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USGS Biologist Contributes Technical Expertise to a Multiagency Diving-Rescue Class

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Marc Blouin at work in the murky, cold water of Lake Michigan.
Above: USGS biologist Marc Blouin at work in the murky, cold water of Lake Michigan. [larger version]

Marc Blouin conducting a water session with students in the rescue-diver class.
Above: Marc Blouin (with snorkel) conducting a water session with students in the rescue-diver class. [larger version]

open-water accident simulation
Above: During the open-water accident simulation, the "victim" has been prepared for airlift. [larger version]

Coast Guard boat and helicopter
Above: U.S. Coast Guard partners provide support on the water and in the air during the accident-simulation training. [larger version]

As a biologist, Marc Blouin studies sturgeon in the cold, murky waters of the Great Lakes. He also shares his technical expertise with other scientists by advancing inplace data-collection methods for other disciplines of study via scuba diving. Most recently, Marc has been helping develop methods to mount and deploy instrumentation that is used to study water quality and circulation for beach-health projects. He is the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Scuba Dive Program Manager and is a member of the USGS dive-safety board, where he serves as the dive-safety officer. Marc also teaches water-related safety courses for USGS employees. He coordinates open-water checkout dives for research teams, teaches specialized scuba training, serves as an instructor for the Department of the Interior's Motorboat Operations Certification Course (MOCC), and teaches the USGS "Over-the-Water" safety training class. Through his efforts, he helps spread the word about technical methods and safety near and in the water, both within and outside the USGS. Marc is currently serving on the board of directors for the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS), an organization of diving scientists and safety officers committed to the advancement of underwater science and dive safety. He also is a member of the Watercraft Safety Committee for USGS.

In April, Marc participated as an instructor in a multiagency training workshop for "Scuba Lifesaving and Accident Management (SLAM)." This collaborative effort shared resources and expertise among the USGS, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), the University of South Florida, and the Scuba Scouts. The class taught students from the different agencies how to handle a scuba-diving accident, starting from an underwater rescue and ending with an air evacuation. Many of the students depend on diving skills as part of their daily jobs. To strengthen their skills, the SLAM class staged a mock scuba-diving accident that simulated an emergency in the open waters of Tampa Bay. The rescue procedures involved for air evacuation allowed the divers, boat crews, and helicopter pilots to practice their skills and gave everyone firsthand experience in a drill that could save their lives. Classroom training and pool sessions began April 8 at the FWRI in St. Petersburg, Fla., which prepared the participants for the open-water training exercise held on Saturday, April 29. According to Marc, there is no substitute for hands-on training: "This type of training exercise is one of the best ways to prepare all of the agencies involved for dealing with the event of a real accident."

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cover story:
Limited Reproductive Success for Endangered California Clapper Rail

USGS Studies Aid Puget Sound Recovery

Outreach USGS Scientist Interviewed About Threats to Coral Reefs

USGS FISC Participates in 2006 Marine Quest

Geography Team Visits USGS Woods Hole Science Center

USGS Participates in Career Fairs at MIT

USGS Scientist Attends Annual Field Trip for 20th Year

National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competitors Tour Laboratories in Woods Hole

WHSTEP Science and Math Safari Explores Use of Sound in Ocean Research

Meetings First International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat

USGS GIS 2006 Workshop

USGS Biologist Contributes Technical Expertise to Dive-Rescue Class

Awards USGS Biologist Honored by Fish and Wildlife Service

Staff New Oceanographic Data System Manager in Woods Hole

Publications June 2006 Publications List

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