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Is limited solo diving completely insane for a new diver?

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by HeliMech, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Ana

    Ana Solo Diver

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    Who decides if a diver has enough experience to make an informed decision.

    I've seen few divers with hundreds of dives that made me wonder how are they still alive; also met a couple (literally husband and wife) that were in the process of getting certified that could've teach a thing or two to their instructor.

    You can pick apart my post however you want, makes no difference to me. I'm very fortunate to not have to depend on subjective rules for my diving. If the forecast holds I'll be solo diving tomorrow morning. Most likely will be a routine dive, but if things were to go sideways, it won't be because someone in the internet gave me a go ahead to dive solo.
     
    Bob DBF likes this.
  2. Rollin Bonz

    Rollin Bonz Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SE USA
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    You did not ask for advice, nor is anyone trying to give you advice. By all means, as I have said, dive as you like and I will do the same. We are in agreement on this.
    The OP did ask. And admitted to being a new inexperienced diver. And added he did not have redundant gear.
    I stand behind my advice as solid.
    As I see it, you've not provided any advice beyond "dive how you want to dive". OP isn't sure. That's why he asked...
     
  3. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
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    It was a lot wiser then than it is now due to the lack of watermanship skills allowed in diving today. The attitude towards solo diving was brought on more by the training by catchphrase as classes shortened training time. Now that agencies sell solo training, so it's ok as long as you pay.

    The buddy system concept in the water was started in swimming by the YMCA, who was one of the initial scuba training agencies. The idea is that you are safer with a trained buddy as alone, which can be true with a number of assumptions. If taken to it logical conclusion, every activity should be done with a buddy for safety. It seems that diving is the only place that people get so bent out of shape about it.

    My initial training was reading a book and working with a "instructor" that a few more dives than I had. Buddy breathing on the doublehose was the only time we were both underwater on scuba at the same time 'cause there was only one rig. I dove solo a while before I had my first buddy dive, and no one thought a solo diver was all that unusual. Most of my dives over the last 50+ years have been solo.


    Bob

    I may be old, but I'm not dead yet.

    Dive and let dive.
     
    Tribal and Rollin Bonz like this.
  4. Gareth J

    Gareth J Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: UK
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    To a degree I agree with your points above. I have also posted earlier in the thread.

    But there is a reason why all the diving agencies recommend diving as a buddy pair.
    Why being at sea is so dangerous if you are single handed.
    The likelihood of surviving an incident at sea, on the surface or underwater, are significantly improved if there is more than one of you.

    One other consideration - PADI OW is a novice qualification. It teaches just enough to dive in ideal conditions, with the minimal skills required to descend and ascend safely, with the illusion that you are now an expert. Following the PADI route, I would suggest that you are just beginning to understand how much you don't know when you complete PADI Rescue Diver.

    Having recently been re-watching the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) documentary, one of the comments from one of the coxswain's is worth remembering. 'It doesn't matter how good you are, or how much experience you have, the sea is a dangerous mistress. None more so when it looks inviting, a lapse of attention and you can easily become a casualty." That was him talking about being rescued by the lifeboat himself!





    For those of you not UK based. The RNLI is manned by volunteer crews, they are the people who put to sea to save those in danger on the seas around the British Isles (including the Irish Republic). They go when no one else will.
    To answer your thoughts, yes, occasionally and tragically they are sometime casualties themselves.
    See the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster.
     
    Rollin Bonz likes this.
  5. Rollin Bonz

    Rollin Bonz Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SE USA
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    I really meant ro emphasize the "with single tanks and no octos" part moreso than the "solo diving" part as far as now perhaps being viewed as unwise.

    Goes back to not knowing what you know until you know it. Some things you don't have to personally figure out on your own, through the experience of others, it has become accepted that certain things are a good idea. Redundant air for deep dives and octos on single tank set ups for example.

    I agree with you about current training and "pay to play" through agencies. Greed and fear of liability both play a role I think.

    Certification, training, and experience are all independently important, but not necessarily in that order.
    And the levels of each are seldom equivalent in an individual diver.
     
