I had not used a BCD or wing for buoyancy control before, just the suit, and an emergency situation is not the moment when new skills are picked up.
Oooh, very interesting point about the training.
That is a very good reason to say that the whole "only use the drysuit for buoyancy" is utter nonsense and not something that should be taught. However, if you arrive at that conclusion through your own experience, that’s another matter entirely.
Everyone who dives with a drysuit has forgotten to connect the hose at sometime in the past.
Writing this shameful incident as a penance to atone for my stupidity…
This summer I’d had a dose of covid. Got over it after a week — was just a cold/light flu. I had a dive booked two weeks later and was feeling OK so decided to go. Was a long trip out in pretty bouncy water on a crowded boat.
I forgot to connect my drysuit hose — was distracted when kitting up (was asked to move halfway through) and obviously didn’t check properly. That’s bad, very bad and have changed my pre-dive checks to do a final check.
Jumped in, solo as ever, and descended the shot line. Got to about 5m/20' and the suit started squeezing. Went to inject and no hose. Grr. Reached back to the suit inflation cylinder but couldn’t free the hose.
Now the stupid and "human factor" thing; for some crazy reason I didn’t stop and listened to my inner voice that said "sod it, go down and sort it out on the wreck". As I said, stupid.
So carried on descending to the top of the wreck at 35m/120'. My arms were forward and I could easily reach the controls for the wing and gas injection. The suit was tight but I was in control.
Arriving on the wreck and hovering a metre above it I then realised that I could no longer reach backwards, so tight was the squeeze! "You utter idiot" I said to myself.
I then looked around for another diver to pull the inflate hose out. Found one and frog kicked over to him. Flashed the torch at him which he ignored. Again flashing it in his face and he looked at me and turned back to what he was doing. Did it a third time and shouted at him, pointing at my drysuit and he then grabbed, not the drysuit inflation hose, but the spare inflation hose on my bailout and connected that.
I pressed my inflator and the squeeze vanished. Yes, a considerable relief as it was tight!
I then shouted at myself for forgetting that both bailouts had inflator hoses on them. Double or triple idiot.
Completed the dive OK. On the boat had a fantastic bruise on my LH shoulder, looked like a blue cheese! and a massive bruised ego.
Throughout that incident I felt it was an inconvenience, not a danger. My buoyancy and control wasn’t affected. OK a little.
- Task fixation, both the descent and the hose, seemed to override logical thought
- failure to properly check before jumping (inflate wing & drysuit, PPO2)
- failure to complete my pre-dive checklist correctly — if distracted, re-start the checklist
- if something is wrong, stop and deal with it! Nothing gets getter if left
- listening to my inner (idiot) voice
- completely forgot about the bailout tails — am most angry about this as this is crucial for self sufficiency
- maybe brain-fog is real: allow time to get over an illness before diving
- training, such that core skills are second nature, works