• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

First incident - free flow

Discussion in 'Accidents & Incidents' started by elan, May 10, 2009.

  1. elan

    elan DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    We had the free flow case with my buddy today. My body taps me on the shoulder. I turn my head and he shows me his reg generating stream of bubbles, I was lost for a couple of seconds maybe, just first emergency case :) While I'm looking at him he tried to breath from his octo.
    Octo starts free flowing (we had some comments here on SB about uselessness of an octo in case of first stage freeflow and it confirmed that the octo starts free flowing after the first breath)
    Finally I put my brains in, gave him my primary second stage and put my backup pony stage that I have on my neck. Tried to make a breath but as I have not pressurized the second stage once on the bottom and as I have the valve shut I obviously got little or no gas. But Opened the valve and the air started coming. It was a shore dive so we took direction to the shore. After swimming 20 ft up the slope I realized that we better surface as I might not have enough air to reach the shore :) We started surfacing. It was sloppy but we did everything controlled. My most worry was I was in a dry suit and surfacing control was crucial. Though I remember I have opened my dry suit valve all the way before the accent and took a vertical position so the air has vented smoothly and only had to control the BC.

    It took us at least a minute to reach the surface from 60 ft. We did not hold the stop. I felt that my breathing became harder and was not sure if I have enough air.

    No problems other than few nice powerful burbs.

    I'm happy we went through this w/o major problems. That was his first incident as well. But he practiced free flow situations and breathing so he was not panicking.

    It was not very smooth though but hopefully next time it will be better:)

    His: Oceanic SP5 he said it's sealed. HP100 tank, semi dry suit
    Mine: two zeagles FH VI HP100 + 30cf bottle. dry suit

    Conditions: 39F water, shore dive gradual slope. We were going along the shore at 83ft depth. It happened on the 11 minute of our dive. We were on the 5th minute on the 83ft depth.

    When we were analyzed the case and the reason why it happened most likely he got water into the first stage from the dive before when his reg was in the bag w/o cap with other gear.

    What we have learned:

    - Slang (?) pony with backup stage on the necklace instantly gave me second source and even considering the air did not go until I opened the valve and minor inconveniences of water getting into the mouth it's an instant source. The backup first stage is nice and warm and will unlikely start free flowing right away. There is no way I'm diving w/o pony deeper than 40 ft :) despite others saying I should stick to the octo to make it simple :) At least until I have better control.

    - He could still surface with the free flowing stage - he had 500 psi left. Later in the dive it would be less possible to do it in a controlled fashion.

    - When getting free flows just ascend w/o any swimming towards the shore

    - Pressurize the second stage when going deeper a couple more times and then when reaching the max depth.

    - We should have tried at least to hold the stop. We were not shutting to the surface though we had a more or less controlled accent. Dry suit does not make it simpler though.

    - dry your regs with caps open so if there is any moisture in the first stage it does vapor out.

    - Do not drink coffee with muffins before the dive :rofl3:

    - And finally for those who are new - do not underestimate importance of the pool and simple training like reg exchange - free flow breathing and other simple exercises. Practice it in the pool and in the real conditions or close to the real. Apparently real conditions like cold water makes it 10 times as hard. Fingers in the gloves do not work as well. The hoses become stiff. You buddy has a comfort mouthpiece which has 2 curbs and though you think it's all the way in the mouth it is still not and instead of water you get an water bubble mix.

    It's boring but it just proved that it works.

    We called our dive day and packed home despite of the fact we had to go 5 hours to the site round trip and we were underwater for only 13 minutes. But those 13 minutes were probably worth 10 dives in normal condition.

    Typing here just gave me an opportunity to think the case one more time and I would appreciate your comments and advices.

    P.S. I looked at the post and it appeared to have a lot of words :) sorry for that :)
  2. Belmont

    Belmont DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    Hi Elan,

    Your account is clear and precise.
    Thank you for posting it.

    First: where was that dive done, lake Ontario?

    Was it Tim Horton coffee?:wink:

    Do you have a safe second on your main tank or do you have your pony as an only alternative air source?

    Did you consider shutting your friends valve?

    I think you handled the situation very well considering your experience.

