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The Water's Edge

A Manual for the Underwater Criminal Investigator

By Mike Berry


Did you know that a dead body found in the water can be extremely dangerous to an untrained diver? Or that searching for evidence underwater in zero visibility can be accomplished with a high degree of success if performed properly? IPTM's latest publication, The Water's Edge: A Manual for the Underwater Criminal Investigator, will provide you with the basic skills you will need to begin training in law enforcement recovery diving.

The author, Mike Berry, a professional diver who has managed over 1,000 underwater criminal investigations, has written this book to acquaint you with not only the physical and mental qualities a successful diver needs to possess, but also the proper equipment to use, how to communicate with other divers and how to thoroughly search underwater crime scenes. He'll even explain how to protect yourself from the hazardous conditions, both manmade and environmental, commonly faced by divers.

Mr. Berry has included over 300 photographs, charts and diagrams in his book. From the special considerations that need to be given for preserving decomposing objects to the proper way to salvage a vehicle that has been underwater, you will find answers to questions you probably never thought you'd ask about investigating underwater crime scenes.

He has organized all of this information in the following chapters:

  • Readiness

  • Establishing Your Crime Scene

  • Crime Scene Photography and Sketching

  • Chemical Contaminants and Polluted Waters

  • Starting the Dive Operation

  • Communications

  • Medical Aspects

  • Search Patterns

  • Locating and Recovering Evidence

  • Metal and Non-Metal Evidence Preservation

  • Packaging and Submitting Evidence

  • Fingerprints

  • Body Movement in Water

  • Body Recovery and Handling

  • Vehicle Recovery and Light Salvage

  • Special Search Procedures: Underwater Metal Detectors, Search Dogs and Dragging

  • Courtroom Testimony


Mike Berry is an authority and trainer of international standing in underwater criminal investigation. He has assisted federal, state and local police administrators in their criminal investigations in and around water and has lectured throughout the U.S. and abroad on a wide range of police diving topics. In 1987, Mr. Berry founded Underwater Criminal Investigators, which has since acquired worldwide respect as a training company focused on developing true underwater criminal investigators. Mr. Berry is currently a First Sergeant with the Virginia State Police and serves as their Dive Team Coordinator and Head Diving Instructor.

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