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My close call

Discussion in 'Near Misses and Lessons Learned' started by Shawn95, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Islandheart

    Islandheart HSA Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Orange Park, Florida
    I've thought over the past couple of days about this thread.
    Should I make a comment or just let it be... Well, as you see I'm posting.

    So, the following is only based on my limited diving knowledge and experience of 44 years of military and recreational Scuba and my (not a shop's number) near 400 certifications of just the past 3 years. I don't claim to know it all and I'm not an expert.... but I have been there, numerous times, and have never enjoyed the experience.

    If you have ever had the breath knocked out of you doing anything. Think about it, were you really concerned about how you looked or acted at that moment. No, you only wanted one thing, AIR.

    Again, just my little .02

    Calmly conducting OOA air sharing in the pool or even OW cert dives skills demos are not reality.
    *Just a suggestion, please don't try to Talk the Talk, if you have not Walked the Walk, especially in OOA situations.

    - Some of you love your Air2's and your Necklaces.... or maybe you love selling Air2's
    - Some believe, or repeat, that the Alt-Air hose is going to somehow cause huge drag while swimming or confusion during assembly because you have that extra hose.
    - Some think an Octo is just not COOL and some think a yellow hose is not Stud-ly in your KIT.
    - Many repeat hearsay, and have never even been in an OOA situation (and I'm saying you, not somebody else in your dive group that it happened to or repeating the words of a DM or Instr).

    IMHO, and I say this with respect to others here that have Walked the Walk.

    When a diver is OOA or coughing/choking on water, no matter what their experience level. They have a very few seconds to act rationally. If you're able to react in that short span of time, great... but if not
    * when the brain reaches that point of panic, be it 2 seconds or 20 (and it's different for everyone) and there's that loss of mental control, be it due to being unable to breath or the level of O2 in the lungs has been metabolized into CO2.

    They are headed one place........ and it's UP.
    * If that includes you fine.
    ** If that includes a Reg in their mouth (which most will spit out, unless you are holding it in) that's fine too.
    ...but they Are Headed UP.

    Be prepared for flailing arms and grabbing hands, and/or big kicks from the legs and knees.
    Keeping in place or replacing a Reg in their mouths, be it theirs or yours whatever form that may be.
    Try to keep control of that ascent, by flaring or dumping air, much less finding a deflator knob or button in all this.
    Remember to breath yourself.
    ... and what you're going to do with this diver at the surface.

    If you have an AIR2 practice with it a lot. If you've got one and still have the 28" hose on your primary 2nd stage consider replacing it with a longer hose. Having that extra 20" or so to work with can be a life saver. Practice getting your primary away and getting that AIR2 in your mouth and clearing both when you have air in your lungs to blast and also practice purging that puppy when you don't, all while controlling a situation.

    If you're diving with family members, practice practice practice before you go to Open Water. Do this no matter what your cert level is or rig/set up is.

    It's not always your dive buddy that you end up trying to help.

    If you have not practiced with two divers OOA at the same time, I'd suggest you do so. Try that with an AIR2 and a 28-30" primary hose.
    *Last OOA I saw, the wife ran out at 87' and the husband had 250, yes 250psi, after they made a panicked ascent.

    Stupid divers can run in pairs.

    After an OOA, just listen. Do you hear people laughing? If they are, they are just plain stupid.

    Again folks just my little ole two cents...
    reeftankdiver, fozzy, Jim-SAR and 5 others like this.
  2. Chilly_Dipper

    Chilly_Dipper Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives:
    Location: British Columbia Canada
    Pssst we don't have pennies in Canada anymore you're going to have to upgrade to a nickels worth of advice :wink:
    openmindOW likes this.
  3. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    This thread is really terrifying to me. Breathing off octos, getting water in with each breath was something that was very very hard for me during OW class. After the checkout dives I realized how unrealistic the 'cover your regulator and expose the octo" drill was. First, in the time it took for me to pull the octo out of it's "easy" (ha) release holder, I'd usually already taken another breath, second- the person was kneeling, cleanly exposing their rib cage to me. In regular diving, they'll be facing downwards, it will be hard to FIND their octo.

    I've discussed with my buddy (husband, I have no intention to dive without him) that if I ever signal out of air (and God I hope I never do!), he needs to be ready to rip the octo out of his holder and hand it to me, give me his primary right away and go for his own secondary, or be prepared for me to take the reg out of his mouth. He is much more confident in the water, has lifeguard experience and military training, so I expect him to do better than me in an emergency, and I never really considered he'd take my reg- almost certain he'd take my octo, or I'd get it to him. He is not prone to panic.

