Save SEALAB I -USA's 1st U/W House

SEALAB I was developed, built, and tested at the Mine Defense Lab, located at the Navy base in Panama City, Fl.  The Navy's Man in the Sea Program and its first of three underwater habitats, SEALAB I, was America's first opportunity to field test the results of the Genesis chamber experiments for saturation diving led by Dr. George F. Bond.  Using SEALAB I as an underwater base, divers would live, work, eat, and breathe at the bottom of the sea, and the experiment provided unprecedented opportunities for scientific research and development.  SEALAB I's experiment took place fifty years ago in 1964 off the coast of Bermuda, where it was deployed at 193 feet, housing four U.S. Navy divers for 11 days.  These first American "aquanauts" were originally scheduled to stay at depth for 21 days, but the dive was cut short due to the approach of a tropical storm.  Those "sea dwellers" living almost 200 feet from the surface wouldn't be affected greatly by the storm, but it could wreak havoc on the support vessel above and its umbilical to SEALAB I.  Despite its shortened duration, the SEALAB I experiment proved that saturation diving in the open ocean was viable for extended periods, and also provided vital information on habitat deployment, life support control and monitoring. as well as descrambling the Donal Duck speech of Helium breathing divers.
CAPT. Bond and several other men from the SEALAB program founded the Institute of Diving and went on to create the Man in the Sea Museum in 1982.  The not-for-profit museum is the home of SEALAB I, and the site of its ongoing restoration into a walk-in exhibit of the underwater house that those four brave pioneers of saturation diving called home for 11 days.
For some 30 years SEALAB I has sat with little attention, now on the heels of its 50th anniversary, a group of volunteers has undertaken the task of restoring this historical vessel and re-commissioning it in the configuration as it served as America's first underwater house.

Donations

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  • Jim Johnston 
    • $25 
    • 36 mos
  • Jim Johnston 
    • $25 
    • 40 mos
  • John Cosgrove 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
  • Jason Cook 
    • $20 
    • 40 mos
  • Karen Kohanowich 
    • $125 
    • 46 mos
See all

Organizer

Craig Cooper 
Organizer
Panama City Beach, FL
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