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Immediate CESA Vs. looking for your buddy...

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by Bigeclipse, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I will make this post as an individual user (and instructor), rather than as a SB staff member, because I am already a participant in the thread.

    One of the situations that prompts moderation is a post or thread where unsafe diving practices are advocated. And, it is often a judgement call, to distinguish what may be a fine line between advocacy of unsafe practices, and statements of personal preferences.

    For the record, and particularly for the information of newer / less experienced divers who may be following this discussion:

    Across multiple, respected training agencies, I am aware of no training scenario or stipulated procedure, for responding to a low on air / out of air situation in recreational diving, in which removal of the BCD is a recommended, or accepted, step.

    If a diver is out of air they should (in descending order of preference) 1. switch to an alternate air source (e.g. from another diver or from an independent air source such as a pony bottle) and execute a normal ascent, or 2. execute a Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent (CESA), where an alternate air source is not available, or 3. execute a Bouyant Emergency Ascent (i.e. by dropping weights), where an alternate air source is not available and the depth is too great to allow for proper execution of a CESA. In all cases, the diver's BCD should remain in place, and their regulator should remain in their mouth (except when switching to the alternate air source, if available).

    An individual diver may choose to ignore these standard recommendations and procedures, at their own risk. But, the fact remains that standard, accepted procedures for dealing with an OOA situation in recreational diving do NOT include removing the BCD.
     
  2. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    Thread Closed for Review
     
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  3. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    Thread Reopened
     
  4. Dan_P

    Dan_P DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
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    Okay we're in the land of feelings, apparently :)
    Here's my take on it. It's my personal opinion.

    Basis
    What we know for sure is that there's a way to eliminate the need for a CESA.
    A functional gassharing method, proper gasplanning, and a team (I know that not everyone has all this, e.g. solo divers don't have a buddy).

    Practicality
    We also know that the CESA is very often practically problematic, even in the best of circumstances (say, at 30m with no shipping on top and in open water) - if out of gas, we can assume that we've been in the sauce for a while, so the risk of DCS is higher (yes, you can take a hit from within NDL, easy). Taking a canoo to the forehead is also at increased risk in this scenario.

    Scalability.
    I personally know for a fact that if I get separated from my team and run out of gas, I die.
    Anything wreck, cave, tech or traffic on top is highly allergic to CESAs, so the solution WILL fall apart sooner or later...

    Educational Programming
    Here is where I really dig into what my personal issue is with the CESA (other than I think it's begging for a workplace injury claim) - I look at diver education as a software download. Think The Matrix.
    When I download something, a diver under ignorance/stress/panic WILL use that program without taking note of the fine print.
    They will pop to the surface while holding their breath. They will forget to look for surface traffic. They will try to run away when they can't because they're entangled. Stuff like that.
    The point is, the stressed human will just bolt for the surface like they were taught, and forget the little things (like exhaling, look for traffic, etc.).
    So the programming is counterproductive to what I'm trying to achieve with the training.

    My Conclusion
    I don't want to teach protocol that falls apart in the real world.
    I don't want to teach any other way than how I dive.
    And I think the CESA as a procedure is simply fossilized.
    In my personal estimation, it won't be long before it's removed because it's damaging to instructors, inefficient at best and dangerous at worst, and obsolete.
    A lot of agencies already (or long ago) abandoned it.

    In either case, I think the mainstream will toss CESAs out the same window they tossed buddy-breathing.
    In the meantime, there are plenty of alternatives to those who are looking for advanced level diving.
     
  5. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    My take on being trained on CESA in the way back days, is that it only serves to remind me to 'awwww' if for some reason I end up with the reg out of my mouth and may rise in the water column as I try to rectify that situation.
     
  6. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
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    There have been several threads on SB, in which the discussion tended to move in the direction that Dan_P has taken. And, the reasons for proposing that the CESA should go away - practicality, potential for injury during training, etc., - make sense.

    Certainly, it is better to never find yourself in an out of air situation to begin with. Proper dive planning, situational awareness during the dive, and competent buddy procedures are better alternatives to the CESA, as is carrying a redundant air supply for situations where you nonetheless do find yourself out of air.

    I have performed a CESA - 'for real' - from 27 feet. The reasons for being in that situation were entirely a matter of user error. But, there was no better alternative when the moment arrived. It was a life saver. And, it worked, very well. But, I suspect it worked because I practice the procedures, a lot, through the process of teaching it and I have the muscle memory. I don't know that newly certified OW divers, or divers who never rehearse it again after certification, would have the same outcome.
     
    Diving Dubai and Graeme Fraser like this.
  7. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    How would it have worked from 70'? Personally not too concerned about doing it from 27' myself though I sure hope to never have to do so.
     
  8. Jcp2

    Jcp2 Literally virtually diving

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    Can a diver practice a voluntary CESA safely? Who would be around to help if something goes wrong? An instructor?
     
  9. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Why? Better to practice better gas management techniques, carry a pony bottle, make sure you can drop your weights if needed.
     
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  10. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

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    Amen. Let me add, that you should always know where your buddy's second second is as well as how & wear his weights are secured.
     
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