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Tough Buddy Separation Problem

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by Reg Braithwaite, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    If I were in a place with poor viz, where it would be easy to blunder into the wreck without intending it, AND I had the appropriate equipment with me, AND my general search had not turned up my buddy, I might look inside the wreck. I have the training to do so safely, and the training to retrieve a distressed buddy if the need be.

    The thought of an overhead-untrained diver trying to penetrate a wreck to look for someone who, if he is in inside, is probably frantic, short on gas, or incapacitated, gives me the shudders.

    If my buddy and I have agreed that we will not enter the wreck, and the viz is good enough that one would not wander in inadvertently, I'd be very unlikely to do a penetration in search, unless there were clear and compelling evidence that the missing buddy were inside. In that case, I'd use my overhead training to take a look, and if I found said buddy inside the wreck, I would try to escort him safely to the surface, and then I probably would never dive with him again.
  2. NudeDiver

    NudeDiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: The Best Part
    There may have been. However, my response was to the scenario (and question) as it was actually posed - not whatever I could dream up on my own.

    Nowhere, that I read, did the OP say anything about a pre-dive discussion concerning any alternative "lost buddy" protocols. Had any such information been present in the OP, I may have given a different answer.

    In other words - you do the best you can to follow the plan, whatever the plan is. Lacking a plan (as in the OP), fall back to your training and the standards that have been taught to you - whatever that training and those standards may be.

  3. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Toronto, ON
    The point of the question is what is the best plan? If you agree to search for one minute, do you agree to search for one minute including inside the wreck, even though you agreed not to go inside the wreck?
  4. RJP

    RJP Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey
    Depends on the buddy...

    Do you know him well enough to know whether he would actually abide by your "agreement" to not go inside the wreck? Do you know him well enough to know whether he would get narced at that depth and forget your agreement? Do you know him well enough to know whether he's got the skills to prevent himself from getting swept into the wreck inadvertantly by the current?

    If you know the answers to these questions, then you have a pretty good handle on the relative likelihood that he is NOT inside the wreck.

    If you DON'T know the answers to these questions, then you have a pretty good handle on what questions you need to get a pretty good handle on before you dive with any buddy in the future.
  5. Rick Inman

    Rick Inman Advisor ScubaBoard Supporter

    There is a difference between doing a lost buddy prodigal, and initiating a true "search." A real search is not something to be initiated as a solo diver on a whim. If I don't have a buddy, I am now a solo diver, and if my dive was not planned to be solo, my dive is now over. I do my looksy for the buddy, and if I don't find him, my dive has ended. So I surface. If my buddy has not returned then a real search can be planned and initiated, not some unplanned solo poke around the wreck buffoonery that could be asking for trouble.
  6. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    Maybe your buddy is just playing a prank on you. He's probably behind some part of the wreck holding his breath and watching to see what you are going to do. So to teach him a lesson, take a quick glance around, shrug your shoulders, and finish your dive.
  7. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Toronto, ON
    It also depends on you. For example, Lynne has a great deal of training and opined that she might do some look-seeing in the holds for the buddy if she thought he might have gone in.

    In my own case, I did not have rescue training or overhead training, and I certainly did not have the equipment for a rescue. One of the reasons that I insisted we stay out of the wreck was that I considered the risk unacceptable for us operating as a buddy team. You can well imagine what I thought of the risk of operating as an untrained solo diver searching for someone who may be in a state of panic.

    However, that is a very personal decision. I suspect that others with more experience on that wreck would judge the risk differently for them. I have dived it three times now and I still haven't even looked inside the holds. Lots of people I respect go inside, swim up to the pocket of air, and have fun.

    This is why I posed it as a question to the group, there are lots of valid perspectives and we can learn from each other, learn what sorts of factors to consider. Like the questions you posed. Thank you.
  8. J.R.

    J.R. Divemaster

    The "best plan"... the best plan is what years of experience by hundreds of divers had evolved into and is taught in dive classes... "Look for one minute and then surface safely"...

    The thing is I think you're looking for some sort of universal "better mousetrap"... and you won't find it because of precisely what we experience on SB all the time... there are no limits to the extent of "what if" scenerios.

    Plans are developed based on the highest probabilities... the highest probability of the nature of the problem... the highest probability for success... the highest probability for minimum collateral damage... the highest possibility for the average diver to employ the plan successfully... etc.

    The thing is that when you start introducing "what if" scenerios and making plans for the "extrodinary" or "less than probable" you begin to alter the potential success of the probable.

    *IF* you're doing some extrodinary dive you should have sufficient understanding of the dive to be able to set in place emergency plans of various sorts appropriate to the dive... if you don't have sufficient information to make these plans you probably shouldn't be doing the dive... or, at least, default to the basic plan that has... so far... stood the test of time.

    The fact is that, short of a custom plan for a specific dive, I don't think there *IS* any "better plan"... for a broad variety of reasons. But all plans are like a hand of poker... you make the best decision of how to play it at the time you hold it and hope you made wise decisions.

    ... and the problem with 'accademically' trying to play with dive scenerios is that it is generally only successful if everybody is playing with ALL the facts at the same detail level as they would expect if the were actually DOING the plan for a dive they were going to be on. Having inadeqate information to do a theoretic dive should result in the same conclusoin as having inadequate information to do an actual dive... either don't don't do it... or go with the 'standard accepted proceedures' for simple dives.

    ... my two psi

    (oh... and assuming you use the "one minute" search thing... the path of your search should be a retracing of where you came from... this assumes, of course, that you're not the one lost... backtracking gives you your best chance of finding the misplaced who is "probably" just around the corner... if you WERE in the wreck... I'd go to the area you exited... hover at the opening and wave my light around... umm... you DO have a light don't you??? ;-) ... do this for one minute... then surface... and get help if your buddy isn't already there... or doesn't show up real soon...
  9. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

    There are exceptions to almost everything. I honestly don't know if the "no exceptions" comes from PADI or from your instructor, but it's wrong and could be quite dangerous. On a deep dive with an upline, such as you would have on a wreck, the meet up point is the bottom of the up line, not the surface.

    There are no "required safety stops." If it's a safety stop, it's optional. If it's a required stop, it is a decompression stop. Yes, I know PADI requires safety stops. What they are doing is using an incorrect term they invented to describe a decompression stop to mislead people.

    It's an excellent idea, but only after the more likely possibilities have been exhausted.
  10. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Toronto, ON
    The term has never confused me. Required: Do it. Safety: For your safety. Stop: Stop ascending and hold for the recommended period of time. What is confusing about this? Sure there are allegedly "safety stops" that are "optional." I don't even know what that means without training to understand when it is better to get out of the water without a safety stop.

    The PADI OW and AOW I took never once went into detail about when it is safer to skip a safety stop, and I have never seen a diver cruse on through 20', 15', 10', 5', and the surface without a stop. I'm beginning to think that the source of confusion are the optional safety stops, not the mandatory ones ;-)

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