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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.
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PADI Sea the change

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Sea the Change

People like you are doing things large and small to protect the underwater world you care about. That’s why PADI created a conservation contest to let you see and share what fellow ocean lovers are doing to help.  Be part of the change. Submit a video. Vote on your favorite videos and send to your friends. Help ignite a viral conservation effort.

PADI Sea the Change Conservation Contest

Prize Details

Do you love the underwater world? Would you like to see it better protected?

Put your conservation into action and you could be the $5,000 USD grand prize winner, plus PADI will donate an additional $5,000 USD on your behalf to Project AWARE Foundation.

Simply grab your video camera and upload a short clip about what sea life you love and what you’re doing to make a difference. Every little action counts. By sharing what you’re doing, you may inspire others to take action. Be part of the change and help ignite a viral conservation effort. Submit a video. Vote on your favorite videos and send to your friends.

Contest Instructions

Yes, cash is nice and the public will vote for a grand prize winner. But, every video submitted spurs people to help our beloved aquatic life. That’s why you are permitted to upload as many video entries as you want. A beautiful ocean for generations to come is WAY better than cash, right? So, take a few minutes to submit a quick video—it doesn’t have to be a polished, professional looking clip. You’ll feel better knowing you did your part to help. Plus, you might see your video featured on the PADI blog at www.padi.com/blog where interesting conservation messages are shared often.

Contest Starts

March 08, 2011 @ 12:00 am (PST)

Contest Ends

December 15, 2011 @ 11:59 pm (PST)

Need more Details?

Read the Official Rules

About the Company

PADI: Professional Association of Diving Instructors Welcome to the World of Scuba Diving. PADI is the world’s leading scuba diving training organization. With more than forty years experience, over 133,500… [more

What should you make your video about?

We want to wake people up! We all know the ocean (and lakes, rivers, quarries) need our support.  But exactly what type of support?  How can one person affect change and actually see it happen?  You have to combine what you’re passionate about with what you’re good at.   Ask yourself these four questions:

1. What do YOU love about the underwater world?
2. What do YOU do to protect it?
3. How do YOU make a difference locally or otherwise.
4. If you’re a PADI Diver, how has scuba diving changed YOUR view of the environment?

Remember, your message is most important.  A handheld, quick video snippet is extremely compelling to spur people into action…so don’t worry about trying to make a slick, professional video. This is NOT a video contest.  It’s a conservation movement!  You can submit as many video entries as you wish.


Yes, cash is nice and the public will vote for a grand prize winner. But, every video submission spurs people to help our beloved aquatic life.  A beautiful ocean for generations to come is WAY better than cash, right?  So, take a few minutes to share what’s going on in your part of the world and see the change spread globally. Vote for a few videos you like. Share with friends. You’ll feel better knowing you did your part to help. Plus, you might see your video featured on the PADI blog where interesting conservation messages are shared often.

Consider these ideas on how to help:

Have you ever:
– picked up trash while scuba diving?
– participated in a beach cleanup?
– taken part in a marine research project?
– completed a mission trip focused on aquatic conservation or protection?
– started a local conservation initiative in your community, school or business?
– helped a local Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop with caring for aquatic conservation?
– raised awareness with your local news channel about a marine animal initiative?
– launched a petition that successfully impacted underwater conservation?
– raised donations for Project AWARE Foundation or other non-profits affecting change for the sea?
– helped establish a protected marine park or preserve?
– helped run an eco-tour?
– helped clean-up pollution of our ocean, lakes, or rivers?
– published an article, book, website or video raising awareness about protecting aquatic life?
– shared beautiful underwater imagery to wake people up about “what’s down there”
– trained or certified divers who work together on an underwater conservation project?
– ignited a group of people to take action of any kind to better the aquatic world?

What skills are you using to turn your passion into action to help the underwater environment become better protected?  Are you into underwater photography? Are you a strong writer, organizer, influencer, doer or promoter? Of course there many ways you can do your part, so get creative. If you’re 13 years or older, then make a video and submit it.  Anyone around the world can participate (from non-divers to scuba professionals), so start recording, sharing and voting!

Take action and share

Even if you’re not ready to submit a video today…if you just spread the word about this campaign, then you’re doing something good for the environment. Every little action counts towards change.  Wake someone up. Tell them about this conservation effort:

– Share the links from these inspiring videos with your friends
– Comment about your favorite conservation efforts on the
PADI blog
– Share the
PADI blog with your friends on Facebook or Twitter

Do you have YOUR ticket to world travel?

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

So now you’re a Divemaster or you’re just about to finish your DMT course.  Now what?  What are the opportunities out there for you?  What can you expect?  Where can you go to find out more?  One of the main focuses we use our Facebook group for is to assist new DM’s find there perfect jobs around the world from the Caribbean to South America (and don’t forget Asia-Pacific.)  For instance this month alone we have found 40 new jobs presented to us for DM positions all over the world!  Being a Divemaster is a great way to travel!  It could be your ticket to see the world and arrive home debt-free.  Another route a lot of Divemasters take is to become  Underwater Photographers (did you know you can teach underwater photography as a DM??) or Videographers.  Here at Ban’s every Open water course it filmed, by an Underwater videographer (many trained in our DM program) so the students may share this with their friends and family back home. 

Ever Picture yourself as an Instructor???

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment
Bull Shark Chumphon Gulf of Thailand

Bull Shark at Chumphon

Did you know that as a Divemaster you can be an Instrutuctor of Digital Photography? Yes, it’s true and a great opportunity for any true Photographer.  Divemasters may apply after completing a PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty Instructor Training course with a PADI Course Director or attending a Business of Digital Underwater Photography program conducted by PADI.  Applicants must have logged at least 10 digital underwater photography dives as well.  We have offered this to many Divemasters at Ban’s and it has been a great success.  Having this as an extra qualification can go along way with future employers as well.  There is no telling where this certification may lead you.  You may find yourself looking more seriouly at becoming a Instructor or working as a Underwater Photo journalist… Who knows.  Give it a shot and see where Underwater Photography will take you!