College of Oceaneering Alumni Thread

Did you go to The College of Oceaneering in any of its previous or current names?

My understanding is Oceaneering International started it to crash course their California Coastal Oil field divers but then it was taken over by the private sector.
“For Profit”

The credits are good enough for an AS Degree recognized by most muckity, muck schools.

I CLEP’ed my General Ed in the MIlitary and got my AS Degree in Marine Science with my Elective Credits from COO.

Anyway I know there is a pretty big following for an Alumni page on FB. Maybe some vets on here also.

I had an old instructor Al Derantainy (RIP) that was an old salt to the core. He told me after I got to the gulf to ask to drive the boat as much as possible. “Never know when it might come in handy.”

He was an old salt that spent his off time sailing solo around the world.

After I graduated with a debt of about 25k in school loans the best i could do was $8.50/hr in Murray, KY.

I was living in an airstream trailor behind the bosses shed. No running water.

Had to take truck stop or just plain old Tennesse River showers.

Finally got turned onto towboats after doing many a wheel job.

Been doin good since.

Many men before and after me have been and were successfull at commercial diving.

Guess i just never rubbed elbows with the right crowd and I tried to break out when the gulf was bust.

Oh, well. It looks good on a resume and my wall anyway.

Al joined CDC while I was teaching there. Great bunch of guys to work with. Al Nesbit, Reno Haines and of course Jim joiner.

Yeah all industry experts when I was there.

who was the fella that did the gold mining on his off time?

Instructor over the fish tanks.

I did graduate from College of Oceaneering was back in 1985? Kinda fogging now, but as I remember the school was pretty progressive for its time. I had one of the first laptop computers, a Radio Shack LCD Z80 machine. I manage to put in my dive tables in the machine and the school actually let me use it for exams! I also programmed a funcky 3D weld defect application that took in the ultra sound data and displayed the location of the defect. Ronald Nesbit was the instructor of the NDT course at the time. Ronald in fact did hire me after graduation…


I went to college of oceaneering in 89-90, never got called for a job doing nothing just a bunch of applications for guys in the gulf that didn’t hire , a bunch a guys from my clas got a gig doing ultra sound 70milez inland in Texas at a refinery , 8 bucks an hour 12 hours a day , not ot pay, a Denny’s and a titty bar only thing in town , big disapointment ,

Old Alumni here,

Went through the school when it was called Commercial Diving School (CDC), School of Commercial and Industrial Diving. Graduated 12 Dec 73.
Gene Aaron was Director of Training, Jim Joiner was President. Ed Tuttle was one of the course instructors.
I believe Al “the old salt” was around back then. The Al that I remember was retired from the Navy, then went offshore oil. Lots of time in a Mark V. He lived on a sailboat and drove a Corvette. Could be the same Al.

Guess I got lucky with my previous experience in the oil fields onshore. Also my demolition training in Germany and a year in Viet Nam with the 101st.

After graduation, I was on a plane to Singapore before Xmas. Helped to build a 600’ Diving Bell System on the Glomar III Drill Ship. It was the old CUSS III, but the orientals considered CUSS to be a dirty word so they changed the name. Supported 11 different drill ships as part of a crew, when Indonesia was exploring the extents of their oil and gas in the Java Sea. Offshore Borneo, Sumatra, Malaysia, and whereever.

Lots of gas over there. They had to run 36" conductor pipe down 500’ and cement in. Then the smaller stuff. One jack-up didn’t clear the gas pockets and it took two other rigs 6 months to stop the flow. They set up maybe 3/4 mile away and continuously pumped mud down their pipes until it stopped. Meanwhile the rig sank on a 45 degree tilt until half the rig floor was underwater.

Was too exciting a time for me, too often. Indonesian tenders didn’t know squat. Had to bailout at 90’ with a hose flap shutting off air. What’s a hose mandrel? Ya dummy!
Got me bent from incompetent equipment maintenance after a 165’ dive. Decompressed topside on USN SurD O2, in a 3’ diameter chamber, in the sun. Then got out. Then the bend hit. Then they couldn’t get the chamber pressured again. Damn near ended me.

Work boat skippers getting iron anchor rope caught in their props. Drunken 1st mate guns the winch, breaks the 3" chain and everything flies onto the deck in your direction. Chopper came out to get my partner after the chain knocked him into the deck rail. Never saw or heard from him again. He was unconscious when taken away.

Hooked a winch line to a 11 ton BOP at about 80’. It was still connected to a broken 15 ton crane. Was on a jack-up rig. Tip of the crane was vertical, down, almost to the water. Then when we finally got it aboard with the help of the crane on the other side of the rig, seas were rocking the boat so bad it almost fell back into the water, until dummy here ran across the deck, up the BOP and disconnected the clevis pin. Should have let it fall back in. That was my bad. Crazy thing to do.

