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Out of air incident.

Discussion in 'Near Misses & Lessons Learned' started by cbl, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. FinnMom

    FinnMom Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Finland
    You can keep things friendly by showing your gas gauge first; your buddy is welcome to think you are less experienced and need reassurance and more communication. If this improves his diligence and communication skills, go happily with his assumption.

    Esp. people with cameras can get a bit too absorbed in what they are doing, and have no idea what else they are doing (holding their breath, sinking/rising, running out of air, kicking up silt). It may very well be the most beautiful or exciting scenes they have ever seen, and now they are twice as riveted by trying to capture it on SD-card. If you see a problem and want to discuss it back on the boat, keep it friendly. Maybe you have a right to be annoyed, but if you make the person unwilling to listen to you, you are accomplishing nothing. Mentioning the mistake as something you noticed yourself doing can sometimes be a useful white lie.
    billt4sf, Dish and nolatom like this.
  2. peeweediver

    peeweediver Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Chicago area
    Agree with strategy suggested by FinnMom. I tell my buddy that I'm not as great at air consumption as I was when younger, handsomer, fitter, more hair, etc. I tell them that I'll be letting them know my PSI every 500 drop so they have a sense of when I may need to make adjustments...going shallower, turning around, etc. I then just ask for reciprocity. Since most dives are with spouse, it's just what we do anyway. With strange buddy, it's an icebreaker and makes it sound like we're really a pair.

  3. Marktan

    Marktan Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Naperville, IL
    Not too long ago I was insta-buddied with an experienced "Fire dept rescue diver" of many years, now retired. While I am newer to diving, I am a competent diver. He made it "very clear" he was years more experienced than me. On the dive, I was naturally concerned that I would be running through my air faster than him, so I enquired about his air just a couple times just to get a sense of where I was at in relation. He would look at me, point to his SPG and just gave me a stern "OK" and a shrug when I would try to indicate my PSI. About 40 minutes into the dive we're at about 25-30' FSW, I'm still going strong, plenty of air (very pleased with myself at this point). He suddenly waves at me frantically, gives a thumbs up, and jets to the surface faster than anything I've seen. I ascend (controlled) and return to the boat. Once back on the boat, he gave me a sheepish look and said he was not paying attention, had run low and freaked out. Just desserts I suppose.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  4. Nukakola

    Nukakola Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas
    I don't use hand signals for pressure ever anymore. I will just show my gauge and expect my buddy to do the same.

    Yep. Started doing it this way after diving in Malta. We had 2-3 people in PSI and the rest in BAR. Needless to say hand signals weren't all that useful.
  5. Hickdive

    Hickdive Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Glasgow, UK
    Physically showing and reading gauges is the ONLY way to be sure.

    People mis-read or even conceal their consumption all the time.

    Start a thread here about hand signals used to indicate cylinder pressure and you'll get a dozen different replies. Unless your buddy is a regular, known buddy then chances are what you use as a signal is different to what they use.

    If you don't want to be continually stopping and asking to see their gauge you can usually get adept at surreptitiously getting a look at it without them noticing. Instabuddies tend to be unaware of their surroundings and have dangling consoles ;-)

    Watch their bubbles too, if they look like a steam train puffing up an incline then they're going to be scoffing air much faster.
  6. Q1988

    Q1988 Registered

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
    cbi: I just got back from Cuba and did a 2 tank boat dive off of the north islands NE of Varadero penninsula. The tanks they were using were 200 bar, I am from Canada and use bar not psi, But my consumption was higher than normal. The tanks are Faber, steel, 8"?diameter and short. I suspected they were not 80 Cubic feet. Needed no weight at all.
  7. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    I'm not proud of this, but in the interest of "edumacation"... Many years ago, I was diving in Utila. We were at Laguna Beach and they had a terrific "valet" diving thing going on.

