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How To Get Up Alone

May 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Posted in Technical Diving Discussions by CraigW on May 3, 2011

Whats the minimum equipment necessary to get a solo diver to the surface from depth?

Equipment failure, lost buddy, solo diving and underwater videography are areas where divers may be subject to a greater likelihood of experiencing problems they are unable to handle.

Through the years I have spent working in the recreational and technical diving community we have always known and taught the principal of team diving.  For the open water students from day 1 they know they need to dive with a buddy.  I would like to discuss the reasons behind this procedure including the possible dangers of ignoring this concept.

Recreational diving equipment does not have any redundancy:

Does recreational equipment need redundancy?  Well if all the rules are followed no.  The equipment is designed for no decompression diving with a buddy in an environment familiar to that during training.  However once divers start building confidence and developing new skills they may be inadvertently put into situations they are both unequipped and untrained to handle.

How many times have we seen equipment problems either on the boat or under water such as: tank o-ring burst, HP hose burst, LP hose burst, 2nd stage falling off, SPG Burst, corrosion from inside the tank plug the first stage?  If you have never seen an equipment problem you probably haven’t been diving for long.  I have even seen the A-clamp screw strip out allowing the first stage to pop off the tank!  There is obviously no excuse for improper maintenance or neglecting the need for repairs.  I am lucky my dive school has a professional team to ensure any reported problems are repaired immediately.  The point is, if your working under water year after year you will at some point experience some sort of problem.

Whaleshark at Chumphon Koh Tao

The dive school I work for does not allow solo diving, we all say we don’t solo dive but how often do we see these rules broken?  I commonly see situations where videographers, photographers, instructors and divemasters turn a blind eye, just that once, just for that one shot.  Unfortunately eventually complacency usually overrules and this becomes a regular occurrence.  It’s not that these divers are not good divers, they are just lacking the equipment and training to conduct these activities safely.

We are primarily concerned about two types of problems: those that will cause you to loose all your gas or those that will render you out of gas immediately.  One of the worst case scenarios for any solo diver would be to have to make an emergency ascent while out of air.

There are several ‘bail out’ options on the market.  Some of these can actually get you out of the water with a safety stop where other ‘Air Spare’ options don’t even have a capacity to get you up from 18M with a controlled ascent, never mind 30M!  If we are going to back ourselves up we might as well do it with enough gas!

*All calculations based upon 20L/min breathing rate (likely breathing rate of stressed recreational diver)

Amount of gas in litres to make an emergency ascent from:

* 30M = 320L (230L with no safety stop)

* 18M = 222L (132L with no safety stop)

-Spare air model 300PKYEL
maximum capacity = 85L

-Spare air model 170PKYEL
maximum capacity = 48L

Why carry something that can’t get you to the surface while following a safe ascent rate? There are other options available, whether it be a 2L back mounted redundant air supply with its own reg or a stage cylinder side mounted, some sort of back up equipment must be used.

To properly understand the fundamentals of solo diving I would highly recommend the following program:

This course is designed to train divers about the proper procedures and hazards for solo diving, upon certification students may engage in planned solo diving activities.  This course includes procedures for diving with a secondary air source capable of providing sufficient gas to safely abort a dive with an equipment failure or related gas supply emergency.

Redundant air supply use, understanding breathing gas requirements, independent equipment checks and advanced emergency procedures will be covered.  Becoming one of the standards for independent diving practice, the solo diver program teaches experienced recreational divers how to safely dive independently of a dive buddy or strengthen your buddy team skills.  The course stresses on:

  • Proper dive planning
  • Personal limitations
  • Accident prevention
  • Benefits, hazards, and proper procedures for diving solo

The student must:

  • Be a minimum age of twenty one(21)
  • Have a Minimum certification of Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent
  • Minimum of one hundred (100) logged dives.

Face to Face DEMA 2010 Las Vages

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

The power of face-to-face negotiation just got a little stronger!  I know if you’re like me you will love to see all the new products coming to the marketplace at DEMA this year.  You will love to take in the Vegas Vibe for a few nights. And of course get to network face-to-face.  With all the people who will be out at this years’ DEMA show it’s going to be hard to fit it all in.

Now with all the guest speakers, updates, special programs and seminars I don’t know about you but I’d love to be able to get it all in as well as some famous Vegas night life and of course talk with YOU!  So why don’t we do this…  if you’re interested in meeting with us at anytime during this years’ DEMA show, attach your name, company name, date and time (booth # if you have one) and we will be there.  We are looking forward to the week in Vegas as much as anyone, but coming all the way from Thailand we would like to get the most and provide the most we can out of this week.

Cheers and we look forward to seeing you ALL there!

Traveling With Equipment

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Are you an over packer? I know I am, and the cost of flights going to my favorite Diving Locations are killing me let alone the cost for extra baggage!  What about once you get there? Do you ever get sick and tired of carrying around that huge bag of Diving equipment? Again my hand is raised! A few months ago I was offered the chance to try Aqua Lungs solution to this problem. The Aqua Lung Travel Set (see below)!  At first sight I could see the quality I have come to trust from Aqua Lung.  As I sat with the Asia-Pacific Rep we joked about just how small we could pack this kit.  So together we put it to the ultimate test, we picked up all the gear went into the dive shop and as we made our way through some of our smaller dive bags we had an idea… the rep wanted us to try to get it all into a 20 Liter dry bag, mask, BCD, Reg everything! I didn’t think it would be possible but there it was within seconds inside a  20 Liter bag! With room to spare we took it to an even smaller bag… Yes we were even able to pack an entire diving kit into a 15 Liter dry bag WOW!  Now he had my attention but what about comfort, quality and what kind of price is a kit like this going to cost me?  We demo’d the kit for a few weeks letting quite a few Divemasters at Bans try it out as well as myself we all found it to be one of the most comfortable BCDs we have ever worn.  The Reg breathed like a dream and we could not say enough about it.  So ok, great quality, great comfort, where’s the down side? MUST be the price right? Mask (Look2) BCD, full Reg set all for 51,930 Baht.  Then after talking with the rep we got a special discount getting the Look2 mask for free with the purchase of a whole kit! That brought the price to 49,560Baht. GREAT! Still want better? Till the end of December 2010 Aqua Lung is offering to give you a FREE Octo with this set as well! Thats taking the price down to 41,870 Baht. Now… that’s pretty hard to beat but at Bans till the end of the year, we are also giving a special Divemaster discount of 15% so the final price for a full set of equipment with a BCD that weighs less than 2kg comes to 35,590 Baht!!! For the rest of the world that’s $1,180US. Now the only thing that worries me is the strength of the BCD over time.  This is no problem if your going away on holidays every year.  However, I do not think it would hold up to heavy everyday use,  but we will see (it does come with a limited lifetime warranty). I like this product soo much that if you come into our shop and ask we’ll give you one to try for the day.  Stop by try it out, see what you think.  Give us a post if you have any feed back.