Out of air incident.

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ScubaWithTurk

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Thank you both!!

@Stoo I can see the complacent thing kicking in after so many dives which is why I am hoping that my specific setup procedure/routine will keep that from happening.
 

Jason

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Just got back from Mexico. Divemasters like to check your valve AND turn it a quarter turn off. I don't say anything I just make a point of turning it wide open and test breathing again, as many times as they touch it.

I always make a game with myself of deciding what my air pressure and depth are before I check. I think it is good for me to do. I can be off 10-15' on the depth but I'm usually pretty close on the air. So when the DM asks me how much air I have I tell them without looking. After awhile they quit bothering me.

That's pretty much exactly how I did it during a recent trip to Jamaica. The guys on the boat would make the rounds and check all valves and back all of them off a quarter of a turn. Every time they did I would open my valve (and my wife's) all the way back up and breath from my regs (and ask my wife to do the same).
 

Stoo

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Thank you both!!

@Stoo I can see the complacent thing kicking in after so many dives which is why I am hoping that my specific setup procedure/routine will keep that from happening.

Yup, nothing wrong with that.... My old pal Jill Heinerth who is well known for her amazing diving exploits, is a huge proponent of using checklists, especially with rebreathers. I don't dive with her much, but I suspect that her policy of doing so has kept her safe all of these years...
 

davehicks

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Wow, I am sort of shocked that nobody has mentioned the two primary factors of this incident:

1) New diver with just a few dives under their belt going to 85 feet
2) Diver at depths beyond their skill level distracted by a camera

Either be more selective of your dive buddies, or take the lead responsibility in defining the dive profile and communication plan. If you don't know your buddy it is always important to have a good conversation first about gear, skill level, checking over each others dive prep.
 

Rred

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"people with cameras can get a bit too absorbed in what they are doing,"
DAN indicates that about half of diver deaths seem to be mysterious "out of air" incidents. Cause unknown, but the victim is found with an empty tank. The suspicion is that folks just get absorbed or distracted and forget to check their air.

Which is why some of us were taught to still dive with a J valve, even though SPG's were already in use and we used them. You can't read your gauge? That happens in black water. You forgot to read it? Time flies. But if you run out of air with a J, you just reach back and trip the lever. Useless for resort divers since all the dive operations claim "Oh that's too complicated, J valves kill people" but somehow, the USN and NOAA still actually REQUIRE them at times.

For a traveler...SpareAir makes sense, because no shop will let you bring your own J for their rental tanks. I think they stopped using J's because it cost an extra $25(?) per tank back in the day. Of course now...more like $500 per tank, because there's no more mass market for J valves.

To the folks who say J valves are too complicated...I'd say they shouldn't be diving, ping pong is less complicated.
To the folks who say J valves can be accidentally tripped or otherwise fail...I say sure, that can happen. So? Then you're just out of air, which is what would have happened anyway. Just way less likely with a J valve.
 

Dan

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I had a close call diving with a resort group in Cuba this week. The dive centre is very well equipped and the staff are all very well trained SSI pro's and have years of taking groups of all levels diving. The group of 7 divers consisted of 2 staff divers and 5 clients. We were assigned dive buddies during our briefing and the diver I was with had a few dives and was a certified PADI open water diver. We initially worked our way down to 85' and the DM inquired about everyone's remaining air. My buddy indicated he had 1/2 tank. I was about 2100 psi so he was either hard on air or misreading his gauge. Further into the dive, we were at 70' and the DM inquired again of everybody and my buddy gave the "OK" sign, which I thought was strange as I was down to about 1500 psi, so at the previous rate he would have been closer to 500 psi.. He was busy taking pictures, so I figured he may have been using up air quicker than others. I decided to stay close by. A couple minutes later I heard a a muffled sound, and he had already ran out of air, replaced his regulator with his octopus out of panic thinking there was going to be air, and he had the wide eyed look of death. I was able to get to him, replace his octopus with mine, and get him to surface.
Here's what I learned:
Buddy diving means staying close and paying attention to each other. Tell you buddy that before getting wet.
The diver was from Canada and used psi. Cuba uses bar Maybe that caused confusion in the briefing.
If you rent or use someone else's equipment - know how to use it and your buddies before getting wet.
Take more training so you can react to your and others needs if required
Don't be embarrassed to ask your DM or guide to explain things if you don't quite understand. Possibly the Spanish to English translation caused an issue.
It could have been a lot worse.

You can be my buddy anytime & I'll buy you a beer at the end of the day.

Actually you only have 350 psi air reserve at 500 psig. The 1st stage regulator requires a minimum pressure drop of 140-150 psi to set the intermediate pressure for the 2nd stage regulator. So if the SPG shows 150 psig, you are basically OOA.
 

halocline

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Actually you only have 350 psi air reserve at 500 psig. The 1st stage regulator requires a minimum pressure drop of 140-150 psi to set the intermediate pressure for the 2nd stage regulator. So if the SPG shows 150 psig, you are basically OOA.

Not exactly, you'll still have several breaths, although they will become increasingly difficult. IP is what's required to close the first stage valve; below that, it remains open and will deliver air to the 2nd stage. Once you draw on the 2nd stage and lower the pressure in the stage to below ambient pressure, it will open and air will flow all the way down to ambient supply pressure. It will just become more difficult as the pressure delivered to the 2nd stage falls below IP and approaches ambient. How much more difficult depends on the 2nd stage design.

Another issue, though, is the accuracy of SPGs at such a low pressure. I wouldn't trust them to accurately differentiate between say 100 and 150 PSI. So if you are diving and your gauge says 150, it's time to get out of dodge.
 

BRT

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You can be my buddy anytime & I'll buy you a beer at the end of the day.

Actually you only have 350 psi air reserve at 500 psig. The 1st stage regulator requires a minimum pressure drop of 140-150 psi to set the intermediate pressure for the 2nd stage regulator. So if the SPG shows 150 psig, you are basically OOA.
This is not true. Turn your valve off and try it.
 

Rapid Star

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New diver with just a few dives under their belt going to 85 feet
A diver with a PADI Open Water cert is supposed to be limited to a max depth of 60 feet. So the fact that you were going 25 feet beyond that depth and that he had just a few logged dives should have been a red flags for both you AND your buddy! Thankfully you were level headed and handled the situation allowing the dive to end without becoming a major incident.
 
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