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A safety stop is not required.
If the stop is required, it's a decompression stop.
I just find it misleading to not call it a deco stop if it's required...
Here are some things I wonder about:
- Are all dives decompression dives since on all dives I on-gas Nitrogen and must off-gas it at some point?
- What is more important on a "recreational dive"? Ascent speed or a safety stop?
- I read on the Internet that the safety stop was put in the tables because divers were either ignoring or lacked the skills to ascend at the table's recomended rate, so stopping them at 15' would slow them down. is this true? If so, is there any empirical evidence that safety stops matter for people ascending according to the table's ascent rate?
- Why 15'? Why not 10'? Or 20'? Do surface conditions such as waves or swells have anything to do with this? How about buoyancy skills? If you could hold a stop at 10' +/- 2' would it be better than 15'+/- 2'? What if you tried to hold a stop at 10' +/- 5'? Is that worse than 15' +/- 5'?
- Is a slow ascent more important near the surface, half way up the ascent, one quarter of the way up the ascent, or near the bottom. Why?
- Some tech divers were talking about deco the other day and they said that older deco protocols had them decompressing at the surface, while newer deco protocols have them decompressing in the water. What does this mean, and does it have any relevance for recreational diving?