A Near miss, Girlfriend almost drowns

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

Messages
2
Reaction score
2
Location
Durban
# of dives
0 - 24
We went scuba diving on Friday and Monday Umdloti on Friday Laura couldn't make it to behind the back line. So I dived alone there was raw sewage and 12cm long drols (pieces) at 4m because the current was running up from Durban we were at Umdloti because we no longer dive at Durban it's too polluted and dead. I had a good time on the small coral reefs with Rock-cod that were trying to bite me to protect their territories. I would have had a better time if the current was running down the water would have been clear and I would be carried past the big reef. then Monday comes and the waves were big I went out just swimming to see, it was doable then I came back in.

We waited 2 hours now it's afternoon and when we get in off the far rocks where the surfers get in ,,, it was bad we stayed down and tried to get under the waves but we were just getting severely beaten I was seeing black with no stars. We surfaced to get back to the beach and Laura's mask and air were knock out by the waves she started to climb me panicked I got her sorted out and we headed back to the beach then when we were 7m to the beach and Laura says to head down so we descended there was some rocks and smooth water because we were between breaks once down and in the calm water I see the current is heading out so I follow the current thinking it may take us under the waves and out to continue the dive but it took us back into the washing machine we were again beaten. We surfaced and were between the two breaks so I tell Laura "let's go" meaning to get out and she doesn't hear me. But I think she has, at this point I am 20m out and laura is 10m out between me and the beach so she is safer I hang around on my back waiting for her to make some effort to get onto the beach after awhile I swim to her but at the same time she swims to me now she is at 20m and I am at 10m so I decide if I get out then she will follow me.

The breaks are at 30m and 5m with calmish water between I have been on my back this whole time just floating relaxing from the beating and breathing normal air like a turtle hands over my belly holding my reg . I get beaten by the 5m break and drag myself up the beach people surround me asking is the other diver ok ? Laura is face down, reg in or out we don't know, every now and again one leg does a flip could be from the wave.

She is at about 15m drifting sometimes in circles. One surfer is trying to get to her but only makes it to 2m from her then has to turn back people are shouting at me to dive in and get her but I would have drowned I barely had enough energy to stand. We called the coast guard life guards. Before they arrived she lifted her one arm so now we knew she was alive and starting to get in distress. The lifeguards are strong first one just dives in not looking and swims past and out 50m, the other two looked and get to her and pull her out she was exhausted and weak but safe as she had had air the whole time she only was starting to panic now because her air was getting low.

The ambulance came but she didn't need it. When I asked her why she was not floating on her back relaxing like she had seen me doing on Friday and this morning she said she had tried but kept turning back over. She had added two loose weights in her pockets before the dive. I knew about one.

Mistakes I made as the leader and more experienced diver were 1. I should have dropped her extra weights when she first lost her reg and mask but we almost made it out then. 2. I should have stayed in command and gotten out when my intention was to get out and not to have descended when she said to descend. 3. Check the surf conditions before going to the beach. We are safe and bruised with a few cuts I lost the boot off my tank in the washing machine. We have learnt a big lesson. I am going to get her weighting right and train her to float on her back in the surf and we are both going for surf swimming lessons.

That same day I later saw on the news a 6 year old boy had drown at La mercy beach which is the next beach up from Umdloti.
 

The Chairman

Chairman of the Board
Staff member
Messages
63,024
Reaction score
31,874
Location
Cave Country!
# of dives
I just don't log dives
I'm glad you're OK. Surf entries and exits are cheap but can be treacherous. While getting lessons to deal with the surf are important, so is having good core strength. Hit the gym (not within 24 hours of the dive, though) and get some cardio to make it safer and more fun.

I have a second rule of diving that says you can call a dive at any time, for any reason, with no questions asked. That means you can call a dive before you even get in. You know how strong you and your buddy are, so be conservative. If it doesn't look like it's going to be fun, be a mensch and call the dive before you even get a fin wet.

FWIW, I have done surf entries at Venice Beach, Fl and find a five-foot pole really helps with my stability. There's a bit of a drop-off right off the beach that's hard for me to negotiate as I exit and it helps tremendously. I have an eyelet in the end and clip it to my dive flag during the dive.
 

SlugMug

Contributor
Messages
637
Reaction score
497
Location
Texas
# of dives
I just don't log dives
An inflated SMB or DSMB wrapped under the arms can help, if you're having difficulty remaining in vertical orientation at the surface. If you additionally clip the top to the bottom, it's like an inner-tube and very secure around you.
 

Bob DBF

Contributor
Messages
12,660
Reaction score
20,002
Location
NorCal
# of dives
I just don't log dives
...we get in off the far rocks where the surfers get in ,,, it was bad...

As you found out, the conditions that surfers need for good surf, are no good for divers. I would free dive around surfers, for a good reason, and both the surfers and divers thought I was nuts. I would never scuba dive in the area because the gear is too bulky and heavy to deal with the conditions, and would wear one out quickly.

I usually free dive a new surf entry and exit to gauge it's difficulty, as it is much easier to get in and out with less gear. As I get older, The more I understand that reserving the energy needed to make the exit Is the most important part of a dive through the surf, and actually any dive.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

Top Bottom