Lesson “confirmed” on certification dive

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Matt2401

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Hi all,

Back awhile ago when I completed my first OW dive for my certification I had a minor incident that has been instructive to me over the years of diving.

I was in a group of 10 or so students. The instructor had us all go down to the bottom at about 15-20 feet. He would then have us practice out of air scenarios but we weren’t supposed to surface as part of the drill. Ok, sounds good. I go down to the bottom and am squatting comfortably and watching the instructor work with one buddy team at a time. Then the bite block part of my regulator tears off and I watch the stupid thing float away and I have just rubber in my teeth.

My first thought, and I can’t believe I remember it so vividly was “I would have thought there would be bigger bubbles coming out of the thing I was breathing”. Then I had two thoughts occur nearly instantly: I was out of air, and THE OCTO ON MY BUDDY HAS AIR. It’s probably because I happened to look right at it. Finally things slowed down and I realized I was only in 15 feet of water and I was plenty close to my buddy. I gave the out of air signal, took the octo from her, gave signal to surface and we went up. The instructor followed up pretty quickly to ask why we surfaced and we debriefed quickly and I continued the dive on my octo.

The lesson of the importance of a good buddy was cemented in my mind. My buddy was watching what happened and was right there to help. If I was out of air for real and my buddy was 30 feet off and we were deeper that would have sucked. I never let my buddy out of my vision for more than a few seconds. Ever. If I have a buddy off in his or her own little world I just follow them and enjoy the dive that way. I won’t ever let myself be outside of a comfortable swim from that octo.

The other lesson was the obvious: had I simply retrieved my octo I wouldn’t have had to ascend with my buddy. Now I make touching my octo a part of checking my console. I try to make it muscle memory during the dive, as much as I can.

I hope any part of this is instructive for someone like it was for me. I was damn glad to get this so early in my training, and in a way that didn’t put me in any danger.

Oh, and now I am building out my scuba kit (finally) and I will be adding a redundant air system ASAP. I thank those of you that have shared your thoughts on those systems.
 

Lorenzoid

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Well done. Nothing like a "real" scenario happening during training and handling it well. Now THAT's good training.

. . . The other lesson was the obvious: had I simply retrieved my octo I wouldn’t have had to ascend with my buddy. Now I make touching my octo a part of checking my console. I try to make it muscle memory during the dive, as much as I can. . . .

Yes, but after switching to your octo you should probably thumb the dive and ascend with your buddy. Continuing the dive on your octo might have been okay for purposes of finishing your class (in that shallow water, with the instructor there, etc.) but you wouldn't continue the dive on a real dive. Dive is over when you lose use of an important item of equipment like a regulator.
 
OP
Matt2401

Matt2401

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Well done. Nothing like a "real" scenario happening during training and handling it well. Now THAT's good training.



Yes, but after switching to your octo you should probably thumb the dive and ascend with your buddy. Continuing the dive on your octo might have been okay for purposes of finishing your class (in that shallow water, with the instructor there, etc.) but you wouldn't continue the dive on a real dive. Dive is over when you lose use of an important item of equipment like a regulator.

I 100% agree with you.
 

SlugMug

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Just to make sure I'm interpreting correctly, it sounds like the rubbery (usually silicon) mouthpiece came detached from your 2nd stage regulator? Those are usually held in by zip-ties. It's possible the zip-tie was missing, or loose. I'm guessing you were also using rental equipment?

The reason bubbles didn't come out of the regulator is because the regulator is activated when you breathe in. There's a round silicon piece in most regulators called a diaphram, and the negative pressure from breathing in pushes on the diaphram, and the diaphram pushes a button, which then releases air into the regulator. If you press the purge button on the back of your regulator, it pushes on that same diapham and internal button.

Something a lot of divers do is secure their octo in a consistent location, either under their neck, or to a specific location on their harness. As a bonus, it prevents your octo from getting caught on the environment, or dragging through mud. Here are a few examples:
There are some DIY things you can do as well, although I don't have links handy at the moment. The main thing to consider is that you want the octo to come free with a hard enough tug.
 
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Matt2401

Matt2401

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You got it close enough. The mouthpiece (if I remember right, this was over two decades ago) actually tore apart. I had part of it in my mouth and the other half floated away with the regulator. I remember afterwards looking at it and thinking it was so weird where the silicone split. I’m guessing too many students teeth biting down on it finally gave way.

