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How common is a wing failure, and how would you handle it?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by filmguy123, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    In the event of an underwater wing failure (say a rupture) where you were suddenly overweighted by the whole rig... how would you handle this if you just lost all of your wing buoyancy? Wouldn't you have to ditch your entire rig and thus air? (assuming you were diving somewhere DEEP, without a surface 60 some feet down to rest on and wait it out until you had low air and better buoyancy to fin up).

    How common (or should I say uncommon) is a wing failure?
     
  2. kombiguy

    kombiguy Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Palmetto Bay, FL
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    I dive with no air in my wing, and I am neutrally buoyant. Should my wing fail, and I noticed it at depth, I would just swim to the surface like normal. Once on the surface, I would ditch my weights, and become positively buoyant.
    No problem at all.
     
    BreeAbyss and northernone like this.
  3. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
    177
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    At any and every depth? If you are neutrally buoyant at 30 feet, how can you be neutrally buoyant at 100 feet?
     
    cmulvaney likes this.
  4. kombiguy

    kombiguy Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Palmetto Bay, FL
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    How is that difficult? Your lungs can swing you 4-6 lbs of buoyancy. The only thing that changes with depth is the compression of your wetsuit. This assumes, of course, that we're talking about recreational depths and equipment configuration. If you require so much air in your BC that a failure would require ditching your rig, you are grossly overweighted.
     
    cmulvaney, billt4sf and northernone like this.
  5. scubajoe123

    scubajoe123 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location:
    26
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    A while back I was diving with a buddy to try out his new farmer john 7mm suit. We started him at 26 lbs and he wasn't able to get under. By the time we had his weight sorted out he had 34 pounds. I can imagine a scenario where you are 80 feet down, no air in your wing and 10 or more pounds negatively buoyant .
     
  6. CuzzA

    CuzzA Solo Diver

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    I don't believe it's very common. I've heard a lot more stories of stuck inflators and uncontrolled ascents than wing failures.

    Nevertheless, I believe it all depends. In warm tropical water you probably won't need much neoprene and weight. For example, right now here in Florida, I'm diving steel tanks, no neoprene and no weight. At depth I only need a small puff of air to get neutral and swimming my rig up is no big deal.

    Being that you're in the Pacific Northwest, cold water, you need more weight and a lot more neoprene or even a dry suit. If the latter then your dry suit would be your redundant buoyancy. If no dry suit and thick neoprene and a lot of weight you may have trouble swimming your rig up, but I doubt it. Only one way to find out and that is to practice. I don't have a whole lot of experience diving cold water other than Florida springs so my advice on that is worth exactly what you paid for it.

    Regardless if you carry a DSMB and a reel you can use that as a redundant source. I would be hesitant to use the DSMB to travel through the water column as you risk an uncontrolled ascent. Instead I would practice deploying the DSMB from depth and reeling yourself up.
     
    Coztick likes this.
  7. gcarter

    gcarter Orca

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    8,428
    9,050
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    A DSMB - as distinct from a SMB - by definition will have an OPV and so can be dumped with ascent to provide control.
     
    CuzzA likes this.
  8. CuzzA

    CuzzA Solo Diver

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    Yes, not sure if that's good advice for a just recently certified diver though.
     
  9. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
    3,792
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    I carry a lift bag.

    But no. I won't be deeper or more negative than I can swim up from in full kit minus a trim weight. My kit is disposable in an emergency but I'm too cheap to voluntarily jettison anything unnecessarily.

    If your still concerned I recommend practicing negative ascents to assure you can swim up safely and comfortably.... scared and struggling to fin up isn't a good recipe in this highly unlikely event...

    With a jammed dump valve a wing still holds some air positioned right... I think it would be very difficult to render one entirely unable to provide some buoyancy.

    But once again, balanced kit in recreational depths shouldn't exceed your fins thrust. Arctic thermals in a drysuit where something ruptures the wing and drysuit simultaneously at depth would be a different story... But Murphy doesn't like a spare lift bag tucked away.

    Or shoot a smb and drag yourself up the line....

    That's my experience so far.


    Anyway, happy diving.
    Cameron
     
  10. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Orca

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    7,637
    6,426
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    Some of that weight needs to be ditchable.

    You need to be weighted so that:

    You're neutral at 15' with an empty tank and bc.

    You can swim up with and empty wing and a full tank from depth.

    Adjust tank, exposure suit, and ditchable weight as needed to achieve those two things and you're good to go.
     

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