Next Meeting: Wednesday, February 28th

The UASC meets the last Wednesday of each month at the Chicago Maritime Museum located at 1200 West 35th Street, Suite OE5010, Chicago, IL 60609. Free event, ALL ARE WELCOME. Refreshments 6:30, Business 7:00, Speaker 8:00.


Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago



August 2016 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago

Meeting Minutes

August 2016

President Bob Rushman greeted 21 members and guests.

Treasurer Karen Rushman reported that there is $10,619 in our account.

Secretary Carol Sommers stated that the minutes are on the website and paper copies are available.

The underwater portion of the NAS course will tentatively be October 1 & 2 In a shallow portion of Haigh Quarry in Kankakee.  Two visitors were introduced, Ron Zagwaw and Cyrus Sethna who were formerly at Helix and saw our website. Claire Gadbois reminded us that ICSSD Presidents’ Night Banquet is on October 29 at Mack’s Golden Pheasant. She has tickets available for sale for $35 each. September 15 is the deadline for awards presentations. Chuck and Margo Miller also need applications for the club of the year.

Surveys - No new work to report.


September 9-10 - Great Lakes Maritime History Conference in Alpena, Michigan

September 17 - International Beach Clean-Up day. The location is Greenwood Beach at 9 am. If the

water conditions are good, one can dive the George Morley. Free food is available.

October 2 – Pumpkin carving at Haigh Quarry.

October 8 – Wreck-A- Palooza at the National Museum of Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio. David Trotter will be the speaker and his lectures usually sell out.

October 15 - WUAA conference in Green Bay. The highlight will be a presentation on the decay of iron parts of the Wisconsin which was caused by the carbonic acid formed by the presence of zebra mussels. One of the speakers found over 200 wrecks.

October 15 – Shipwrecks & Scuba Festival in Sandusky, Ohio

Next month’s meeting will have Rich Gross as the speaker who will talk about his work in Michigan to find the Griffon. Sam Polonetsky announced that a friend of his, Norm Quintell will be the October speaker. The topic will be about the Raymond Morton Steamship Lines which linked Chicago and Milwaukee with Michigan and the history of interurban railroads to harbors to connect with steamships. The Eastland will be part of the story.

Member Presentation: John Gerty spoke about the wrecks he saw in the Red Sea while travelling the southern route on Aggressor two years ago. He recommended taking Turkish Airlines to Hurgada and then Port Ghalib, 3 hours south by bus. The water was in the 80’s in October and viz wasn’t in excess of 100 feet. He filmed Sha’ab Mars Alam, a dive boat which sunk five years ago and was quite trashed by the waves since it was only 30 feet deep. There were beautiful nudibranchs and coral and some crocodile fish, but not many big fish because Russians are allowed to spearfish. There are around 200 dive sites near Port Ghalib and many dive boats at each site. This was fortunate for the German divers about ten years ago who came back from their dive to see their boat, the Heaven One, burn to the water line and sink. Most of the dive boats are woodframe with fiberglass construction. The majority of the dives were shallow so Nitrox wasn’t needed and one could dive up to five times a day. The water wasn’t as salty as the Red Sea. There was a comment by John made about one of the wrecks that “It’s hard to get a scale on this next to a fish” to which Bill replied “They carry their own scales”.

Featured Speaker: Mike Ginter-- who is a divemaster and instructor himself-- owns the local franchise For the Freedom Boat Club. He explained the company so UASC members can consider whether they are interested in having the club join. It works in a similar way to Divvy Bikes but with a fleet of boats out of Montrose Harbor and one River East. There are 90 members in Chicago and 10,000 members in the US and Canada with 115 locations to obtain boats. To become a member, there is an initiation fee and then a monthly fee. One finds the nearest boat, reserves it up to several weeks in advance and just pays for the fuel. There are fuel meters on each boat, a typical drive around uses 4 ½ gallons fuel at about $4.99 per gallon. Boats are easy to operate four-stroke engines with a 250 horsepower outboard. Members are trained to captain the boats and he has a 24-foot Key West boat right now with a center console which he could outfit to carry 4 divers. UASC would get a corporate membership. There would be no contract, just 60 days’ notice to cancel. Then all members would be able to use the local boats. For us, He would train 4 or even more members for us to be skippers and lower the training fee from $1,700 to $1,000. Training is in basic navigation in good weather. If you have a captain’s license, it is necessary to go to the basic course, even if it’s just for a minute or two to prove you know what to do. Boats can be available from 8am to 8pm and deckhands are there at the dock and they do the re-fueling. There’s a $39 fee for no-shows and $35 per hour for coming back late. One can take a boat out for fireworks (no night-diving allowed) and reserve for half days or even two days, as in a trip to Michigan, but a dock must be arranged beforehand. In different parts of the country, local orientation of the waters is given. Insurance includes a million dollars liability, hull protection and towing within 25 miles of the club. There is a 2,500 deductible. GPS is on all boats which go more than 2 miles off-shore. The four people who become skippers can use the club country-wide, but for our club, Mike can rotate in other skippers. The corporate initial fee is $10,500 and the monthly fee is $549. For just weekday use, the fee is $5,500 with $299 monthly dues. {To build a new boat just for diving, five clubs besides us would need to become members. It would be a nine and a half foot wide and 24-26 foot long Tritoon, made of 30 inch heavy duty welded tubes, have a bathroom and be set up for six divers.) He does not need the entire initiation fee up front from us if we help him find more businesses (i.e. dive clubs) to come in. With the boat he presently has, divers must be suited ahead of time, do in-water donning and climb up without gear on because of the small ladder. Mike is passionate about diving although he hasn’t been teaching for the last four years. This franchise would not work for dive shops so he hopes enough clubs can get together so he can build a dedicated dive boat. Bill Messner added that he will flesh out ideas for raising money for this and make a presentation to UASC at the next meeting.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Carol Sommers.

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