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Working rig questions.

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by leam, May 6, 2006.

  1. leam

    leam Solo Diver

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    Okay, so I have no life and have spent Saturday evening working on my diving rig. There are some big questions that I don't yet have answers to though. Advice appreciated.

    Weight belt. Still having issues with this. I normally wear 14-16#. If I put it on last like a good boy it slips down to my knees while I swim. If I put it under my harness it isn't as easy to remove if needed. It's a mesh zippered belt with soft bag weights. Suggestions welcome. My untested compromise is to put it on last but underneath my crotch strap. That way it won't slip down too far and I only have one extra step to remove it. If that. It may slip out easily enough as is.

    Equipment list. Diver's tool, shears, back-up light, pelican, buddy line. Need to attach a whistle and would like to carry a spare mask. Any thoughts on stuff to add to the list and how to carry it all on a back-plate and wings?

    Alternate Air. The team uses AGAs with a pony bottle. The main tank and pony are piped into a manifold that can be switched so the AGA, Air2, and inflator can live off either bottle. However, if I had to go after another diver I'd be hosed. They would either have to breathe off my little Air2 hose or wear the AGA. Any thoughts on how to carry spare air in case you have to either use it your self or give it to another person while you extricate them? Obviously the solution would need to be trim and stowable itself.

    Shoulder straps. Any problems with keeping the right shoulder strap a few inches looser than the left? That would let me doff and don my gear under water easier, something I've still not successfully done.

    I tend to dive the same rig whether team training or not. Since I'm newer it helps me get more comfortable with things. Just trying to avoid carrying the kitchen sink yet having everything needed and trim.

    ciao!

    leam
     
  2. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

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    Hi Leam. Just some ideas for you.

    Not sure why you're having such a problem here but I wouldn't put it under a crotch strap - a little extra time may be too much one day. Do you snug it up a bit more upon your descent? Maybe a standard belt would work better? Is the crotch strap causing it to slide if its on top? I'm not sure a crotch strap has a place in PSD although I realize its a fairly important part of the BP/wing system.
    I don't like a weight sytem thats wholly integrated but maybe half in fashion is the best option with the BP. Place the belt under the crotch strap as you've done but have some integrated harness where you can ditch some weight more readily. You could also experiment with P weights...

    Strictly PSD I would actually remove stuff you don't need. Shears are good - up to 3pair if you can, a whistle and the spare mask in a thigh pocket if you can. The rest, only take as you need it. We never carry lights because vis is never good enough anyway

    I'm not a fan of the air2 even for PSD. Its very hard to control your buoyancy while breathing it and free flows can be a problem but I understand if its a 'team' thing, just try to look for another method when equipment purchases come up again. Your description highlights the problem of why it can't be used very well for buddy diving.
    What I'd suggest is have a standard octo coming off the pony for your buddy and a quick disconnect off the block from the pony. Quick, easy and you can pass the whole pony if you need to - you've got so many options with this configuration.

    How about quick release buckles? The benefits they are for PSD outweigh the pitfalls IMO

    Good idea if you can. Especially if you're just starting. You may eventually find the need for different rigs - now before everyone wants to burn me at the stake. You need to dive these different rigs ALOT - as in weekly, which most people don't or can't do. A rig is a tool like anything else, you need the right rig for what you're doing
     
  3. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
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    I know people who have added a few strips of "Velcro" to their suit and belt. This didn't hold the belt on but it was enough holding power to keep it from slipping off those buttless figures. :D

    I don't mind the AIR-2 for sport, my wife has one, but for PSD I don't like it. There are much better choices out there. Also with a FF there are much better choices.

    Practice getting in and out of the gear at home. Do it over and over until you get it down pat. Then it will be a breeze submerged. You can leave the tank off if you want and add it later but the important thing is getting to know your gear better than you know your wife/girlfriend of both if that's the case. :D

    Try going over your head both off and on as well as removing to both sides and replacing from each side and over the head. This may sound like an over kill but what happens if the side you normally practice on is the side you can't use for whatever reason.

    I am a firm believer that one should dive as mush as possible in the same gear configuration for sport as they do for PSD. Granted we can't always do that but switching from one rig to another is the best thing to do.

    Gary D.
     
  4. leam

    leam Solo Diver

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    Reiterating that I have no life, today is my birthday and we're heading to the quarry. One of the guys on my team has not gotten a lot of dives lately so we're going to get him wet.

    We'll also have german chocolate cake if you can make it. :D

    Back to the Air2 question. I've been working on my rig skills and can now doff and don it with some effort. Found out that the team coordinator uses Air2 as a generic term. So a couple of us have them but only one reg set has the hose for the Scuba Pro version. I'm more interested now in finding out what the options are that we should be looking at. Bridgediver's suggestion of a releaseable pony sounds good, does it work in practice? Can you pony up some links of options?

    A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were in the dive shop. She looked at me lovingly and said those magic words; "For Christmas should I save for a camera or an AGA?" Man do I love that woman!

    ciao!

    leam
     
  5. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
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    Good morning Leam;

    Reference the Air2 issue we use Sherwood Shadows. More compact and much smaller than the Air2 and it still eliminates one hose.

