Underwater Investigators Trained in Bay County

By: Elizabeth Prann Email
By: Elizabeth Prann Email

Every year we hear of disasters on the water.

Whether its a plane landing on the Hudson river, or a swimmer lost in the Gulf, working in the water can be very challenging. Newschannel 7's Elizabeth Prann was lucky enough to catch up with students who are trained locally for these daring jobs.

UCSI, otherwise known as the Underwater Crime Scene Investigation Unit, is the first of its kind in the nation; and these divers are called to duty all over the country.

FSU/PC Dive Instructor, Mike Zinszer says students and faculty investigate on everything from a bridge collapse, a plane crashe to research with port security to homeland security.

The campus has offered this program since 2002, at any given time there is between eight and 25 students in a class.

Students are required to complete two prerequisets and become a science diver before they take the plunge.

"Getting the hands on experience in the field, getting to go out and actually get to use the equipment we learn about, putting everything we learn into effect," said Adam Taylor, an FSU/PC student.

On the day I went diving, the students were checking up on "The Red Sea," a 125-foot tug boat.

The Bay County Tourist Development Council and Aquatic Marine Assistance Company sank this vessel last month to be used as a dive site.

It sits a about 50 feet beneath the Gulf's surface.

"There's a big fallacy with the Underwater Crime Scene Investigation program people think we only go out and look for bodies. The whole investigation aspect, expands out into public safety, to U.S. Infrastructuers, bridges, damns and the aviation community," Zinszer said.

Don't let the students' ease fool you.

It's a very challenging job.

Not only do students need to be comfortable diving, they also need to be handy an arsenal of tools.

"We use side scan sonar's, we use ROV, remote operator vehicles," Zinzser said. "We use magnetometers so it uses the earth magnetic signature to identify any anomaly in the earths surface."

After completing the program, graduates are hired all over the world..

Would you like to become a diver? Do you want more info? Lot on to: http://ucsi.pc.fsu.edu/

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