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Why we dive with a Pony

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by NJScubaDoc, May 28, 2011.

  1. endurodog

    endurodog Instructor, Scuba

    You hit the nail on the head here and I contributed to it.

    Good subject by the OP

    I'm out!
  2. Medicdiver0125

    Medicdiver0125 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives:
    Location: Saint Clair Shores, MI
    To continue in the scuba board way of thinking, " if you dive with a pony, you are not a good diver and will die".

    Now that being said, I just started diving with a RAS a 40 cuft pony to be exact. I like it. It is there in case **** happens. I am also a firefighter and a paramedic, so most of my training is for in case **** happens. As someone else said I would rather have it and not need it, than not have it and need it.
    endurodog and Jax like this.
  3. Hatul

    Hatul Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tustin, California, United States
    Whenever I solo dive I take a pony, slung so I can see it in front of me. It's partly psychological, but in diving psychological is important as we all know that panic can kill.

  4. Crush

    Crush Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western Canada
    You will also die if you use a BC. :)

    NAUI, (I believe) PADI, and other agencies recommend a pony bottle in certain situations such as deep recreational dives. Yet SB has posters who eagerly anticipate these threads so that they can espouse superiority which exceeds those of many certifying agencies - it affords them a vehicle to denigrate others, stating that pony bottles are never necessary. Wutever their issue, such individuals will emerge, pile on abuse or leading questions, then disappear again.
    Jax likes this.
  5. koozemani

    koozemani Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Tucson, AZ
    Ummm crush, you misspelled "whatever". Just thought I'd point that out. Lmao
    Crush likes this.
  6. Medicdiver0125

    Medicdiver0125 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives:
    Location: Saint Clair Shores, MI
  7. beasleym

    beasleym Nassau Grouper

    Here's my two cents on ponies. I agree with those that say it depends on the situation. Also I see several comments that are basically thought exercises vs. what I think are good comments: someone mentioned trying to reach a buddy and get a breath and another mentioned having a real world problem. By my way of thinking - if you haven't tested it out your words are about worthless. There are too many smart people that have ended up dead. And those thoughts particularly about security blankets are just chaff. If you've got real world experience or had a problem your comments have value here!

    1) My experience is that I can make it from 60 feet or so with practice. I've had to do it and I practice it once in a while. Beyond that I carry a pony bottle, either a 6 or 13 cuft, and I practice with both so I know what I can expect from myself and the pony bottle. And the comment about air going quickly is right - it happens real fast, particularly when you're well into the dive!
    2) I agree with those that mention having common equipment. Problem is that I'm not got to carry a backplate and drysuit in warm water and vice versa. But most of equipment and what I carry is identical, any my pony 2nd is always around my neck on a breakaway.
    3) When traveling, I either look for a good buddy beforehand or am selective when possible. The reality is that even the best buddy can be too far away and you can't always expect a operator to even set up buddies. One example I've had is an instructor that was so into the dive kept blithely swimming along without checking where I was. I was behind him and had a problem and had to surface. He found me on the surface and was unhappy, and then I unloaded on him and he was even more unhappy.

    I carry a backup to computer. Never had one fail. But I've seen it fail and it's cheap insurance. Bottom line: a buddy is backup and insurance, a pony is backup and insurance, and there's no substitute for practice when you need that backup and know how to use it.
  8. Dr Wu

    Dr Wu Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: The State Department adds pages to my Passport abo
    No. I don't think so.

    Pony bottles have become quite popular with divers that have not fully explored the reason for their existence or what use they can be.

    That's why you see so many "It just gives me a feeling of security" responses.

    Feeling secure is not being secure.

    Yes I do. My redundant equipment works just fine for me.

    That said, keep watching out for the trolls. Many of them have one actual dive for every hundred posts they make.

    It takes a while but they are eventually crushed in the threads and are forced to change their screen name to avoid further embarrassment.
  9. saudio

    saudio Solo Diver

    I'll weigh in here.

    I dive with a 13 cu ft pony tank, back mounted, on every dive. I started using one after I got involved in underwater photography, and subsequently began diving solo most of the time.

