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My Nark is much worse that my Bite!
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On a 15 metre boat dive last Saturday my buddy and I experienced our first emergency, if you could call it that.....it seemed that way to us being new divers. We were diving from a boat at a depth of 15 metres [ there were 3 other divers in our group ] vis was about 20 metres and temp was 20c, and there was quite a strong current. Several minutes after reaching the bottom, my buddies BCD started to self inflate, within seconds she had been sent like a rocket to the surface.
I could see that she was still conscious as she was finning against the current.....I started my accent swimming diagonally towards the surface.
When I caught up with her, she explained what had happend
but was too tierd to carry on, I towed her back to the boat [ approx 30 metres ] and the DM checked that she was OK. As I still had 130 bar left, and with the DM's OK,  I rejoined the rest of the party, who had started to make their way towards the boat but where still at 15 metres.

The question is this......... Is there a top 10 of things which can go wrong, and how to deal with them?
 

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The Artist formerly known as 'Kirky'
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Good question - for the incident above I would have disconnected the BCD hose (assuming it was a stuck inflator which I am as a first stage failure would have resulted in a freeflow) and orally inflated to get buoyancy. Then I would abort the dive  OR use the drysuit (if you are wearing one) for buoyancy control.

As a topic this is a good `un - what would you do if:

1.  drysuit inflator stuck open
2.  Dropped some weights by accident
3.  etc etc

The main answer I would give is to practice for these situations so that if they happen you can deal with them and not panic. Panic is the killer in my view (excluding poor gas management of course)

Come on folks.....any more tips/hints etc
 

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Interesting point there scubadog, last year BSAC introduced "disconnecting BC inflator in event of stuck valve" as part of their entry level (Ocean Diver) qualification, which made me then think about the manufacture of most of the BC hoses I've seen, most would be very tricky with gloved or cold hands, but I guess for the unpracticed hand in warm water the problem would be as acute.

Don't know about a top ten, think number one would have to be a free-flow, but there's a lot of potentially minor ones which "should" if you're calm, be easily dealt with - but isn't this the goal of most diver training? dealing with  problems so that when they do happen your reactions are already the correct ones? At least that's the way I see it.
Chee-az
Steve
 

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DUE CEO, Booking agent, Coffee maker & Dogsbody...
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Hi Scubadog,

Following on from what steve has said, i've been teaching the disconect drill, but this is the first occasion i have heard of it happening.

The incidents i have seen / been around in order of most common are below, not sure how reflective of the diving community they are. The BSAC Incident report would give a better idea, please note these are all agencies not just BSAC, many reported by the MCA:-

Incident Reports

In my limited experience.

1. Lost weight belt (Usually caught and replaced).
2. Minor tangle (easily resolved).
3. Low on Air (quick turn around)
4. Panic attack (Usually resulting in freezing up / no responce)
5. Minor cuts or abrasions.
6. Dizzy (Inverted ear drum from clearing too hard)
7. Nausia (Seasick from boat trip)
8. DSMB tangle. (We don't use these much as we come up the shot)
9. Out of Air
10. Unconsiouse on Surface.

Please note no DCI or Free flows.

Dive Safe

Paul
 

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My Nark is much worse that my Bite!
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Thanks for the reply Kirky, we weren't using dry suits.......not that advanced as yet...but during your OW, you learn how to partially fill and clear your mask, including mask removal. You learn how to manually inflate your BCD. But it stands to reason that divers will come across more mishaps than those which are taught at entry level. I'm always thinking about what could go wrong, and how one would deal with a situation.
With regards to removing the BCD hose during a fast accent rate, my buddy said the first thing she tried was the dump valve......and she tried to remove the LPI but hit the surface before she had chance.
We have been discussing Saturday's events, and it's left me feeling that I should have been able to do more.......but what?.......If I'd have caught hold of my buddy, would I have also shot to the surface?
 

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Resident Sprog Plod
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<font color='#8D38C9'>In 15m of water chances are by the time you have realised your going up and disconnected the bc you'll be at the surface. On the plus side your perhaps less likely to get DCI, but its still not a good idea.

I would of thought bc / drysuit inflation is fairly rare and mainly down to badly maintained gear, especially if hired / borrowed.

If it was me, if going deeper make sure gear is good, if it happens shallow, id kick downwards like a maniac and stab a hole in the bc. Not great if in a wet suit.  

