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Sea Robot and Drone Survey Nassau Sound

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On Jun 19th, scientists and technology companies partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to passively survey the Nassau Sound Aquatic Preservation Area, situated at the oceanic coastal border between Florida and Georgia. Roveal Underwater Robotics, in collaboration with Aviation Systems Engineering Company (ASEC), teamed to achieve history by deploying an undersea robot while simultaneously flying a drone in mutually supporting roles, the first time ever in Florida in support of the scientific community.  This approach successfully proved to be a new scientific method for safe, effective, and innovative observational exploration by capturing undersea and aerial HD video to be distributed and shared with scientists and governmental agencies.

Roveal technicians navigated their tethered, remotely operated underwater vehicle, or ROV, equipped with a HD camera to provide undersea streaming video to a monitor located onboard its floating research vessel. The research team coordinated via radio with the nearby ASEC crew, who piloted their FAA-approved drone to scout and survey areas from above, also streaming HD video.  Research team member Bill Andersen, a native Floridian biologist with over 50 years of diving experience in Florida waters, remarked, “This project demonstrated a new tool for scientists to search for the invasive Lion Fish and the rare Atlantic Sturgeon in ways never before considered. I’m extremely excited by the possibilities for how this technology can benefit our aquatic and marine ecosystems.”

Also participating in the project was Andrea Noel Small, the FDEP Manager for Northeast Florida Aquatic Preserve. Having FDEP support was particularly important to ensure the project aligned with their stated mission to protect, conserve and manage Florida’s natural resources. Since this was the first time a robot was used by FDEP, and the first time an ROV and drone were used in tandem, not only was it critical to build a professional and safe team, but one that complied with local, state and federal laws. Some of the data points collected included information on native grass beds, oyster beds, vertebrate marine life, water column temperature readings, presence of halocline, and channel depth soundings. The project achieved success in all these areas while developing baseline data for future, comparative analysis for Andrea and her scientists.

Perhaps the highlight of the day for the research team was the opportunity to meet with the young men from Jacksonville-based Safe Harbor Maritime Academy who visited the research project’s day long effort. Roveal Robotics CEO Justin Dee provided an educational, hands-on ROV piloting experience for the young men and discussed career opportunities. Similarly, ASEC’s Brent Klavon explained drone technology and its impact on the aviation industry. The innovative research project, along with the visit from Safe Harbor, provided an example for how government, academia, and industry can collaborate to insure future Floridians will have healthy aquatic and marine ecosystems.

About Roveal: Roveal Underwater Robotics is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in the sale and services of Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROVs) and is headquartered in Gainesville, Florida.  Roveal’s operations department, with more than 20 years of unmanned system experience, includes numerous unmanned systems in order to service a vast array of markets.  In addition to providing ROV services and sales, Roveal is an industry leader in robotic component integration, system design and operational consulting.  For more information visit www.rovealit.com or call +1 (727) 992-3596.

About ASEC: Aviation Systems Engineering Company (ASEC), Inc. was granted an exemption to operate small unmanned aircraft systems, or more commonly known as drones, for commercial applications by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). ASEC’s flight department, with more than 11 years of professional aviation experience and credentials, includes a commercial unit to service drone operations and related activities. ASEC’s Flight Department is certified Safety Management System (SMS) Stage 2 compliant by the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). For more information visit www.asec.aero or call +1 (904) 772-8442.

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Gemini Switch Box from Lungfish (Watch Video)

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In a video shot exclusively for Scubaverse.com, Jeff Goodman reviews the Gemini Switch Box from Lungfish.

For more information, visit www.lungfishdivesystems.com and www.facebook.com/divelungfish

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Dive Training Blogs

Jump into… A career in diving

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A career in doing something that you love… I have heard so many times that diving is just a hobby and not a career. A career by definition is ‘an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.’

I started diving at the age of 17. I became a PADI Divemaster and from this point progressed to an Open Water instructor, to Staff Instructor, to Master Instructor, to Course Director. Surely by definition this is a career path? The only difference (in some cases) that would dispute this matter… the controversial subject of pay!

I am 100% not going to say that no dive centres in the world pay. I myself do, and I know others that do, too. It does however seem to have become very much the norm, that the ‘because I enjoy it’ philosophy has eradicated the UK diving career path for years. Divers volunteering their help for little or no reward (again… not everyone before you stop reading). To eventually realising, that they are doing hard work, for not much to gain… even paying to carry on doing courses, and to become an instructor to work for that centre. What is all that about?!

If you are the type of person to be happy with that, that is completely fine, so long as you are happy. I was at one point… and then realised that I had invested a lot of my time and money, and when this realisation hit, started to feel undervalued. The instructor I was ‘working for’, for a free hot chocolate at the end of the day, would sit in the cafe whilst I taught in the 3 degree waters in the middle of winter. Obviously the paying customer had booked his course through this person and not me… I was happy with a hot chocolate and having fun… but aren’t all of the best careers the ones that we do not see as work. They aren’t all volunteer roles. 

Those of you looking for a career in diving, don’t be put off. There are places that you can work, and a career in diving can literally take you all across the world. Those saying that there is no money in diving… ignore those guys too. There is. Obviously working for free is never going to get you there, but if you want to do it, then do it. There are plenty of places not only looking to employ scuba instructors, there are other jobs at aquariums, conservation roles, the Navy and many others for you to take a look at. 

There are also grants to look at for education, the open water instructor course, or anything else after that is not exactly cheap… but still nonetheless worthwhile.

So, please do not take away the fact of diving being a career. It is. The only thing that I will leave you with (dropping a bombshell), is that if we accept the fact of ‘working for free’ then it will never change and still be hard to make a career in diving… I mean, of course there is limited need when there is still the alternate option for a business to have free labour. 


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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