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Entanglement Training

Discussion in 'Training, Practices and Equipment' started by off the grid, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. URSA78244

    URSA78244 Guest

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Antonio, Tx
    We have several instances where we have had to cut through rebar or other metals too think for shears. These cases became so prevalent that we started carrying a small carbide saw. I do agree that for most things the shears are the answer and yes, you should practice with them.
  2. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter



    Most teams conduct entanglement exercises in a pool for the purposes of safety. With a diver wearing a blacked out mask, the simulation can be very realistic and the level of safety is greatly increased because the safety divers can see if a problem occurs and can respond appropriately. Additionally, we (Dive Rescue International) require ALL entanglement scenario exercises be conducted in less than five feet of water. The reason is if a diver has an incident, the safety diver can lift the entangled diver and the entanglement station to the surface so the problem can be resolved quickly and safely, should that drastic response be warranted.

    I would strongly discourage any team from conducting entanglement drills without having the highest level of safety in mind. Divers react to panic in different ways and while a team member can be calm and composed one day, he can be subject to extreme panic on another day, without warning, given the right set of circumstances.

    Based on 30+ years of professional public safety diver training, Dive Rescue International would strongly discourage anyone from conducting "entanglement training" in setting that does not offer the highest level of safety. Additionally, this training should only be conducted by an instructor who has been properly trained to supervise and direct this training safely and who has the knowledge, skill and ability to recognize diver stress and respond in an appropriate manner to mitigate an emergency situation.

    Blades Robinson, Director
    Dive Rescue International
  3. ditch-diver

    ditch-diver Instructor, Scuba


    You misunderstood my post. We NEVER do entanglement training in open water. Ever. Our entanglement drills are safety divers cutting people free.., which is simulated, with no diver ever being actually entangled in open water.

    We do everything with safety in mind..., thus our rather extensive training regiment which has received praise from a large number of dive teams in Canada, the US and literally around the world. We do our drills with the most realism we can muster in a safe environment. We NEVER black out a mask because from our position, any diver needs to be able to monitor his/her guages. The ol' "WE dive where you can't see your guages" arguement was tossed out with us because we do that too. We just decided in the interest of safety we studied it, researched it, consulted with 'experts', developed and modified our training and now if you can't see your guages, our guys go SSAD. Always.

    We do 1000's of PSD dives per year, have an outstanding program that is the envy of many and we are continually striving to improve.

    DRI has a good program.., but so do we.
  4. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    I apologize for the misunderstanding and only wanted to send the proper message for anyone else who reads this forum and might have drawn a similar conclusion. I will also reiterate that using a blacked out mask in a swimming pool is an effective and safe way to train a diver needing to simulate high risk procedures such as disentanglement.

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  5. udtfire

    udtfire Instructor, Scuba

    i seldom use the word never but never play tie up in open water,
    if you are not trained to conduct high risk training then dont do it
    you dont know what you dont know
    and have eyes on safety in place at all times.
    and never tie on and air source
    and please dont make it a game to see who can out tie who thats how accidents happen
    so be safe and enjoy be safe and contact me off line if any questions
  6. jturner

    jturner Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tuscaloosa, Al
    This really isn't a training aid on how to free yourself but I think this is important information. I have personally found that an actual entanglement can be very stressfull. Being stressed results in loss of fine motor skills, due to this I carry two knives, 1 normal 5" dive knife and 1 Z knife. My normal knife is mounted on my bc and my Z knife is on the wrist of my strong hand. I used a wrist band from a junk dive computer and mounted the factory holster to it, then i mounted a retractor to the holster and connected it to the handle of the Z knife. Here is why I did this, during a fun dive I decided to practice drawing my knife and replacing it with my eyes closed. I was wearing 3m gloves on about the 3rd or 4th time drawing my knife I dropped it. On this fun dive it was no big deal but if I were on a callout and did this in zero visability waters, the outcome could be deadly. So I bought the Z knife and mounted it that way, if I drop my main knife I can grap my Z knife, if I drop my Z knife it retracts back to the holster. This is a tip I highly recommend.
  7. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

    consider EMS shears instead of a knife. The shears can do a lot more than a knife and they're safer and easier to use. Many divers can (and do) seriously injure themselves trying to re-sheath a knife somewhere where they can't see (with us PSDs, thats pretty much all the time). If we do use a knife - and we have a few left on the team, if we pull it we drop it - its not worth the risk of injury to try to re-sheath it.
    EMS shears won't cause injury if you try to re-sheath - they're also less than $10 for a good pair so who cares if you drop it?
    We have at least 3 pairs of shears on every diver - still a fraction the price of 1 knife
  8. smellzlikefish

    smellzlikefish Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Oahu, Hawaii
    I have been through entanglement training in open water with a blacked out mask. I was part of an elite group of divers that were hand picked for scenarios where entanglement wasn't as much of a danger as it was a given. The instructor (a well-known instructor and world-renowned diver) used a net and wrapped it around the valve, guages, regulators, hoses, and bailout bottles of our gear and we were expected to get out without using our knives/shears. He went under with us one at a time and had a second safety diver down with two boats standing by, one full with a team of divers ready to go in at a moment's notice. At no point did I feel I was in danger mostly because he was as capable as an instructor can get. That said, I do not think this is a good idea for your average instructor to go out and do this with his/her students.
  9. CCTX50

    CCTX50 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
    I agree with Bridgediver about the shears. It is hard to beat a pair of EMT Shears. They will cut through just about anything that you put in them and the are cheap. You can get a dozen on eBay for less than $10.00.

    Our dive team goes through an obsticle course which includes entanglements at least once a year. It is great training as it teaches you how to stay calm, relaxed and control your breathing. It teaches you where you should and should not keep your gear. How to get in and out of your gear and so forth. We keep our cutting tools in the triangle on our chest. Nothing goes on our legs or arms. I personally carry two knifes, two shears and a line cutter. All are out of the way and I have never had anything get entangled on them.

    When I first started running our team through these courses most of our divers only carried one traditional dive knife and nothing else. These divers quickly learned that a dive knife is almost worthless and is also dangerous in a blackwater environment. Now all the divers carry at least three cutting tools which includes EMT shears, knife and line cutters.

    The advantage to the line cutter is that it will cut through just about all the lines and ropes that you might come into contact with. Another advantage is that your air hoses do not easily fit into it. So when you are cutting line in a blackwater enviroment and cannot see exactly what you are cutting it is harder to cut your air lines. These line cutters are on sale right now for $6.95 on LP.

    If you dive long enough and especially in PSD/Blackwater you are going to get entangled. Train... Train... Train! And do so in a safe environment just in case a diver panics. We do our entanglement training in a pool blacked out. We also film it so that the divers can see just exactly what they did.
  10. Diver-Sixx

    Diver-Sixx Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Beaver Lake Arkansas
    I am not a PSD yet but I am working on it, I am a Divemaster and I do alot of underwater work in 0 Vis where I do all my work by feel, alone most of the time, well with some one topside anyway. (I do not recommend anyone do this!) I have had close calls. Some were entanglements, one entanglement last year that sticks in my mine, It was one of the few times that I have been worried underwater. I carry 3 knives and a set of EMT Shears, shears on my left hip of my BC belt, blunt tip knife on my right hip BC belt, blunt tip knife on my inflator hose and a blunt tip knife on a right D ring. That being said, I have alot of experience in 0 vis, solo diving witch allows me to stay calm and work through a problem but NEVER EVER underestimate training. I know you PSD's already know this and I do admire the job you do and I hope to be one of you soon.

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