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Gear checkup before a dive - secret checks

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Sbiriguda, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. Sbiriguda

    Sbiriguda Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Italy
    There was a guy who shocked me with a revolutionary theory.
    He said he used to be an instructor and before every dive he checked the BCD hose of the divers in his group. Hoses tend to be a very fragile part of the gear, regulators are often left on the ground, or on carts, and people step over the hoses, put tanks on them, store them in improper ways, etc. etc. many bad things happen to the hose which is intrinsecally fragile since it's not made of metal or delrin plastic. Even worse if someone has a hose protector. Hose protectors protect the hoses and that's good, but they also cover the hoses, so if one doesn't remove them and check before the dive it might happen that the hose is damaged and it explodes during the dive. He said this is one the worst possible incidents that he ever saw. The tank gets empty very fast and, even worse, the sound of the airflow and all the bubbles drive the diver nuts and they go panic even though the situation itself could be solved in a buddy system...

    And the moral of the story is: hose checking for him should be always part of the standard checks together with the weightbelt, proper functioning of the primary and emergency regulator and inflation hose, etc. etc.

    So the standard check in PADI (for example) would be:

    BWRAF Begin With Review And Friend

    Step 1: B-BCD
    Step 2: W-Weights
    Step 3: R-Releases
    Step 4: A-Air
    Step 5: F-Final

    Your Reminder on How To Do The Pre-Dive Safety Check | Video | RUSHKULT

    Are there any other secret checks omitted in this checklist everybody has read hundreds of times?
    kablooey and Happydiver1212 like this.
  2. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    I don't think care of gear is emphasized enough during OW training especially OW training that is conducted at an accelerated pace such as at a resort.

    I often see OW students dropping their 2nd stage to the ground, and even more often see them with their octo and/or spg swinging below them while diving. I think this is because they have little to no idea how much equipment costs and how much it costs to service.

    I think instructors should play a much greater role in ensuring their students are aware of how to properly care for the gear even if they are renting/borrowing it.

    That being said....you seem to imply that hoses are fragile. All scuba gear is fragile in one way or another, but I don't think hoses are as fragile as you describe/believe and although a 2nd stage regulator hose (LP hose) results in rapid loss of air the reality is that LP hose failure is not all that common....when it does occur it is often when the tank valve is opened and the hoses pressurized or while hoses are being moved about after they are pressurized. There is nothing inherent about being in the water that would cause a greater incidence of hose failure in contrast to dry land.

    It is incumbent on each diver to be familiar with their equipment and ensure it is in good working order before they dive it. I don't think "secret" equipment checks are necessary....you have a vested interest in your buddy's kit being in good order and if you don't believe it to be then you should not be entering the water with that person.

    As part of my buddy check, I have my partner turn around so I can check that their cam strap(s) are secured straight and tight. It is easy enough to glance at the 1st stage and the hoses when doing that. One thing I look for is that their hoses are routed correctly for the configuration they are diving (standard recreational setup, streamlined setup, long hose setup, etc.).

    While I am concerned for my dive partner, I am more concerned about me and do what I need to do to ensure my gear is in good working order and setup correctly so that I reduce, as much as I can, the possibility of an emergency and that I will need to rely on my partner to get me safely to the surface.

    I dive with a self sufficient mentality and consider that I am there more for my dive partner than they are there for me.

    But the mentality of a diver being self-aware begins during their OW certification course and that is one area where an instructor can be most valuable.

    For buddy check this is what I brief/do:

    Buoyancy and everything affecting my buoyancy:
    -I demonstrate that my inflator works and the button does not stick.
    -I demonstrate that the purge button works and air can escape when depressed.
    -I indicate where all the purge/dump valves are on my BC/wing.
    -I indicate how much lead I am wearing, where it is located, if it is ditchable or not and if so how to ditch it in an emergency.

    -I indicate the type of gas I have on my back (air, nitrox%, etc).
    -I indicate the volume of my cylinder and its pressure.
    -I take 3-4 breaths off my primary 2nd stage while watching my spg needle to ensure and demonstrate that my tank valve is open and to ensure that my air does not have a taste/odor that would indicate not to use that tank.
    -I take 2 breaths off my octo to demonstrate it is operational. (I dive primary donate, so at this point I also brief that if my partner has a problem with their air source that they should take the reg from my mouth).
    -I often carry a pony bottle - I indicate the volume and pressure and content (air, nitrox, ect) of the pony bottle. I indicate that it is charged and op-check the 2nd stage attached to it.

    -I indicate where any and all releases are for my system and indicate how the releases operate. If the person seems unfamiliar I demonstrate how the releases function. I also indicate that I expect them to cut my system off me in an emergency.

    -I indicate any gear that I am wearing/carrying and where it is located (computer(s), compass, cutting device(s), DSMB, Torch(s), etc.)
    -I op-check my torch(s) to ensure they are functional.

    When my partner is indicating their gear I have them turn so I can check their tank straps and I generally look over their gear to ensure it is in generally good condition, things are routed correctly and things are connected as they should be (LP inflator hose, etc.)

    Final "ok" is given when both myself and my partner have completed our checks and further when we enter the water are ready to descend.

    Secret checks? Nah.
    Open and transparent communication to foster an increased level of trust between dive partners? Hell yes!

  3. Vitesse2l

    Vitesse2l Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Devon UK
    My club (bsac) uses the Buoyancy Air Releases system as Zef describes. It works well as you demonstrate how your equipment works as well as showing that it does work.

    We joke that it doesn't mention fins, because that would make it BARF.
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  4. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    Zef has it covered!

    How many items to include in a pre-dive checklist has to be balanced against how burdensome the list becomes. If your list includes what Zef covered--which essentially follows the common BWRAF mnemonic--you have probably addressed the vast majority of things that could otherwise go wrong. Sure, you could add more, but maybe with diminishing returns on safety. With each additional thing we add to our list, it becomes incrementally more annoying, and we become more likely to skip it altogether. A concise checklist is optimal.
  5. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    I rinse under the hose protectors after sliding them away from the first stage area, so the hose area under them always gets checked. I heard that failing to do this means salt can build up under the protectors.
    Lostdiver71 and Sbiriguda like this.
  6. EFX

    EFX ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Central Florida
    Not only salt but worse sand which through minute movements will abrade your hoses. I cut them off a long time ago.
  7. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Yes sand. I had a $100 reg repair years ago. Since then I only dive in places where I can gear up from the trunk and walk into the water.
  8. DBPacific

    DBPacific ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Oregon, USA
    Agreed. My OW were stricter than most I've seen I think because they were in a resort-type destination with a lot of tourists getting certified. A lot of different slip ups made you pay the beer tax plus a ribbing from the instructors.

    Some of my equipment I didn't even know how to properly clean and care for until I got to higher levels and more thorough instructors and my own gear. With crappy rental gear that you didn't pay for and others clearly didn't care for, it isn't really on your radar until you get your own gear. But by then bad habits have formed that have to be unlearned
  9. rsingler

    rsingler Scuba Instructor, Tinkerer in Brass Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Napa, California
  10. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    IP checks are a maintenace action in my opinion and are best done before venturing to the dive site...but if on a LOB or on vacation I can see that it would be done on site instead.


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