    Diving solo, UW photography, and diving with a pony tank are all intertwined for me. But first, the basics.

    If one has an out of air emergency, it seems to me that the simplest solution is the best and safest one. If you are out of air or dangerously low on air, the air you need is UP. The shortest distance to UP is UP. However, if you have an OOA situation with a buddy, let's count the steps. 1. Locate buddy (and if you say you always know exactly where your buddy is, you probably don't have a lot of dives logged). 2. Get to buddy. Usually that means going some direction besides UP. Sometimes, even DOWN!. 3. Establish shared breathing of some sort. Hopefully it's just grabbing his octopus and saying a short prayer that he's maintained it, that the purge button works, that it hasn't been dragged through the sand, etc. While you are praying, pray that he has a standard octo rig rather than a octo/BC inflator combo, because that requires step 3.1 asking for your buddy's primary regulator and waiting for that to happen. That means than in an emergency situation, with stress levels high, there are a few moments when both the OOA diver and the donor diver don't have regulators in their mouths. I can't see that as being a good thing under those circumstances. 4. Do an emergency ascent while attached to another diver, where both divers have to find proper buoyancy, and both divers have to agree on the ascent rate (sometimes the dive who ran out of air wants to go up a little faster than the donor diver). Again, this is another time to pray your donor diver uses a standard octopus, trying to maintain proper buoyancy when the fill and exhaust control of your BC is IN YOUR MOUTH takes some practice. Combo users, when is the last time you practiced an emergency ascent while donating air to another diver through your primary?

    Now, let's count the steps for an OOA emergency with a pony tank. 1. Put the regulator that is bungied under my chin in my mouth. 2. Go UP.

    9 out of 10 rocket scientists probably agree that as far as getting your ass out of trouble in a real OOA emergency, a pony tank has it's advantages.

    Here are a few other points to consider: If you are an UW photographer or videographer, you are diving solo. If you are buddied with an UW photographer or videographer, you are diving solo. Under those circumstances, you better have a plan for getting to the surface in an OOA situation that doesn't involve finding the diver who has lagged behind to take some shots and is now further from you than the surface. Just food for thought.

    All that said, let me follow by saying that overall, I do believe that diving with a known, reliable buddy, in a situation where nobody is gathering digital images, is safer than diving solo. In my case, I don't know any divers who can travel on my schedule, and even if I did, I'm still taking pictures and as such, I'm oftentimes not going to be close enough to a buddy to count on him. So I had to decide what was the next best alternative, and for me it was equipping and preparing myself to be self reliant under water. I always dive with a pony tank. I carry a knife, and shears, dive alert, Storm whistle, and a safety flag on every dive. I have a Solo diver Certification. I also carry a Personal Locator Beacon in a waterproof canister on any dive where I'm going to be isolated, in current, or away from land. I can activate this PLB any place on Earth and a satellite signal with my exact GPS location is transmitted to rescue facilities within 45 seconds.

    So, why solo dive when you have any other option? I can only say, it's different than buddy diving. Very different. Some may like it, some may not, but I do. I really, really enjoy the freedom of diving, and being completely by yourself underwater is like nothing else. I particularly enjoy solo night dives, the serenity is unsurpassed.

    I know how volatile this subject is, and I know how passionate people are about it. You can save your breath telling me how your way is better. It may well be, but I'm coming up on about 1000 solo dives, and I doubt you'll be able to save me from myself at this point. :)

    And I can't end without mentioning that carrying a pony tank to remote locations is a flat out pain in the ass, as is dealing with it on a rolling boat and hauling it from place to place and getting it filled and VIPed and Hydro'ed, etc. I just think of it as a basic piece of my dive kit, and if I go, it goes. Then I don't worry about it any more.
  10. Crush

    Crush Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western Canada
    Others, having explored the uses of pony bottles, think that they have a place in certain dives.

    JJ wrote something which rings true to me in light of your comments - "all successful movements have their zealots."

    -Jarrod Jablonski, "Toward a New and Unique Future," dirQuest, Summer 2004

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