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Search and Rescue - Lasers and Signaling Devices

Discussion in 'Equipment and Procedures' started by mtngoat2674, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Barracuda

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    Hoag

    “A deep sea diver whose safety line broke and who was drifting out to sea, was rescued November 1 2013 when he aimed a green laser at a helicopter that was searching for him.

    When Ron Tubbs failed to surface from his dive off Kaena Point, Oahu, his dive partner contacted the Honolulu Fire Department. A helicopter was sent to search; first from the Fire Department and later a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

    As the skies grew dark, Tubbs saw one or both helicopters but they were searching too close to shore. He pulled out a green laser pointer and aimed in the direction of the aircraft. (News stories are not clear as to which helicopter, or perhaps both, Tubbs aimed at.)

    Tubbs later said, “When it got dark I think they finally realized they saw the beam of the laser way off in the distance and took care not shine it in their eyes or anything, but in their direction and it reflects off the moisture in the air, so it makes a pretty big beam.”
     
  2. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Barracuda

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    Post above was for you. Meant to tag you in that one.
     
  3. Hoag

    Hoag Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
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    I did not see that passage in the article which you provided a link to, but if carrying a laser makes you happy then go for it.
     
  4. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Barracuda

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    Here’s the full article. Has quotes from both the coast guard and the diver in question. While he states he “tried” to not hit their eyes I really don’t see how you’d be able to control that floating in an ocean. With you bobbing around and the waves. The best you can hope for is to get close to the rescue helicopter. The most important part of the article is the coast guard stating they probably wouldn’t have been able to locate the diver if the laser wasn’t used. It gave them a clear visual aid and a direction to be searching for the diver. They didn’t turn around and go away from the laser.

    Another note worthy part is the fact the CG said they cannot see the green laser while wearing NODS and cannot see LED lights either. So hitting a pilot wearing NODS won’t do anything to their eyes, And they won’t see your LED flash light either. All good bits of info very relevant to this thread.

    So now we have a clear and factual answer. Are there better options than a laser? Sure, there are a lot of options for divers at this point but a laser can and does work. It is an accepted and legal form of contact in a distressed situation, and it has been successfully used to rescue a diver. So would I only carry a laser and call it a day? Hell no, but I have no issue carrying a laser as an additional tool in my box of items for a worst case SAR scenario.
     
    soldsoul4foos likes this.
  5. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: SoFlo
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  6. Hoag

    Hoag Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    1,244
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    Thank you for the update. Your original link did not reference airborne SAR.

    Please also note that the article also states:

    "To shine a laser towards a helicopter could actually cause the rescue to be delayed. Also shining the laser right into their eyes could blind the ones you need to rescue you so be very careful if you do use one to get help. Do not put those trying to rescue you at risk too. Shining in their direction and not at them will work well enough."
    (Emphasis added is mine.)
     
  7. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Barracuda

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    That’s why I mentioned the part about floating in the ocean bobbing around. The reality is if any of us are in that situation the last thing we are thinking is “let me miss their eyes” your just praying the beam gets somewhere close to them. Having no stable platform to aim off of would make it a major crap shoot.
     
  8. SapphireMind

    SapphireMind Nassau Grouper

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    Location: CA, USA
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    Again, I stated the reason I commented. This may shock you, but sometimes people do things they think that are ok, not knowing that they could harm someone. People initially had stated the danger of lasers. Then a group of people came in stating that lasers posed no danger to flying aircraft. I came back to specifically address that, because although in a SAR you do anything, but the rest of the time, it does endanger aircraft.

    Rephrased:
    Thread: "Should we use lasers for signalling in an emergency?"
    Some people: "No, you should never use lasers because they can be dangerous to pilots"
    Other people: "They're absolutely fine to use, they don't permanently blind pilots, they are not dangerous at all, that's a myth"
    Me: "Lasers are absolutely dangerous, permanent blindness is not the only concern. SAR is one thing, but it is not a myth and can absolutely endanger people."

    If you are going to discuss something that is dangerous to do outside of a life or death situation, it is a good idea to remind people that if they do it in anything short of that life or death situation, it could be a problem and is not safe.
     
    fsardone, Steelyeyes and Hoag like this.
  9. Hoag

    Hoag Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    1,244
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    Thank you. You are a voice of reason in a world reluctant to listen.
     
  10. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Barracuda

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    You also shouldn’t put your hand on a hot stove but that has absolutely no relevance to what this thread is specifically talking about. The thread is about the use of lasers for a SAR situation. Nothing else. Again just because people keep moving the goal post and adding in information that has no relevance to this thread doesn’t add to the point. All it does is clutter real information more and make people more confused especially when your giving “your opinion”
    Again as pointed out by the article posted where a diver was actually rescued, laser are and have been used to rescue divers. US law states it is ok to use for SAR. So again you adding in info about lasers in urban environments and planes isn’t relevant to a SAR for a diver.
    I understand it’s “your opinion” that lasers aren’t good. That’s fine. Your more than welcome to your opinion, but factual information says they are ok to use, as been pointed out by the fact a diver was rescued because of said laser.
    Thirdly the USCG officers confirmed the lasers aren’t visually through their NODS. So there is zero damage to them while using them at the same time, another bit of false information that’s been spread throughly in this thread.
    The facts remain there hasn’t been one factual event of a SAR being called off for a diver because of a laser. Yet there is factual information of a diver being rescued because of a laser. So if you want to choose not to carry a tool that is accepted for SAR events that’s your choice, but there is no reason to keep spreading false information that it’s “bad” for a diver to use such a tool. The proof is in the rescue.
     
    soldsoul4foos likes this.

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