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Michigan State Police’s Marine Services Team training at the sanctuary this week

Trooper Sgt. Randal Parros jumps into the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary's diving tank on Tuesday afternoon.

Alpena — Michigan State Police’s Marine Services Team has a few days full of training exercises this week up at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Today, members of the team were diving in the sanctuary’s dive tank to test out switching to emergency air supply tanks. The test proved to be successful for divers, but the amount of gear did cause a bit of a headache.

“If there is a situation where we are either diving deep, have an overhead environment, or entrapment hazard, we’d want to carry redundant air source with us that would allow us to keep our auga mask on and switch over to that emergency gas without having to take off our auga mask, our primary face mask,” said Sgt. Randal Parros, Team Commander.

The new air source can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-hour, depending on the situation. It also gives the divers an opportunity to bring more air tanks down for the team or stranded divers. The goal with this new technology is not to go blind or lose their mask for a few minutes.

9 team members of the 13 participated in the exercise today. Members come from all over the state. The team enjoyed diving in the clean tank. They will also dive in the Thunder Bay River throughout the week. Four times year, MSP’s Marine Services Team trains throughout the state in all four seasons. They practice everything from using technology underwater to acting fast in emergency situations underneath ice. Alpena gives divers a great opportunity to try out new technology. The team will stay at the Combat Readiness Training Center for the remainder of their training.