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Pace of Cave Diving Instructional Progress

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by boulderjohn, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. diverdoug1

    diverdoug1 Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Florida (via Texas and New York)
    Given your above comments , do you feel that the MAIN benefit of requiring a buddy would be a second diver being there to thumb the dive before things got dicey? Or someone to help bail out a diver who has a problem? (of couse it will play a part in both)
  2. Xenia

    Xenia Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Jacksonville, FL
    JamesK, maybe I am reading too much in your reply. I agree, this is not data but just a presentation with conclusions, no statistics to back it up.

    James, I thought you had learned in school to distinguish between statistical populations and 5 individual cases. Just because some of these are recent, it does not mean they are a representative population of statistics that can lead to a conclusion, much more a rule for cave diving.

    Here is some data:

    1. Wayne's World, Nov. 2008: 2 victims, dive buddies
    2. Los Archos, Nov. 2007: 3 out of 12 students deceased
    3. The Crack, July 2007: team of 3, one deceased
    4. Peacock III, Jan. 2005: victim cavern certified, with 2 dive buddies
    5. Sac Actun, Dec. 2004: team of three, one deceased
    6. Ginnie, Aug. 2004: one victim, two dive buddies
    7. Eagles Nest, June 2004: two people deceased
    8. Little River, 2003: team of two, one deceased
    9. Devil's, 2002: team of 3, one deceased
    10. Little River, 2002: team of two, one deceased
    11. Jackson Blue, 2001: team of two, one deceased
    12. Clarcsville Cave, 2001: team of three, one deceased
    13. Royal, 2001: two people deceased
    14. Cypress creek, 2001: team of two, one deceased
    15. Emerald, 2001: group, one deceased
    16. Sabak Ha, 2000: team of two, one deceased
    17. Little River, 2000: team of two, one deceased
    18. Forty Fathom, 1999: team of two, one deceased
    19. Madison, 1999: two people deceased

    Plus a couple of recent ones not published yet:
    20. death at Peacock in 2010, intro diver got disoriented, with a team that could not convince her she was not going to the exit,
    21. Jim Miller from WKPP.

    I know I have missed a number of them, but this starts to build a real statistical population.
  3. Bobby

    Bobby Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Charleston, SC
    I see the point you are trying to make and I am not saying you are wrong. For me I would rather not be Don Quixote. We are a self regulated sport and the industry has accepted places like Blue Grotto, Devils Den, & Ginnie Spring as safe for OW divers to enter the caverns. At least they have videos and inform the divers about why these places are accepted and other caverns are not.

    Tao has shown that they are taking precautions and will seek training when his son is of age and maturity. What I think a lot of cave and technical divers forget is the perspective from the OW divers side. We come off as elitists and having an attitude. It doesn't matter that most of us are not intentionally displaying that attitude, it still is what comes across. Bearing down on someone that has already demonstrated that they are taking over head diving seriously and will seek out training only reinforces a lot of OW divers view point that we, as technical and cave divers, are blowing hot air to boost our own ego.

    Lets be honest, presently we have a much bigger problem of certified cave diver incidents compared to OW divers in caves. If you would put half the energy you put towards OW divers into trying to curb that problem we might start to get it under control. Please lets not make excuses like the incidents are from divers going beyond their training or experience. That is kind of obvious as if they stayed within their training and experience the entire community would be shouting to the roof tops that we need to figure out what is wrong with our present rules. Instead it is simpler to just say "I would never push past the rules or my experience" and move on.

    I applaud that you are trying to convey the real risk. As I said though in the first paragraph it does no good to be Don Quixote and chase wind mills. The industry has long ago accepted these sites as OW safe. The rest of the OW divers that read this and have their beliefs confirmed about technical and cave divers being gas bags does far more damage.


    ---------- Post added May 15th, 2012 at 06:22 AM ----------

    You make some rather poor examples here. I knew Steve well, considered him a friend, and was first introduced to the overhead by him. It was not solo diving that caused this incident and any buddy that would have agreed to the dive plans would have most likely gotten them in trouble long before Steve's incident.

    Marc was way beyond his experience level. He was warned by multiple people that his dive plan was beyond his capability and that the plan was not sound as well. Any dive buddy that would have agreed to the plan most likely would have put them in more trouble.

    Now this incident a buddy might have been able to help. Then again a buddy might have led to a double fatality instead of one. I don't know and I highly doubt you know either. As to performing the dive there have been far too many incidents with buddy teams to say that a buddy could not have been found for this dive. In the end I believe we both know the motivating force behind this being a solo dive.

    Again with a buddy this might have been as easily a double fatality as a buddy saving the day. We just don't know, but we do know from his logs that gas reserves were an issue on previous dives and this falls more easily into the gas management rule than solo diving as the cause of the incident.

    Considering that this was a team dive it actually counters your point completely. The buddy did not thumb the dive and actually went on to finish the dive on their own and only alerted others after surfacing and finding that she had not.

    This is way off the original topic yet I have a hard time leaving the solo topic due to the rather poor reasoning given against it. There are not only many times when I believe that solo diving is safer than team diving but also makes stronger team divers as well. The reliance on a buddy has many facets that open the door for incidents. I believe that there would be far fewer incidents if every diver judged every dive by whether they would perform the dive solo.

