How close to your dive buddy...

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Ulfhedinn

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I don't remember if it was discussed in PADI OW for me but how close do you stay to your dive buddy? Is PADI or other schools is there something taught?

If its my wife I usually stay withing 5'.

If I'm diving with others it might be as far at 10-15'
 

T23

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A lot depends upon each diving situation in terms of safety, skill level, water conditions, and personal comfort in terms of how close is too close or how far is too far. Another way to look at it is if you realize your buddy is having a problem how long will it take you to reach him/her and vice versa.
 

Nolan

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I am new to the game, but the way I look at is that I never know when my buddy may be my next breath of air. I try to stay well within the distance of a frantic swim with no air.
 
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BCSGratefulDiver

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There's a recommended maximum and minimum distance ... both are measureable.

Minimum distance ... swim side-by-side with your buddy. Both of you reach out your arm toward the other. When your fingertips can just touch, that's a good minimum distance. It leaves enough room for you to maneuver and turn without kicking each other, while still being handy enough to make easy eye contact or provide assistance if needed. The exception would be if the visibility is so bad that this distance doesn't allow you to see each other ... then you'll practically be wanting to wear each other's exposure suit.

Maximum distance ... exhale fully ... now see how far you can swim before you get an uncontrollable urge to breathe in. You don't want to be farther than this from your dive buddy.

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
 

dumpsterDiver

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I prefer close, but as a practical matter, it should be within shouting distance.

Also, position is probably as important as distance. You want to be side by side or following or some maintainable relative orientation. You do not want to be switching sides, meaning you are off the left shoulder then the right etc. In clear water, if you work to maintain the same orientation, it wastes time doing the swivel head looking all over for your buddy when the last time you looked he was just off your right shoulder.
 

TMHeimer

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Generally I try to stay about 5 feet. I guess in really good viz (30 feet) I would stretch that a little.
 

TSandM

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Bob nailed it. Minimum is room to kick; maximum is how far you want to swim for gas. In calm, clear water, for me, that's about 25 feet (I've tested this).

In poor viz, I like to stay shoulder to shoulder with my buddy, at about arm's length. If the viz won't permit that, I'm asking myself if I want to be there. In good viz, I like about 10 to 15 feet of separation -- enough to wander a bit and explore comfortably, without being too far away. Current will make me tighten the team up.
 

cascas

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At the risc of sounding cocky, here goes...

What are the chances that your next breath is the last you get from your tank ? I would say next to nothing.

When diving a diver should have a sense of time and gas consumption. Checking time and spg on a regular basis will eventually lead to being able to predict your tank pressure by just looking at the dive time. If in the first 15 minutes of your dive your tankpressure drops from 200 to 150 bar ( or 3000 - 2250 psi ) it will not be very likely that you will hit 100 bar or 1500 psi within the next 10 minutes if cirumstances do not change drastically.

Checking your spg every 5 - 10 minutes will prevent a situation where your gas supply suddenly stops causing you to start sprinting to your buddy. This will increase your comfort and will enable you to comfortably be more than arms length away from you budy.

A diver that unknowingly empties his tank is a diver that should take up knitting or checkers. Running out of gas is a situation that a no-brainer should be able prevent and should thus be non existent.

Equipment failure will cause freeflow and will deplete your gas supply really quick but gives you enough time to get to your buddy or reach the surface. A failure like this is more likely to happen with higher tank pressures than lower tank pressures so an occurence like this in the second half of your dive is quite low risk.

Knowing your gas consumption and current tankpressure is a much bigger safety measure than staying frantically close to you buddy. Knowing your buddies gas consumption more than doubles that. And if your buddy knows yours, well... need i say more ?
 

BCSGratefulDiver

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At the risc of sounding cocky, here goes...

What are the chances that your next breath is the last you get from your tank ? I would say next to nothing.

A diver that unknowingly empties his tank is a diver that should take up knitting or checkers. Running out of gas is a situation that a no-brainer should be able prevent and should thus be non existent.

Your chances are slim, indeed ... but not "non-existent". The reality is that it does happen ... even at times to experienced divers ... and if you don't have a source of breathing gas handy, then your life is measured in seconds.

Things that can cause even an experienced diver to run out of air ...

- debris clogging a dip tube (ask Dr. Bill about that one)
- an SPG that is either stuck or malfunctioning
- task-loading and/or narcosis

The primary reason to dive with a buddy is to have a redundant air source nearby. If you're going to adopt the philosophy that "it can't happen to me", then I highly recommend a pony bottle ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
 

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