Lots of current way out in the Java Sea. Doesn’t look so bad from the deck, but when you use 3 old drill bits to hold your dive line and they end up over 45 degree down current, it makes it bad going to and from a job. Very rare to have current near the seabed. Looking up at the boat or barge from over 100’ was clear as could be, but another 10’ could be pitch black from the sediment cloud. Was tightening the bolts on a leaking pipeline, buried in the sediment one time. Couldn’t see crap. Had my legs straddling the pipe while wrenching. All of a sudden I’m impacted from behind and tumbling through the water. Lost the wrench. Never did figure out what hit me. All I know is…it was big! (disclaimer: everything looks bigger down there) They have some big groupers. Was descending into this blackness one time near a jacket leg and this huge mouth came up out of the darkness. I grabbed my knife and braced. Then this big grouper turned sideways and swam off. Scared me, and I’m fearless. lol.

There were always fish nets wrapped around jacket legs of platforms. When going down a leg in heavy seas, had to carry a spare knife on a lanyard just to make sure I could cut the fish nets and hooks loose. Repairs at night under export buoys, off a Brown and Root derrick barge is not fun, especially with 15’ seas. Did you ever mix your own gas while working with someone who doesn’t know whether to add oxygen to helium or the other way?

Nearly got swept away by the current because the tenders didn’t know north from south. Handled the explosives and blasting caps like “just another piece of gear.” Open shunts. Tried to take caps down to 120’. Too much crazy crap! No help blasting coral reefs. Never could teach them how to sever a conductor pipe after a rig moved off location. The rig hands always stored (hid) the blasting caps at one end of the rig. Det cord at another. 2 part explosive, really hidden. This stuff we were using was 3 times more powerful per pound than C4. Totally safe, except for air travel when not mixed. A corrosive and a gel. We used 50 lbs. in a makeshift container. Turned a couple of knots in the det cord, inserted, and sealed her up. Lowered that puppy down the inside of the pipe to 5’ below the seabed and tied her off. Taped a #6 blasting cap to the cord and ran 500’ of wire on the deck, back to front and back again. Attached the blaster. Cut loose the mooring. Drifted to the end and BLASTO! The fishermen loved us;) Sometimes a plume of water over 100’. Once this huge 36" diameter solid piece of steel and concrete came out of the water about 10’ higher than it was before. Then it settled back down, and I thought O-S… But the current gradually pushed it over.

That’s enough for this old fart tonight.

I basically saved some coin to go back to school. Came back to the states and got a degree in Engineering.

Was that good luck or bad luck?

Anybody else out there with a war story?

If you don’t believe mine, I can show you my dive log, but you have to buy the beer.


Looks like no recent activity here.
But anyway. I went , started in 89.
Father dies while I was at College of Oceaneering, so I flew home then returned to the College, and somehow finished.
Funny incident at college, guy eats a chili dog before doing a chamber dive.
Gets sick in chamber, we spent the whole night in there, it was weird.
I returned home worked some intereting inland jobs.
Cleaned traveling screens at two FPL power plants, Port Everglades and the one in Fort Myers.
It’s ironic, that the next time I worked Port Everglades , it was as a millwright. I did go down to see the screens, though. That was some tough work !
Worked for Miami Diver a couple of jobs, and did one tender shire duty for cable job, where we laid a cable across the intrecoastal waterway.It was odd jobs that didn’t pay well.
Did get a sweet job tending divers on a Diet Dr. Pepper commercial shooting in the Bahamas. Worked for Les Savage who owned Undersea Services. I think they were out of Tampa.
Tried to see if he still had the company but he doesn’t show up on any online searches, so I don’t know what happened to him.
Got to meet Sean Connery’s double, that did the stunt woek for Sean Connery,on the James Bond movies.
Then I also met Stuart Cove, who has worked on Bond films, and is still working on the recent ones.
Other than that, I couldn’t get on gulf jobs.
I enjoyed the work but the pay was bad back in the early 90’s. The Dr. Pepper paid good,
I hustled and hustled to get more work and finally, just said , screw it.
Joined the millwright union in 02, recertified with AWS to weld in 2012. Took a break from the union, for a couple of years,
and today I just happened to find the Oceaneering alumni page, so after trying to register here for a half hour now, I wanted to post my
I wish I could have wrote that I got famous working on some films, but I can’t.
I would have thought that the commercial ticket would have made it easy to get into movie work, since I took some film
courses at Miami Dade, and worked on some small productions, but it didn’t work out like that.

So, hi .

