Recreational Pony Bottles, completely unnecessary? Why or why not?

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Hartattack

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My vote, unnecessary.

A diver should be able to calculate what’s on their back (or side) and set aside a minimum gas (reserve) for an emergency in their dive plan. The added weight, drag, and configuration would hinder a recreational diver more in an emergency than it would help.

All dive plans and ideas are welcome.

Side-note: I do not dive solo, so there could be a reason for those folks, but I’d like to keep this in the normal rec realm of scuba.
 

Hartattack

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But if you're just an average rec guy like me, a reserve of air would bring relaxation and make for far happier divers

That's fair. Julius. With that said, why not factor that reserve in your back gas? For example, once you or your buddy hits that amount on your SPG, you call the dive. That way, you always know you have a reserve, and it keeps your dive planning skills sharp?
 

chillyinCanada

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A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

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In this case, HartAttack is not an "inquirer" as a new diver, but instead an experienced diver, wishing to hash over something in the Basic subforum.

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Guille Giova

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I guess if a) your air consumption tends to run a bit high for the dives you do and you end up on the limit often, b) dive in low biz where it is very easy to get separated from your buddy and/or c) have run into common entanglement hazards it might be worth looking into it?

I certainly don’t see the need for it in the type of diving I commonly do, but I would check none of the above.

[EDIT] On second thought, all of the above could be addressed by using a larger tank and planning with a higher reserve pressure which seems simpler/better than an extra tank and reg.
 

inquisit

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NOT completely unnecessary, as it depends. The opening post does not address visibility or buddy attentiveness / tendency to wander. Even in a recreational setting, one may not be able to get to their buddy. As folks venture into the heart of the recreational depths (past 60 ft), a pony can be quite useful.

Note, this is likely also not the newly certified diver. The Dunning Kruger effect puts these folks at higher risk. Perhaps it shouldn't, but the evidence indicates otherwise. Quite simply, you cannot control your buddy, and self reliance is the mark of an advancing diver -- advancing beyond freshly minted, not yet an "advanced" diver.

I agree completely the diver should be able to calculate rock bottom / min gas. That's not the issue motivating my response.
 

Hartattack

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A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

This forum has special rules. This forum is intended to be a very friendly, "flame free zone" where divers of any skill level may ask questions about basic scuba topics without fear of being accosted. Please show respect and courtesy at all times. Remember that the inquirer is looking for answers that they can understand. This is a learning zone and consequently, any off-topic or overly harsh responses will be removed.


In this case, HartAttack is not an "inquirer" as a new diver, but instead an experienced diver, wishing to hash over something in the Basic subforum.

This does not change the special rules of Basic nor the moderator actions that may be taken.

Please govern yourselves accordingly.

To give context, in the other thread, the use of a pony bottle was recommended to a new diver who asked the question. IMHO, I don’t think they are necessary at all in any recreational diving application. However, a stage or deco bottle will have it’s use depending on the dive parameters (tech) and this added gas would be calculated into the plan respectively.

(Scientific/commercial diving have their own SOPs)

The idea of a pony bottle for recreational diving, in my opinion, is a marketing gimmick to dumb down dive planning and also sell more unnecessary equipment to appease the industry's bottom line.
 

DAJ

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I look at a pony bottle on a regular dive as just a fail safe in case your main system has a sudden and complete failure. If you carry a pony in case you run your primary cylinder(s) dry then you should give up diving as you are unable to pay attention and dive safely as there is no excuse for simply running out of air.

Additionally, having a sudden failure of your primary system at depth could create a chain of events that could have a catastrophic outcome that may have been easily managed with an independent second air source. I would rather self-rescue in this type of scenario. With that said, you need to weigh the probability of your main system having a complete failure that would necessitate the need for a pony. Even though the chances are very low, some folks decide to further manage the possibility and carry a pony.
 

Hartattack

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NOT completely unnecessary, as it depends. The opening post does not address visibility or buddy attentiveness / tendency to wander. Even in a recreational setting, one may not be able to get to their buddy. As folks venture into the heart of the recreational depths (past 60 ft), a pony can be quite useful.

Note, this is likely also not the newly certified diver. The Dunning Kruger effect puts these folks at higher risk. Perhaps it shouldn't, but the evidence indicates otherwise. Quite simply, you cannot control your buddy, and self reliance is the mark of an advancing diver -- advancing beyond freshly minted, not yet an "advanced" diver.

I agree completely the diver should be able to calculate rock bottom / min gas. That's not the issue motivating my response.


Great points!

My thoughts on where it works, hunting (mini season comes to mind), and scientific or commercial applications. Anything where the diver might not have a buddy or might be working hard and/or task loaded.

For Tech: These are called Stage and Decompressing bottles in my group, where the gases are meticulously planned and calculated.

However, I usually dive as a team, so getting one's attention or not being near a buddy is less of a concern, but I do agree, this happens and is a reason for some accidents.
 
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