Past Challenges

SCUBA Challenge – Prosthetics Research – Mote Marine Laboratory Coral Restoration 2019

Summary of Objectives:

  • Orthotic/Prosthetic Objectives
    • Gather baseline data for lower extremity amputees submerged swimming with and without prostheses
    • Observation/recording of each parameter’s swim trial for visual segmental analysis off site later.
    • Timed trials for each parameter.
    • Evaluate potential for participate (bilateral very short transfemoral amputee) to be fitted for propulsive stabilizing mechanism (one diver only).
    • Evaluate efficacy of wetsuit prototype in managing buoyancy control for paraplegic divers.
    • Evaluate efficacy of special fin developed for use by double leg amputees.
  • Open Water Certification Course Objectives:
    • Certify new Combat Wounded/Injured Veterans as Open Water SCUBA Divers
    • Prepare newly certified divers for subsequent SCUBA Challenges to serve as subjects for continued underwater O&P research and coral reef restoration support.
  • DiveMaster-in-Training Objectives:
    • Resume training selected core cadre of CWVC certified SCUBA divers as Dive Masters
    • Establish an in-house cadre of Dive Masters that increases CWVC’s flexibility to respond to short notice SCUBA activities that offer increased opportunities for research, support for community relief, and for joint activities with like organizations supporting youth and/or CW/IVs.


Summary of Challenge:

CWVC concluded its 2019 SCUBA Challenge, our annual “family-oriented” event, the last week in June. We hosted our largest group ever this year with 87 participants (33 of which were first time participants). 22 combat wounded/injured veteran (CW/IV) divers supported by 8 dive professionals (Dive Masters, Dive Instructors), 4 orthotics and prosthetics (O&P) research divers, 3 SCUBA-qualified medical doctors expanding our research efforts, safety support divers, and five boat captains/crews participated in multiple dives over the week-long event supporting Mote Marine Laboratory’s (MML) coral reef restoration program in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, 31 family members accompanied their CW/IV spouses/parents for the Challenge. CWVC Dive Professionals supervised multiple dives honing SCUBA diving skills for certified divers, Dive Instructors conducted open water certification course for several combat wounded veterans, and all finished up the dive week with a 500 meter underwater navigation swim with each combat wounded veteran paired up with a SCUBAnaut youth diver.





MML’s Staff Scientist/Program Manager/Dive Safety Officer provided the following summary of the dive week’s activities: “Despite some challenges coordinating boat schedules, along with weather that didn’t always cooperate, we still managed to complete an amazing amount of work….in all, through the combined efforts of CWVC, SNI [SCUBAnauts, Int’l], and Mote over the three day period, we were able to outplant 500 new colonies of staghorn coral, as well as create more than 2,200 new staghorn colonies in our underwater nursery. In addition, more than 60 new anchors for our coral “trees” were installed in the nursery, which will provide the desperately needed infrastructure for expanding our staghorn “spawning nursery”, establishing a dedicated area for our newly developed effort to propagate and outplant elkhorn coral, as well as creating a permanent location within the nursery to be used for Mote and Capt. Hooks to develop a community-based restoration program to further engage the dive community in Mote’s ongoing restoration efforts year-round. Thank you all again, and a big thank you to Kim and the entire staff at Capt. Hooks for their support, flexibility, and for ensuring that everyone had a safe and enjoyable experience. Thank you!!!”