The Destin harbor is getting cleaned up thanks to a group of combat controllers from Hurlburt Field.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, Capt. Andrew Nelson from the Special Tactics Training Squadron gave a special presentation to the council regarding the project.
With the help of the city and local law enforcement, 20 Air Force Combat Diver School graduates will dive in the harbor to pick up trash and debris on May 8.
Nelson said his team’s training will be complete in October and wanted to give back to their community in a meaningful way.
“We think that diving Destin harbor, picking up debris and cleaning it up overall would be a significant contribution to the community,” Nelson said.
The men in Nelson's unit are all trained in static line parachute, military free-fall and open- and closed-circuit diving. The unit recently provided support to the Thailand cave rescue in July 2018 and performs 1,500 dives annually.
Since safety is the No. 1 priority, Nelson’s unit plans to use full face-mask diving gear that will allow them to communicate underwater. A command-and-control boat with medical staff will be in the area as well as standby safety divers. Nelson said local law enforcement will help divert boater traffic from interfering with the divers as they sweep the northern coast and the middle of the harbor.
The clean up is scheduled to start around 9 a.m. and will be done by 2 p.m. Nelson said they anticipate that each diver will be under the water for a total of three hours.
The unit will supply their own scuba gear as well as catalog and dispose all the debris they find.