Pretty New Diver Looking for Tips to Better Handle Future "Situations"

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

SlugMug

Contributor
Messages
637
Reaction score
500
Location
Texas
# of dives
I just don't log dives
@Pittsburgh_Mom some have suggested getting a DSMB (Delayed Surface Marker Buoy), whilst it’s a good idea you need training and continuous practice to deploy one safety. I shoot one off about every 10 dives, but only ‘need’ to deploy one once or twice a year.
I recommend having one, regardless the above.

You can deploy SMBs & DMSBs on the surface. It's true that the DSMB (delayed surface marker bouy), which can also be deployed underwater, is very challenging to deploy underwater without training or practice.

However, the SMB (or DSMB) can still have a LOT of utility, even if only inflated at the surface. It can make you far more visible to boats (or aircraft), or act like a life-raft / life-jacket, if inflated and placed under the arms.

Getting a DSMB (instead of just an SMB) future-proofs you for when you are ready for underwater uses, and I recommend the DSMB as a worthwhile upgrade. Underwater, it can act as a redundant bouyancy device, if for example, your BCD fails. You can technically use a normal SMB this way, but the dump-valves on DSMBs make it easier to dump air when ascending.
 

VsubT

Contributor
Messages
138
Reaction score
66
Location
SE Florida
# of dives
200 - 499
If your are on a boat that requires you to hand up your fins and the sea is rough, don't take them off until you have one hand securely on the ladder . Then take off one fin with your other hand, hand it up and then take off the other fin and hand that up.

This sounds like exactly what the operators are trying to avoid - doing this in 4-5’+ seas could result in a pretty hard hit from the ladder or swim platform. Shoulder dislocations are a possibility too. A few recommendations instead:

- bungee or spring fin straps to make removal quick & easy
- carry a bolt snap + loop or carabiner to clip off both fins to a d-ring (still hands free, but you’ll have fins if you fall off the ladder)
- not ideal, but fins can be tossed into the boat if crew is busy while you’re boarding
- tuck the tag line under an arm while you remove fins (chicken wing) - don’t wrap it around your arm, you want to be able to disengage easily if needed
- be careful of slack alternating with tension on the tag line from divers following you - another reason not to wrap it
- try to minimize the cluster&$#@ on the tag line by staying down until there’s room to surface (current & air permitting)
- time the ladder grab as described earlier in the thread
- try to keep 3 points of contact on the ladder for stability (only move 1 limb at a time)

Sporty conditions deserve respect, they’ll bite you. The hand on the ladder thing works to a point, but it’s not great when the stern is bobbing out of the water.

Lance
 

uncfnp

Solo Diver
Messages
6,851
Reaction score
5,891
Location
North Carolina
# of dives
500 - 999
^^^ Nice post.

Grabbing that ladder to remove fins in rough seas is not something you should do. In fact on some boats this might be followed by a few loud words from the crew :wink:. If the seas are not high there is usually a bar beside or between the ladders. This you can hang onto to remove fins.

I often see on SB the advice not to hand up fins and I can understand it but I am in the other crowd that has little worry in doing this. On the rare occasion a diver misses the ladder and can’t pull back, the crew can just toss out a line to the diver. I have only seen it once or twice over the years. If the seas are especially bad I might then be hesitant.
 

lowwall

Contributor
Messages
2,269
Reaction score
2,606
Location
Chicago
# of dives
200 - 499
This sounds like exactly what the operators are trying to avoid - doing this in 4-5’+ seas could result in a pretty hard hit from the ladder or swim platform. Shoulder dislocations are a possibility too. A few recommendations instead:
Ok, my suggestions are for low seas where the boat doesn't give you suggestions other than "hand them up." I added an edit on my original post to read your follow-up.

I've never dived in 4'+ seas. I would expect that the boat does a thorough brief on boarding procedures in such conditions. I'd certainly be asking if they skipped this. Or is this common knowledge for divers with enough big water experience to attempt such a dive?

