SHIPWRECK DIVING  Artifact Recovery
The complete Diver's guide to the skills, and techniques of shipwreck artifact recovery.




   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   


By Capt. Dan Berg

Finding an artifact is only half of the fun. Actually getting heavy objects off the bottom of the sea bed and onto the boat safely can be an even greater challenge. Many times I've heard divers say they located a beautiful china bowl but couldn't get to it, found a porthole, but it was still attached, or found a ceiling light, but it was still bolted on. To these divers this was the end of the story, but, in my eyes, these were only challenges to be met by careful planning, the proper tools and, of course, knowing the limitations of individual experience. The ceiling light was easily wedged off with a chisel and four pound sledge hammer. Remember all work done while using SCUBA must be controlled, so always stay calm. If you start to breathe heavily, STOP! You can always come back another day. The porthole swing plate I mentioned was retrieved after making a special push pin to tap out its hinge pin. The china bowl was a little more tricky, and my first two attempts failed. The steel plate which had the bowl covered would not budge even with a crow bar. It finally did with the help of a car scissor jack purchased at the local junkyard. Divers have also worked successfully with hacksaws and wedges. I recommend looking at each stubborn artifact as a challenge. Be persistent, but do not do anything that might endanger or push yourself beyond your limits.

Once a heavy artifact is free from the bottom, it must be brought to the surface. Use a lift bag for anything over 15 pounds. If someone is on the boat and knows that a bag is coming up, you can slowly add air until the object just begins to rise off the bottom. Be sure that none of your hoses or gear is caught on the bag. Then grab the artifact and lift it; the air in the lift bag will expand and slowly start to ascend. When using a lift bag, keep the bag in front of you, and keep your back into the current. This keeps the bag and the heavy artifact away from you as it rises. Believe me, you don't want to be underneath the bag. It only takes one bad knot, a leaky bag, or a big wave and the prized artifact could come crashing back down onto the wreck. As a side note, I usually attach an up line to my lift bag before sending it to the surface. The line is then attached to the wreck after the bag has surfaced. The main advantage is that the line will hold the bag close to the boat, and the current wont carry it away. The second reason is that if for any reason the lift bag does not stay on the surface, I can go back down on my next dive and follow the line to relocate the artifact. You can use a tether line reel, Jersey Reel or Line Ball as an up line. Once the artifact is on the surface, your last task is to get it onto the boat. Depending on the size and weight of your find and the size of the boat, this could be easy or very difficult. The best method is with some type of winch or block and tackle system. Remember diver safety comes first. Never let a diver get under or behind a heavy object as it is being pulled or winched onboard. A mishap could be disastrous. As a side note, it's always a good idea to look at a large object while it is still there on the bottom and ask the question, will this fit on the boat? I know this sounds pretty silly, but I'm saying it only due to my own experience. In 1985, I ran my boat out to the wreck of the Sandy Hook. The Sandy Hook was a pilot boat that was sunk due to a collision with the Norwegian vessel, Oslofjord. Rick Schwarz, Dennis Berg and I descended and within ten minutes, I had sent a porthole to the surface. Unfortunately, it was still attached to a steel hull plate and required a 500 pound lift bag. Although we tried, we just couldn't get the cumbersome artifact onto the boat and had to cut it free.


The Shipwreck Diving E-Book  Instant Downloadable E-Book 

Shipwreck Diving, by Capt. Dan Berg is a complete how to book about the sport of wreck diving. This book is packed with information and heavily illustrated with over 80 sensational color photographs.


Shipwreck Diving ebook
The complete diver's guide to mastering the skills of shipwreck diving.

Buy Now   only $9.95
6 MB instant download, printable  PDF file

Shipwreck Diving is a complete how to ebook about the sport of wreck diving. This downloadable PDF e-book is packed with information and heavily illustrated with over 80 sensational color photographs. Daniel Berg, a noted wreck diver, instructor and author of ten shipwrecks related books, describes all the basics of wreck diving. Topics include everything from equipment modifications, communication, and wreck penetration to artifact preservation. Dan also tells how to navigate on a wreck and be able to return to the anchor line after the dive. Why some divers find more artifacts and explains how to catch lobsters. Shipwreck Diving also covers such diverse topics as shipwreck research, photography, spear fishing and how to use an underwater metal detector. This exciting book tells all the tricks of the trade that until now have only been learned through years of experience. Shipwreck divers of all caliber will find Shipwreck Diving informative, rewarding and entertaining

Check out Capt. Dan's other shipwreck and Diving eBooks



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Copyright Capt. Dan Berg / Aqua Explorers Inc

2745 Cheshire Dr
Baldwin NY 11510


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