SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco Dive Team performed underwater maintenance on the Raccoon in Sausalito on Dec. 13. The four man team inspected and replaced zinc anodes attached to the bottom of the Raccoon.
“Our mission today is vessel husbandry which is basically maintenance on the bottom of the vessel that can be accomplished without pulling the boat out of the water,” said Derrick Dunlap, SPN Deputy Chief of Operations and Readiness.
The divers took turns searching the bottom of the Raccoon looking for spent anodes and replacing them with new ones. The anodes are attached to the vessel by small washers and bolts so each diver had to decide between the comfort of wearing dive gloves to protect against the cold versus the increased dexterity gained by going without.
“Most of our work is in zero visibility, so we are kind of like robots down there,” said Dunlap.
The zinc anodes, checked twice a year and replaced when needed, protect metal parts of the boat below the waterline from rusting due to corrosive electrolytic action.
“The water and the electrical currents will go after the zinc anodes before it goes after the hull of the boat.”
The dive also gave the team an opportunity to try out new AGA dive masks which allows the diver to have real time communication with the surface as well as fellow dive team members.