But this is the New Diver forum. I think you'll agree that new divers shouldn't be out in such conditions?
 

uncfnp

Solo Diver
Messages
6,851
Reaction score
5,891
Location
North Carolina
# of dives
500 - 999
Ok, my suggestions are for low seas where the boat doesn't give you suggestions other than "hand them up."

I've never dived in 4'+ seas. I would expect that the boat does a thorough brief on boarding procedures in such conditions. I'd certainly be asking if they skipped this. Or is this common knowledge for divers with enough big water experience to attempt such a dive?

But this is the New Diver forum. I think you'll agree that new divers shouldn't be out in such conditions?
If the seas are too rough for the boat to go out, that is the Captain’s call. If the seas are too rough for a diver to go out is the diver’s call.

If there are new to the boat divers on board, the crew should certainly review any procedures that are particular to the boat or any changes specific to the dive site or conditions. If the situation warrants and time available, further education to newish divers on boat procedures and tips/tricks would hopefully be appreciated and possibly even rewarded/tipped by the diver if it is truly above and beyond.
 

VsubT

Contributor
Messages
138
Reaction score
66
Location
SE Florida
# of dives
200 - 499
Ok, my suggestions are for low seas where the boat doesn't give you suggestions other than "hand them up." I added an edit on my original post to read your follow-up.

I've never dived in 4'+ seas. I would expect that the boat does a thorough brief on boarding procedures in such conditions. I'd certainly be asking if they skipped this. Or is this common knowledge for divers with enough big water experience to attempt such a dive?

But this is the New Diver forum. I think you'll agree that new divers shouldn't be out in such conditions?

Sure, holding the ladder with one hand can be no problem on a mellow day. Just keep an eye out for what’s headed toward the boat, there can be some sneaky waves or boat wakes that roll through.

For briefings, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. A good boat crew and/or DM will definitely try to make sure you’re warned and understand what they want you to do in rougher conditions. Most design their boarding process around rough conditions for their particular setup. Fin-on ladders (no edge rails) or boat lifts (UK, etc.) generally mean that you don’t mess with your fins in the water, for example. Most crews keep the same procedure all the time, which helps when you eventually need it for a “fun” boarding. The last thing any captain wants is a hurt diver, but some are better at communicating and reading diver skills than others.

Not sure this stuff is common knowledge, but it’s definitely a skill that separates an experienced diver from a newbie. Traveling and trying new types of diving helps here too.

Re: new divers in rough conditions, ideally I agree. Then again, stuff happens. An example: my wife’s first OW class dive started with 2’ seas on a 30’ reef in Key Largo. By the time the dive finished, we boarded in 5’ waves because a thunderstorm popped up near the boat. Not optimal, but she handled it like a champ because she listened to the crew. The water doesn’t care how new a diver we are, it just does what it does and it doesn’t get tired. The more options we have to deal with it, the better.

Lance
 

Diverlady13

Contributor
Messages
252
Reaction score
170
Location
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
# of dives
50 - 99
@SlugMug , YIKES! I am going to be reading a lot more in the Accidents & Incidents board. I have been reading and talking through the learning scenarios here with my husband/dive buddy. I'll keep learning to help me be more prepared.



I think that's largely the case, but I know a lot of folks like this op, including a lot of folks on here. I get the sense they've expanded a lot, and maybe the dive industry has been hurt in staffing like so many other fields. I don't know if the crew knew how new I was or not. I informed the place when I called and asked questions, as did my husband, and when we booked. But I think a lot of communication did not trickle down to the crew. No matter what, I will be as careful as I can picking ops in the future, and I'll be quicker to call a dive for sure. My husband and I are also going to keep practicing together and working on communication as a diving team, not just a married couple.

