USCGC Blackthorn (WLB 391): On 28 January 1980 the USCGC Blackthorn and the M/V Capricorn collided in Tampa Bay FL, causing the Coast Gaurd Cutter to quickly sink, drowning 23 of her crew. I participated in the subsequent diving and salvage operation, at the time being the Officer-In-Charge of the CG National Strike Force Dive Team. After Blackthorn was salvaged she was later sunk as reef 20 miles west of Clearwater FL. On July 25th, 2021, 41 years since that day in January when she perished, I again dove on her. Here is a video of our descent on the Blackthorn, now lying at 80 FT in the Gulf of Mexico. When we reach her inverted hull you will see one of the bilge keels, which reduced her roll in beam seas.

Donning an Immersion Suit: There is more to donning an immersion suit than just getting the suit out of the bag. Here we show how ziplock bags help to insert your legs, and how you can use the suit’s storage bag to bring along extra lifesaving gear. Don’t miss the scene running down the beach! Mario Vittone (Lifesaving Systems Corporation) arranged to shoot this video at Little Creek VA, a few miles from where the SS Marine Electric sank in February 1983…the tragic event which led to Coast Guard requiring immersion suits on all commercial vessels. I was a Coast Guard diver at the time assigned to the Atlantic Strike Force Dive Team and dove on the Marine Electric a day after she sank. Make sure to view to the end to see Rescue Swimmer Mario Vittone swim out and tow me to safety.