Great Lakes Summer Program
Gives Sea Cadets Scuba Training
By PETER ATKINSON, Deputy Editor
The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps’ (NSCC’s) summer training program offers cadets the opportunity to
gain practical experience on land and at sea in a wide
variety of professional pursuits, skills and disciplines,
from airman and air traffic control training to culinary
arts, mine warfare operations, photojournalism and
even music school. And in a program offered through
the NSCC’s Great Lakes, Mich., Division and the White
Lake, Mich.-based Noble Odyssey Foundation, cadets
have the opportunity to do their training underwater.
The Great Lakes program provides advanced scuba
diving courses to cadets from around the country as part
of summer training that also combines maritime skills,
engineering and scientific research. In recent years, summer training projects have included collecting plants and
reptiles from Great Lakes islands, underwater studies of
zebra mussels, investigation of an ancient drowned forest and diving explorations of archaeological sites.
The summer scuba program is based at the Thunder
Bay National Marine Sanctuary, a 448-square-mile area
of Lake Huron near Alpena, Mich.
All of these projects have involved field work with
scientists, educators and cinematographers, according
to Lt. Cmdr. Luke Clyburn, NSCC, Great Lakes Divi-
A pair of U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps (NSCC) cadets
measure a stump and takes notes during a dive in an
ancient drowned forest in northern Lake Huron. The
cadets were taking part in a 10-day advanced training
program in early July offered through the NSCC’s Great
Lakes Division in Michigan.
sion commanding officer, captain of its 80-foot
research/training vessel Pride of Michigan and president of the Noble Odyssey Foundation, which supports the division by organizing the trips and helping
coordinate volunteers, as well as raising funds. It has
partnered with the division since 1977.
In 2005, one summer scuba training trip teamed the
Sea Cadets with the Ocean Futures Society, headed by
Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of explorer and documentar-ian Jacques Cousteau, for an exploration of shipwrecks
in Lake Huron. The trip was filmed as part of the Public
Broadcasting System’s “Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean
Adventures” series that aired in spring 2006.
The Great Lakes program also has been producing
its own a documentary science films that chronicle the
research done during the trips. The most recent of its
eight films, “Great Lakes, Ancient Shores – River
Channels,” was issued in February. The films typically
are shown at schools, libraries and to maritime organizations, and are available on DVD.
According to Clyburn, the program is expecting an additional grant from Michigan Coastal Management to continue filming and producing underwater documentaries.
This summer’s scuba training trips included studies of
ancient submerged shorelines in the Great Lakes, Clyburn
said. The first 10-day session, based out of Alpena July
3-13, featured a three-day Nautical Archaeological Society
Underwater Archaeology course taught by National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration personnel.
The course focused on the principles and practices
of maritime archaeology and incorporated a hands-on
mapping exercise of the shipwreck Scanlon’s Barge. The
cadets produced a detailed site plan after two days of
diving on the shipwreck.
A second trip, July 31-Aug. 9, was a research project in
the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan’s upper and
lower peninsulas that connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, where the cadets worked on a bathymetric survey
of an ancient drowned river, Clyburn said. Heading the
research was marine biologist Elliott Smith, who accompanied the Cousteau exploration. The trip, scheduled to
visit Alpena, St. Ignace and Mackinac Island, also gave the
cadets an opportunity to see shipwrecks from the 1800s.
“We get kids from all across the county who take
part in this, and they get to see things that not a lot of
people have seen,” Clyburn said. “They learn about