Since 1971

"Tales of an Open Ocean"
Glenn Butler

Monday, September 23rd
7:00 PM upstairs
The Press Box
932 2 Ave (between 49th & 50th)

In 1986, Glenn Butler led a 35 man salvage effort to the wreck of the White Star Liner RMS Republic. The Republic was lost in 1909 after a collision, sinking 60 miles south of Nantucket in 270 feet of water, during an attempt to tow the damaged ship to port. The expedition was mounted to document the wreck and recover artifacts (possibly including a US Navy payroll).

A four man dive team spent thirty days doing saturation diving on the wreck, with up to 16 hours bottom time per day. Several thousand items were salvaged, including the Bursar’s safe, and an actual operational original Edison Light Bulb.

In many very important ways, the uneventful sinking of the Republic set the technical, business and political stage for the Titanic disaster three years later. The complete and safe transfer of Republic passengers to other vessels allowed the White Star Liner owner J.P. Morgan to persuade congress and the US Navy to delay pending legislation requiring every ship entering US waters to have a lifeboat seat for each passenger. Carrying extra “Steerage” passengers below deck was a very profitable business, and such a law would have made this impractical.

The Republic was the first ship to use the new Marconi Radio to send an SOS, and the salvage was the first time that liquid oxygen and helium was used for diving operations offshore.

The presentation of 70 slides takes 60-90 minutes, excluding questions from the audience. Slides include original NY Times photographs of the collision, survivors, related articles, and photos of the ship’s magnificent Tiffany interior before sinking. The presentation also includes a complete review of the actual diving operations with many underwater shots taken by divers and the ROVs.

This presentation has been given to other audiences in the diving community and has been received with standing applause. If given the opportunity to make this presentation during a dinner program, you can expect attendance to be increased by around 50 over the normal EC members for this presentation.

Glenn Butler has 45+ years’ experience in commercial and military mixed gas diving research, construction and salvage operations. Glenn Butler’s company, Life Support Technologies, Inc. is a NASA and DOD contractor that also provides specialized wound care and hyperbaric medical services in hospitals for patients with non-healing wounds, Carbon monoxide poisoning and decompression illness. The safety division has provided marine safety and training services to the Tappan Zee Bridge construction project and the Hyperbaric Tunnel Boring Support the East Side Access Project connecting the LI Railroad with Grand Central Station. Glenn holds multiple patents and has published over fifty articles.

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