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FAQ / Life on Pern / Craft Information / Dolphin Craft

Last updated 27th July 2005 by Bree

Dolphineer Equipment

One of the first things each dolphineer learns is how to use and maintain his diving equipment. New equipment is continually being tested as the Smithcraft and Dolphin Halls work together to develop it. Dolphineers use a variety of equipment ranging from goggles, fins, and snorkel type reeds to a low-pressure air tank made of the same type of tanks used for HNO3 during Threadfall.

Dolphineers seldom swim far from the Hall without fins. These fins, constructed of heavy fiber, give more thrusting power to human legs while swimming, but need to have bindings replaced frequently. They are made from strong, flat reeds that are woven together and then sewn along the edges to keep them from unraveling. There is a strap along the back of the fins that holds them in place.

Present-day dolphineers also use snorkels, shallow-water breathers made from reeds. Goggles, similar to those worn by dragonriders, aid in underwater vision, and keep the eyes from being irritated by salt.

Dolphineers often wear special suits that fit closely to their bodies, especially when diving in deeper water or colder climates. The suits are closely-woven and treated with plant saps to aid in waterproofing.

Recently, the Smiths have also developed a "diving dome" for use in salvage operations. The metal structure resembles a bell in shape, but is large enough to cover one to three humans. The dome traps air, allowing the dolphineers to duck inside and replenish their air supply before continuing a dive.

When extended diving time is necessary, a rather unwieldy diving suit can be worn. It attaches to a helmet with a tube running to a low-pressure air tank that is worn strapped to the dolphineer's back. This tank is in turn attached to the surface through another tube through which air is pumped. With this air tank, it is also possible for the diver to actually disconnect himself from the surface for short periods of time. During these deeper dives, it is necessary for the diver to wear a weight belt. The belt is made out of regular fabric sewn around several heavy rocks, and helps the diver to control his descent. The diving suit is large and not very maneuverable, so it is preferable that a dolphineer use other techniques, such as controlled breathing, to aid in necessary work underwater.

Research continues into new materials and designs for equipment that will allow deeper dives by humans. One problem encountered in this search is lack of satisfactory ways to deal with the water pressure at greater depths. Another difficulty is rapid deterioration of materials exposed to the highly saline sea water, which requires dolphineers to spend long candlemarks cleaning and repairing equipment following each shift in the water.

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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.