Skye diving with the Royal Navy

This article has photo gallery Published on Mr James McPherson (author), Unknown (Royal Navy Photographer) (photographer)

Location(s): Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

De-briefing session following a dive off the Isle of Skye, Scotland (photo: Unknown)
De-briefing session following a dive off the Isle of Skye, Scotland

One of the Royal Australian Navy's Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving officers is braving the icy depths as part of an exchange with the Royal Navy.

Lieutenant Commander Marc Rennie has recently achieved Clearance Diver certification with the United Kingdom completing diving equipment conversion training in the deep diving training areas off the Isle of Skye in Scotland and now holds the essential diving certifications to ensure he meets the highest levels of safety and operational preparedness required in the UK.
“A Mine Clearance Diver has significant challenges in order to remain safe and effective under water,” Lieutenant Commander Rennie said.
“The Royal Navy Clearance Divers are highly trained and the exchange provides a significant opportunity to learn the unique elements of Royal Navy diving.”
The conversion training included SABA which is the UK’s SCUBA equipment and included time for Lieutenant Commander Rennie to familiarise himself with the differences between Australian and British diving.
“I was diving in a dry suit, sometimes called a dry bag, and in water temperatures quite unfamiliar to Australians.
“It was essential to practice my diving skills and learn my future role on board Royal Navy ships in support of Operation KIPION,” he said.
Lieutenant Commander Rennie conducted dives totalling over 500 minutes and to depths of 60 metres, the maximum authorised in the UK.
Adding to the complexity, the training was conducted in Clearance Diver’s Life Support Equipment (CDLSE) used in mine counter measure diving and crucial to a Clearance Diver’s role at sea. 
“I am privileged to develop relationships with our military partners and look forward to operating with the Royal Navy in their Hunt Class Mine Counter Measure Vessels,” Lieutenant Commander Rennie said.
Lieutenant Commander Rennie remains on exchange in the UK and is expected to deploy with his Mine Counter Measure Vessel crew in early 2017.