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NEWS | Aug. 21, 2023

Navy divers help celebrate Seafair: Sailors from Bangor, Everett and Keyport join annual event

By Max Maxfield, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

A decade before Seattle hosted the 1962 World’s Fair, and almost two decades before the Seattle Supersonics became the city’s first major league sports team, Seafair gave both residents of the Puget Sound region and visitors alike some fun summer entertainment to look forward to each year

This year, more than 20 U.S. Navy Divers from four separate commands, including Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, set up and staffed an interactive display at Pier 46 in downtown Seattle, Aug. 2-6, in support of the Fleet Week portion of Seafair.

According to Navy Diver 1st Class David Loofbourow, with PSNS & IMF-Bangor Dive Locker, divers from his detachment, from PSNS & IMF Everett Detachment, from the Specialized Research Dive Detachment, and from Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport showcased the skills, equipment and mission of U.S. Navy divers in the region.

“Our display included a SCUBA diver in a large tank with a glass window, who was playing tic-tac-toe with children,” Loofbourow said. “The diver was equipped with our underwater communications system, so visitors could have a brief conversation with the diver. We also had various pieces of diving equipment that we use on a day-to-day basis, including the KM- 37 Diving Helmet, the MK20 Full Face Mask, which is also what the diver in the tank was using, and an underwater hydraulic grinder.”

Loofbourow said he welcomed the opportunity to showcase the skills of his profession, and to possibly inspire future divers in the process.

“I think that it was a great opportunity to interact with the local community,” he said. “I feel that we received some really curious people — adults and children alike — and that we had some fun interaction with the people attending the event. For me, the highlight of the event was easily the look of splendor and fascination on some of the children we interacted with. I like to think that we left a lasting impression and provided inspiration for them to explore the world of diving, both recreationally and industrially.”

PSNS & IMF is just one of several local military commands that participate in Seafair, and serve as unofficial ambassadors of goodwill for all visitors. Tours of U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard vessels, as well as tours of foreign naval vessels are now a common part of Seafair. Military bands regularly perform at various events, and local military commands throughout the region also provide displays.

“I think the sheer size and accessibility of the event being spread across the city of Seattle was impressive,” Loofbourow said. “The fact that so many different entities came together and provided a week of entertainment in multiple locations across the city is very cool to me.”