Question about buddy system protocol...

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BarryNL

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for example, if you decide for some reason to switch leadership, clearly sign "I go in front, you follow" and wait for the ok before continuing the dive.

I'm not sure I agree with this idea - a safe dive does not have one diver following the other for the simple reason that the leading diver will not notice quickly if the following diver loses contact. If you run out of air and turn to your buddy behind - that is not the time to realise you've lost them!

Buddies should be next to each other so that a quick turn of the head is enough to verify that your buddy is still there, and this should be done as often and as naturally as checking the rear view mirror in your car.
 

Bubbletrubble

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Buddies should be next to each other so that a quick turn of the head is enough to verify that your buddy is still there, and this should be done as often and as naturally as checking the rear view mirror in your car.
@BarryNL: Wall dive much? :)
I agree with what you're saying in that both buddies should be close enough to assist each other if there's a problem, which includes constantly monitoring the other's position and current status. However, there are times when side-by-side buddy positioning is not practical. A wall dive is a good example. As a side-by-side team works its way along a wall, one diver will be on the inside and the other on the outside. If there's macro-life on the wall, it would kind of suck to be the guy on the outside.
It goes without saying that the leader in a leader-follower buddy team needs to make a conscious effort to keep tabs on the follower. This might mean looking at the follower every kick or two if vis conditions are poor.
 

ScubaDocER

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Under the conditions you described you absolutely did the right thing. You adhered to your training and it allowed you to exit the dive without incident. I am concerned however that your buddy failed to do the same. There are reasons why most agencies want you to limit your search to 1 minute. You don't want to spend too much air and time below searching for someone who is already at the surface. If both divers adhere to a specific length of time to search then they can both surface, regroup, and then descend if air and time permit. Given the visibility you described, you could have been within 15 feet of one another and never known it. The length of time to search can be discussed and agreed upon prior to the dive (1 min, 5 min, etc.).

Good buddysmanship is essential, IMHO, to successfully completing a dive together. So much so that I will not pass a student who does not exhibit it. Divers must have a sense of awareness regarding their surroundings and their dive buddy. If you are diving as a team, you must at some point know when your buddy is not with you. Failure to do so speaks to a tremendous lack of awareness and the potential to put yourself and your buddy in harms way. It seems as though you and your buddy noticed that you were not together, just went about resolving the problem in different ways. This must be addressed before diving together again. I would have a long talk with my buddy regarding this issue and if you are not satisfied that he would make a competent diver buddy, I would seek a new one. I respect your concerns regarding him as a buddy, but on the surface this seems like a simple fix.

You mentioned that during class it was mentioned that you should have stayed and searched. What did your Instructor say to this?

I would discuss this incident with your Instructor for further clarification. You don't need to "snitch", just described the events as you remember them excluding names and see what he/she has to say. Since you mentioned you were on a dive I am assuming you two are both certified now. If so, then your buddy is no longer a "student" in an OW class and is free to dive as he pleases. The choice is yours however as to whether or not you wish to have him as a dive buddy in the future.
 

Walter

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Bubbletrubble said:
@BarryNL: Wall dive much? :)
I agree with what you're saying in that both buddies should be close enough to assist each other if there's a problem, which includes constantly monitoring the other's position and current status. However, there are times when side-by-side buddy positioning is not practical. A wall dive is a good example. As a side-by-side team works its way along a wall, one diver will be on the inside and the other on the outside. If there's macro-life on the wall, it would kind of suck to be the guy on the outside.
It goes without saying that the leader in a leader-follower buddy team needs to make a conscious effort to keep tabs on the follower. This might mean looking at the follower every kick or two if vis conditions are poor.

I love walls! I usually take the outside. Follow the leader can work, but it rarely does. Side by side is much better in almost every circumstance.
 

ivobj

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I'm not sure I agree with this idea - a safe dive does not have one diver following the other for the simple reason that the leading diver will not notice quickly if the following diver loses contact. If you run out of air and turn to your buddy behind - that is not the time to realise you've lost them!

Buddies should be next to each other so that a quick turn of the head is enough to verify that your buddy is still there, and this should be done as often and as naturally as checking the rear view mirror in your car.

Sorry, I think I wasn't clear. By leading I didn't mean that divers cannot be side by side, and of course check on each other, this must be done always!

To lead you don't need to be in front, what I meant is that is very usefull to make decisions easier and keep track of the dive plan, for example not to stop every time to discuss which direction to go, the leader decide the direction and the other diver (or divers if in a team formation) follow or call the leader attention only if he (or she) has a diferent idea, but even when a line formation is better (walls, as mentioned, caves, etc) the leader is always checking, by directly looking from time to time or asking for an ok light sign from the buddy behind. Usually the leader is the one that knows better the specific dive spot or the more experienced diver of the group if everybody is equaly familiar or unfamiliar with the place.
 

Alex Dailey

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I would have a long talk with my buddy regarding this issue and if you are not satisfied that he would make a competent diver buddy, I would seek a new one. I respect your concerns regarding him as a buddy, but on the surface this seems like a simple fix..

I attempted to discuss this with him after the dive, but we were both tired and probably upset with each other...

You mentioned that during class it was mentioned that you should have stayed and searched. What did your Instructor say to this?

That's where it's a bit odd. We have our instructor, and then there is a student instructor (just completed their instructor certification) who teaches our class while the main instructor teaches the basic scuba (both were scheduled for same time, scheduling error). The student instructor just kind of chuckled when this was mentioned (student instructor was one out with us on the dives).

