Victoria’ Orion Foster (underwater) tests out his system.

Victoria’ Orion Foster (underwater) tests out his system.

Local diver develops new diving system

A local saturation diver has developed a new system to allow divers to do their work more quickly, efficiently and safely.

A local saturation diver has developed a new system to allow divers to do their work more quickly, efficiently and safely.

Orion Foster, Victoria resident and owner of Soliton Underwater Construction, recently took to the waters off James Bay to test out his new mobile surface supplied nitrox/mixed gas system.

Foster is a saturation diver by trade. He builds and maintains oil and gas structures up to 198 metres below the surface, spending the bulk of his career working offshore in south east Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

He spends most of his days roaming the ocean floor, encased in a baggy diving suit and steel helmet. Hot water and mixed gases are pumped through an umbilical cord to keep him warm and alive.

“Every job is a puzzle essentially and you have to find out a way to get the job done, quickly, safely and efficiently,” said Foster, adding the deepest dive he’s done was 200 metres. “The idea is to get the job done right, but you want to get it done safely and efficiently.”

Divers live in a pressurized environment or an ambient pressure underwater habitat that can be maintained for up to several weeks.

The new system that Foster built includes lights, cameras and communication box that allows divers to get from point A underwater to point B, while staying in constant communication with supervisors on the surface.

It is a system that Foster said is a first on the West Coast.

“It gives me a huge amount of capability. So I can dive for a week straight and I don’t run out of air,” he said. “It’s a critical system that gets a diver to and from work safely and the ability to convey information back and forth to the surface so that you can do things efficiently.”