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Panicked diver this weekend

Discussion in 'Near Misses and Lessons Learned' started by jlcnuke, May 29, 2019.

  1. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    Great learning experience. The only thing I would recommend is that in the future if your insta-buddy full inflates their BCD at depth and starts rocketing to the surface that you not get on top of them spread eagle...instead, if you can't slow their ascent by grabbing a fin or leg, or it seems like you won't be able to, let them pop to the surface. For the 2nd time today I am writing the following:

    It is best if there are zero victims, but if there are going to be victims it is better that there is only 1.

    Your first priority is to keep yourself safe. You would not be in a position to help/rescue your insta-buddy had you injured or kiled yourself in response to his inept actions.

    Consider yourself lucky and reflect and learn from the incident.

    Landau likes this.
  2. Scuba-74

    Scuba-74 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Longmeadow, Massachusetts
    Thanks for sharing.

    It reinforces one point for me - I WILL NOT pair up with an insta-buddy unless forced to do so by a boat crew or some land authority on shore, whatever that might be. Just no need to subject yourself to all the risks and stress associated with it. It is much easier, safer, and more enjoyable to dive solo.

    There is no guarantee that my actual future buddies that I will end up diving with won't turn out to be novice divers with some issues, but at least those will be the people I know and have some interest in diving with and helping.
  3. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    Highlighting mine:

    I cannot emphasize this enough, indeed during rescue when I'm playing the panicked diver the students find out that they will be on the surface with a couple of fin kicks from myself. If you can't arrest teh ascent by grabbing them and dumping your air, LET GO.

    When I teach OW, (in OW) I'm significantly over weighted for just this reason but that's still no guarantee I'll managed to stop someone who's really in a panic
    Zef likes this.
  4. Rollin Bonz

    Rollin Bonz Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Georgia, the state, not the country ;-)
    Thanks for sharing!

    Had a similar experience, but the diver did not reach full panic. She was upfront about her experience level, OW certified the weekend before I think, so I was watching her like a hawk. Our plan was similar. After a weight check and adjustment (adding weight), drop to and then follow a horizontal line at 10-15 feet that led east. Upon submerging, she began to descend, but didn't get neutral, just continued to drop and flail in an effort to arrest her descent. I dropped with her signalling for her to inflate her BC. Her eyes got pretty big, but she never really panicked. She finally got the idea, started inflating her BC, and slowed. Around 50 feet or so she stopped and started ascending. We yo-yo'd for a little bit, but made our way to the 20 foot platform. We worked on her buoyancy there until she felt comfortable. The second half of the dive was pleasant and thankfully uneventful.
    @stretchthepenn This WAS from the western/U dock :shocked:, in hindsight, I should have entered from the eastern/square dock with her :D
    BlueTrin likes this.
  5. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL
    It sounds like you saved his butt! Congratulations,

    My suggestion, if you have the requisite experience is to be actively involved in the buddy’s ballast selection. After a while you can more or less know what is a reasonable amount of lead and what is unreasonable.

    I like to ask how much lead are you wearing. If as often occurs, they don’t really know or say xyz told me to wear this, those are huge flags for an impending problem.

    You might try to talk them into an adjustment and/ or supervise a weight check. This scenario emphasizes how important proper weighting is, especially with no reasonable bottom.

    I have gone so far as to refuse to dive with an individual when I know they are wearing to much and are obviously not
    MichaelMc likes this.
  6. stretchthepenn

    stretchthepenn Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    WAT. Oy, vey...
  7. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: acworth ga
    I was never "on top" of him. I swam to him and deflated his BCD when I noticed what he did on my way to him. The spread eagle was to arrest the ascent I knew was inevitable from the inflation that was happening as I got to him, and then reversed (as I deflated his BCD when I saw the overcorrection). It worked well and neither of us ended up exceeding or ascent rates (per my computer anyway).

    I completely agree that one victim is better than two, but even if we'd both popped to the surface, with a dive being less than 2 minutes and a max depth of 35 ft, I think the ascent rate would have only been if someone was hoverly dangerous if somene was holding their breath.
  8. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    Train how you fight, fight how you train.

    What you do at a shallow depth should not be relatively different than what you do at deeper depths. Developing multiple depth based paradigms for emergencies is a recipe for disaster.

    Your last post reads as if you are trying to explain away what you did over concern that you are being judged for it. The event is behind you and the folks responding to your post are offering encouragement and sound advice on how you can improve in the future. You have posted multiple times in this thread about leading inexperienced divers and running into difficulties...this suggests a lack of awareness on your part of other peoples experience level in comparison to your own. While it is always a good day when everyone exits the water safely even if a crisis, of any magnitude, occurs, employing a mentality towards diving along with sound judgement and experience in an effort to prevent a crisis from occurring in the first place is much better.

    35 feet is a very significant depth to "pop" to the surface from. The pressure gradient is highest between that depth and the surface so the risk of injury from air expansion is very high. Just because one is not holding their breath does not mean they will escape injury rising rapidly through that part of the water column.

    I strongly suggest that you find some good, sound, experienced divers to buddy up with to glean experience from

    Good luck with your diving.

  9. Streydog

    Streydog Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: DFW, TX
    I was certified in clear blue water and had 100+ dives in clear water including several night dives before I dove in a limited visibility quarry. It was a totally different experience, I had always been able to see a reference point. Maybe a good question to ask a insta buddy at a quarry is if they had dove there before. I ended up taking my advanced there just to get experience while an instructor was there.
    chillyinCanada and jlcnuke like this.
  10. leadduck

    leadduck Barracuda

    So you lead and the beginner follows, swimming behind you where you don't see him. Not good. Why not swim next to each other along the line? The diver in the back is actually solo diving. He may be in serious trouble but nobody notices. If you had swum for 20s longer before looking back, maybe you wouldn't have found him in time.
    I think swimming in line is a frequent mistake. Plenty of accidents where the buddy says they somehow lost each other, actually the victim stopped behind with a problem and nobody noticed until too late.

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