All things considered your mate probably still shouldnt be spent at surface and need help (more of a concern) , they are more likely to get into trouble there. At least her BC would be full of air


If it was hired /borrowed gear, have a go at who owns it, if its your own, get it serviced or get something a bit more stable.

sometimes its just a bad day, ive had loads of them.

If your buddys shooting to the surface, let them go. Better one bent than two, less trouble for hyperbaric chambers. Ascend as normal, do your stop and surface. Then help. If she is at the surface there should be surface cover to help.

At least that was what I was taught.
 

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The Artist formerly known as 'Kirky'
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Scubadog - you did nothing wrong I think if a one off equipment failure happens. Prevention of this type of failure can only be by correct kit servicing and a thorough buddy check. (Did you do one?)

You are right - you dont get taught all of the actions - to be honest there aren`t that many. Even on my rescue diver course I was taught that if my buddy went into an uncontrolled ascent and I couldn`t grab/control immediately then you should let him/her go and ascend properly and assist - better one bent diver than two - at least on the surface you can assist.

Most of the tricks to combat most situations ARE taught but its generally a case that practising some of them is difficult (would you drop your weightbelt at 25m to see what to do??)

Most of my diving knowledge was learnt after the basics of the courses by just diving and practicing and gaining experience. For example, how would you deal with a freeflow, either by yourself or with an attendant buddy - practice breeds confidence and self sufficiency (in my opinion)

Dont knock yourself because you think you may be at fault - sometimes shit just happens !!

So back to your original question - I would have tied to stop the ascent, if immediate control could not be got by grabbing the shoulder dump/disconnect the hose etc then the buddy would be left to ascend (scary isnt it) and I would ascend at the proper rate (including any safety stops - judgement based on depth ) and then helped.

Heres one for you all - what would you do if you and your buddy both dive to 20m on single 12`s and one buddy has a freeflow ??

we are taught to `sip` the reg but this will not last long so you either buddy breathe or use the secondary reg and ascend.

Alternatively, dependant on experience you will do the above AND maybe shutdown the tank valve and reopen to see if this fixes the freeflow. Action will be dependant on depth, air left, experience/confidence etc. No 2 situations are the same. This is last resort stuff and my view is:

1.  Risk assess what could go wrong
2.  Mitigate the risk via kit maintenance
3.  Further mitigate the risk via good buddy checks
4.  Further mitigate the risk via redundancy (pony/twinset etc)

What does everyone else think ??
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (kirky @ Oct. 20 2003,21:09)]Heres one for you all - what would you do if you and your buddy both dive to 20m on single 12`s and one buddy has a freeflow ??

we are taught to `sip` the reg but this will not last long so you either buddy breathe or use the secondary reg and ascend.
<font color='#810541'>That's an easy one. Alternate Airsource Ascent.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Phil Ennis @ Oct. 20 2003,21:53)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (kirky @ Oct. 20 2003,21:09)]Heres one for you all - what would you do if you and your buddy both dive to 20m on single 12`s and one buddy has a freeflow ??

we are taught to `sip` the reg but this will not last long so you either buddy breathe or use the secondary reg and ascend.
That's an easy one. Alternate Airsource Ascent.
<font color='#000F22'>Errr .. that's what he said.
 

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Not exactly - when he said "sip the reg" he meant that they're trained to breathe off the freeflowing reg until it runs dry.. THEN you switch to your buddy.

But back to the original post: All you can do in that situation is hit the dump valve and get the hose off ASAP. A useful thing to remember is also exhale fully ASAP as well - firstly it'll make you less +ve so slow your ascent, secondly it'll stop you rupturing a lung on the way up.

I used to have an air horn on my wing inflator. I removed it cos it made it hard to reach the QR so I'd have had no chance of disconnecting it in the event of it getting stuck open.

It's odd that your buddy went up so fast even tho she went for the dump - does she have one of those awful fast-inflate systems on her BC? My wing can't quite dump as fast it it inflates, but I can get my ascent back under control in about a meter of ascending when I practice in shallow water...
 

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I'd just point out that if the free flow happens towards the end of the dive, just as you are about to start your ascent, when you're starting to get low on air, and your reg freeflows violently (as, for example, Poseidon regs do), you may not reach the surface before your tank is empty, so your alternate air source (octopus) may not be good enough. Of course, you might say that you shouldn't be at those depths when your air is getting low but people do do silly things. I've told the story of my freeflow at 30 m in Grand Cayman on this forum before. I was relatively inexperienced at the time and it taught me a lesson I've never forgotten.
The BIG lesson from all this, in my opinion, is don't dive without a redundant air source, so why don't the agencies teach the use of a redundnat air source from day one, especially as they no longer teach buddy breathing? The argument usualy put forward is task loading but I don't see why the use of, for example, a pony bottle necessarily means extra task loading, especialy if you only have one reg on your main cylinder.
 

