Diving Locker:

1840s to 2000

The South Bay is a major population and business center. Development of the Port brought international trade to Los Angeles, and was a key factor in the economic development of Southern California. Building the Port’s infrastructure would not have been possible without commercial divers.

A typical diving crew consists of a diver, a tender, and an assistant tender. The diver is responsible for tasks such as pouring concrete, rigging heavy objects, welding, burning, pipe fitting, and ship repair and maintenance (known as “ship husbandry”). The tender and assistant tender are responsible for dressing the diver and maintaining life support equipment, tending air and communication lines, sending tools to the diver, and coordinating many of the topside activities in order to help complete the work below. Even with modern equipment, underwater work is often dangerous, and during emergencies it must be performed around the clock in any weather.

Take a look inside this typical diving locker. The suits, helmets, tools, and equipment you see have all been used to construct and maintain the underwater infrastructure of the South Bay. All of the items were used locally. Contrary to popular belief, standard diving gear (hard hat) is still used in diving operations involving heavy construction and sustained work periods below the surface.

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The Japanese Abalone Fishermen
Building Beneath Los Angeles Harbor