    My wife is the same way. She goes to the dive shop and say’s; Don’t you need one of these?” I try and take her often. :D

    Happy B-Day.

    Gary D.
     
  6. Yotsie

    Yotsie Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Modesto, CA
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    Leam,

    We use a releaseable pony system as an alternate air source on our AGAs. We have a Sartek RSV attached to the AGA with a quick disconnect http://www.sarind.com/ so we can donate the pony underwater. We practice out of air and entangled diver emergencies on every training day. We also have an Alum 80 set up as a rescue bottle. This has a 6' hose with a quick disconnect to provide the entangled diver more air until we can get a surface supplied line to him. Once he's on surface air, we'll start working on the rescue of the diver.

    The key we found is that all members have the same basic gear (suit, BCD, Mask, gas block, stages) so everyone is familiar with the gear in a high stress situation. The second key is to practice, practice, practice!!!

    Paul
     
  7. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

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    I agree with Paul's points.
    The sartech block is a good one - the quick disconnect is right on the block and easy to manipulate. We use the same type of system except we don't have a 6ft hose on the contingency bottle (I'd be intersted in hearing how you guys manage with that Paul) and we don't have surface supplied capability; but that really doesn't matter with this system.

    One of the biggest risks for a PSD is entanglement because we're usually searching in the stuff that gets you tangled. The diver often isn't aware he is tangled until he is attempting to ascend which is also at the point where his air supply is the lowest. Having a good system for a redundant air source is key (by system I mean gear, procedures etc)
    - The back up diver can shuttle down tanks to the trapped diver all day long if he has to, just follow the tether down and NOBODY needs to remove a FFM so your exposure worries aren't there.
    - With the pony being easily releasable the backup diver can hand it off to the trapped diver if his air supply is getting low. He can then hook up the full pony and hold his original pony as a reserve while the backup diver goes for more gas (like the 80 Paul mentioned) or continue to try to free the trapped diver. Again, no FFM removal is necessary for any tank switching.
    If the pony's are hard mounted you have only 1 choice - get the trapped diver free before you run out of air or someone will drown.

    So what if the FFM fails so bad that you can't breathe it? A standard octo on a necklace from the pony is your back up (this is what you can use for buddy diving too). Its an extra hose but you've increased your options. The location of an air2 puts your air source at greater risk of entanglement and debris/mud fouling it - not what you want to have as your last chance of air IMO.
    Too much can go wrong with the air2. A standard octo will only freeflow if it fails and when it does you'll know it because its on a necklace. Chances of it freeflowing are reduced because its not getting continuous use throughout the dive - like an air2 is because it also controls the BCD (many sport ice divers use only manual BCD inflation and don't even connect the inflator hose due to this).

    For probably the best (and most expensive!) QR pony mount go here:
    http://www.tigergear.com/

    I don't really have any other links for you. I've got a fair amount of material on this stuff that I can try to outline for you but nothing in the electronic form.
    There are other scenarios that can occur too, these are only a couple.

    I haven't found any holes in this system but if they're are I'd like to know about them. It is the safest I've seen so far.

    mark
     
  8. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

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    I know we've clashed over this before, Gary and I've never really bothered to debate you on this because its almost become one of those unwritten rules; but why?

    Sport diving is NOT PSD so how can we dive the same gear doing different diving? Especially when sport divers and PSDs will vary their own configurations in their own disciplines all the time. It makes no sense to me.

    It seems kind of slow around here lately anyways ...:wink:
     
  9. Yotsie

    Yotsie Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Modesto, CA
    260
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    Sounds like all the holes are covered!!:wink:
     
  10. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
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    With a Recovery Team it really doesn’t matter but if everyone dives the same gear they know the next guy’s much better.

    Where the uniform gear for the team comes into major play is in a Rescue Team. Things happen fast. We strive to get into the water in less than three minutes from our arrival on scene. About double that if we are going under the ice.

    Should a diver have a piece of equipment break or fail, for whatever reason, another diver on scene has a replacement and knows how to change it out quickly. If the equipment wasn’t uniform, that diver might be done until repairs are made. In a recovery that’s no big deal. During a rescue that could take whatever survival chance the victim had away.

    All equipment among dive team members should be identical (with the exception of personal items such as mask, fins and snorkel). Such standardization of scuba gear helps promote identical procedures among individual divers underwater. In emergencies, it is much easier for divers to help one another when they are familiar with each other’s equipment.

    Also it is more convenient to stock spare parts for scuba gear when every diver uses the same brand and models of equipment.

    ___________________________________________

    I dive about the same configuration all the time for sport or for work. The only big changes I make are when I take a trip to the warmer waters.

    I don’t think the diving is that different but the job or task, when, where and how we do it is. I think we all agree that a lot of sport gear is not suitable for PSD. But not much in PSD isn’t suitable for sport.

    That should speed thing up a bit. :D

    Gary D.
     

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