    On the second dive of the morning, I was putzing around in about 90', when suddenly... and I mean suddenly... my spiffy new reg simply stopped delivering air. As I looked down at my gauge, the floppy hose told me everything I need to know before I even saw the face of the gauge. Mrs Stoo was just "over there", maybe 20' away, so I casually swam over, removed her octopus and borrowed some air. After confirming she had lots of gas (we had only been down 15 minutes or so), we put our cameras back together and started to get ready to head up. Our DM came over, asked what was up, and when I indicated I had run out of air, he burst out laughing and swam away.

    Of course on returning to the boat, I quickly figured out that our "valet" had neglected to change over my tank after our first dive. I probably started the dive with 7-800 psi... just enough to get me all the way down, and settled!

    Needless to say, I felt like an idiot for not properly checking my gauge (I would likely have taken a bunch of breaths prior to my dive) and the DM (who was also a friend from previous trips, and thus the laughing) was horrified when he realized that he hadn't changed the tank. Ya, tequila was on him that night.

    We agreed that it was good it was me and not someone with less experience. Mrs Stoo and I constantly share air for practice and for fun, so it was a complete non-issue, but lesson learned!
  8. ScubaWithTurk

    ScubaWithTurk Bubble Blowing Buddha

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Huntington Beach, CA

    This exact scenario is why I am very specific and precise in my gear setup and equipment check prior to the dive. Now I only have 5 dives under my belt, 4 of which were training dives. However on all 4 of those dives and as well as the 5th dive I did with two other recently certified divers, I have a very specific routine I created after my very first dive.

    Maybe it is my military background but for some reason when it comes to gearing up for anything, I like to have a routine that I do each and every time. Part of this routine is opening up the valve on the tank and breathing my reg while watching the pressure gauge. Yes I know this is taught in the OW class however on the first dive I was looking around watching others set their gear up after I finished with mine. I saw many of the students I was with not check the starting pressure, not breath their reg to test it as well as their octo (Air2 in my case). Not to mention the guy who had his weight belt on wrong (left hand release) and was confused when I told him it was backwards or the girl who literally had zero idea how to hook up her reg to the tank. Bad instruction? Nope, I received the same instruction and my gear was solid. Just people not paying attention and taking the activity of diving as serious as they should.

    I said all that to really ask this which is a bit off topic but I think it still fits: Once my gear is setup and I am certain my air is on and I am ready to dive, how do you tell a DM to not touch your gear? I know they like to check if your tank is on prior to you taking the GS but with stories of people not swapping out tanks or DMs accidentally shutting off someone's air, I would prefer that no one touch my gear once I have it assembled and I am ready to dive. Of course the buddy check doesn't count when I say I don't want anyone touching my gear.

    It can't be an easy conversation to have but it is MY life and MY gear used to keep me alive so the only person I want touching it is me or my "buddy" while doing a check.
    wetb4igetinthewater likes this.
  9. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    And I can tell you that that is a fine way to go about it. I do much the same normally, especially on a more serious dive and even more so when I am diving alone.

    On the particular dive I mentioned above, I had been goofing around with the DM... the result was that he failed to change the tank and I failed to check properly. Where you have a small number of dives, I have lots, and it's that familiarity that leads to perhaps taking shortcuts.

    The "hands off" discussion can be tricky, but in my experience, DMs will respect your wishes. I am heading off to Belize in a a week and the place there tends to do the same thing. In that case, I simply do it myself, and make sure that staff knows I am. It's never been a problem.
  10. BRT

    BRT not a soft touch

    Just got back from Mexico. Divemasters like to check your valve AND turn it a quarter turn off. I don't say anything I just make a point of turning it wide open and test breathing again, as many times as they touch it.

    I always make a game with myself of deciding what my air pressure and depth are before I check. I think it is good for me to do. I can be off 10-15' on the depth but I'm usually pretty close on the air. So when the DM asks me how much air I have I tell them without looking. After awhile they quit bothering me.

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