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Why give primary instead of alternate regulator?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by ScubaRob0311, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. ScubaRob0311

    ScubaRob0311 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: United States
    44
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    I'm new to diving and also work in a unrelated technical field and for the life of me I can't think of any legitimate benefit to have a diver take primary instead of alternate regulator?

    I was taught to take the alternate from your buddy if needed and not necessarily wait for them to hand it to you.

    Maybe I'm missing something but here are my thoughts.

    If you tell or train people to go for or give up primary your just increasing the odds of 2 people having an emergency instead of one.

    For example you have group 1 who believes in giving up primary.
    Best case diver has issue and needs to share air and their buddy sees this and gives primary to diver in trouble and switches to alternate themselves and everyone lives to tell the tale.
    Worst case scenario diver has issue and needs to share air but buddy isn't paying attention and doesn't see what's going on. So diver in trouble grabs the primary right out of mouth of buddy who then could swallow water, freak out or any number of other problems leading to both divers possibly being in serious trouble.

    Now group 2 believes in giving or taking the alternate. Since we all double check our buddies gear before getting in water we know that the buddy has their alternate in the triangle.
    Again best case scenario buddy sees diver in trouble and hands them their octo and everyone lives to tell the tale.
    Worse case scenario diver has problem and buddy isn't paying attention. They swim over and grab the alternate buddy and again live to tell the tale.

    I guess I just don't understand why have that added risk of something going wrong by taking the primary away from the diver not in distress?

    If there is a better reason to give primary instead of alternate I would definitely like to know so I can start training that way.
     
    Brian Huff likes this.
  2. aviator8

    aviator8 Photographer

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Georgia
    663
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    This should be fun :popcorn:
     
    Ana, Gi0, FinnMom and 9 others like this.
  3. Brian Huff

    Brian Huff Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: North Carolina
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    There are A LOT of discussions about this topic here, it's a fun one to wade through. The most recent thread that I've seen can be found here:
    Primary or alternate donate poll

    Read through it, have fun, go with what you're comfortable with.
     
    Lorenzoid likes this.
  4. ScubaRob0311

    ScubaRob0311 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: United States
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    I saw that one and read a bunch of it but I didn't see anything that really addressed my question. It seemed mostly that people do what they were initially trained to do. It just seems less safe to me to potentially have someone yank a regulator from your mouth.
     
  5. Caveeagle

    Caveeagle Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: High Springs, FL
    1,506
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    I was trained to donate my primary reg going all the way back to ‘91. For starters, my OW class used rental gear with Air2s.. so you are expected to donate the primary and switch to your Air2/inflator. (Never owned this config, just what my initial training was in).

    I moved to Cavern/Cave pretty early, so a Hogarthian gear configuration was pretty much the prevailing standard in the early 90s, using a 7’ hose and primary reg wrapped around your neck.

    Two thoughts on benefits of primary donate: theory goes that a panicking OOA diver is likely to grab the reg they know is working, which is the one in your mouth.

    Second factor is that the OOA diver should have less difficulty purging your primary reg, and can probably take that quick breath and reduce stress of the transition.

    One could certainly debate the benefits of these points. But for me, primary donate is the established standard. It’s how we train, and how we dive..
     
  6. Brian Huff

    Brian Huff Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: North Carolina
    116
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    Did you read through from start to finish? There are a lot of people getting into the nitty-gritty of primary vs alt donate.

    Like you, I'm new, and the conclusion I've come to is that when we're starting off, stick with what you know or were taught.

    I'm at the point were I'm just now figuring out that I really don't know what I don't know. Meaning, there's a bunch to figure out first before I get too worried about primary vs alt donate.

    In recreational diving, most folks tend to donate alt. In tech, specialty, experienced diving is where the primary donate and long hose folks start to really be seen.

    For me, now, if I'm in an OOA situation I'll most likely not have the calm, cool. collected reaction to even figure out which regulator to donate or which one to grab from a buddy. I'll most likely freak the f**k out and yank at whatever I can grab... which is horrible, but until I've got a hundred of more dives in, human nature will take over.

    I THINK someday, once I'm comfortable underwater and muscle memory starts being built up, that I'll primary donate. The arguments in that thread I linked above seem to make sense to me.

    In the end, it's really easy to debate it all on a forum.. yet totally different when you're in the water and I bet most folks, if being honest, will do what is best in the situation they find themselves in.

    Hope that helps, and welcome to diving!
     
  7. ScubaRob0311

    ScubaRob0311 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: United States
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    I guess that's what confuses me a lot too. I was trained to give alternate and others are even currently being trained to give/take primary.
    I was in military as well and your last statement resonates with me. It's ALL about how you train. If you are properly trained and properly maintain your training then in an emergency your training is supposed to kick in so that you don't have to think.
    So it's kind of scary that there are two different standards and those trained to give/take alternate have someone take their primary when they are freaking out that could easily turn into 2 dead or seriously injured divers.
    Again I'm new so my opinion doesn't mean much lol but personally I think all the organizations should either settle on one standard or at the least train people in OW to have their regulator ripped from their mouth unexpectedly so they don't freak out when their buddy does it to them.
     
  8. ScubaRob0311

    ScubaRob0311 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: United States
    44
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    Ok so I guess I can see more experienced divers giving up primary because it's quicker, they know their gear and that alternate will work and where it is and that newer divers freak out.

    I guess I'm thinking about this from noob perspective. I'm imagining one diver freaking out and grabbing other divers primary who then freaks out because they are inexperienced as well and they thrash about and everyone drowns.
     
  9. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: SoFlo
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    I was of the crowd who believed ALT made more sense as well. I also built my reg set specifically for that. This video gave me more insight into why primary can be more beneficial with more pros and less cons. I’m now switching my rig set to primary donate.

     
    FreeFlyFreak likes this.
  10. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: SoFlo
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    well this should be something you and your buddy discuss before ever entering the water. Especially as a new diver. Your pre dive briefing should go over exactly what you both intend to do if either of you are OOA. If you are more comfortable with ALT donate make that clear that’s why you intend to do since you were taught that. My octo has a quick release clip. So i personally show my buddy on the boat/shore before hand how it works.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.

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