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Just not enough dive time.
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On the money again John regarding redundant air supply.
How can anybody dive in the UK without one? Or any other low viz environment?

Matt
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (MATTBIN @ Oct. 21 2003,09:58)]On the money again John regarding redundant air supply.
How can anybody dive in the UK without one? Or any other low viz environment?

Matt
I'm not sure what vis has got to do with it, Matt. You are admittedly more likely to be able to see your buddy when the vis is 30 m but he/she is also more likely to be further from you and preoccupied with loking at all the pretty fishes in those conditions. Shit happens in the Red Sea, too!
 

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Jonah
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (John Gulliver @ Oct. 21 2003,08:54)]if the free flow happens towards the end of the dive, just as you are about to start your ascent, when you're starting to get low on air, and your reg freeflows violently (as, for example, Poseidon regs do), you may not reach the surface before your tank is empty, so your alternate air source (octopus) may not be good enough.
??

Surely in this situation you'd be ascending on your BUDDY's octopus, not your own? Isn't that what an AAS ascent is (usually) all about?

Of course, that makes assumptions about buddy being there, having a sufficient reserve for both of you to ascend, etc...

Tom
(buying a pony soon, honest...)
 

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Get that pony Tom! Don't assume your buddy wuill be there when you need him/her. If I remember correctly, pony bottles were going for as little as £150, complete with reg, at LIDS this year. Maybe Birmingham (Dive 2003) is worth a visit?
 

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Scubadog, IIRC you're  "3rd dive to 30m" chap, yes? In which case you're still very much at the bottom of the learning curve (no offence intended mate). Perhaps you see now why there was so much hoo-haa over your 30m dive, imagine if your buddy had made an uncontrolled ascent from that depth


Bottom line is there's any amount of things that can go wrong on a dive and the way to approach it is good quality training and "deeper , with experience", practicing as wide a variety of skills/emergencies as possible over gradually increasing depths. This is all stuff which should have been heavily emphasized during your training, and I'm still a tad concerned that perhaps your Instructor(s) haven't fully informed you of all that I would expect for someone at your level. Hopefully at least some of these apparent shortcoming can be addressed here. I think the pony suggestion is well worth considering, redundant air supplies are a must IMO

Chee-az
steve
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (kirky @ Oct. 20 2003,18:22)]Good question - for the incident above I would have disconnected the BCD hose (assuming it was a stuck inflator which I am as a first stage failure would have resulted in a freeflow) and orally inflated to get buoyancy.
A similar thing happened to me earlier this year on the Prince of Wales (the wreck, not the member of the Royal Family!)  I had just reached the 9m stop and had about another 25min or so Deco on O2 at 6m remaining.  My wing started inflating and I found myself shooting upwards, which was a bit worrying to say the least with my remaining deco.  Fortunately, I managed to invert and fin down whilst disconnecting my LP inflator, and in the end only lost depth by about 1.5m.  I concluded that the wing inflate had got caught between my stages and depressed the button, which was borne out by the lack of any ill effects and a correct function check on the inflator when I re-connected.  

I found the incident shook me up a bit, but took some solice from the fact that I dealt with it OK.  It was a fairly unsual incident and one that I have not heard of before or since.  It just goes to show you need to be able to think and make decisions fairly rapidly, no matter what sort of diving you are doing.

Best,

Lanny
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Bottom line is there's any amount of things that can go wrong on a dive
Hear hear - that's why reading things like the BSAC incident reports is so valuable. You can learn from other people's mistakes. You can also find out what things go wrong, and work out how to deal with them.

For instance, by making sure that your inflators are all nice and slow - I gather that people with Argon rigs even go so far as to lower the IP to slow down the inflation even more to prevent runaways..
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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I replaced all my low presure inflators with Apex hoses. These have a wide flange which pertrudes 3mm outside the DIA of the hose. Even with freezing cold hands disconects are a doddle. (I will post a pic later)

Also lern to pull the hose down to dump air rather than sticking it up over your head PADI stile. This way you can pluu the dump with your left hand and at the same time disconect the hose with the right hand. This has to be a nateral responce so pull dumping must be normal practice.

I am sure I couldent disconect from a hose held above my head for dumping.

ATB

Mark Chase
 
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