PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Diving is quite common in the Panhandle.
However, you normally see deep sea divers in wetsuits or just a helmet rather than the copper hat equipment they used to wear in the early 1900s– like the Mark V helmets used after the Pearl Harbor Attacks.
Some people think the ‘standard diving dress’ should stay in existence.
The Classic Diving group’s entire purpose is to keep this old-school diving gear in use. They come to the Panhandle to practice suiting up and teaching others to suit up in the standard dress a couple of times a year at Vortex Spring.
Bolts, tools, and means of oxygen are a lot more intricate for the standard suit compared to modern-day diving attire. It’s a tricky process to gear up.
But for the divers involved with Classic Diving, it’s worth it to keep history alive.
They said it’s like collecting old cars. If you never use them, then they might no longer be able to be put to use. There’s also a chance replacement parts stop being made. If people continue to use the ‘standard dress,’ then those who enjoy it most will have various avenues to go deep sea dive sporting nearly 200 lbs. of equipment.
The Man in the Sea Museum in Panama City Beach has one of the old, bulky dive suits to try on. It’s free to visit and open Wednesday-Saturday 10-4.