    It never occurred to me that a diver I don't know might rip my reg out of my mouth. I suppose the best response would be to go for my own octo, but if my mask came off too, well- that would be full on panic for me. There was never a case where we practiced no mask AND no regulator. Am I allowed to punch the person? Because really all this seems to do is create another panicked diver.

    Now I'm terrified of diving in a group...
    beaverdivers likes this.
  4. Divealpha

    Divealpha Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Evje, Norway
    I would'nt worry to much... As you get more dives behind you, the more confident you get. Nobody likes getting their masked ripped off, and most of us don't like seawater in the eyes. But, it does help to be prepared, and maybe do a refresher on emptying you mask, take it off/on, buddy breathing etc. One tend to forget the things you learned on the OW course. You'll be surprised how easy it is, with a little practice! My wife and I did this, in shallow water of course. So we know how to do things without any panic.

    Sent from my GT-P7500 using Tapatalk 2
  5. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    We're practicing mask flooding every time we go out, as well as air sharing (we did not learn buddy breathing). But the idea of a stranger basically attacking me, really is not encouraging to me to want to keep diving...
  6. mrokern

    mrokern Nassau Grouper

    I would seriously suggest practicing ASAP with having your mask off. I've had my mask kicked off twice already...once during OW cert, once in extremely low viz (which took my reg
    out as well). Neither was a big deal, because I had practiced. Recover the reg, clear it, breathe. Replace mask, clear it, keep going. Panic kills.
  7. Steve_C

    Steve_C Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    In over 300 dives with many instabuddies no one has attacked me. I have had to stop a couple who were in the process of bolting to the surface. (No I did not hold them down, but did manage to calm them down)

    I have the standard spare reg which is bright yellow. It hangs on a bright yellow piece of rubber over my chest. The yellow attachments are cheap, highly visible, and pops out quickly if not instantly. In fact, I carry some in my dive bag and lend them to instabuddies who have no similar mechanism.

    I have had one diver who came up to me in an OOA. Actually it was an equipment issue but she thought she was OOA. The transfer of the yellow reg took all of 2 seconds. She calmed down, and we finished the dive after we took care of the issue. (primary reg issue and she was on her first dive past OW class and forget her spare was in her pocket since the rental BCD did not have a clip).

    Part of situational awareness is being aware of other divers in your area although that can be challenging in low viz.

    I also carry a spare mask in my BCD pocket.

    The point is there are things you can do to make your diving safer including careful choice of dive buddies. Also, I think a lot of the panic incidents occur either in OW class or with folks that have not dove for a while. Could be wrong in that regard.

    ---------- Post added August 14th, 2013 at 01:21 PM ----------

    This in no way is in disagreement with Islandheart. That is a great post. My post is meant to reassure Skittl1321 about what she is likely to face diving and I do far more diving with strangers than it sounds like she is likely to do.
    openmindOW and Skittl1321 like this.
  8. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    Skittl, what you have are what I call "rattles". You finished your OW class without being completely comfortable with some of the skills. I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY suggest that you practice them, and practice them a lot, until they are no longer difficult for you. Even if you only dive with your husband, and never approach a group, there may come a day when you lose your reg, or you grin too widely with delight (as I did once) and flood a mask you subsequently have trouble clearing. All these basic things should be relaxed and comfortable, and they will be, if you work at them.

    As far as the air-sharing issue goes, your concerns are the reason that I use a primary donate system. If someone needs air, they get the reg I'm breathing, and my own backup is right under my chin. No fumbling for an octo, and if someone wants to pull the reg out of my mouth, well, I have another one at hand.
  9. dfx

    dfx Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Binbrook, ON
    Agree with the posts above. I haven't had a situation as iffy as the one in the OP yet, but I've been kicked in the head once (resulted in flooded mask), lost my reg out of my mouth several times due to an ill fitting mouthpiece and jaw fatigue (no big deal at all), and had the mouthpiece come off the second stage while it was in my mouth once (that one sucked). **** happens.

    SPARKMEL Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Very good reply and as you expertly said OW training is no comparison to real life. I can only imagine being in that situation, it really gives you food for thought. i never thought of someone else apart from your buddy getting in trouble. It may be an idea for something to practise under strict supervision to see how you react and how to manage the situation. I must admit if this happened to me tmoz i honestly do not know how i would react having never been in that situation. Again great reply !!!!!!!!!!
    beaverdivers likes this.

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