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Maximum depth for Open Water diver

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by andy_j_briggs, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. BarryNL

    BarryNL Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: London, UK

    I'm not sure even having an instructor around is a good idea. We had a case here recently of a PADI Course Director no less who took a Deep Dive student below 30m with only a 10 liter tank. It took them a couple of days to find the student's body.

    Having an instructor around is no substitute for having your own experience, knowledge and abilities. Things can start to go wrong quickly around the 30m mark - you can very quickly go through your gas or go beyond a deco limit and find you don't have enough gas to surface safely. It's something to build up to rather than go straight into.
  2. ZinnX

    ZinnX Angel Fish

    My second dive after my check-out dives (which were done the same day) I went to 102 ft. Probably not the smartest, but I was comfortable/confident as was my instructor with me. Also that was in clear warm bohemian waters.
  3. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    That sounds like a fun place to be.
  4. stevetim

    stevetim Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Miami, FL
    Just to chip in, I subscribed to Scuba Diving Magazine and they sent me a little book with 200 tips for better diving. Yada, yada. Thumbing through the book, almost on the last page happens to be the FAQ section. I will type it in ver batim and let you all make your own assumptions. And please don't respond by telling me that Scuba Diving Magazine isn't a sanctioned scuba instructor organization. I think I figured that one out myself.

    FAQ #7

    It's been drummed into my head since my open-water class that I should never dive deeper thatn 130 feet. Other than decompression condierations, is there some reason that the diving community set an absolute limit on depth?

    Response by Magazine:

    In the 1950's, the U.S. Navy set the depth limit for its divers at 130 feet primarily for the reason of human performance with the regulators of that era. At around 130 feet, the performance of regulators of that era would diminish significantly and the work of breathing would increase to the point that it became unsafe for divers to routinely go deeper.
    The recreational diving community adopted the 130-foot limit established by the Navey as gospel, and it has since become as deeply ingrained in redreational diving as the commandment that prohibits holding your breath. But regulators have come a long way in the last 50 years, and there are now models that perform as well at 260 feet as they do at 130 feet. The original rationale behind the depth limit no longer applies. But does that mean you should head straight for 140 on your next dive? Not necessarily.
    There are plenty of reasons to stay shallower. Very limited no-deompression times are a significant consideration for recreational divers, as is limited air supply. The deeper you go, the faster you get into decompression. The deeper you go, the faster you use your air. The deeper you go, the harder it becomes to make an emeregency ascent. The deeper you go, the greather the chance of nitrogen narcosis. And the deeper you go, the more problems are magnified.
    The face is that for most recreational divers, including all those without advanced training, the depth limit should be less than 130 feet. For some divers with advanced skills, the 130-foot limit is appropriate. But for others, who have the skills, the equipment and the confidence, 130 feet shouldn't be the absolute barrier just because they've always been taught that it is.


    So, that kind of opens up a new can of worms for people who like to hardline accepted guidlines. I mean, the magazine does a good job of explaining both sides of the deeper diving equation, but people who live in absolutes probably had to wire their jaws shut after they hit the floor.

    Maybe that will help this topic along as I really haven't seen a post on the subject that was quite as informative as the Scuba Diving Mag. excerpt.
  5. Web Monkey

    Web Monkey Omniheurist ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    It's not really a secret, and the people saying "don't go below 140'" aren't doing it out of religous beliefs, that's just right around the depth where you pass the No Decompression Limit.

    If you're willing to deal with very short bottom times (on the order of a few minutes), you can go deeper than 140' on a recreational dive if you can find a dive table that goes that deep, or have a computer that will let you.

    As long as you're willing to get the required equipment, training, and accept the risks associated with not being able to ascend directly to the surface, you can go a lot deeper than 140' and stay a lot longer than a few minutes.

    It just depends on what you want.

  6. diveguy1969

    diveguy1969 Guest

    Your instructors can, and should, get into serious troublel w/PADI if they are taking jr. divers down to 72 fsw. It is a violation of PADI standards.
  7. redacted

    redacted Guest

    Oceanic DataPlus NDLs: (depth/time) - 120/13, 130/10, 140/9, 150/8, 160/7, 170/no info.

    US Navy NDLs: 120/15, 130/10, 140/10, 150/5, 160/5, 170/5, 180/5, 190/5, 200/no info.
  8. Web Monkey

    Web Monkey Omniheurist ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    I think I'll skip the 5 minute 190' dive on air . . .

  9. redacted

    redacted Guest

    Me too. My face get fuzzy at 140.
  10. Santa

    Santa Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Denmark

    In my experience it's rather common practise for DM's to exceed depth limits by 2-4 metres. Some will take you even deeper - I know an open water diver with 25 dives who went to 60 metres because he wanted to hang with some divemasters - who sooooo had to do that swimthrough.

    On the insane side of things if you ask me but there you go.

    Just know your limits and be aware that some conditions and procedures do change beyond the 18 metre mark.

    Scuba police should be inside our heads.

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