The Scruggs Dive Team recently received a transportation upgrade to help them respond to jobs such as raising sunken boats, finding lost jewelry and searching for bodies.

The new vehicle is a refitted ambulance previously used by the Scruggs Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department after the department purchased a new ambulance and donated the old one to the dive team.

Greg McCorkindale, dive team captain, said the new vehicle transports more equipment and provides additional space for divers. The team often travels throughout the state to provide support to other agencies.

“It’s a lot less cramped than the old vehicle,” McCorkindale said.

The Scruggs Dive Team is often tasked in recovery efforts not only at Smith Mountain Lake, but also on other nearby bodies of water. McCorkindale said they are often called by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to recover evidence in boating incidents and drowning victims.

A member of the team since 1990, McCorkindale said he is thankful the number of bodies to recover has declined in recent years due to boater safety education. He recalled previous years when there were as many as six or seven drownings per summer.

The dive team also works with other organizations such as Sea Tow SML to raise sunken boats. McCorkindale said the work, like much of what the team does, can be dangerous if divers are not properly trained.

After spending five years supporting divers from the surface, McCorkindale started diving. While team members train constantly for safety reasons, they also practice locating lost objects.

The constant training helps members who have little to no experience in diving get used to going underwater, especially in water with low visibility like Smith Mountain Lake.

McCorkindale said anyone interested in diving can join the team. “We will work with people who have never dived before,” he said.

The team also helps recover lost items in the lake at no charge, although donations are appreciated. McCorkindale said it often can be good practice for divers.

For more information about the Scruggs Dive Team, contact Greg McCorkindale by email at idive4u@gmail.com.

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