The Scuba Sports Club of Westchester County, New York
The Scuba Sports Club of Westchester County, New York

Glenn Butler-White Star Liner RMS REPUBLIC Salvage Expedition 1986

Glenn Butler has 40+ 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, and 24/7 emergency services for Carbon monoxide poisoning and diver decompression illness.  Glenn is the author of several patents and has published 45 papers in related literature.


White Star Liner RMS REPUBLIC Salvage Expedition 1986


In 1986, Glenn Butler led a 35 man salvage effort aboard the 150 foot catamaran SWATH research and diving vessel “TWINDRILL”.  The expedition was mounted to document the wreck and recover artifacts and possibly a US Navy payroll from the White Star Liner which broke in half while being towed to Boston following a collision with the SS “FLORIDA” on January 24th, 1909. The collision resulted in the shutdown of its Boilers and generators and only due to the cold, then required the transfer of passengers and crew to the FLORIDA on a very calm night in very heavy fog 60 miles south of the Nantucket Light Ship.


Aboard the TWINDRILL, a four man dive team saturated at a equivalent of  180 feet sea water on Trimix gas, (Helium / Nitrogen / Oxygen) and spent thirty days at pressure with up to 16 hours bottom time per day surveying the vessel and salvaging several thousand items, including the Bursar’s safe using a builder’s plan and color SONAR. An actual operational original Edison Light Bulb was located and many other amazing artifacts that are pictured in the slide presentation.


In many very important ways, the uneventful sinking of the REPUBLIC set the technical, business and political stage for the “TITANIC” disaster. The complete transfer of REPUBLIC passengers to the “SS FLORIDA” and eventually the “SS BALTIC” allowed the White Star Liner owner J.P. Morgan to persuade, and in some cases, perhaps pay-off  congress and the US Navy Admiralty not to enact 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.


The REPUBLIC was the First ship to use the new Marconi Radio to send an SOS. The salvage was the first time that liquid oxygen and helium was used for diving operations offshore. This is a very interesting program for people interested in Gas mixing- and mixed gas physiology as it provides full graphic explain.


Slides include original NY Times photographs of the collision, survivors, related articles, and photos of the ship and magnificent Tiffany interior before sinking. The Slide program includes a complete review of the actual diving operations with many underwater shots taken by divers and the ROV’s.


There are about 20 before / after pictures of restored artifacts that are really magnificent.  This show has been shown to SCUBA diving enthusiasts with standing appreciation. 



Meeting Location:

Sir John's Italian Restaurant

915 N Broadway

White Plains, NY 

(914) 946-9429

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