So what is too overweight to dive?

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Kim

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Whales are good at sea....but that's where they live so they actually don't do well on beaches. In fact the oceans support far heavier bodies than on land presumably because of the buoyancy water provides. (although how that works with the dinosaurs I'm not sure!) However - divers aren't whales and if someone gets themselves into trouble they need to be rescued. This means exercising a little personal responsibility. To do that of course one needs to understand what is reasonable or not. So how much is too much? When do you simply become too heavy to expect to be lifted - or combined with age too much at risk from a heart attack...thus endangering those with you that will be called upon to haul your butt out of the water?
 

frankc420

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I would think, that if it's hard for you to lift your own weight, then you shouldn't dive.

As far as age goes, same applies on above :)

Just my opinion!
 

tedtim

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Kim:
However - divers aren't whales and if someone gets themselves into trouble they need to be rescued. This means exercising a little personal responsibility. To do that of course one needs to understand what is reasonable or not. So how much is too much? When do you simply become too heavy to expect to be lifted
I think that you have to examine both sides of the equation. It is not just weight that should be considered. How about what is too underweight to dive? To me, the more important factor has to be strength and fitness. I have seen a number of people that would be considered overweight, but certainly are in good physical shape. Sure, pulling them out of the water would be a challenge. Then again, the individual who is very small and has some trouble getting into the boat themselves is just as much a hazard as the individual that is overweight.

I am 6'3" and weigh near 240#. Overweight? By many standards yes. Fat - definitely not. Will there be people who would have trouble hauling me out of the water - yes. I have also seen those folks that are about 5' and weigh 100# or so diving as well. Some of them would have trouble helping anyone well within the bounds of "normal weight" if they got into trouble. IMO it is not simply a question of weight.
 

RJP

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Overweight it relative, though at somepoint obesity itself becomes a specific morbidity and possible contraindication to diving. As part of the medical clearance any potential concern should be discussed with your physician.

That said, it's probably more about being "in good enough physical condition to dive" rather than how heavy you are. A football player who is 6'2" and 300lbs but can bench press his weight and run 100yds without keeling over is probably fine. An executive who's 5'8" and weighs 220lbs but has never seen a gym and gets winded up one flight of stairs will probably have a problem.
 

spectrum

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There comes a point where the logistics don't work and as cited it can be a heavy victim or a small build rescuer that results in a disconnect. Keep in mind that while everything has it's limits a rescue diver course gives even the small diver some skills to work with. That being said nothing in life is a sure bet that's even less so the moment you slip under the waves. In the end the unique answer lies in a multi dimensional model of victim, rescuer,location, conditions and training/ability.

Focusing on the fitness of all involved regardless of build probably is where the big bang for the bulk lies.

Bolster that with training and appropriate choices when planning dives and a wide range of folks can dive with reasonable safety.

Pete
 
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Kim

Kim

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I agree that fitness plays an important role in weighing up the eventual risks. Someone in good shape is going to be far less likely (one would hope) to end up being a problem than someone who takes no exercise and lives life out of a fast food restaurant. However - maybe it's my imagination but it seems that MANY accidents/fatalities are a result of heart attacks, and as is rather clear, they are often caused by lifestyle/overweight issues. I've seen enough discussions here about how safe diving with computers is...whether a BP/W is better....even basic gas management (important for sure....but how many people REALLY ran out of gas and died?) and somehow I wonder if we actually sometimes miss the wood for the trees. Personally I think that overweight is a rather serious underestimated issue that is a potential danger for the diver themself....but much like second hand smoke, also for the people they are with. I would be very hesitant to hit the water with someone I didn't think I had the physical strength to pull out if the poop hit the revolving door. That's something that you are already supposed to learn in rescue - disaster mitigation...i.e. don't voluntarily enter into dangerous situations.

The question therefore remains....what is too overweight?
 

SwimJim

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I would be very hesitant to hit the water with someone I didn't think I had the physical strength to pull out if the poop hit the revolving door.

I believe you answered your own question.

Jim
 

johnny_bravo

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I saw a diver once who had to use two weight belts end to end. THAT IS TOO O/W TO DIVE.

Seriously if you can't even put your own gear on without requiring a lot of assistance on the boat due to weight issues you have no business in the pool.

Cheers.

-J.-
 
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Kim

Kim

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SwimJim:
I would be very hesitant to hit the water with someone I didn't think I had the physical strength to pull out if the poop hit the revolving door.

I believe you answered your own question.

Jim
Yes...quite possibly. Whether I have the right answer....or the only answer.....that's the point of the thread! :wink:
 

TSandM

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I've thought about this a fair amount, not in terms of obesity, but simply in terms of mismatch in sizes. I'm really small, and most of my dive buddies are men who outweigh me by close to a factor of two. I know from Rescue class that there is no way I'm going to be able to drag any of them clear out of the water in an emergency. But I CAN get them clear enough to do CPR and have their faces out of water, and that's what matters most. From there, I'm going to need help. I've brought this up with at least one of my buddies, and he's not terribly worried about it, since we almost always dive where there are lots of other people. And it is what it is, anyway. I'm not going to get any bigger, or a lot stronger, no matter what I do.

So in terms of rescue, I think the obese diver is simply taking a somewhat greater risk than a small person, in terms of how effective others will be in rescue efforts.

In terms of heart attack risk, obesity IS a risk factor for heart disease, but it is not the only one. Smoking is probably even MORE of a risk factor, but the worst one of all is bad genetics. If you argue that obese people shouldn't dive because they are at increased risk for the thing that seems to kill the most divers, you really should extend that argument to smokers and people with bad family histories as well. It starts to get absurd very quickly.

It makes sense to keep your body weight under control from a ton of standpoints -- heart disease, diabetes, pulmonary reserve, joint trauma among them. But there are plenty of skinny people having heart attacks, and there will be as long as there are skinny people in the world (something which is, she says as an ER doc, not a given any more!)
 
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