How close to your dive buddy...

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RonFrank

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My buddy is sometimes a CF19. I prefer a live buddy, but my family does not dive, and we vacation together, so I am often with insta-buddies on vacation. One reason I love shallow reefs! Run into a problem you are 20' from the surface. I am rarely more than 15' from a buddy, maybe a bit farther on a shallow reef with good vis.

I've dove CO lakes where we almost had to hold hands as the vis was measured in inches. Visibility dictates how far you can be from a buddy. Current is also a big factor. We were in Coz with hundreds of feet of vis only to realize the current was so strong you may be unable to reach your buddy. We were at over 80' deep, so getting to your buddy was desirable. If you could signal your buddy fine, if not you're SOL. We realized we had to stay closer when the current was ripping. BTW, what a fantastic dive!

I bought a pony after that trip which I have never used, but better safe than sorry. I'm definitely a buddy diver, but realize that if you do not travel with a buddy a pony is a damn fine alternative.
 

freewillie

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You don't have to dive caves or wear doubles to train yourself in knowing your gas consumption and doing the other things I mentioned.

Bottom line is way to many divers blindly follow guides and never check gauges. Doing only that prevents problems. I simply cannot understand getting yourself into a situation where all of a sudden you have no gas left when there are solutions that simple available. There is just no excuse for that happening other than not knowing what you're doing...

True, technically you should not have OOG situation if properly monitoring spg/tank pressure, however ...

DAN statistics, almost half of dive fatalities involve low air/OOG gas situations. So, being close to your buddy is highly advisable.

In regards to the OP's specific question, close enough to get to based on visibility and conditions. Keep in mind other factors like current. Much harder swim same distance into the current than with the current if present.

If it's your spouse, close enough to keep her happy even if you think your otherwise 'close enough' by your standards.
 

Scuba_Noob

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I generally like to stay within three meters (around 10 feet) of my buddy in decent visibility. With lower visibility, maybe two meters or side-by-side, and with higher visibility, maybe up to five meters. I'd prefer real buddies that could actually do something in an emergency rather than "same-ocean buddies." I generally tell a new buddy my preferences before diving with them, and everyone seems to be okay with it.
 

T23

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True, technically you should not have OOG situation if properly monitoring spg/tank pressure, however ...

There have been several references to properly monitoring SPG on a regular basis throughout the dive. Not a lot mentioned on the accuracy of the SPG or how often it has been verified. From personal experience with a faulty Suunto SPG I can say that I was very lucky I never ended up in an OOG situation because I had a gauge that was reading 500 psi over actual. At the end of most dives with this gauge I thought I still had 1000 to 1500 psi in reserve. If I had ever followed the "be back on board with 500 psi" I very well might be another DAN statistic.
 

freewillie

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One can only hope your gear is accurate. Good maintenance and regular service is a must.

Staying together also takes place before you actually dive. This is especially important with new buddies and instabuddies. Do you swim really fast while diving, or do you cruise slowly. Are you chasing the big fish, or do you like to peek in all the cracks taking your time.

If you and your buddy are not on the same page when you look up from staring at the lobster you may find your buddy had wandered off as well.

Discuss your dive plans before you get in the water. Plan your dive and dive your plan.
 

cascas

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True, technically you should not have OOG situation if properly monitoring spg/tank pressure, however ...

DAN statistics, almost half of dive fatalities involve low air/OOG gas situations. So, being close to your buddy is highly advisable.

Sure buddy separation is not a good thing. I am not saying otherwise. It is just that the DAN statistics are so darn easy to influence by doing what i stated earlier (knowing gas consumption and starting tank pressure) that it is really hard to understand why people get into trouble...
 

BCSGratefulDiver

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They get in trouble because they're taught to think about how much gas they have when the dive is over ... not before it begins.

Monitoring SPG is good ... knowing before you get in the water that you're carrying adequate gas for the dive you're planning to do is better. That's the main concept behind gas management ... because when you rely on reactive rather than proactive gas management then mistakes, faulty equipment (i.e. SPG), or task loading are much more likely to result in OOA or LOA situations.

Knowing ahead of time that you are carrying adequate gas frees you up to concentrate on the dive, rather than allowing your SPG to manage it for you. It helps you relax, knowing ... because you planned for it ... that you've got enough reserve for emergencies. And it therefore allows you more margin to relax and focus on the reasons you went down there in the first place.

So while I agree that OOA should never happen, it does ... and the reason it does is because we're all taught to worry about how much air we have at the end of the dive, when what we should be answering the question before the dive even begins ... "am I carrying enough gas for the dive I'm planning to do?"

Gas management isn't something you do by monitoring your gauge ... it's something you do as an integral part of the dive planning process. Monitoring your gauge should be a sanity check ... if you've planned your dive properly, you should have a pretty good idea what your psi reading should be at any point during the dive ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
 

RTee

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As is clear from the thread, the answer can vary with conditions and visibility. The factors I think are important in answering the question can be stated this way: 1) safety, 2) comfort, and 3) affection. I want to stay close enough to my buddy that they know where I am all the time and I know where they are, and that is in close enough proximity to assist in any way needed. I want to be comfortable and not crowded, but I can feel discomfort when a buddy stays too far or is oblivious to my existence. As for affection, I stay closer to my wife than I need to because I want to be close to her. If she is feeling the same toward me at the time, then it works out great. I should also note that I stay closer to "new" or "insta" buddies than to buddies with whom I have scores of dives, and whose habits and skills and competence I know and am comfortable with. Remember, its not just distance between divers that makes a buddy team, it is awareness of the location and presence of one another as well. A diver who is 15 meters away is not being part of a buddy team. 10 meters is marginal. 2 to 5 meters is my comfort zone.
DivemasterDennis

Conditions (current, vis, depth, environment, familiarity with diving site), buddy (experience, familiarity or lack of (insta-buddy) and type of diver (holistic admirer or micro organism observer)), type of dive (and my role in such a dive) and equipment (air redundancy, cameras, etc) are all factors I will consider when considering not only the physical distance from my buddy but also my physical location within the team.
 

bpotkin

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I normally dive with my son and nephew. We do an extensive review of each others equipment and
call out our own air supply prior to entering the water. With respectable visibility we stay no farther
apart than aprox. 10 feet apart. I am always careful not kick off, or have my mask kicked off by my
dive buddies. We are always turning to look at each other and do the sign for - how much air do you have?
We also dive with back up air. With that being said based on human nature, we all have the ability
to space out or get distracted. ( Maybe 1 out of 500 times or less), OOA is always possible.
 

Blackcrusader

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I should also note that I stay closer to "new" or "insta" buddies than to buddies with whom I have scores of dives, and whose habits and skills and competence I know and am comfortable with. Remember, its not just distance between divers that makes a buddy team, it is awareness of the location and presence of one another as well. A diver who is 15 meters away is not being part of a buddy team. 10 meters is marginal. 2 to 5 meters is my comfort zone.
DivemasterDennis

Pretty much sums up how I dive. Still you see some photo's where divers are separated, some purposefully done for the shot. First two are not my photos. Generally when with regular dive buddies I have done many dives with 5 - 10m separation is normal. When with photographer dive buddies we tend to stay around 3m - 5m apart to and if we see something we let one take photos before the other for close up and macro photos.

Cenote El Pit in Quintana Roo Mexico.jpg DIVE DISTANCE.jpg


This is a photo of my dive buddy, however there were many other divers closer to both of us from other dive groups you cannot see from the picture taken from a video. He is a regular person I dive with and we like when we can to get a little separation from dive groups when we take photos.

PAUL WHALE SHARK.jpeg
 
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