For a lot of people, dropping an item in the lake — cell phone, wallet, keys, watch — means you’ll never see it again. But Ryan Prigmore has changed that with his business, Blue Diver Search & Recovery.
Seven years ago, Prigmore wanted to find a way to make his scuba diving hobby pay for itself. That’s when he created Blue Diver Search & Recovery, providing dive services to clients around Dallas-Fort Worth at any time of the day or night.
“Any day on the water is better than a day at home,” Prigmore said.
Prigmore and his assistant Morgan Payne will travel to any of the area lakes to do hull cleaning and inspection, propeller inspection, search and recovery and underwater video recording.
All of these services are best suited for someone who is dive certified and has all of the equipment to keep safe while underwater. That’s especially important in bodies of water that are considered “low visibility,” including Eagle Mountain Lake, Lake Worth and other lakes across North Texas.
“There are very few blackwater divers in Texas,” Prigmore said.
“There are maybe three or four other diver services in the state, and most don’t travel.”
When diving in those lakes at night, it is considered “blackwater diving,” meaning there is zero visibility. Blue Diver is called out often for those types of dives to recover property that has been dropped into the water when people are finishing up their day on the lake.
Some of those dives can take Prigmore and Payne down 35-40 feet in Eagle Mountain Lake to retrieve items that have been dropped overboard.
Blue Diver is called out many times to recover cellphones, car keys, wallets. But among his strangest call-outs was a set of teeth — which he had to come out for twice in a 24-hour period.
Prigmore also said that the strangest thing he’s seen on a dive were several 50-gallon drums filled with concrete. When he went back a short time later to check them out, the drums were gone.
As for the most valuable thing he’s been called out to help recover, Prigmore said that would be boats during winter 2020, when ice and snow covered much of the area including the lakes.
Payne said that the service Blue Diver provides is “cool and necessary” and that people need to know that just because something goes in the water, it doesn’t mean it’s lost forever.
Payne joined the business last year after a friend of hers had to call out Blue Diver to retrieve a phone dropped in the lake one night.
“I didn’t know this type of work existed,” said Payne.
Payne started scuba diving when she was 15 years old and has an interest in building a career around underwater cinematography.
“I want to do big projects, work with NatGeo, Discovery … things like that,” she said.
Before working with Prigmore, Payne hadn’t done any blackwater diving.
“He’s taught me so much … There are so many accidents on the lake, and this service is necessary and helpful. It can be dangerous (work) for anyone who’s not knowledgeable.”
Prigmore partners up with Jeff Burns of North Texas Marine Recovery and Salvage, taking part in his weekly podcast, Uncovered with Jeff Burns, where they talk about recovery and salvage, treasure, and all things diving. Uncovered can be heard every Thursday on JoCo Community Radio or podcast platforms.
Prigmore is also active with Save Eagle Mountain Lake, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has a mission to “preserve and protect the ecological environment and quality of Eagle Mountain Lake and its watershed by promoting community awareness, engagement, and advocacy.”
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