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SSI and turning off air?

Discussion in 'SSI: Scuba Schools International' started by caver, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. mikemill

    mikemill Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Sacramento, CA
    2,647
    63
    48
    When I did my PADI OW we did the air turnoff in the pool. I'm glad we did as one of the first dives after getting certified the group I was with had a bad experience and I ended up OOA.
     
  2. eponym

    eponym Master Instructor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Oregon, USA
    1,608
    254
    83
    Good thread, good replies.

    Note that SSI standards have changed in this regard as of January 1 2009. They now emphasize swimming ascent with weight ditching after reaching the surface and (it seems to me) they de-emphasize buoyant ascent.

    The previous instructor manual said, "If you are confused or panicked and there is a doubt about which ascent to use, ditch your weights and do a buoyant ascent. It is guaranteed to get you to the surface." The revised manual says, "If you are confused or starting to panic and are not sure you can make it to the surface with an emergency swimming ascent, as a last resort you may want to ditch your weighting system to guarantee you will reach the surface." I haven't seen a new open water diver student manual yet but I expect it to mirror that advice.

    Until now, both the Emergency Buoyant Ascent and the Emergency Swimming Ascent were required in pool or confined water training. Only one was required during open water training. Our shop, like many, chose not to do buoyant ascents in open water. The procedure for the buoyant included turning off the air, breathing down the reg, and turning the air back on while accompanying the student to the surface (of the pool).

    The new standards say, "Both the emergency buoyant ascent and the emergency swimming ascent are required in the pool or confined water. For the emergency buoyant ascent, the conditions need to be absolutely perfect so that the ascent is controllable by the instructor. Only the emergency swimming ascent is to be done in the open water training."

    In addition, the description of conducting the swimming ascent has been expanded to add, "Upon reaching the surface of the water, students are to be encouraged to release their weighting system. If conditions are such that the weights may be lost during training, then the students are encouraged to simulate the release and verbally announce, 'Weight Ejected.' "

    I like that addition, in light of reports on how few divers in trouble on the surface ever drop their weights.

    -Bryan
     
  3. drdaddy

    drdaddy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Oregon
    854
    72
    28
    Emoreira, (post #17)

    Hopefully you will never experience an OOA situation. However, it can happen even if you monitor your situation and equipment carefully. An example is a low pressure hose failure. If your buddy is sticking with you like glue and thinks clearly you should be able to ascend together. However, it is my experience that buddies tend to wander away (20-30 feet (10 meters) or even more when in clear tropical waters. A buddy is sometimes focused away from you and in the short time you run out of air you will need to ascend alone. In our murky NW Pacific Waters it is not uncommon to lose a buddy - we look for 1 minute (or whatever has been decided before hand) and then ascend and regroup. I did experience a BCD stuck valve one time without my buddy and if I did not get it to close I would not have had a buddy to help me out. As it was, I had plenty of air, did not panic, and calmly went through my options, eventually unsticking my valve. I would not have had this leisure had I been lower on air. I don't mean to frighten you, I just want you to learn to be self sufficient in the case of the unexpected.

    drdiver
     
  4. tstormdiver

    tstormdiver Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Kentucky
    6,172
    1,129
    113
    Thanks, Bryan St. Gremain for the updates. It'll really help. I finished my instructor training in Oct. & as of yet have not taught a course. My manual read the older version in the standards. Our shop's drill on the emergency buoyant ascent was (as per the older standards) to (in the pool) turn the air off & when the student signaled OOA, the air is immediately turned back on by the instructor as the student ascends with the instructor in constant physical contact.
     
  5. eponym

    eponym Master Instructor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Oregon, USA
    1,608
    254
    83
    You're welcome, Tammy.

    We still haven't seen updated student manuals so for the moment it'll be up to the instructors to communicate the shift in emphasis regarding emergency ascents.

    As SSI is also planning to offer online academics (putting online students in touch with a local shop for the review, pool, and open water portions), I'm not sure how soon a new print version of the student manual will be out. Of course, plans can change. Watson, any news on this front?

    -Bryan
     
  6. nereas

    nereas Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Expat Floridian travelling in the Land of Eternal
    2,735
    6
    0
    I believe that SSI is the only agency that still does this drill.

    Their reason is "because we want you to know what it feels like to run OOA and then fix it immediately by dropping your wt belt for an EBA (emergency buoyant ascent).

    One of the SSI instructors whom I know loves this so much that he performs it on his student both in the pool and also in the open water.

    If the student trusts (1) the instructor, and (2) the D/M watching, and (3) him/herself, then it can be an excellent drill.

    For a student without the above confidences, it alternatively could turn into a harrowing experience.

    In NAUI, this drill is no longer taught either in the pool nor in the open water. NAUI HQ must feel that it is not nice to turn off a students air.:)
     
  7. nereas

    nereas Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Expat Floridian travelling in the Land of Eternal
    2,735
    6
    0
    Oh, so that's the new way?

    I guess SSI HQ now also feels that it is not nice to turn off a student's air.:D
     
  8. nereas

    nereas Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Expat Floridian travelling in the Land of Eternal
    2,735
    6
    0
    An LP hose rupture would result in an explosion of bubbles, and you would know right away what happened, so if you quickly switched over to your octo (assuming that it works -- many of them work very poorly) then you would have a little time but not much to ascend.

    Best thing is to monitor your SPG fairly often to be sure you have not yet reached your turn around point (either 1/2 way or rule of thirds), and do not stay longer.

    Most diving fatalities occur with the diver having his/her weight belt still on and intact. The best thing is to ditch your belt if you ever believe that you are in grave danger of drowning. Unfortunately, history has shown that this virtually never happens.

    Therefore I believe the SSI drill was a good one. Too bad it has been abandoned by virtually all agencies now.
     
  9. PvtStash

    PvtStash Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toledo, Ohio
    758
    8
    18
    we did this in the shallow end of the pool, standing (waist-deep). He wanted us to know how it felt; we were to signal when we noticed a breathing difference at which point he would turn the air back on... I'm glad tohave had the experience to feel what it feels like, and don' think its particularly nescessary to do at depth.
     
  10. siikik

    siikik Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Central Florida
    449
    1
    18
    This is absolutely true... never put yourself in an OOA situation. But IMHO, if you have never experienced the subtle differences in breathing before you run out of air, you may just end up panicked when you actually do run out of air. First thing you might think is "this thing is breathing really funny... I wonder if it's ok?" to be quickly followed by "oh *&$#*!"

    I consider my training invaluable. I still remember what it was like. I keep wondering what happened to the class content over the years... then I remember, NASDS didn't have an Open Water certification level.


    Ken
     

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