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Snap shackles or Carabiners

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by CCTX50, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    We weren’t fussy about the bail, as long as it was stainless steel with a large enough snap range and breaking strain. Sometimes with swivel bails, some with Clevis Pin bails, some with fixed bails. It all depended on if it were rigged to the harness or on the umbilical. Clevis pins were usually tack welded. There are probably some regional nomenclature conventions. Here are some pictures so we are talking about the same thing:

    Stainless Snap Shackle, 2200lb. MWL, 7/16" / 3/4" Min./Max. Line Dia. from RONSTAN

    Ronstan Snap Shackle - Spinnaker Bail Binnacle.com

    Snap shackles - The Binnacle Boating Supplies - Binnacle.com

    Titanium Snap Shackle - - Spinnaker & Standard

    We also used them on block & tackles in the bell for diver recovery.
  2. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    Yep, those are all spinnaker shackles.

    I think Blades though you meant the "dog leash clips" that have become so DIRigueur in some circles.
  3. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    Nope... Akimbo and I are on the same page here. This is just a nomenclature issue that possibly differs by region. As Akimbo pointed out, there are minor variations in the quick release snap shackle and some are specific to use on a spinnaker with the differences (I believe) being whether they are attached by a cable, line or fixed anchor point. The ones pictured in Akimbo's post are what I have been referring to.

    The "dog leash clips" (a/k/a "snap clips" and "leash clips") would not release under tension and suffer many of the same disadvantages as the carabiner.

    Possibly this confusion in nomenclature is the reason why some have been reluctant to change from carabiners as I too would not see an advantage using the "dog leash clips."

    Thank you to Thalassamania and Akimbo for bringing this to my/our attention.


    Blades Robinson
  4. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

    Agree that additional training/experience is required. Having said that, the same contingency drills we use in non-overhead dives will also work under the ice -- I think this is a good thing. Making the jump to an ice dive is not that big of a deal for our team

    Agreed again. Thats why I believe in back up systems and choices as well. Just because we use a non-locking biner doesn't mean that we have less choices than a snap shackle - they are just a little bit different

    Yeah. You're right. Either way the diver will be able to disconnect.
    The differences (as I see them):
    snap shackle - faster, more flexive with the tendancy to d/c earlier
    biner - 1-2secs slower but is more deliberate, he may be inclined to attempt other options first -ie, the diver would really be thinking through the risk/benefits of d/c his line (I think this more thought out process is better but thats just me)

    Agreed. I would hope that the team has the training to never get into that situation in the first place. A snap shackle doesn't ensure survival in this case either.
    When I asked about back-up divers & redundant air I wasn't speaking specifically to your examples. Most of the time these will work but it depends on how they are used and if the procedures and skills are sound. Unless I was involved in an incident I'm very cautious to critique as its very rare to have all the info that you need to evaluate it. Its usually a cascade of effects that lead to trouble and its human nature to use hindsight and claim that "it would never happen to me because..." so I won't delve into it deeper.

    haha! I've seen these guys too:D

    As always, thanks Blades for your insights. I have come to understand that the snap shackle is not as bad as I had initially thought so I won't really argue against its use (as I used to). I don't believe it to be MORE safe than the biner (as you do) but I don't see it as dangerous either. There are certainly times, without question, when we cannot use the shackle (ice) and times when we cannot use the biner (strong current) I think agreement on these is most important.
    Our team is still quite comfortable with our procedures as they are to maintain the use of the biner for the diving we do.

    Good info
  5. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    Over the years Bridgediver and I have had some spirited debates but I have always respected his opinions.

    The carabiner has applications as does the quick release snap shackels. They are "tools in the toolbox" and in the same manner that some carpenters prefer hand saws and others prefer power saws, we would never discredit a carpenter because he chooses one tool over another. We would likely be critical if he used only one.

    This goes back to my philosophy, "if you give public safety divers good training and good equipment, they will likely make good decisions."

    I write again to emphasize a point that I believe may have been overlooked...

    We know when a diver panics he cannot perform fine motor functions and we can anticipate that his actions will not me rationale and may be contrary to his training. We ALL work hard to give divers good training so they are completely comfortable in the water and won't panic when things go wrong.

    Unfortunately, the facts speak for themselves and a PSD line of duty death never goes as planned...

    We know that there are MANY factors that can lead to stress and eventually PANIC.

    It is possible that a well trained diver can make a mistake. It is possible that a well trained diver can experience stress. And it is possible that well trained divers can panic and/or die.

    One factor that WE (teammates) have no control over is the stress that a diver may be experiencing prior to a dive. Is our teammate well rested? Did he have a fight with a spouse, child or mother-in-law? Is he having a financial crisis and having a hard time paying bills? These stressors can be the "seeds" that cause other problems when compounded with the other stressors common to public safety diving.

    Can any of us be certain that a teammate will act appropriately to stressors (even the minor ones underwater) when he has had divorce papers filed on him days earlier or learned that his former spouse it trying to take 50%+ of his assets ... and then we add the search for a child that is similar in age and physical appearance to one of his own kids that the ex-wife is filing custody for.

    We all hear of "normal" people (sometimes cops or firefighters) who commit suicide because the stress gets overwhelming.

    So, can WE count on these fellow "normal" PSDs experiencing extra ordinary stress to wait patiently on the bottom when their search line gets fouled, their mask leaks, or their fin strap breaks?

    I feel that these diver's lives (the ones who are under stress before the dive even begins) are just as important as the everyone else's. So when these divers, or others, have a bad day I want to give them other options to get to the surface when their line fouls on the bottom and they begin to lose their focus. Isn't the goal that "everyone goes home???"

    Certainly I would prefer that we know with 100% certainty that a diver won't have a bad day but this is the REAL world.

    A quick release snap shackle can be used effectively by a panicked diver that has good training and has developed "muscle memory" and "reflexive actions." When we rely solely on fine motor functions (unscrewing a locking carabiner, putting slack on the line so it can be released from the carabiner, cutting the line with shears, waiting patiently for the standby diver, etc), terrible things can happen and unfortunately the outcome (based of "real world" instances involving WELL trained divers) can be TRAGIC.

    After years of reviewing PSD fatalities, I feel compelled to be "vocal" when we find a common denominator. I hate to beat a dead horse but this is too important.

    I strongly believe that a quick release snap shackle should be used on EVERY dive, except those few dives where a benefit would not be realized (ice and overhead environments come to mind).

    I also believe, just because someone says "Always use a carabiner" and someone else says "Always use a quick release snap shackle" ... I say $#&@* those people!

    I encourage forum readers to learn the pros and cons of the quick release snap shackle and carabiner for themselves and make the best decision possible. For "old dogs" (and I know I am one) it can be difficult to "learn a new trick" but everyone here reads these posts in an effort to learn so I am hopeful the information I share may be useful.

    I bet Keith / CCTX50 never anticipated that his simple question would go to 34+ replies! KEITH ... thanks for asking the question!
  6. CCTX50

    CCTX50 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
    You never know what you will find once you go beneath the surface. Just as in the original question... It has sparked a good healthy debate that has got all of us thinking. Everyone will go away a winner as long as they take something away from this. I know I have and I thank all who have contributed to this thread. Keep it up and as always... DIVE SAFE and GO HOME!

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