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Solo diving in shallow water

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Andy Baines, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. Andy Baines

    Andy Baines Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Bournemouth
    Hi Scuba diving community!

    I acquired my PADI open water diving license in 2003. I had not logged any further dives beyond this and then last year I did the BSAC open water diving course. Again I havent logged any further dives beyond the course. Im also a very good and experienced swimmer and snorkeler having grown up in Mauritius, i have been swimming and snorkeling quite large distances solo since the age of 13/14, usually up to the reefs here, have been caught up in strong currents occasionally however have managed to rescue myself.
    I have recently discovered a new hobby, metal detected under water (snorkeling), so far i have completed around 15 hours of snorkeling and metal detecting together very successfully, its fantastic and gives me a buzz finding old coins, gold/silvery jewelry, also help to clean the sea bed of litter like bottle caps, sharp dangerous objects, and have always done this in shallow waters close to the sea shore as its difficult/impossible to metal detect deeper than half a meter to a meter. I want to be able to venture to slightly deeper water, up to 50 meters from the shore and a maximum depth of 3 meters. I have researched underwater breathing devices like the the Airbuddy however have also seen heavy criticism of this device from the diving community due to lack of redundancy.
    SO, i would like some advice on solo diving up to a maximum of 3 meters, within the bay (inside reef), using standard open water diving gear. My snorkeling metal detecting duration times are usually around 2-3 hours, the Airbuddy only support 30 mins underwater breathing time so that wont work for me anyway. Also, whilst metal detecting im also doing a lot of digging so the visibility around can reduce for very short periods. Im also very aware of some of the safety issues and would always have a revised and well rehearsed plan or set or steps to quick release my gear should for some reason i lose breathing capability, and can get to the surface within a few seconds. Also the areas i would be diving in would be areas i know extremely well to start with, beaches i have grown up on and have a lot of experience swimming in almost daily up to 2 miles out but again within the reef.

    Thanks for all your help and advice i have provided as much detail as possible so i can get the best advice possible.

    happy diving,

  2. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    I don't see a problem with it personally, I solo to around 40' on reefs, just do not enter any overhead obstructed areas by myself.

    If you don't have a good cutting device, get one. Some monofilament line is nearly invisible till it wraps around some part of your gear (twice for me it's been a fin buckle) I don't think you even have to worry about a safety stop since your whole dive is one. I'll bet that could be a long dive also...

    Once we were filming turtles in 8' of water and I breathed my tank dry - when I heard the click I just stood up on my fin tips, changed to my snorkel and went back down to finish filming.

    my .02
    bmorescuba, FreeFlyFreak and Khrissi like this.
  3. Khrissi

    Khrissi Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: London
    Definately an inflatable marker bouy. Glad yr clearing rubbish too :) k
  4. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: SoFlo
    A pony system as your back up would be ideal so you wouldn’t need to ditch all your gear and rush to the surface. You’d switch to your pony reg and Safely head up with your gear still with you.
  5. CuzzA

    CuzzA Solo Diver

    You don't need a pony tank in less than 3 meters deep and less than 50 meters from shore.

    Boat traffic is probably the biggest threat to you. Big ass diver down flag on a float is what you'll need.

    And remember, you can still pop a lung if you don't exhale on your way up from that shallow depth.
    nippurmagnum, couv, Kamaros and 5 others like this.
  6. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Seems a little overkill in 9 Feet of water.
  7. doctormike

    doctormike ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New York City
    As long as there is no overhead boat traffic, you should be able to surface more quickly than you could deploy an alternate gas supply.

    Yes, cutting devices are important, but I don't think that entanglement is the main reason to cary an AGS in this scenario, since that would be planning for simultaneous entanglement and OOG.
  8. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    We’re fretting over dying while solo diving, an assumaby worthwhile thing. (The fretting and the diving, both)

    There’s a bit of hard data available for “real deal” solo divers, the kind Steve and Don reads about on the internets, all black gear and redundancy numbers of tanks equaling c-cards, all that Hondo type stuff.

    But... not a lot of data on deaths of people thrashing about “solo” on their own in 20FSW. For any number of reasons: Not many do it; You could stand up; You’ll get tired before you drain a tank; raw equipment failures are statistically irrelevant; What few deaths that might occur are likely more attributable to high velocity negative interactions with boats, rocks or.... wait for it...

    Heart failure.

    As a solo diver, at any depth, a coronary incident is what will be jotted into your last dive log entry by your wife and her tennis coach. Your only way out of this most common root cause of any diver death is to NOT dive solo, but even then, what’s 99% of non-military dive buddies going to do? In-water CPR? Croaked is croaked.

    So...equipment failure? Not likely. Heart attack? Remote but a fun possibility, but no likely good result.

    (If you run out of gas, c’mon, you’re going to make this year’s Darwin Awards, but only if before you breed)

    You’re screwed either way, go have fun while it lasts. I have solo dived (by any definition) since I was 6, and I consider my ticker every time as I kiss my wife goodbye before I splash.

    Worry about other things.

    [BTW- after years of forensic recovery and PSD diving, you find most (irrelevant) lost objects in wading depth, 6’ or less, this is where most people are, thus enhancing the viability of the stand-up-for-air scenario] You’re diving too deep out there.
    Esprise Me and FreeFlyFreak like this.
  9. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: SoFlo
    Maybe, but nothing wrong with having a little redundancy.
  10. Graveyarddiver

    Graveyarddiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    I really so no issues with this, get a couple line cutting devices and a BFK, and a marker buoy with flag and have some fun.

    I dive solo on wrecks beyond 40m with both hard and soft overhead. The most important thing is knowing your abilities, and being comfortable in the water.

    PADI, NAUI and every other dive agency have been spewing this rule of always have a buddy, the reality is, it’s not nearly as critical as they say.
    Bob DBF and FreeFlyFreak like this.

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