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Personal Limits to Solo Diving

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by bradymsu, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. bradymsu

    bradymsu ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    At your current experience level, do you have personal limits to diving solo? Asked another way, are there types of diving you would do with a buddy that you do not feel comfortable doing solo? (e.g. dives below 10m/30', 20m/60', 30m/100', 40m/130', mandatory decompression dives, night dives, dives in stronger current, cavern dives, cave dives, wreck penetration dives, etc.)

    Per the rules of this forum, this question is only for those who have decided that solo diving is for them and who have experience with solo diving. No-troll, judgement free.
    Esprise Me likes this.
  2. Yawana-Dive

    Yawana-Dive Dive operator in the Solomon Islands ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Solomon Islands
    I’m doing plenty of solo diving these days, mainly due to the fact there are no tourist coming to the Solomons. I much prefer diving with other people but things are very quiet here. So I haven’t “decided that it’s for me” , it’s just happening that way. I love diving every day.
    I don’t have any solo training qualification, just a few thousand dives under my belt and gear I can rely on. I don’t go deeper than 25m, but generally hang around the 10m depth because there is so much going on in the tropical shallows.
    I avoid currents and going into caves. It just seems to add an unpleasant edge to the dive to be taking risks.
    I enjoy being self sufficient but feel every diver should be that on every dive.
  3. Schwob

    Schwob Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Illinois
    I am comfortable diving solo in conditions that I know I can safely handle at the time. To date I dive strictly recreational and I did a little wreck penetration in an adv. wreck class. I would not seriously penetrate a real ( non sanitized) wreck solo right now as I am not practiced enough. Right now I am actually very rusty. Diving, when it begins for me again will begin by working up to things again at first (practicing skills until I know I am solid again (or still, but I need to proof it to myself). I am comfortable doing that in the appropriate baby steps in a local quarry on my own and then I go from there.

    I find the reverse of your question just as interesting:
    Would I dive somewhere with a buddy that I would not be comfortable diving solo at?
    For me, the answer is no if it is “a buddy”.

    That may shift to yes if the buddy is known to me or recommended to me as real good in the conditions we’ll embark in. That could be in a proper training setting or in a true buddy scenario. It involves trust. It has to be justified. It’s scary ****!

    Just because I am with “a buddy” does not make diving safer in my mind. What ever is taught, to me, in my reality, pending on buddy, a buddy inherently potentially adds risk factors galore. Until I have good reason to believe that I am better of in terms of safety with a given buddy, I assume the opposite. Even with a perfect buddy, I, in my mind may enjoy added redundancy, not necessarily in equipment or gas if in rec-diving setup, but in an extra mind extra hand extra eyes..., but my inherent safety level is not really more than what I achieve. If I think I could not handle the dive solo, I don’t think I should (or anyone should) discard that thought because of diving with a buddy. That thought should be heeded imho. And (imo) if anyone (including me of course) goes on a buddy dive that they would not do solo, they better know how and why they can justify that...

    So if you let me put it that way: One could think in that sense, that the question “Would you go on a buddy dive that you would not attempt as a solo diver?”, if viewed outside of technical team diving, is almost absurd - or?
  4. happy-diver

    happy-diver Skindiver Just feelin it

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: knowone here!
    Decades ago my first dive was solo exploring anywhere in the same ocean preferably on a different day
  5. andrespp

    andrespp Registered

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Spain
    I dive with rb and dpv, typically dives of 2.5 hours max. depth 50ish meters, my limits are dictated by both deco obligations with regards to the bailout carried (one or two steel 10L ) and by the strong currents that are common in my area, always have to check the tide tables before diving.
  6. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Working toward Cenotes ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    Within my rec quals, narcosis is the big limit in my mind. I had a dive buddy wandering narced into the depths who might not be alive except for me.

    Locally, you need not be deep, so my solo has been above 50'. I was making plans to explore to 85', which I think might be it solo for me without a trace of helium. I know I've been confused by my dive comp at 100', so a solid buddy as a spare brain would be a good hedge as narcosis gets more pronounced. I dive sidemount doubles. I think 100' might be my limit with a solid buddy, for narcosis reasons.

    My other limit is 'not much new'. Gradual progression and exploration. So a new site I explore gradually out over several dives, depending on conditions. Not overextending. Being fairly certain I have a good reserve, in general not merely gas, to handle unknowns.

    In terms of with or without a buddy, I wanted to show a solid buddy a site I'd not dove yet, and so dove it first solo to be sure I understood it before taking him there. That is a bit more that I'm the more experienced than buddy/solo difference though. I had a chance to dive it beforehand, and so felt better knowing it for going with him. Yet, I would not take several merely ok divers I know to a new site I had not yet dove, and would likely be fine exploring that site solo first, given a full reading of dive reports on it and favorable conditions.

    Exit conditions are also a concern, so I am conservative on conditions there.

    I also have to be rested and not wiped out from prior dives. We had ideal dive conditions a bit ago, my gear was all organized and I drove two hours down to Monterey. But I was not really feeling it. When I got there, I used the restroom, turned around and drove home without even looking at the dive site.

    I've not been night diving in a while, but have no issue venturing into that solo in known waters. Beyond thoughts of what creatures of the deep might come up to feed in the dark. Muahaha... I've thought a predawn or dusk dive would be interesting to see the underwater transition. I'd rather do that solo before full night as it has been a while. Unknown waters at night would give me pause solo, unless they are known as rather benign.
    Esprise Me, Schwob and bradymsu like this.
  7. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    ~1hr of exit time from a cave, no more than half an hour of accelerated deco. Everything else is going to be specific dive condition based, but I much prefer the social aspect of diving, so I don't seek out solo diving.
    Bigbella and Yawana-Dive like this.
  8. Wookie

    Wookie Curmudgeon Apprentice ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    I do not dive deeper than 300 feet solo, but then, I don't dive deeper than 300 feet on a team any more either.
    shoredivr and Rollin Bonz like this.
  9. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    30m depth with no deco is my maximum depth using EAN34.

    I always carry EAN50 in my pony and always switch at 21m on my 28-30m dives locally.
  10. JimBlay

    JimBlay Divin' Papaw ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Florida
    I'm comfortable diving solo in a known environment that I've experienced before and have high confidence is within my personal limits. I also prefer environments where there are people "around" if I end up on the surface and need assistance. For example diving from a charter boat that is waiting for me back on the surface, at a shore diving site that has frequent other divers or life guards, etc. The majority of my solo diving falls into these two categories.

    Anything outside of this basic framework and I will think long and hard before I dive solo. I've done it on occasion but will take extra precautions. For example I have dived solo at a completed deserted quarry midweek back in the Midwest. However, it was a quarry I knew incredibly well, the staff knew I was there, my wife knew I was there and I always kept my dives extremely conservative in these instances.

    Diving at a new site or in new conditions in the past I've always gotten experience with a buddy first.
    Esprise Me likes this.

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