    Let's see what the pros on here have to say?
  3. elan

    elan DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Belmont, it was off Tobermory , Ceder Park to be exact, Georgian Bay approx 15 min east of Wiarton.

    I only have pony with second, no octo on the primary reg.

    To tell you the truth I was considering turning the valve off only at the surface :D I guess it was too much task loading for me at that time.

    In fact I'm happy we had it and went through safe. We made many conclusions out of the case and it paved and showed me the plan what to work for the next 20 dives at least.

    Surprisingly Tim Hortons slipped away this time as it was Coffee Time:)
  4. Belmont

    Belmont DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    You should consider putting an octo on your primary.
    This way you have access to your air plus your pony while sharing.
  5. elan

    elan DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I was thinking about that.

    There are 2 factors that stop me from that:

    1. More hoses more risks for me to mix it with the other hose in emergency. This can be handled with more training.
    2. I will need to isolate so my buddy cannot grab it in such a situation. and start breathing my main tank as well. If we have 2 people breathing from one 1st stage the risk of mine to start free flowing is elevated. So I need to have a pocket for that one.

    As an alternative the only thing I have in mind is having an "air2" system on the BC. I'm planning to check how different versions of it work and as soon as I have money have it installed.
  6. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    Elan, you could bungie your pony reg on a necklace under your chin, and it won't get mixed up with any other reg. So, you'll have your "normal" reg in your mouth, your octopus in the "triangle" where it would normally be, and your pony reg on a necklace, which is very easy for you to get in an emergency. That's the way I have mine. Some people have their pony reg bungied to the pony bottle slung in front of you, so you just pull the reg out if you need it.

    Here is an example of a regulator necklace by DiveRite, which is what I have, but you can easily make a similar one yourself:

  7. elan

    elan DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Ayisha, it's on a bungie now
  8. jmyabeer

    jmyabeer Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Good to hear that no harm was done! I'd say that it's a bit odd that you were concerned about how long your pony would last. In general, it's good form to plan your gas supply....

    What size is the pony? If you sling it like a stage, then it's easy to see the pressure gauge (you have one right?) and you can feather the valve if it free-flows. Done right, even an Al80 stage is very manageable.

    Having the stage reg bungied around your neck sounds like a really bad idea. Why not keep things simple?

    If your profile is correct, you are very inexperienced. Deep cold water can be very dangerous, even for experienced divers. Why not keep it shallow for a bit and forget about the ponies/stages?

    A P-valve is a necessary piece of equipment.

  9. micklock

    micklock Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Michigan
    I used an Air2 with a back mounted pony with the pony reg bungied around my neck for many years and it worked well. Now I dive with independent doubles.
  10. elan

    elan DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Going by facts I had 1500 psi out of initial 2500 in the bottle when we have surfaced. The bottle was 30cuf so I had about 25cuf of gas and i think I would make it to the shore but I think the fact we started surfacing at that time seemed to be safe as we only had half NDL time spent. I do have a pony gauge.

    Can you explain why ? I have it under my neck all the time and it's very simple and quick to put it into the mouth. It goes the same way as it would from the doubles but instead of connecting to the second tank it goes over my neck to the pone slang to my left side. Very streamlined, accessible and comfortable IMHO.

    Actually that's the cold water that suggests using redundant source for me. Doubles are too complicated now and I'm not going to use them for at least another 100 dives. H valve is more complex and more expensive. I would need to install it on my tanks and if I need to rent one they are not always available. But cold water is all we have now.

    I have cold water training and I have chosen my setup with accordance with the guidelines set.

    We do 30-50 ft dives as well. I had 4 cold water 80 ft dives before that and going to stick to that limit for now.

    My buddy is more experienced than I am - with approx 50 dives but most of them are in tropics. We had a debrief with the analysis and we set a list of guidelines to bring his equipment on par with cold water requirements.

    and update: he took his reg to the service tech and they said the reg malfunctioned. They said the spring got stuck as it was positioned incorrectly. And despite of the fact that it is said that his reg is tested town to -27f water they say it's a bad reg for cold water. He has normal cold water reg SP MK17 which he is going to use from now on.

    no we have not P-ed :no: everything was under control :)

Share This Page