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Solo skills to practice?

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by gr8jab, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. Bert van den Berg

    Bert van den Berg Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: New Zealand
    Skills to practice if going to dive solo should include navigation.
    AfterDark, Wathdoc and Gruber like this.
  2. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL
    Oral inflation of the BC is very good practice. Inflators often "stick" dribbling air into the BC and if you are totally confident that you can continue the dive with oral inflation, it takes 99% of the stress out of disconnecting the inflator hose. Plus if you ever run out of air and make it to the surface in a tizzy, being very practiced in oral inflation is going to make things go smoother.

    Also, if you ever have to really use the pony bottle on a solo dive, your main tank will presumably be dead, so oral inflation is going to be a very real possibility, even if the inflation hose is still connected. Seems like a really important skill to practice.

    And maybe an even more important skill for a solo diver is being able to remove and replace the scuba unit at depth - in case of a solo entanglement situation,
  3. gr8jab

    gr8jab Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oregon, USA
    Thanks for the feedback. In my original post I omitted necessary information that was obvious to me, but not others. Funny that this is my personal communication pet-peeve, and I'm now just as guilty as those I've criticized. :)

    I have completed the Self-Sufficient class. It was great, and I really enjoyed it. I've done several solo shore dives (easy and familiar site). Mostly, I've been on guided boat dives without buddies. I plan more of the same on my January vacation.

    As a pilot, I've learned that two things impact my safety: recency of experience, and practicing skills with an instructor. If I can't fly frequently, I don't fly without a comprehensive refresher. Even when I fly frequently, I regularly go with an instructor to practice emergency skills.

    I'm following the same strategy with diving, and am making a list of skills to practice with a supervising instructor.
  4. Frontpointer1000

    Frontpointer1000 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Utah
    Love these comments and suggestions.

    BC or wing tear/Compromise, Necessitating sideways ascent or upside down ascent, inflator hose disengagement, and pre-dive checklist, losing a fin, Oral inflation of DSMB. With a buddy and in a swimming pool, we will use Thick fishing line or fishing net string to entangle each other, usually pulling a fin and wrapping the string around the mask, or pull the mask off and roll the tank to the off position. The entangled person then has to fix the mask, get the fin, turn on the valve, and disentangle from the string.

    And on several occasions I have certainly Purposely breathed my tank down to zero while at my safety stop, With my pony at the ready. If I am with somebody, or diving with others, I always let them know pre-dive that I will be doing some drills at the safety stop. On more than one occasion, I had a dive master come rushing up to me trying to save me in the midst of a drill while at the safety stop. These have always been Divers not in my group, but happen to be nearby.

    Regarding breathing a tank to zero,I hate that feeling of breathing off an empty tank, but those two or three breaths before it goes dry is an important warning sensation and a skill I hope I never have to utilize.
    Billy Northrup likes this.
  5. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    The skill I use on every dive is the skill to determine where and when I feel safe diving solo and knowing when not to dive solo. Conditions, currents, even how I feel that day all weigh into my decision to dive solo or not. In addition, I try to keep myself in shape for diving and keep my gear in good working order and properly serviced and maintained. On every solo dive at some point I run through the scenario in my head of what I will do if after an exhale there is no next breath from my primary.
    AfterDark likes this.
  6. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Woof! ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    Can you locate, deploy and store your cutting devices without looking? Can you do it with either hand?
    AfterDark, Wathdoc and Fastmarc like this.
  7. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    And why would you not look at your gauges?
    AfterDark likes this.
  8. Johnoly

    Johnoly ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    When by yourself you can practice a broken computer or zero viz silt out. One of the things taught is to tie a series of knots in your smb reel line to indicate by 'feel only' your depth. I have 3 knots in a row at my 30 foot mark on my line that I can 'feel' to tell me I'm at 30 foot to decompress. 2 knots at 20, 1 knot at 10. You can count down the seconds of time in your head while stopping at the knotted depths from your deco stops that you memorize prior to the dive.
    Solo diving is an entirely different set of additional skills you need to repeatedly practice so you automatically react with no delay in time. Panic Kills.
    Shortsonfire79 and gert7to3 like this.
  9. happy-diver

    happy-diver Skindiver Just feelin it

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: same ocean as you
    Solo is a state of mind, no other training required

    Buddy diving requires training because you do not have a cable connected to the idiot jack of the other diver
  10. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    Totally disagree. First, when rolling milfoil mats that had been on bottom for 3-4 years and totally covered with silt I was never unable to see my computer & other guages. I had to hold them up to my mask but had no trouble reading them.

    Second, solo is exactly the same skills with the exception of redundancy in essential equipment and an independant redundant air source. Learning to use the alternate air source that you place for your convienence and immediate use is vastly easier than trying to figure out where the hell your "buddy" is, communicating that you need air, and actually getting it. My pony is always on, the octo is on a magnetic quick release. All I have to do is grab the octo, pull, purge and breathe. Couldn't be simpler. 1-2 seconds. Skill - not so much.

    The only thing we agree on is that panic kills.
    AfterDark, markmud and Johnoly like this.

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