Areas of Expertise in Prior Cases and Trial Appearances

Bret C. Gilliam - Diving and Maritime Expert

 

Diving Training

Development of diver certification training curricula; course standards, texts, support materials, etc. for instructors, assistant instructors, divemasters, and divers of all levels including nitrox and technical diving applications. Evaluation and comparisons of various agency certification programs on all levels. Duties and responsibility of instructors, assistant instructors and divemasters to students in training and diving tours. Industry standards and protocols for diver conduct.

 

Diving Operations (Recreational, Scientific, Commercial, Military, Filmmaking Projects)

Specific protocols for dive vessel operation and safety; crew and dive staff training; emergency response and rescue practices; field medical protocols; tracking of divers through crew observation and log keeping; search & rescue; resort diving including shore and pool activities; “resort intro” non-certification diving programs; contingency planning and responses; compliance with diving-specific vessel regulations for crew and passengers; regional standards of practice and operation; conduct of training activities from vessels or shore based facilities.

 

Commercial diver for Brown & Root, Aqua-Engineers, Caribe Diving Contractors, Coston Marine, Hess Oil, MarSal Diving, and other companies in the Caribbean from 1971 to 1985. Projects included ship inspections; hull cleaning & repairs; support for dredging operations in channel deepening for super tanker access to ports; demolition and TNT “shaped charged” underwater blasting and other ordnance usage to sea bottom channels to prep for dredge and clearing; stage and surface supply to tethered divers; underwater rigging; filming and photography inspections and surveys to bottom topography and ships; diving supervisor roles to dive teams; operation and supervision of decompression and recompression chambers; deep diving installation and repairs to upwelling pipelines to depths exceeding 300 fsw; crafting of operations manuals and risk management protocols, etc. Additionally, served as Master for diving support vessels including all aspects of the diving projects and emergency medical procedures for treatment and accident management.

 

Other projects included science saturation diving habitats for NOAA such as “Hydrolab” in St. Croix, USVI.

 

Equipment

Manufacturing; design; sales; warranty support; required training oversight protocols; maintenance; repairs; forensic evaluation and analysis; outfitting of divers for various skill levels and intended dive activities; standard scuba components as well as specialized equipment, e.g. rebreathers, breathing gas mixing and systems, dive computers, underwater photography and filming, communications, thermal suits. Applicable standards and industry practices for equipment including compatibility with oxygen mixes and cleaning requirements

 

Medical

Emergency procedures for diving injuries including decompression sickness, embolism, diving and hyperbaric barotrauma; first response critical evaluation and patient stabilization; evacuation; field treatment of decompression sickness and embolism in remote locations (including in-water protocols) when evacuation is not an option and no hyperbaric facility available; operation and supervision of recompression chamber treatments including medical staff and chamber attendants; treatment breathing gases; patient evaluation and diagnosis for appropriate treatment tables and contingencies.

 

Vessel Operation

Training of officers and crew; safety and operation procedures; voyage planning; overall vessel outfitting and maintenance; search and rescue protocols; usage of electronic communication and navigational equipment; storm and weather contingency planning; mechanical and vessel component failure and alternative recovery plans; interaction with evacuation response teams including USCG, helicopters and rescue swimmers; abandon ship protocols; use of life rafts, life jackets, EPIRBS, radio equipment, GPS locators, emergency flashers, strobes, and acoustic low pressure signaling devices; pyrotechnic emergency flares and smoke devices; watch standing duties on all officer and crew slots; relations with port clearances; foreign entry; required licensing and credentials of all officers and crew; fire safety; security for voyages in threat zones subject to hijacking or terrorist activities; duties of officers and crew to passengers, vessel, and cargo.

 

Licensing

Compliance with all USCG, IMO, SOLAS and other regulatory and industry standards for officers and crew; vessel compliance for various trades including passenger, mineral & oil, freight, towing, submersibles; TWIC and other security credentialing; oversight to USCG Sub-Chapter T for passenger vessel requirements, periodic vessel inspections, in-water and dry dock inspections for compliance; international classing & flagging agencies and documentation procedures.

 

General

Design, construction, engineering, maintenance scheduling and ship yard work, vessel systems (electrical, mechanical, navigation, tankage, rigging and deck equipment, galley, air conditioning, waste treatment and discharge, heating, etc.); compressors for diving breathing gases; nitrox mixing and membrane systems; life rafts, life boats and other safety equipment; interior outfitting and design; construction materials; vessel stability; maneuvering specialty mechanicals such as bow & stern thrusters; design of deck systems for efficient docking and line handling for crew duties; onboard medical facilities; requirements for morgue storage systems; custom design and integration of systems for specialized use or service, e. g. cruise ships, diving vessels, film support, scientific and oceanographic missions, commercial diving support. Oversight to vessel overhauls, modifications, renovations, rebuilds, and conversions.

 

Other Specialty Areas

Oceanographic and sea condition evaluations and hind-casts; behavior of hazardous marine life and predators (sharks, sea snakes, barracuda, eels, etc.); accident investigation and evaluation; trial exhibit preparation and design for video and graphics design; relevant applicable law and regulations governing diving and maritime activities; overall assessment of liability in wrongful death and personal injury.