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Missing diver in Tacoma Washington (Les Davis)

Discussion in 'Accidents & Incidents' started by wetb4igetinthewater, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. SeaHorse81

    SeaHorse81 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: PA
    I think this is a brilliant mental exercise, actually. No, you can't physically practice dumping weights at the end of every dive, but you could certainly consider end-of-dive weight-dumping the default which you choose not to do each time you surface and everything is fine. I think this would dramatically reduce the likelihood of forgetting all about the weights in a crisis, which is what seems now to happen too often.

    I think this can save people. I'm adding it to my personal checklist.
  2. Hawkwood

    Hawkwood MSDT ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: NA
    It is. From the PADI Instructor Manual (re: Open Water Diver course):

    Emergency Weight Drop — During any dive, in either confined or open water, at the surface in water too deep in which to stand, with a deflated BCD, have student divers use the weight system’s quick release, to pull clear and drop sufficient weight to become positively buoyant.

  3. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    For those of you asking about the dive site, it was created using large chunks of decking from an old bridge ... massive rectangles of concrete piled on top of each other. That's where people generally go when they dive there, because it provides shelter for all sorts of interesting critters. If she fell between some of those structures, she may be laying there, well hidden, in which case tidal movement won't be an issue. On the other hand, if she landed in an open area, it's possible that tidal movement ... which has seen exchanges up to 15 feet since the accident ... could move her body considerably, even though the area isn't generally known to be current sensitive. It gets deep in a hurry in Commencement Bay. Gray mentioned Lobster Shop Wall, which is about a quarter-mile west of Les Davis ... people have been known to go to depths of over 300 feet off that wall ... on a shore dive. But you don't have to go that far to get very deep. Adjacent to the dive site is an outfall pipe that runs down to 165 feet. I and others have done this dive from the Les Davis entry, and tides on a strong ebb would move in that direction. Below the pipe it falls away to over 200 feet depth rather quickly.

    Police and Coast Guard are trained in recovery far beyond anything a recreational diver (even those who are tech trained) are qualified to do. But they're not generally as experienced or as well-equipped as some of our local divers. I've seen posts urging our dive community to get involved in the search. It's not a bad idea ... a local diver found a friend of mine at over 200 feet a few years back months after he disappeared on a night dive in that area. But I would urge anyone making that attempt to not consider recovery ... mark the position and let those more qualified in recovery take over. Moving a body, no matter how well intentioned, permanently damages evidence critical to an investigation of what happened. Let those trained in such things do that part correctly.

    This is a tragic accident. I'm seriously concerned about the well-being of her son. FWIW - I've been hammered elsewhere recently for my previous post here, and I expect more of the same from this one. But as I noted on that other forum, if my comments help someone else to think ... to question ... to recognize a developing or potential problem that can keep them from putting themselves into a similar circumstance, then it's worth any anger from the "let's not talk about this" crowd. I'm cognizant of their reasoning ... family will almost certainly be reading these comments ... and I urge all of you to be respectful in what you say and how you say it. But discussing accidents is why this forum exists, and if done in the right way it is beneficial to the dive community as a whole. Those who are too raw emotionally should just not come here for a while ... we all deal with our emotional needs in our own way ... and for some, talking about it is therapy.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)

    ---------- Post added June 14th, 2015 at 06:48 AM ----------

    ... a new article ... more tragic news ... this woman's kids are now orphans ...

    Police identify Portland woman who died on Tacoma scuba diving trip | OregonLive.com

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
  4. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Contributor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    That is the way I was taught, back in the day when we did not have a BC. Dropping the belt was last on the list of emergency procedures but always kept first in your mind, so that when you came up with nothing else you knew exactly what to do. We were also trained to ditch all our gear and swim home if it got to that, to this day I won't own any gear I'm not willing to dump.

    You can physically practice dumping weights a lot more than you might think. On any shore dive I drop my weights in the shallows, assuming I know I can find them again, or drop them on the beach before removing any other gear. My weight belt looks like s**t and I have to replace it on a regular basis from the abuse, but I don't "think" I know how to drop it. On a boat I just remove it first to keep in practice but don't let it hit the deck. I don't think an intellectual understanding of dropping a weight belt and one actual drop in practice is enough to summon the procedure as one quickly moves down the road to panic.

    My biggest fear is to be caught dead in the water with my weigh belt on.

    I have needed to drop my weight belt twice, once on the surface on SCUBA (no BC days) and once underwater freediving. The first may have saved my life , the second did.

    finnks likes this.
  5. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Chances are that she could have simply pressed one button and inflated the BC to stay on the surface. It is possible she was out of air or had a scuba failure, but we know this is unlikely. So once panic starts, inflating a working BC and/or ditching lead may be impossible.

    But the comment above about practicing ditching lead seems important - and something i had not really considered previously. A diver who uses a weight belt, goes through the motion of manipulating and removing the weight belt hundreds of times. Before and after EVERY dive, the weight belt is accessed.

    For people with integrated weights, the weights may very rarely be removed. Plus when they remove the weight pockets, the BC is probably sitting in a rack and the removal process is very different than when wearing the unit.

    Who knows what kind of weight system was being used? I learned to dive well before weight integration was common, the first attempts were pretty poor design and they are improving, but I avoid weight integration for a variety of reasons.
    shoredivr likes this.
  6. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    Body of missing scuba diver found in Commencement Bay | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News
    digdug87 likes this.
  7. Diver_C

    Diver_C Registered

    Right on Bob! I hope any newer divers reading this thread takes your post to heart!

    bowlofpetunias likes this.
  8. alm

    alm Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portland Oregon
    However, I (and my LDS owner; neither of us has any involvement with the shop involved) think what you had to say was spot-on.

    I've heard the usual random amorphous chatter "around" since this thread started, some of which would have put the dive shop involved in a slightly better light. But there's nothing that I can credibly source so I shouldn't pass it along. We don't seem to be hearing more from the group participants; it would take a lot of fortitude on the part of those folks to provide a detailed report. When I think about my comparatively minor scary experiences underwater, I have to respect whatever they want (or don't want) to do.
    SeaHorse81 and Yarbrough like this.
  9. Gdog

    Gdog Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lacey, Washington
    Well, for my 2 psi, I am friends with the dive shop owner, and went thru them in 2003 to get my OW cert. A couple years later I took both my kids there for their OW. While I dont know what happened at Les Davis, I think the fact that I took my kids there for their own OW speaks quite well of how safe and adequate the shop conducted training and the shop dives. I have been in and out of this shop over the years, and have always found them to be very professional. My heartfelt condolences to the family of this woman.
    pancakes74 and PNW Dive Girl like this.
  10. Steve_C

    Steve_C Contributor Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    Do not know about this particular case. But sometimes folks get complacent. We got away with it before so we can do it again. And conditions vary from day to day. Different students can have different experiences with the same op.

    I have come across "lost" divers doing OW dives and returned them to the group and the instructor never knew it.

    At LaJolla shores I was with a private DM/Instructor for a dive while on business. He saw the big swells and recommended we bail. I agreed. We along with several other instructors/DM who had decided not to dive watched a shop march a large class up to the edge. Some of those around me put wet suits back on because they could see what was about to happen. The herd of students and their DMs charged during a slack moment. A big swell hit as they were in the water. Some of the class and all the DM made it out past the swells. Several students never made it out. A couple students had to be assisted back out of the water by those on shore. Some studnets staggered out by themselves quite a few yards down current. No way were all students being monitored through out this training dive. Those around me were not surprised that this particular shop did this.

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