When the Conception first hit the water in the early 1980s, the personal electronics revolution was decades away.
Divers who boarded the 75-foot boat for excursions in the Channel Islands brought film cameras. There were no smartphones to plug in or the array of other electronic devices now used to take underwater photos.
But when the vessel set off decades later on its fateful Labor Day voyage, those on board needed power — a lot of it. And they plugged their equipment into a series of outlets concealed in the back of foam-filled L-shaped benches in the ship’s galley.
Those outlets are now the focus of an intense investigation as federal officials try to determine the cause of the worst maritime disaster in modern California history, a fire that swept through the dive boat and killed 34 people.
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