I would discuss this incident with your Instructor for further clarification. You don't need to "snitch", just described the events as you remember them excluding names and see what he/she has to say. Since you mentioned you were on a dive I am assuming you two are both certified now. If so, then your buddy is no longer a "student" in an OW class and is free to dive as he pleases. The choice is yours however as to whether or not you wish to have him as a dive buddy in the future.

Our instructor is really busy, and I'm not sure how to even bring this up with him without it becoming an issue, and I don't want to discuss it with him with the student instructor around (think it might get blown off as "oh, they just got separated on the dive").

Both of us are advanced certified, but are in advanced scuba class, so I'm assuming (I know, dangerous) that we abide by class rules and regs. No one in the class seems to think it was that big a deal (with the following of protocol), and I'm wondering if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill...My head and gut tells me that I'm not. It bothers me to no end that it seems to be just a joke. I'm not looking for someone to get yelled at, I just would like some clarification and understanding that there could have been serious consequences for lack of planning on both our parts and lack of proper response in following protocol.
 

gcbryan

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@BarryNL: Wall dive much? :)
I agree with what you're saying in that both buddies should be close enough to assist each other if there's a problem, which includes constantly monitoring the other's position and current status. However, there are times when side-by-side buddy positioning is not practical. A wall dive is a good example. As a side-by-side team works its way along a wall, one diver will be on the inside and the other on the outside. If there's macro-life on the wall, it would kind of suck to be the guy on the outside.
It goes without saying that the leader in a leader-follower buddy team needs to make a conscious effort to keep tabs on the follower. This might mean looking at the follower every kick or two if vis conditions are poor.

I wall dive a lot and side by side works assuming you're stopping to face and look at the wall. While you are facing the wall your buddy can be by your side. If it's a drift dive you can drift that way.

If you're swimming fast and not stopping to look at the wall then it wouldn't be a problem being the outside diver either.
 

gcbryan

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I attempted to discuss this with him after the dive, but we were both tired and probably upset with each other...



That's where it's a bit odd. We have our instructor, and then there is a student instructor (just completed their instructor certification) who teaches our class while the main instructor teaches the basic scuba (both were scheduled for same time, scheduling error). The student instructor just kind of chuckled when this was mentioned (student instructor was one out with us on the dives).



Our instructor is really busy, and I'm not sure how to even bring this up with him without it becoming an issue, and I don't want to discuss it with him with the student instructor around (think it might get blown off as "oh, they just got separated on the dive").

Both of us are advanced certified, but are in advanced scuba class, so I'm assuming (I know, dangerous) that we abide by class rules and regs. No one in the class seems to think it was that big a deal (with the following of protocol), and I'm wondering if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill...My head and gut tells me that I'm not. It bothers me to no end that it seems to be just a joke. I'm not looking for someone to get yelled at, I just would like some clarification and understanding that there could have been serious consequences for lack of planning on both our parts and lack of proper response in following protocol.

I think you did fine but I don't understand when you say you are advanced certified but are in advanced scuba class. If you are advanced (AOW) certified that means you have completed the class.

Anyway, I think the point is that for most people the default would be search for one minute and then go to the surface and wait but it should be discussed. With my regular buddies this is not how we dive. When I'm diving with someone new (to me) it is how I dive and it is how I dive with anyone who wants to dive that way.

All you have to do is just discuss it before the dive and agree on something. Then if the other diver deviates you know it's entirely their fault regardless of what anyone else may think or say.
 

Bubbletrubble

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I attempted to discuss this with him after the dive, but we were both tired and probably upset with each other...
I agree that you did nothing wrong (once you hit the water). Chalk this up to a learning experience. In fact, it's an experience like this that will ensure you will ALWAYS discuss buddy separation procedures pre-dive when diving with a new buddy.
I'm concerned that your buddy didn't look for you and then surface immediately. I'm not quite sure what he was thinking. I think that deep down inside he knows he messed up.

It sounds like both of you were upset/emotional right after the dive. In a situation like that, it's best to just wait until everyone has cooled off. Discuss it another day. The primary reason for having the discussion is NOT to assess blame. Y'all are a buddy team; both divers are culpable.

I don't know your buddy, but here's an approach that I think would work: begin by apologizing to him. Tell him that you felt bad about losing him under water and that you didn't explicitly discuss buddy separation procedures pre-dive. Mention that you are carrying his back up air supply and that you couldn't live with yourself if he had had an issue, went OOA, and then got hurt. Just tell him it won't happen again. Period.
It will click in for him that he's carrying your back up air supply, too. :)

I didn't realize that this dive was part of an advanced class. That's interesting.
I'm not convinced that bringing up this matter with either instructor will accomplish anything. It would likely end with one or more people (instructors, dive buddy) getting defensive. I recommend letting it go.

I'm not looking for someone to get yelled at, I just would like some clarification and understanding that there could have been serious consequences for lack of planning on both our parts and lack of proper response in following protocol.
I think you've received all of the validation you need here on ScubaBoard. Don't burn any bridges. Have fun and be safe.
 

Bubbletrubble

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I wall dive a lot and side by side works assuming you're stopping to face and look at the wall. While you are facing the wall your buddy can be by your side. If it's a drift dive you can drift that way.

If you're swimming fast and not stopping to look at the wall then it wouldn't be a problem being the outside diver either.
@gcbryan: Do you stay in the same area of the wall on the entire dive? You can be side-by-side on the wall, but then when you move down the wall, certainly the lead guy turns and moves parallel to the wall. Then you are in leader-follower positioning. FWIW, I think we're quibbling over semantics here. The point I was trying to make is that a buddy team can manage leader-follower positioning safely.

BTW, I never swim fast. :)
 
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