Dive Team Safety

Matthew Ferraro and Carrie Vonderhaar at Duke University Hyperbaric Chamber during their Diver Medical Technician class at DAN
November 4, 2012

Over a decade ago still photographer Carrie Vonderhaar and cinematographer Matthew Ferraro joined my team at Ocean Futures Society with visions of adventure and exploration. However, like many young dreamers, they first had to immerse themselves in the realities that prepare one for a life on expedition.

As you can imagine exploration and filmmaking necessitate much more than having a camera and a boat. There are a myriad of layered logistics and preparations that must be addressed before we ever leave the dock. Timing the movement of people and equipment to coincide with weather, seasonal variations, and wildlife behavior effectively requires knowledge and experience.

The most important of these concerns is team safety. I am proud to say that we have never had a major accident on any of our expeditions. Now, some may say that we have been lucky, and perhaps they are correct, but I believe this is due to the training and preparation of our crew. For decades Don Santee has been the Expedition Leader for myself and my father. Beyond his skills as an expedition coordinator and diver Don has training in emergency medicine as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Diver Medical Technician (DMT). When in remote locations it is important to have someone on the team who knows what to do in case of an emergency. Don has been this person.

Matthew Ferraro

As the team from years past grows older the younger generation is beginning to assume these roles. However you cannot just ask people to take on the responsibility of emergency medicine, the desire has to come from within. This is testament to the commitment Carrie and Matt feel towards their team members as they have recently completed both their EMT and DMT training.

Carrie Vonderhaar

Though we all still work together on a continuing basis, I have encouraged them to share their skills behind the camera and as Medics with other organizations and individuals whose mission it is to protect our blue planet.

Warm Regards,

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First Photo: Matthew Ferraro and Carrie Vonderhaar at Duke University Hyperbaric Chamber during their Diver Medical Technician class at DAN.

Second Photo: Matthew Ferraro. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society

Third Photo: Carrie Vonderhaar. © Holly Lohuis, Ocean Futures Society