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Hi guys,

I believe this could start a bit of an arguement but i'm just wondering what people think.

I've just got back from Stoney (again! 3rd week running
) and yet again the boat went out to divers in trouble, twice this week though, both false alarms luckily. But it makes me think that people aren't aware of the extra demands on them when diving in cold water.

I see week in, week out loads of free flows happening, and i don't see why so many should happen. Yes i know its cold water and this increases the chances of a free flow, but there are little things you can do to help prevent it. ie dont purge regs before going in the water.
I saw a guy bobbing on the surface after just jumping in and got a freeflow on his octopus, but he stop there holding the freeflowing reg with a "whats going on here" look slapped across his face, and doing nothing about it, mainly becasue he hadn't been shown what to do.

If people are going to dive in cold water, or even do training in cold water maybe the little things and the extra bit of training can help stop causing problems which can only lead to bigger problems, we've all seen/heard of the incident pit but it's a harsh reality.

Cheers,

Tim  
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (tiewrapdiver @ Feb. 28 2004,16:35)]... mainly because he hadn't been shown what to do.
Not his fault there then Tim, but down to us, the more experience divers who train.

It's all too easy to only mention solutions to problems only when they occur.

What is the solution BTW?  


Adrian
 

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I wasn't blaming him at all, it is down to people like us and instructors.

For a freeflowing reg either have a quick breath off it, give it a smack on the mouth piece. Failing that turn the tank off. Thats what i've been taught.

Tim
 

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"Three sheds"
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Or hold it in the water with the mouthpiece down.

In my club we debated whether to replace all our crappy old pool regs with shiney new ones. I argued that having some crappy regs that freeflowed in the pool taught people how to sort it out with no dramas. Not sure if I'd give one to a trainee in Stoney in Feb though.

Laters,
    Janos
 

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Cold water diving...well it's going to happen sooner or later if you find you like diving....

The person that's going cold water diving for the first time goes with someoone that has been a few times..

Cold water formal training is going too far...when do you call cold cold...but surely if it's an alien environment, cold and dark and you've never done it before, being with an experienced diver is a must. That's how I did it...I'd never have done it alone then...now I do,and now i do the same for others.

Ice diving is a different issue...OHE...training is a must...no argument.

Graham
 

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Liberal Lefty
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Sorting out free flows and other cold water issues was part of my PADI OW course - breathing off a free flowing reg, how to stop one, how to prevent, dangers of cold water & bad viz etc.  Our instructor on our last qualifying dive took us down the road towards the pit in Stoney, to around 15m, to show us how much darker and colder it is when you go deeper.  Could just have been the instructor though - he was very good.
 

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Team Starburst
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<font color='#736AFF'>Hmmm
I have had two free flows in the last fews weeks, and my regs are now back from servicing-once being bad luck, twice means something is certainly wrong. The first incident was scary, the second was almost routine........

My view is for cold water must must must have pony clinder. As using a buddy as  AAS can lead to buddy have a free flow. In my experience a cylinder will empty in about 4 minutes if not shut down-not good if down on the Hydrobox at Stoney.

Prevention is better than the cure, so:
Make sure your regs are serviced or at least in good condition
Wear sufficent insulation to keep warm and so use less air putting less strain on the regulators
Make sure your buddy has a pony
Make sure your buddy can shut down your cylinder-dry gloves are great for keeping hands warm but not so good for valve closure, it pays to check this out before the dive

Ian
 

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IDH...

Nice sentiments...a pony is a luxury for divers that have squeezed in a few dives.

Diving with a pony in cold water is not a must....otherwise 99.9 million percent of us would never ever have got our toes chilly.

I really appreciate what you're saying and the message is a wise one....but diving in ice cold water in a wetsuit and without a pony is where it might enthuse people and weed out some others.....

Anyway...regards to all.

Graham
 

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<font color='#000080'>Cold water training??  Christ, i needed warm water training!  

Out of all my dives all bar 5 have been in salt water, and out of the rest, only 8 in the med.

Free flows are nothing, so long as you know how to deal with them.  Surface - bung the reg in your gob and breathe from it, if that doesent work, buddy turns the offending tin off and then back on again slowly.  Down there, swap to other tinnie (only works for those of us wise enough to carry two bottles
 ) and go from there.  Turn the bugger off and then back on again, no panic since you have an indipendent alternative air source.
 

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<font color='#0000FF'><span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'><span style='font-family:Comic Sans MS'>Any diver who considers the cost, above properly equiping themselvs for the enviroment are foolhardy.
By penny pinching they endanger themselvs and others!
If you cant aford the proper kit stay out of the water untill you can!
It pisses me off the amount of divers who use warm water regs in this country in the winter coz they are cheaper.
Wack</span></span>
 
 

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Free flows...if it's just a single tank dive (why take twins on a dive when you're going to be cold and the dive time is limited before you even get in the car)....can be a voided by using a decent first and second designed for that purpose....

I say do breath on the surface...you'll know if you have an iffy reg that should not be used in freezing cold water...

if it free flows...hit it..

If you still think you're gear's upto it and it's your first cold water dive....I'd stick to 6m if I were you....then buy a decent fiirst stage.....

