Everett-based Peters specializes in underwater ship husbandry.
NAVY DIVER 1ST CLASS
Jason L. Peters
What do you do? I am a U.S. Navy diver [based at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility’s Everett Detachment] who specializes in underwater ship husbandry. I perform a variety of underwater tasks on ships and submarines that include, but are not limited to, hull inspection and cleaning, installation and removal of equipment, and the replacement of various hull appendages.
How did you get that role? I signed a U.S. Navy Special Programs contract when I enlisted in the Navy. After completing boot camp, I was sent to a three-month rigorous physical training program that got me ready for Navy Dive School. I was then sent to the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida, for 15 weeks of arduous dive training. I graduated in 2006 and became a Navy deep sea diver.
What’s a typical day like? At 6:30 every morning I start my day with exercise. I lift weights most of the time but always include cardio a few times a week.Being a dive supervisor, I am at work at 8 a.m., making sure personnel are preparing for the day’s dive and making contact with all parties involved with the dive job. Because 80 percent of our equipment is considered “diver’s life support systems,” our maintenance and pre-dive checks are numerous and extensive due to the hazardous nature of diving. Before divers enter the water, I verify all maintenance and operational risk management procedures have been completed correctly and give a dive brief that reviews the job, all emergency procedures and egress routes. Once this is done, I put divers in the water, and they get the job done. Depending on the job, it may take 30 minutes or up to six hours to compete. If the divers run out of no-decompression time or are too tired to continue, I swap out divers and continue the job.
What surprises people about what you do? I would say the diversity of jobs to which a Navy diver can be assigned. As a Navy diver, I can go to an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) command or a Marine reconnaissance unit and support dive operations and the maintenance of dive gear. I could be assigned to a SEAL command and support dive and SEAL Delivery Vehicle operations. I could be assigned to a mobile diving and salvage command and deploy worldwide in support of salvage operations. Our community also has dive billets at NASA, where we maintain their aquatic habitats and equipment. The list goes on, but I am always impressed by the breadth of opportunity provided within the Navy dive community.
What’s the best part of the job? Being around the tough and fearless guys I work with [and] proudly call my brothers. They work in extremely cold water for hours of a time, often in confined spaces or where visibility is limited to a couple of inches. They finish their dive cold and exhausted, but still maintain a sense of humor. Every member of the team maintains focus on the safety of the divers working below, knowing they are a critical link to maintaining diver safety.