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Tethered Diving Signals

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by Boater Dan, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. Boater Dan

    Boater Dan Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western PA
    320
    2
    0
    Are there any standardized signals for the tender to diver on tethered PSD operations? I believe in the KISS system and have always told my tenders to leave out or pull in line (depending on how we are searching) and to give me 2 pulls to change direction upon completion of an arc. 4 pulls to surface.

    Some divers have used 2 pulls for this, 3 pulls for that, 4 pulls to do something else. It tended to get confusing. I am looking for standardization as we enter diving and training periods and would appreciate if there are any legitimate standards.

    Thanks,

    Dan
     
  2. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    Hi Dan;

    We use the word "OATHS" and it has worked very well. We have them on ID cards with clips on them so we can hand them to a tender. Pulls are simple enough we can use a new person that has never done it before.

    PULLS........Tender to diver............Diver to tender

    O.......1.....................OK...........................OK
    A.......2..................Advance...................Advance
    T.......3..............Take Up Slack............Take Up Slack
    H.......4...............Here (come)................Here (it is)
    S.......5.................Surface.....................Send Help

    More than 5 pulls, Diver in Distress

    Gary D.
     
  3. Boater Dan

    Boater Dan Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western PA
    320
    2
    0
    Gary:

    Thanks! That is in line with what I am looking for. Something along the KISS system that people can remember.

    Dan
     
  4. indypddiver

    indypddiver Angel Fish

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    We also used OATH until fairly recently. We have since began to move toward using line signals that Dive Rescue Intl. recommends:

    Tender to Diver...................Diver to Tender
    1. Are you ok?....................1. I"m ok
    2. Turn/ Take Line...............2. Allow Line
    3. Stop/Trouble Overhead.....3. Found Object
    4. Come to Surface..............4. (or more) Help/Send Safety

    Basically, its OATH with some changes.

    With that said, our SOPs state that we don't dive unless we have electric communications between divers/and or shore. However, occasionally an emergency will arise that electric communications aren't feasible. Then, line signals are vital.
     
  5. Greg D.

    Greg D. Solo Diver

    993
    0
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    This is the system we use also,
    Tender to Diver...................Diver to Tender
    1. Are you ok?....................1. I"m ok
    2. Turn/ Take Line...............2. Allow Line
    3. Stop/Trouble Overhead.....3. Found Object
    4. Come to Surface..............4. (or more) Help/Send Safety
     
  6. frothchild

    frothchild DIR Practitioner

    196
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    I have seen these line signals before, by DRI and other PSD agencies, but my question has to do with proper communication. If you are not going to be on a comm system, then why do you want to limit the diver? I am a proponent of KISS, but there are times the KISS no longer is functional.

    Assuming that this is for PSD diving, then when you have divers out in zero vis, how to get your diver to go left or right? I understand the 2 tugs to change direction but what do they do to ensure that they are always going in the right direction?

    Which then brings me to the question, if you are not in comms and you are sending divers out on 4 line signals, how do you confirm the diver's air pressure? Do you have them surface and hand signal or yell back their PSI every 5 minutes? If this is the case, then you not only are wasting searching time by having the diver surface and desend every 5 minutes, but you have now risked your diver to DCS by more the very nature of Boyles law and the risk of repetitive lung expansion injury.

    So while I sit here and pick apart various points and issues, I do this because our team went through the very same issues. So in researching and trying to figure out a better alternative, we contacted the US Coast Guard, being that they do MORE water rescue / recovery than any other agency, we opted for the USCG signalling program. While there is more to it, the depth (no pun intended) of communication through line signals is SO much more informative.
    Team Life Guard Systems, also uses and teaches these line signals.
    Dive to Tender Tender to Diver
    1 - Dive is OK 1 stop, face the line, tighten line
    2 - Make a notation 3 - go right (diver's)
    2+2+2 problem but ok, alert back up 4 - go left (diver's)
    3+3+3 problem need help 2+2 Search Immediate area
    4+4+4 need immediate help! 3+3 Standy By
    6+6 Found Object

    While initially this seems like much more, if you use proper line technique, the line signals are very easy to give and receive.

    Speaking of line signals, do you physically with one hand hold onto the line or have it tethered to a harness? Because of you are holding the line, the very principle / nature hinders your search capabilities. But that is a discussion for another time.
     
  7. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    Shortly after I did the post above with OATHS we changed over to the DRI system which Greg and Indypddiver posted. We had been playing with the change over but finally did it and it works very well.

    If you research the military signals you will see that they can hold an entire conversation with the lines. As PSD we don't need to do that. Keeping tract of a divers air should be up to the diver and bottom times should be short enough that air should not be an issue. Everytime a tender gives an OK? signal the diver should be checking his/her air and signalling back. But keeping the signals simple has worked very well.

    I know the Navy said that a tender and diver better have a good enough relationship that if the diver starts to give a 4+4+4 he better be standing on the deck by the time he makes that 12th pull. That is what you need to strive for more so than making more and more complicated signals. Another thing to remember is that a lot of military divers are doing this day in and day out so it becomes second nature. Some of them dive more in a couple of months than most divers, including some PSD's will dive in a lifetime.

    Stay with KISS

    Gary D.
     
  8. frothchild

    frothchild DIR Practitioner

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    You make a good point in regards to professionals that do this day to day and the part time / on call responder. Are there variations, of course, and it ultimately comes down to what works for your team.

    So if it works, for your team then it is successful.
     
  9. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Using the KISS system used by ALL public safety diving training agencies, except for the one referenced by gastronomy, there is no need to have the diver go "left" or "right." By giving two tugs, the diver travels in one of two directions. If the tender wants the diver to go in the opposite direction, he simply gives two more tugs. There is no confusion whether the diver goes to the tender's right (which is the diver's left) or the tender's left (which is the diver's right).

    There is an obvious reason why gastronomy states "initially this seems like much more."

    The four pull signal system developed by Dive Rescue International (slightly modified from the OATH system) is also used by ERDI, PSDA, IANTD and others. In addition to being simple and effective, this nearly universal system allows divers from various regions to work together, regardless of which training agency they choose.


     
  10. CCTX50

    CCTX50 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
    205
    7
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    If you contact Dive Rescue International they can provide you with water proof stickers that you can place on your equipment or where ever. These stickers have the signals on them and they are very simple as stated about.
     

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