A comparison between the risks of freediving and scubadiving

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Steve_C

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scuba: in most situations, like entanglement, the recommendation is to stop, relax, get control, and sort it out.
Free diving: You have a couple minutes or you are dead.

Scuba diving: Relax and enjoy your bottom time getting in tune with nature
Free Diving: Every dive is a quick bounce dive.
 

NYCNaiad

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I don't know whether there are any useful statistics, but it is my understanding that, in practice, freediving beyond relatively short, shallow dives is far more dangerous than scuba diving.

So much so, that I decided not to take any of the classes, after having been interested.

When my brother told me he was taking up free diving, I was curious about it so I did some research. The more I read, the more concerned I was. I couldn't find many stats, but did find lots of info to support your statement that free diving is inherently more dangerous.
 

almostDIR

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I was very interested in freediving a year ago or so but I have so much equalizing problems with my ears (takes too much time) that I had to give it up and go scuba instead.

Freediving should be relatively safe sport as long as you know your limits exactly and follow them...not trying to bend them all the time and continuously test how much deeper or longer it is possible to go. one may not know where the line is until exceeding it and something happens. if always testing to stay A LITTLE BIT LONGER or going A LITTLE BIT DEEPER than last time then one eventually always finds out how much was too much and it will cost:shocked:
 

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I practice both types of diving albeit I have far more experience freediving than I do with scuba. I honestly am more afraid of getting in trouble while on scuba just because my existence underwater is dependent on life support equipment which places the body in a complicated unnatural state. One doesn't simply bolt to the surface when an issue arises. You gotta follow ascent rates and not holding your breath if you want to surface uninjured. With freediving...by all means ascend like a polaris missile.

I also think that it's difficult to get into a bad situation with freediving because your body won't let you go places it's not prepared to go to. There's normally something in your body that will prevent you from getting into a bad situation like inability to equalize or tolerate high CO2 (contractions) so it's there's like a self-regulatory function - your bodily adaptation limits itself. With scuba, however, you can go as deep as you want without having to worry about those two things. Okay so maybe you have to be a little concerned but not as much. I could have hit 30meters right after my OW class but I definitely couldn't have done the same thing right after my Level 1 (20meters) freediving course.
 

chillyinCanada

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I think for free diving there is always the risk of drowning after being trapped in something like a rock [happened not long ago around here] .
With scuba diving if you get trapped in something you still have some time to try and work it out if you dont panic, with free diving that time is very limited.

[Sadly a couple of months ago a free diver here had his fin trapped between some rocks which ultimately led to him drowning at just 3m's depth.]

Does anyone have any idea why the free diver couldn't get the fin off and surface without it? Too deep at time of entanglement, too slow to react? I accept that the answer(s) will probably be speculative in nature.
 

CLoP

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Does anyone have any idea why the free diver couldn't get the fin off and surface without it? Too deep at time of entanglement, too slow to react? I accept that the answer(s) will probably be speculative in nature.

Maybe he was using fin keepers and it happened at the end of a relatively long dive (so already low on O2) at the beginning of a long one-way cave (so he couldn't have been pulled out)

I got caught inside a shallow but tight cave-like place in the middle of a surge once and realized that it was a close call because my buddies would have had a very difficult time getting me out.

@carloparducho on Instagram: “Getting stuck in a small cave, cutting your hand trying to get out, and making open water scuba students uncomfortable thinking sharks are…”

The shaky parts are when I had to grab on to something to avoid getting slammed around by the surge. It was very shallow and not deep in the chamber but it was too tight for two people. It would have been really bad had the surge action been a long one since my buddies wouldn't have been able to pull me out without smacking their faces on the outside wall. The shallow depth actually made it more difficult because there was less room to do a proper duckdive (straight down) for clearance. I remember thinking that I'll smack and crack my back against the inside wall if I get caught in another surge while doing an angled duckdive. High brain activity and high heart rate consumes O2 and doing that "trip" on a partial inhale (less air = less buoyancy to fight in a shallower dive) after swimming to the entrance meant that I had low O2 to begin with.
 

chillyinCanada

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CLoP, were you not familiar with the nature of that cave before entering? Or were but wrong time of day, rogue waves?
 

CLoP

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CLoP, were you not familiar with the nature of that cave before entering? Or were but wrong time of day, rogue waves?

A buddy of mine went in before I did and told me that it was a little bit tight but he was a much bigger guy so I figured I should be fine. I also checked it out from the outside and saw that it was wider than "wiggle through" ones we've done before so definitely dropped my guard.

I just realized that the anecdote is inconsistent with my response to the OP, so I gotta add that we train about twice a week and can normally dive to 30meters and stay there for 2+ minutes so the idea of going into a 6 linear meter cave didn't seem much. :facepalm: Also that was a completely different thing just like how overhead environment scuba diving is a completely different thing than open water scuba diving :D
 

Sam Miller III

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Storker

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is my understanding that, in practice, freediving beyond relatively short, shallow dives is far more dangerous than scuba diving.
I haven't read the stats, but given my rather limited knowledge of freediving I agree.

Freediver:
  • Has limited time (typically in seconds to very few minutes) before drowning if a problem occurs underwater
  • SWBO is a significant risk

Scuba diver:
  • Has from tens of minutes to hours of gas time to solve a problem underwater
  • SWBO is almost unheard of during normal practice
 
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