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Is a Pony Bottle too complicated for a beginner?

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by Seville, May 20, 2021.

  1. MikeWD

    MikeWD Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria, B.C., Canada
    72
    93
    @KenGordon I am going to have to disagree with you on this. A person's mindset plays a big part in this, especially as a new diver. For example, last September I got my OW. My 1st dive as a certified diver, I slung a 13cu pony on my left side. My buddy for that dive, a DM in training, watched me as I flooded, then cleared my mask while switching to my pony for my ascent from 50'.
    Packing a pony as a new diver is not hard if you are prepared to use it. I prefer to sling my pony, as opposed to mount to my main, as all control of the bottle is right in front of me and if something happens, I move my hand to the pony and the stage 2 is the first thing that my hand grabs.. Originally, I slung the pony on my left, but now sling diagonally across my chest. This keeps weighting equal between both sides and if I ever had to hand off my pony to a diver in need, my balance would not be out. I lovingly carried that 13cu for my 1st 70ish dives, after which, I purchased a 30cu tank, which I also carry, diagonally across my chest.
    I have been diving for less than a year. I did not do my AOW until I had 40 logged dives. AS of this morning, I am now at 142 dives, all but 6 of those have been carrying a pony. I also did my OW in a drysuit, just to add more complexity, but it is needed in the waters I dive.
    A beginner can do it, but you have to have the mindset. When I purchased all the gear I needed to scuba dive, I used the gear list from a Solo course to help me decide what to buy. I still practice switch over drills, and my pony has a LP whip for launching my DSMB, and as a spare source for my drysuit.
    (I have still not brought out my camera, as I feel it is more important to nail buoyancy and finning techniques 1st, a camera however, is not lifesaving gear)
     
  2. MikeWD

    MikeWD Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria, B.C., Canada
    72
    93
    @Seville I too am a new diver. Got my OW last Sept and my AOW last Nov. I had purchased all my gear, even before my OW course; one piece of the kit was a 13cu pony. I had it rigged with an OMS pony sling kit. Sling your bottle as opposed to mounting it on your back, and put your primary stage 2 on a necklace. (when you do switchover drills, your primary stage 2 you will not have to look for)
    My instructor would not let me carry my pony during my OW, but for my 1st dive as a certified diver, I carried it, and have ever since, except one time when the stage 2 went into free-flow. When I had around 70 logged dives, I found a 30cu tank which I now carry. At around dive 25-30, I switched my sling from the left side, to diagonally across my chest, which eliminated the need to offset weight. If I ever had to hand off my pony to another diver, my weighting would not be affected. Go ahead and carry your pony, and practice switching to it. I am now at dive 142, as of this am, and carry my pony all the time.
     
    wetb4igetinthewater likes this.
  3. MikeWD

    MikeWD Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria, B.C., Canada
    72
    93
    NO, keep the octo for a dive buddy, the pony is for you. PONY stands for Piss Off Not Yours.
     
  4. MikeWD

    MikeWD Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria, B.C., Canada
    72
    93
    If you suck down your primary, you should be at the surface, not reaching for a pony to extend your time. A pony is never considered as part of your gas supply, but rather, your get out of $#it supply.
     
  5. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Torrance, CA
    9,642
    10,327
    Then why did you switch to it on your first dive?
     
  6. MikeWD

    MikeWD Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria, B.C., Canada
    72
    93
    I switched to it as a practice switching to my pony, not to extend my time, so I would know what to do if I needed to. During my "practice", my primary tank still had more than enough gas to finish my dive. My pony is not included in my gas management and planning, and therefore not used to extend my time.
    I have been told by a number of instructors that the switch over drill I performed on my 1st dive, was one that is taught in the PADI Tech 40 class.
     
  7. KenGordon

    KenGordon Rebreather Pilot

    3,910
    2,709
    There is a saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. A new diver really has very little idea about a lot of things. The idea that a person could die by failing to get off an empty pony onto a full backgas cylinder is probably one of those.
     
  8. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    5,849
    4,167
    In open water, students do get their valves shut down momentarily in the pool to get the feel of a cylinder being drained empty. As they are also taught to retrieve regs/share gas, switching to another reg isn't going to be a big deal, I fail to see your scenario as likely unless they had a really, really, REALLY bad open water class (which I certainly did). Early on, I had one of those and I actually did a rookie mistake of having similar regs on my pony and my back primary. I was confused at first as my SPG read full tank, but I stopped getting gas. Just switched regs and continued on. After that, I made sure my 2nd stages wouldn't be mixed up.
     
  9. KenGordon

    KenGordon Rebreather Pilot

    3,910
    2,709
    If you read the BSAC incident reports and you will find one or two fatalities caused this way.

    Also, if there are rookies and rookie mistakes…
     
  10. MikeWD

    MikeWD Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Victoria, B.C., Canada
    72
    93
    I keep my pony in front of me, diagonally across my chest. I keep it turned on and I check to make sure all is working before I jump in the water. I also know what movements my hands need to make to reach the stage 2 on my pony, in case of failure of my main tank.
    I have done a ton of research on diving solo, and I know that my pony, is my get out of crap card. It is not to be included in my gas planning at all. There is no chance I would be breathing off my pony instead of my main tank.
     

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