  6. almostDIR

    almostDIR Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Finland
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    I personally think EVERY rec diver should have a pony bottle whether diving alone or not. It would improve safety a great deal when diving with a buddy as well.

    I actually tend to keep a 30cf with me on almost all dives unless it is a training dive where it is not allowed or practical. (the problem with pony bottles is, they are somewhat clumsy and tend to be very expensive for a beginner and pretty impossible to rent when needed. I chose a dst+xtx50+15cm pressure gauge+stage rig kit setup which cost more than my main regulator set which is ds4/atx40 based:gas: ). I really don't believe in Spare Air or octos as a reliable or suitable backup for a single diver, you will probably only ever need the octo by yourself if your regulator mouthpiece falls of and gets lost and the spair air is just not enough air to get you safely back to surface in situations where it is normally likely to be used (like diving near 30m mark and running out of air ))
     
    Rollin Bonz likes this.
  7. almostDIR

    almostDIR Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Finland
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    If your main 2nd stage fails it will start to freeflow and if you are deep you will want to save as much air as you can so you probably will breath from the freeflowing regulator (like taught in the OW course) and leave the octo alone.

    By mechanical design it is pretty much impossible for the 2nd stage valve to clog shut because there is no anything in the low pressure hose which could fall off and clog it from the inside. If it does not clog from inside it just stays open.

    If your 1st stage malfunctions underwater you will be absolutely screwed anyway. Again, regulators freeflowing and no additional help from the octo.

    If the main reg hose bursts then it could save something to have the octo but I don't believe it would be easy to breathe from it when the burst hose lowers intermediate pressure very low.

    The main reason for a pony bottle for me is to prepare for 1st stage problems underwater (cold water around year on lake bottom etc), those would be most likely incidents here and cannot be resolved any other way than having a redundant air source. Running out of air is not a huge concern for me but it is incredibly common problem for divers, especially new ones, so it is a good reason to have the pony with you even if you (hopefully) don't ever need it

    ----
    so my main conclusion is that with current regulator designs one would only need the octo by him/herself if either the main regulator hose bursts OR the main regulator mouthpiece falls off and it becomes difficult to breathe from it. Of course for a panicked diver it would be more convenient to breathe from a backup than from a freeflowing regulator but that does not help with the air consumption at all so better to keep the hoses and zip ties in good shape and get the pony bottle instead I think
     
    Rollin Bonz likes this.
  8. Tribal

    Tribal Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Belgium
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    Don’t get me wrong, I will never use that spare air thing. But running out of air is something else I will never do, unless it’s due to a mechanical problem.
     
    chillyinCanada and Rollin Bonz like this.
  9. Rollin Bonz

    Rollin Bonz Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SE USA
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    True. Your octo is for your buddy (assuming you have one) to avoid the old "buddy breathing" chaos. Doesn't do you much good in most cases. Although in a freeflow situation, I suppose you could pinch the hose closed on the primary and breath from the octo...? Never tried that.

    Although I can't say that (dive and let dive you know :)-- plus there are more than a few, ocassionally heated, threads here on the subject). That may be overkill for some divers, especially on shallow dives. I don't typically dive shallow, though (most are around 100ft). I started diving with a slung 40cf pony after about 75 dives. Continued to do so until I started diving SM. If I have to dive recreational in BM in the future (I'm sure I will), I'd feel naked without a pony, but that's just me.
     
  10. almostDIR

    almostDIR Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Finland
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    the spair air would be wonderful piece of gear if it just had a little bit more air in it. Maybe if one is doing a 10m dive it could be useful but I would rather do CESA if running out of air that shallow. for freedivers if might be usable I think where the ascend rates are not as limited as with SCUBA.
    Maybe the spare air could be useful if swimming to your buddy in OOA situation if he/she is far away? why is your buddy that far away in the first place?
    deep scuba = more redundant air needed by my opinion. The 30cf is quite much but something like 20cf would be pretty neat to have with you if anything happens underwater
     

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