    Dive-aholic, Kevin Carlisle and Jax like this.
  4. ucfdiver

    ucfdiver DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Orlando, FL
    Well, to be fair, you totally ignored my commentary.
    Excluding the Mexico incidents which I have no information on, it looks like you've come up with 6 buddy deaths, which aren't due to violation of training limits. I don't think showing a list which includes intoxicated ow divers who died in caves is very relevant to the topic of trained cave divers being safer with a buddy.

    Oh C'mon Bobby, as much as I value your opinion on many topics, in this case we ALL know what was going on here. People do the same thing at Peacock (including the Victim!). Two buddies get in the water together to make it look as if they're following landowner rules and then wait for each other in the cavern.

    I'm sure there were some other things going on in his mind about the next day that might have caused a distraction. While I didn't know Steve all that well personally, I've spent more time asking about this incident than any other, mainly because his stepson was a classmate, played on my bball team, and was a close friend during school years. I would prefer not to discuss any further details in public (email me if you'd like, Bobby), but I'm certain you would agree that the chance his mind was distracted on that dive was high.
  5. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Orca

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    Me thinks that Xenia doesn't understand statistics.
    MarkHerm likes this.
  6. bleeb

    bleeb Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    One problem that struck me with the original comment was that although this un-cave-trained diver talked about practising and doing a lot of drills, I don't recall seeing anything about any of those exercises being techniques required for cavern or cave diving. Too lazy to re-read the entire thread, but it seemed what they were practising were basic OW skills, and not things like running line, finding lost lines, mask-less air-sharing exits in zero vis, etc. Did anyone see any statements that would imply otherwise?

    And of particular relevance, some of these skills are best learned under the tutelage of someone who can do and teach them well. Teaching yourself is generally seems to be seen as a good way to learn bad habits and make carrying them out badly more reflexive.

    ---------- Post added May 15th, 2012 at 11:47 AM ----------

    Actually, I think you're trying to measure the wrong thing. If the goal is to estimate whether solo or buddy cave diving is more probable to result in a fatality, you need to be looking at how many accidents or serious near misses were resolved by the presence of a buddy that would have been fatal without one, compared to the number that were actually caused by a buddy. The latter has to exclude fatalities in the presence of a buddy if the buddy didn't actually significantly contribute to causing the accident. (ufc's breakdown of this list touched on part of this.)
  7. diverdoug1

    diverdoug1 Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Florida (via Texas and New York)
    You are correct, Agnes was alone for the last portion of her dive. I was lucky enough to call her a friend while she was with us, and she is perhaps part of the reason for my original post in this thread.
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  8. Dive-aholic

    Dive-aholic Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Florida - Marianna area
    This statement just shows your ignorance regarding the guidelines. The light guideline has evolved into properly maintained equipment, but out of respect for Sheck and Wes, we keep it as lights/equipment. When the guideline was formulated it was because of the types of lights that were being used. We didn't have all the fancy canister lights and LEDs we have now. The lights being used then ran off of motorcycles batteries. The back up lights were sealed in plastic bags. What I teach my students regarding that guideline is to make sure they have properly maintained equipment that is serviced regularly and as needed.

    And as far as the solo argument goes, every solo death that has occurred has been a result of violating other guidelines and the divers just happened to be solo. Sure you can argue they wouldn't have been violating the other guidelines had they not been solo. My challenge to you is to prove it.

    Tao, there is no such thing as an OW safe cavern. Caverns are overhead environments not open water environments. While land owners will classify "their" caverns as open water safe for monetary reasons, it really isn't so. You are just tempting fate, as is every other non-overhead trained diver who ventures into the overhead is.
    Jax and diverdoug1 like this.
  9. ucfdiver

    ucfdiver DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Orlando, FL
    I don't mind being "ignorant" to the guidelines, since a ton of recent deaths haven't fallen under them. Sheck got to do his own accident analysis for himself, and I reserve that same right, since it's my life on the line.

    Leaving a rule outdated to "honor" someone is a rather odd idea. Why don't we just update the rule, if that's what it mean? I for one, consider leaving training standards outdated incredibly disrespectful to those who established them in an effort to make everyone safe. Just like I don't think Buhlmann is being disrespected when VPM-B was developed, I don't think those two are being disrespected by furthering their research...

    The fact health hasn't cracked the top 5 yet and accounts for the majority of diving accidents these days speaks volumes. If I were to redo them (for trained cave divers), I think I would go with the following. Admittedly it's difficult to order them because you have to decide do you go off how often the rule is broken, how often it results in a death, or how likely it is to be broken and result in a death (IE if it's broken 10,000 times and has 10 fatalities it would be #1 for how many deaths, but still low likely hood).

    1. Diving without a recent medical (IE undiagnosed health issues)
    2. Violation of training guidelines
    3. Failure to maintain sufficient breathing gas reserves for the dive
    4. Solo Diving
    5. Diving > 100ft END
    6. Failure to maintain a continuous guideline to the surface.
    7. Improper gear for the dive

    This is a bogus request, which you're well aware. Prove to me that drunk driving causes accidents, you can't. It's always a missed turn or running a red light or following too close.
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  10. LiteHedded

    LiteHedded Great White

    why is it so hard for solo divers to admit that it's a bit more risky than diving with a qualified buddy most of the time?

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