I attended CDC in 1981. Have made a career out of Commercial Diving since then. I am still going at 59, working now as Offshore Construction Manager (Diving Superintendent) in Indonesia. 34 years later, I can say best decision I ever made to get trained at CDC and head to South East Asia for work. Since then I have worked in Australia, UK, Africa (Nigeria/Congo/Cameroon/Senegal/Gambia) India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Myanmar, Singapore, Dubai, Abhu Dabbi & several others.
Initially I had several years in Surface Air Diving, which was amazing. Fun on and off the job, living and working in Asia. After a few years Saturation Diving and the big bucks followed. I pulled out of the Offshore game in early 90’s, started and ran my own onshore diving business for 8 years, then went back offshore again. Supervising projects became my normal line of work, and I ended up working mainly on DP DSV’s (Dynamically Positioned Diving Support Vessels) on offshore construction projects mainly. Interesting and challenging work.
Saw several deaths and serious accidents in the initial years, but this has changed a lot now, especially in areas that are using IMCA (International Marine Contractors Association) Guidelines. This stems from UK, but most countries around the globe have accepted it, and many O & G companies insist on it.
I am up to wife number 3 now, mainly the separation has affected personal relationships, but as far as a job goes the commercial diving game has been great. If I had my time over again, knowing what I know now, I would make the same decision again. Great job / Great life.

I went to cdc in June 81 as well, class d130 i believe, went on to La. and worked for Global divers. I remember buying a t shirt at CDC that had a man sitting down with a tender assisting him. the tender was twisting the mans head off and there was a dive helmet underneath. as in the diver within us. Sure would like to find that pic again.

I attended CDC summer of '76, after having been a submarine ship’s diver (scuba) in the Navy. I lived in my van on the street in front of the dock there that whole summer and somehow never got broke into or molested in any way. I found this thread looking to find old classmates on the internet. Surprising how few are out there.

Great to see others here remembering fondly guys like Jim Joiner, Reno, Al, (can’t remember the blonde haired instructor that drove the Chinook’s name, possibly Gordon?) and of course, Mavis Hill. I had a secret crush on the slim, kinda sexy secretary.

The word at the time I graduated, Oct. 76, was the North Sea diving season closed down for the winter about then, The Gulf of Mexico season lasted a bit longer but shut down in late Autumn, and Singapore was the only field where work could be reliably found. Low on bucks, I went down to the Gulf to seek work and after 2 weeks of mornings spent dropping off resumes and afternoons spent drinking in the Quarter, Ran out of money and took a job as a deckie on a Mississippi River pushboat till I got enough money to head out.

I moved back to Calif. to live with my girlfriend and forgot to leave. Other than urchin diving for a few years I never capitalized on that excellent training. Good times, good people.

Somebody here already said it, for all the guys that went through that school, there’s only a few that have posted anything on this thread. I found this by chance looking for Jim Joiner. I guess he passed in 2017. I found Reno on facebook, sent him a message but he never responded. I have to believe that all of the old navy guys, Gene Aaron and Al Nesbit have passed. MCarver mentioned Gordon (Olsen), I used to commute with him back to the San Fernando valley, we both lived there. I remember Mavis Hill. How about Warren Mahr?

Dave Neuman was an instructor there. I wound up meeting his brother, Len, in Singapore. He was also a diver. Don’t know what happened to either of them.

I started my first course at CDC in October of 1975, I was 20 years old. In December I turned 21. That day we were on the barge for a night dive. Four of the bigger guys in the class each grabbed an arm or a leg, and tossed me into the harbor, clothes and all. Good times!

I believe that class was called the Air/Mixed Gas course and it was about 4 months long. From there I took the bell class. I wound up working at the school for a couple of hours every day, after school was out. I repaired equipment while waiting for Gordon the instructor to get off so we could begin the commute home. I learned a lot working there.

One afternoon they had me pick up one of the Oceaneering managers from Singapore, staying at a local hotel, who came to visit the school. He offered me a job when I graduated. What a break!!!

I went to Singapore right after graduation. Two buddies I went to school with also wound up there. All 3 of us kept busy and were never out of work. I’m guessing I worked in the same areas “grizfish Joe” (a few responses up) did, the Java Sea and all throughout Southeast Asia: Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia. I wound up working in the industry for 7 years.

I couldn’t imagine having had a better life or career at the time. It was great! I had heard about the North Sea, the Middle East and the Gulf of Mexico. My thoughts were to eventually work off California. The reality was that there wasn’t much offshore work there. Maybe I could have made more money in some of these other places, but there was so much work in Southeast Asia and it was a good place to live. It didn’t make sense to venture away.

The West Coast Divers Union wound up putting me through the saturation course at CDC mid way through my career as a diver. They paid the entire tuition! I graduated top of my class and promptly went to their office looking for work, but there was none. They suggested I take some other type of job at the harbor until something opened up. I wanted to be a diver. Once I graduated from the sat. course, it wasn’t long before I accepted a plane ticket and job to Singapore.

I took my wife down to the school there off of Fries, maybe 5 years ago. It had closed. It is interesting to read all of the stories of the guys that graduated from there. I took the old class photo out not long ago and wondered what became of everybody. Old memories!

All the best to you guys!
Rob Marion