Graham
 

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Cant say ive ever seen warm water regs..
All they sell over here is cold water regs as I understand it, We are classed as cold water divers
Darn it!!!
The only time ive had a freeflow reg, was when i went into a crevice after a particulary fine specimen of Crayfish
and got myself slightly wedged and of course my octi was nicely positioned to purge, I lost 60 bar in a hell of a hurry.
And the cray lived to see another day
Steve
 

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Iv'e dived a lot in really cold water and had first stages freeze in blocks of ice.....so , first make sure your reg is suitable for cold water..most here are only tested to 4degrees....seal the first , I have used 40%vodka sealed in a rubber cap on my posoidens  and it's worked in -2 deg......I don't think slapping the first stage works....get your buddy to turn your air off and on again...never breath from a reg until you are under the water and make the first breath OUT....that way your breath helps to warm up the 2nd stage...turn the regs to minimum...or but Apex.....I've dived with apex in the arctic and antarctic and never had a free flow...my latest scubapro free flowed every time ....but they weren't having it when I spoke to them:D
 

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oh, I forgot, use an H valve or a Y valve on your cylinder then you will have to indepentent first stages from the same cylinder...you can turn one off and use the other....to end the dive!
 

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Cold water diving! At last a subject where I really know what I'm talking about! On my latest dive (last Thursday evening) the temperature in the sea was one degree all the way down to about 25 metres and two degrees below that as deep as we went (35 m). I've done hundreds of dives under similar conditions and only ever had two free-flows, once on my primary reg (Apeks TX40) and once on my pony reg (Scubapro R190). A good cold water reg won't free-flow, even under the toughest conditions, if it's properly set and serviced regularly. Personally, I do test-breathe my regs before jumping in the water, although I was taught not to. Diving under these conditions without a redundant/back-up/bail-out air source is definitely not something I would want to do, by the way.
 

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John,

Lovely to hear from you...

hammerhaead....hitting the first stage was not what i meant....i'm surprised you interpreted it that way...?

I think I've rattled on about my beuchat iceberg reg before...and i'll carry on....it's the best piece of kit i have...bullet proof..

It's a cold water set up but works well in the +4 +8 range too

Reagrds

Graham
 

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New Zealand is cold water - bah !

The sea was a lovely 15C when I was diving there last winter (end of August). Okay, it was Kaikora so not right in the south, but it was still wetsuit rather than drysuit diving.

Also looks like you might be able to do some diving in the streets of Turangi with the floods at the moment ....
 

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<font color='#000080'>Use twin valves and 2 fisrt stages in cold water if you ae diving with a single tank. That helps
 

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FIVE ways to avoid a free-flow
ONE Make sure your cylinder is dry inside and filled with dry air. Don't leave it anywhere that might chill it.
TWO Avoid heavy air- flows from your regulator, which includes breathing heavily from it. Before diving, take test breaths when submerged in shallow water, rather than
in the air, and never press the purge button either above or below the surface.
THREE Blow away any entrapped water (or ice) that might be around your cylinder valve or regulator orifices with dry air from your cylinder.
FOUR Restrict yourself to no-stop diving at depths from which you are confident you could make a free ascent.
FIVE Be aware that water at less than 5°C can cause regulator icing, and that can include any fresh water outside the obvious winter period.
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Design solutions
Some regulators have been designed to resist the effect of jammed valves caused by cold. The idea of environmentally sealed first-stages is to keep water out. Examples of regulators with this advantage are the Apeks TX100, Aqua-lung Titan D and Cousteau Supra D, Dacor 360XP AER Pacer, Ocean Reef Polar Enterprise and Oceanic Delta II Sub Zero.
Some regulators, like the Poseidon Cyklon 5000 and Jetstream, and Beuchat VS8 and VS10, can be adapted with cold-water kits that use silicone grease.
Certain second-stages have specially coated moving parts to stop any ice from sticking. Examples include the Beuchat VS8 and VS10, Dacor 360XP AER Pacer, and Spiro Cousteau Arctic. Some plastic regulator second-stages such as the Apeks TX100, Spiro Cousteau Arctic, Aqua-lung Cryo, Mares V16 SCS-XTR and Sherwood Blizzard have additional metal heat-sinks.
It is strange to think that what might feel like very cold water is, in fact, warming up the much colder air coming from the scuba cylinder, but regulators with plenty of metal in their design to conduct this small amount of heat to the air tend to be less prone to freezing. Examples include the Mares Ruby and Dacor 960XLE.
Other manufacturers say their regulators are designed not to freeze. Scubapro says its Thermal Insulation System works, and that the cold air never cools down any water that might enter the regulator. TIS is fitted to all the latest Scubapro designs.
You never know how close your regulator comes to failing because of icing, even if it has the latest cold-water technology, because the cir-cumstances that make that subtle difference are so varied.
The only regulator now approved by the US Navy for cold-water use is the Poseidon Jetstream, which is quite an old design.
It's a good idea to practise the technique of making an ascent, breathing from a free-flowing regulator. This is a technique routinely taught by many training agencies.
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Appeared in DIVER - January 1999
 
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