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Personal Limits to Solo Diving

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

  1. hroark2112

    hroark2112 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    My only limit until recently was that my wife asked me not to do any solo night CCR dives. Now that she’s history I can’t wait to get back to Bonaire to do some night dives!! She had also told me no cave diving. I scheduled my course as soon as I knew she was leaving.

    My new limit is no solo cave. I’m way too new. One day that may change but not for a long time.
    shoredivr and Wibble like this.
  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    it is not accepted by any technical agency that I know of. That said, if you show a full cave card, it will usually give you the same privileges of solo diver.
    The only time you ever really see solo diving as "accepted" is when doing extreme sidemount restrictions where solo is far safer since you can't get both divers stuck...
  3. Ana

    Ana Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Pompano Beach, FL
    For me if the dive is a go with a buddy, then it is a go solo also.

    With that said, as I get older I tend to be more conservative about what dives are a go or no-go.

    Yesterday was a perfect example of what my husband and I consider outside of our envelope, regardless of solo or buddy-ed.

    After my husband completed his solo dive, we were slowly cruising to the location for my solo dive. I'm gearing up when I noticed a group of dive flags with no vessel close to them. I mentioned to my husband and we decided to approach.
    Usually our philosophy is mind your business but this group was relatively alone floating on the surface with no vessel attempting reasonably close or anyone attempting to approach.
    So slowly we get close until we can hear each other, asked if they were ok, and their response was yep, we're good, boat is over there. Over there was a couple of miles north and the current was going south, so the distance between them was not closing. Their answer was good enough for us, so we proceeded back to our path to my dive site.

    That event gave us a subject to talk about, neither my husband nor I would like to have a boat so very far away from the flag, not in South Florida, much less relatively close to an inlet. Felt their way was very unsafe, but that was their way.
    The question for us is not about dive emergencies or comfort in the water, it was about the boat traffic and the amount of people that cruise as fast as their boat can go, and are not very good at spotting dive flags.

    Maybe derailing the thread some, but there's more to solo diving than having gas redundancy or certification. BHB comes to mind, it may be an amazing dive site but it is in a tricky side on town, I wouldn't be alone in that parking lot in the dark.
    bradymsu, scubadada and Rollin Bonz like this.
  4. Boston Breakwater

    Boston Breakwater "Outlaw." Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Brunswick, Georgia.
    Hello. My personal limits to solo diving? Mmm?
    I would have to say.....Firstly...Strong currents.
    Whether due to incoming, or out going tides, or areas that just naturally have consistently strong currents.
    I wouldn't want to brought out into channels, or areas with heavy boat traffic, or be brought out to far from shore.
    140 Ft. Depth Limit.
    Deep Wreck Penetration.
    Those are the three that come to mind.
    As, for the latter part of the question????
    My first Solo dive was the day I got certified
    17 Oct 1999.
    I've never.....until just now, thought about how many "Buddy" dives I have?????
    The occurrences are too few, and vague. I would guess.......approx 50.
    Many answer would have to be.....NO.
    bradymsu likes this.
  5. bradymsu

    bradymsu ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    I've noticed that about Florida. Up here in the Great Lakes, to dive solo on many wreck charters and at the quarries, you need a Solo cert. In Florida, with the exception of Blue Grotto, places like Ginnie and Vortex ask for Full Cave rather than Solo.

    On public land up here, one can solo dive with just a Spare Air and a trash bag for a BC. Florida public land managers, at least the state parks, seem to be very strict about not allowing any solo diving even in shallow open water environments without lights. Does that change if they know you or if you show them your instructor certs?
  6. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    State parks are the exception down there and no amount of certifications will let you dive solo. County parks are very different though *Little River, Jackson Blue, etc*.

    Also remember that solo cards have only existed for a few years, so I imagine if you presented a full cave card that most of the charters and quarries would accept that for solo diving since it more than trumps anything in a recreational solo card
    bradymsu likes this.
  7. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    No because open water instructors are historically one of the largest populations of divers in FL who can't seem to respect their limits and not dive in caverns and caves where they are not qualified to be.
    grantctobin likes this.
  8. Wookie

    Wookie Curmudgeon Apprentice ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    I only knew this because of my wife's experience as a cave diver. Had I not discussed it with her, I would not have known the level of redundancy taught in caves, and the philosophy of solo caving.
  9. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Torrance, CA
    Many of my deep solo dives were solo because I wouldn't trust a buddy to help me nor did I want to spend the dive worrying about my buddy.
  10. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    I follow the SDI rule of no "pinnacle" (deepest/first of its kind/etc) solo dives. I also don't do solo beach dives, since surf entries are a weakness of mine and I want someone to notice if I get knocked down. My solo dives are therefore either from a boat or at the dive park at Catalina, with those helpful stairs.

    In terms of difficult dives that are not quite pinnacle dives, I do feel safer with certain trusted buddies than I do solo, but I feel more comfortable solo than with an instabuddy. I will only agree to an instabuddy on a dive that is well within my comfort zone.

    I have a really good regular buddy with whom I'm comfortable trying slightly more challenging surf entries than I would be with any other buddy, but even with him 2-3' surf is my limit. Until recently almost all my dives had been shallower than 100', with 110' being my deepest, but I decided to take the deep class to test my limits with narcosis. I've now been to 120' without noticeable impairment, and my instructor and I will be going to 130' for the next and final dive. I doubt I'll be going that deep solo anytime soon though. I realize I could still get narced at the same depths I've already visited unscathed, and there's not much I can do about that other than getting tech training to use trimix. Also, I bought a pony bottle that's only 19 cf, because I didn't plan to go deeper than 100' solo (and my SAC rate works with that). I've been using a rented 40cf pony for these training deep dives and I would at the very least want to get my own before going deeper while solo. Maybe even if I'm going to go deeper with a buddy. Even if I'm not narced at 120', it might not be wise to trust that my buddy will promptly understand and respond to an OOA signal.

    Anyway, I guess overall I'm only slightly more conservative with solo dives than with buddy dives.
    Cdncoldwater likes this.

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