicuously posted and complied with. A contingency plan for both catastrophe and approach of extremely severe weather (e.g., hurricane) should be available. This site should be staffed with experienced, well-trained maintenance personnel. They should be well versed in quality assurance. pressure testing. and material identification procedures related ~o the submersible and other associated craft. ~—— - ~~ ~ ~ r . . . Periodic verification inspections should be conducted on an unannounced basis to ensure that all inspection, charging, and maintenance procedures are followed diligently. Adequate spares for high usage items should be stocked at the site along with consumables. This site should be situated to be relatively near the dive site, and the route between the two sites should be well marked and take into account expected local prevailing wind, weather, swells, and current. TOW BOAT The boat used to tow the submersible to and from the dive site should be seaworthy and have sufficient power to adequately cope with all expected weather and current conditions while conducting a controlled safe tow of the submersible. If either the ferry or surface support safety boat is capable of fulfilling those conditions, it may be used as a tow boat. This boat should be VHF and UQC equipped. MAJOR MAINTENANCE ACTIVITY This activity should have the capability of removing the submersible and associated system craft from the water for periodic inspection and maintenance. A crane and marine railway or drydock should be available at the facility for this function. Appropriate shop facilities should be collocated. The adequacy of the preventive maintenance, system, and hull inspection programs will probably be directly proportional to the nearness of and costs at such a facility. During periods of approaching extremely severe weather, the submersible may be removed from the water at this facility to avoid unnecessary damage. 99
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STANDBY RESCUE EQUIPMENT The location, availability of, and means to obtain rescue equipment should be part of the contingency plan. This is addressed more completely in the emergency response planning section (see Chapter 5) of this report. 100
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