Yes, it was all rental gear.

Thank you for the links, those are helpful for some things to look at buying!

Just to make sure I'm interpreting correctly, it sounds like the rubbery (usually silicon) mouthpiece came detached from your 2nd stage regulator? Those are usually held in by zip-ties. It's possible the zip-tie was missing, or loose. I'm guessing you were also using rental equipment?

The reason bubbles didn't come out of the regulator is because the regulator is activated when you breathe in. There's a round silicon piece in most regulators called a diaphram, and the negative pressure from breathing in pushes on the diaphram, and the diaphram pushes a button, which then releases air into the regulator. If you press the purge button on the back of your regulator, it pushes on that same diapham and internal button.

Something a lot of divers do is secure their octo in a consistent location, either under their neck, or to a specific location on their harness. As a bonus, it prevents your octo from getting caught on the environment, or dragging through mud. Here are a few examples:
There are some DIY things you can do as well, although I don't have links handy at the moment. The main thing to consider is that you want the octo to come free with a hard enough tug.
 

emoreira

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I tried several octo holders over the years and finally adopted one that best works for me. This is the octo necklace
octo necklace buy at LeisurePro
The octo is near my mouth where I need it.
I was taught that the donnor diver has to don the primary second. The donnor diver IS NOT IN EMERGENCY. The receiver diver is in emergency, so you have time to change from the main to the octo. Donning the main second is straitforward.
This also includes assesing the correct hose lenght for each second.
Of course, this damn pandemic is changing everything, so donating the main second is no longer advisable, however, as it has already been said, if you are in an air emergency underwater, COVID is the last thing to worry about.
 
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Matt2401

Matt2401

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I tried several octo holders over the years and finally adopted one that best works for me. This is the octo necklace
octo necklace buy at LeisurePro
The octo is near my mouth where I need it.

Thank you! That’s a cool piece of equipment I didn’t even know existed. I’m definitely going to try one out.

I agree with you on the danger of COVID. I’m thankful to be vaccinated and never contracted it. The X-rays of even the mildly symptomatic can be dramatic, and this is one disease I was happy to have avoided. Of course if it’s a choice between drowning and covid, well that’s an easy one to make.
 
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Matt2401

Matt2401

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Just to make sure I'm interpreting correctly, it sounds like the rubbery (usually silicon) mouthpiece came detached from your 2nd stage regulator? Those are usually held in by zip-ties. It's possible the zip-tie was missing, or loose. I'm guessing you were also using rental equipment?

The reason bubbles didn't come out of the regulator is because the regulator is activated when you breathe in. There's a round silicon piece in most regulators called a diaphram, and the negative pressure from breathing in pushes on the diaphram, and the diaphram pushes a button, which then releases air into the regulator. If you press the purge button on the back of your regulator, it pushes on that same diapham and internal button.

Something a lot of divers do is secure their octo in a consistent location, either under their neck, or to a specific location on their harness. As a bonus, it prevents your octo from getting caught on the environment, or dragging through mud. Here are a few examples:
There are some DIY things you can do as well, although I don't have links handy at the moment. The main thing to consider is that you want the octo to come free with a hard enough tug.


Thank you for your links to devices as well. I’m going to try a few out as see what works best.

I’m glad I shared this. I honestly was just hoping it would help someone else out in their training, but I picked up some great tips from y’all. Thank you for sharing!
 

fisheater

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I tried one of those silicone necklace octo holders. It was horrible. The octo can come out rather easily.

The purpose of the necklace octo holder is for it to be very secure. That's your octo there and it needs to always be there.

Far better to simply make your own with bungee and some knots. rectotec: HOW TO: TIE A REGULATOR NECKLACE
 

emoreira

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I tried one of those silicone necklace octo holders. It was horrible. The octo can come out rather easily.

The purpose of the necklace octo holder is for it to be very secure. That's your octo there and it needs to always be there.

Far better to simply make your own with bungee and some knots. rectotec: HOW TO: TIE A REGULATOR NECKLACE
I would not be comfortable with this type of octo bungee. If a diver in distress grabs your octo, you will have a knok in your head with the head of the diver in distress.
The one that is sold is tight enough to keep the octo near you and loose enough to allow it to be released in case some one grabs it.
This is my personal opinion.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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