One thing I might mention is that I think it's pretty rare for a boat crew to know your diving experience unless you tell them or they specifically ask. I know that some boats do ask and then group more experienced divers with one guide and less experienced with another. I've only actually seen this happen one time. IIRC, it was at the Spiegel Grove. Most of the ops we've been with just want to see our cert cards so that we know our certification level. They also ask for the nitrox card if we're diving nitrox. I can't recall ever being asked how many dives I have or what kind of dives.

When we dove with Rainbow Reef, the one thing they did was make site suggestions based on our certification. I don't know if they do this all the time. We had our son with us and he was doing his certification at the time. We'd asked to be placed on his boat. We didn't plan to stick with him since he was doing his course, but it was just easier for us all to be together for arrival and departure. The woman we checked in with basically wanted to be sure that we were OK with those 4 dives all being shallow (above 60 feet) since we're AOW certified. We were fine with that. Lots to see above 60 feet. Plus we were doing deeper dives throughout the rest of the week. (I really love deeper dives....not sure exactly what I love about that so much.)

All this is to say that it seems that most crews are going to count on you knowing the limits of your certifications and experience and then making your decisions accordingly. It's definitely good to learn to recognize what you can/want to do especially if you plan to travel outside of the US since not all places restrict your limits based on your certifications. Plus, if you travel anywhere to shore dive by yourselves, there will be nobody to stop you from exceeding your limits, so it's good to be aware of them.

I know that you are going to be a great diver because it's clear you are open to learning and improving.
 

Divrtim

ScubaBoard Sponsor
ScubaBoard Sponsor
Messages
62
Reaction score
79
Location
Az
# of dives
1000 - 2499
Hi
You have a lot going on in your post. First, congrats: the only way to get experience is to get experience.:) And your posts suggest you got a lot of it. Others have all ready commented on the motion sickness meds and made other positive suggestions . My experience with motion sickness meds is you want to start loading those about 24 hours ahead of diving. Read the ingredients of each, they are not all the same. Find the one that works best for you. Note, they can make some folks drowsy.
The main thing I would add as a suggestion/ mention, especially considering where you were diving, is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You can not drink enough water. I know the mantra " don't pee in your wet suit" , but everyone has done it.
Your post also suggests a built in diving lesson for all of us; the importance of planning YOUR dive and diving YOUR plan. As others have mentioned, you can call a dive any time, after all it's your life.
Experience is the most important piece of "equipment" you will ever take on any dive. Speaking of equipment, having your own, being familiar with it, inherently is a confidence builder. Starting out you may still be undecided on how invested you want to be in diving. However, comfort/fun and enjoyment of diving are directly proportional to reducing task loading. Learning a dive site, sea conditions, using rented equipment and trying not to loose your buddy as a new diver about peg the stress meter.
Just starting out, keep it simple and keep it shallow. Soon enough you'll hear "the call of the deep" that we all have heard. Preparation and experience under water will be your best preparation.
And I guess lastly, It's natural to gravitate and rely on someone who has more experience than you underwater but ultimately you are responsible for you, not them.
If you feel comfortable with a DM or a shop or boat operator on land you'll probably have a better outcome underwater. If the vibe isn't there on the beach it wont be there underwater. There is a reason we have all been given common sense. Sounds as if you have gotten a lot to note in your log book. Good luck and dont skip those deco stops
 

wetb4igetinthewater

Instructor
ScubaBoard Supporter
Scuba Instructor
Divemaster
Messages
6,587
Reaction score
5,114
Location
Seattle
# of dives
500 - 999
Just read they PUSHED you into the water? :rant:
Holy smokes! I didn't catch that the first time. Makes me think I need to upgrade my little dive tool to the Rambo III BFK. "Do that again, and I'll ...."

Okay, in all seriousness. Thank you for sharing. One of the values I get from reading stories of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly (like this post) is tips on how to run a business, and more importantly, how to NOT run a business. Not sure if people would agree with me, but when it comes to fun diving, this is a hospitality business. Take care of customers, keep them safe, make them happy. Dive pros are the first in the water and the last out of the water.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/teric/

Top Bottom