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Cold induced near-panic!

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Luis_DLH, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. ScubaJill

    ScubaJill Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Chesapeake Bay
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    I did my first cold water dive at Hydes. I could see the shock of cold water - akin to a thousand needles stabbing your face below the mask - lead to panic. Were you cold otherwise?
     
    DriverDiver likes this.
  2. Luis_DLH

    Luis_DLH Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Glen Burnie MD
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    It wasnt too bad at Hydes, cold hands and face but we didnt go deeper than 25' and it was 80+ air temp so we were able to warm up in between dives. But it was rough the next day at Dutch Springs where air temp was cold and we went between 60'-70' for our deep dive and thats where I was really feeling the cold.
     
  3. FinnMom

    FinnMom Divemaster Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Finland
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    It might help to learn signals for a very slow (sloooooooooow), deep, deep, deep breath in; and a slow, slow, slow breath out (I signal it using arm movements like a conductor).
    Repeat 3x. It can do wonders for helping you calm down, or stop gasping if you are out of breath. Try it on dry land next time you are gasping after getting off a crosstrainer, gorunning up steps, running, or whatever cardio exertion: instead of panting, force yourself to breathe long, slow and deep. On dry land I might even hold my breath for 1-3 seconds. A heart rate monitor can show you how amazingly fast this drops your heart rate back to normal. Normalize your breathing and it can do wonders to normalize how you feel.
    On the other side of the coin, let yourself starting breathing quick and shallow and you can feel remarkably sick and flustered just from bad breathing. Add in addition pucker factors and things will not go well.

    The deep dive in a class can feel like such a big, serious, scary event with entirely too much time to get throughly worked up about it. Especially if the dive is done somewhere dark and shadowy and those conditions are not yet old hat to you. It's a lot easier to stay happy if you can take it a little bit at a time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  4. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

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    I was taking a Drysuit course in 9 C and I didn’t have proper undergarments, nor did my instructor for me. So I wore thin hiking layers and I froze my ass off. I also didn’t have gloves and was so red with the cold that I needed assistance to take off the Drysuit
     
  5. Storker

    Storker Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
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    I still remember an outing where a n00b was diving 10C water in a club DS (trilam), with only thin hiking underwear. That was downright dangerous, the poor sod was hypothermic when he climbed ashore. If he'd had issues underwater, he'd have a decent risk of being up to his armpits in serious doodoo. I had a serious chat with the leader of that guy's club afterwards.
     
  6. Rred

    Rred Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: In a safe place
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    42F sounds like my first checkout dive. In an icy lake. When we swapped out regulators, I literally had to use my left hand to find my lips, while I put the regulator in with my right. Not fun.

    I think the industry today does itself a major disfavor when they say "Everyone can dive!" because there are some people who are panic-prone. And some situations that can push buttons on everyone. Which is why some agencies used to have a "harassment day" in training, and if someone could make you panic and lose it while in the pool...no certification. Yes, there are arguments that it dangerous too, but a friend spent a day in a chamber after panicking when her primary regulator (diaphragm) burst and flooded, making an uncontrolled ascent. Despite an octopus and a buddy. She was lucky, no permanent damage, but she gave up diving after that.

    Thermoclines can be spooky.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  7. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
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    I've had a few "dark narc" episodes and they were all in cold water below 70' but above 100FSW. Same dives in warmer water no issues. I think the cold could be involved sometimes for some people. N narcosis is mostly theory anyway this would be just one more.

    I was thinking more about this, the op mentioned a swim thru, which is confided to a degree. My experiences with narcosis in cold water with a "panic" feeling the "dark narc" feeling , were also related to at least the apprehension of confinement in the form of entanglement. Wrecks in low vis / dark water with lots of nets was a trigger for me. I've don't remember feeling that frighten even when I had something real to be frighten about! I "talked" myself down as I lost 10' of depth. The rest of the dive was fine even after going back down but that initial sight of all those nets, fishing lines and ropes spooked me good.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  8. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
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    There's the take away anytime you get that feeling coming on go up till it goes away. Chances are it won't happen again for a long time.
     
  9. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
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    Yes, I am a firm believer that given the right circumstances anyone can panic, no matter how experienced. I've been lucky with very cold water. I think I've also been smart enough to not wander too far out from shore if the water temp. is say 38F in my wetsuit. Limit my dive to the 20 minute area. Common sense--everyone's tolerance for cold or panic varies.
     
    Resqdivemedic and AfterDark like this.
  10. Luis_DLH

    Luis_DLH Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Glen Burnie MD
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