Contained in the lifetime of a deep sea saturation diver, probably the most harmful and remoted jobs on the earth

screenshot from the Last Breath documentary trailer showing photo of Chris Lemons

A screenshot from the official UK trailer for “Final Breath” exhibiting pictures of Chris Lemons.Dogwoof/YouTube

  • Chris Lemons was a saturation diver for 10 years engaged on oil fields on the North Sea flooring.

  • Now, Lemons is a supervisor, who offers directions to divers and is accountable for retaining them alive.

  • In 2012, Lemons nearly died on the ocean flooring in an accident, and was rescued over half-hour later.

When he isn’t enjoying golf or spending time along with his spouse and two daughters, Chris Lemons resides in a small pressurized chamber on the backside of a ship, a whole lot of meters under the floor of the ocean.

He spends 28 days at a time right here, engaged on an oil area on the ground of the North Sea. Lemons is a supervisor now, however previously labored as a saturation diver, named after the method of respiration pressurized air that saturates the blood and tissue of divers so their ranges are according to the strain of the ocean flooring.

“I used to be simply very younger, my very early twenties, and in fact, I did not actually know what to do with my life,” Lemons informed Insider about discovering his method into his 18-year diving profession.

A buddy’s father helped him out with a summer time job engaged on the again deck of a dive help vessel. There, he obtained to see a glimpse of the world he would quickly enter — a world he mentioned he did not have any actual idea of and even knew existed.

“All of them appeared like enigmas a little bit bit,” Lemons mentioned about seeing saturation divers emerge from their chamber. “They in all probability turned up in fancier vehicles than me on the important thing aspect as effectively, in order that was an attraction. In a short time, I assumed that is what I would like to do.”

He continued engaged on the boat and accomplished coaching for air diving — the method used for diving in shallower water than deep sea websites — in Scotland.

For eight years, Lemons was required to work as an air diver to realize expertise for saturation diving programs, which he finally did in Marseille, France, earlier than spending 10 years as a saturation diver.

He talked to Insider about what the job’s like, his profession path, and his incident that impressed a documentary.

Life within the pressurized chamber

Lemons joked that a very powerful talent for being a saturation diver is not diving, however being personable sufficient to reside within the pressurized chamber. There will be as much as 11 different individuals within the chamber, and never everybody will get alongside on a regular basis, he mentioned.

“I’ve at all times discovered it is an excellent leveler of individuals since you get individuals coming in with egos and no matter and it does not final very lengthy since you’re brutally uncovered on a regular basis once you’re working,” he informed Insider.

Footage of Chris Lemons from the

Footage of Chris Lemons from the “Final Breath” documentary trailer.Dogwoof/YouTube

He continued: “It is fairly a monastic way of life since you are in these chambers, so you have no entry to alcohol, you are exercising each single day since you’re working within the water. You reside fairly clear actually , and also you breathe pure fuel.”

The chamber is full of heliox, a mixture of helium and oxygen. It is pressed to the identical degree because the depth of the seabed the divers are engaged on. If they’re working at 100 meters, for instance, the chamber is pressurized to the identical degree as 90 to 95 meters under sea degree.

The draw back is a scarcity of daylight, he mentioned. However dwelling within the chamber too lengthy has its psychological affect too, Lemons mentioned.

“I believe the day you begin feeling that is a standard factor to do, a standard place to reside or function, then it is in all probability time to get out,” Lemons mentioned. “I actually felt that is what stopped me. I benefit from the diving, however finally you get uninterested in dwelling in these circumstances.”

Lemons mentioned he can speak to his household whereas dwelling within the chamber as a result of he has entry to web and telephones, however his voice is affected by the depth the divers reside at and the helium within the chamber.

After spending 24 days close to the underside of the ocean, coming straight again to the floor will not be an possibility, as a result of a diver might die of decompression illness, or as its extra generally identified, “the bends.”

The deeper a diver goes, the extra nitrogen is absorbed into their tissue. In the event that they ascend too shortly, the fuel bubbles within the diver’s physique will develop and may rupture the tissue or block arteries and cease the circulate of oxygen to the mind.

If Lemons goes to the depth of 100 meters and spends six hours down there, the method of decompression can take 4 days.

“There is not any circumnavigating that 4 days of decompression,” Lemons mentioned. “If you happen to break your leg or your mom dies, it does not make a distinction, you continue to must do 4 days of decompression.”

Within the UK, Lemons mentioned saturation divers are legally restricted to dwelling within the chambers for 28 days, so they may spend 24 days engaged on the seabed, then decompressing for 4 days.

Working at 100 meters under the floor of the ocean

Lemons works within the North Sea which he mentioned in all probability has the best security requirements on the earth for divers.

There are 4 groups of three divers on his vessel who every cowl six hours on the seabed. The boat runs 24 hours a day.

Divers are lowered towards the seafloor on a diving bell which takes about an hour to launch and an hour to come back again, that means divers are within the water for about eight hours a day.

“It is actually a routine, you principally do the identical factor on the similar time, each single day,” Lemons mentioned.

When the divers get up, they’re despatched a meals menu from which they will choose what they wish to eat. The meals is shipped in on silver trays by a fuel lock.

Afterwards, the divers are given paperwork telling them what work they’re doing for the day, and are briefed by the dive supervisor on the mitigations and dangers.

One diver at all times stays behind within the diving bell as a rescue diver, and to handle the three “umbilical cords” which can be connected to the divers within the water, Lemons mentioned. One wire is for fuel to breathe, one is for warmth, and one is for mild.

Lemons works solely within the oil and fuel business, placing in and inspecting wells, pipelines, and the hydraulic and digital infrastructure that retains the oil area going.

“You may have days when it may be pretty intricate work,” Lemons mentioned. “You at all times have an engineer and a dive supervisor speaking to you thru an earpiece, so that you’re fed data and procedures.”

Different days contain the divers lumping sandbags across the seabed for six hours, he mentioned.

The incident

In 2012, Lemons was on the job when the dynamic positioning system, which retains the boat in place, failed.

Lemons’ umbilical cords snapped, and he was left on the backside of the ocean with solely 5 further minutes of respiration fuel. He was rescued after over half-hour, throughout which he mentioned he was largely unconscious.

Footage of Chris Lemons at the bottom of the sea from the Last Breath Documentary

Footage of Chris Lemons after he was disconnected from his vessel from the “Final Breath” documentary trailer.Dogwoof/YouTube

A documentary known as “Final Breath” what made in 2018 about Lemon’s incident. However he says he feels disassociated from the incident when excited about it or watching the movie.

“I believe for all three of us who had been concerned within the water that day, I do not really feel any of us really feel we have suffered any type of trauma,” Lemons mentioned. “It was a major occasion in our lives, undoubtedly, however in a bizarre method, it has been a constructive factor for me.”

As a result of he was nonetheless early in his profession, Lemons mentioned he was extra fearful about dropping the job after his incident than grappling with the gravity of virtually dropping his life.

After a 3 week investigation, Lemons mentioned he selected to return to his job, and the three members of his diving workforce resumed work as standard.

“The individuals who undergo are usually not actually the three of us who can have an effect on the end result, it is the individuals you permit at residence — your loved ones, your mates, those who’ve to take a seat at residence and picture the worst.”

Now, Lemons publicly speaks about his profession as a saturation diver, and talks concerning the incident to advertise security and share what he realized from the expertise.

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