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Tethered Diving Signals

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

  1. wazeediver

    wazeediver Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: WI

    Keeping the operation simple will certainly help in keeping your team safe. Continued practice and the use of the KISS system will be all the communication a good diver and tender needs. Of course a comm system will give you a great piece of mind and ability to let the diver know if he is doing something wrong like not keeping line tight enough or a reminder to check is air.

    The diver has to rely on the tender to know which way he is to go. Any time a diver gets confused and the pattern is broken the tender needs to bring him back over the uncompleted pattern. So really the tender is the main man to assure this and the diver needs to have that confidence in his tender.

    When you don't have the diver on a comm system we have the diver check his air whenever he receives the one pull and respond with the one pull. ERDI was the first organization that I got involved with that introduced the one pull for OK. I like that one pull because if you are the tender and are ever in doubt, like if your diver stops for a short time you can just give one pull. If all is OK he will give the tender one pull back and you know that he has checked his air and all is good.
    It has been quit a while sense I did my last DRI course so I'm not sure if they are using the one pull know or not. Blades can help us with that.

    The key to keeping your signals straight is this
    Keep it simple
    Practice and Practice some more
    Use a que card attached to the line tenders rope bag
    Tender has to review that card with every diver every dive!

    You will get to know your divers and which ones are the air hogs, your team needs to keep in mind that a more stressful dive the diver will suck more air than a training dive and so on.

    Speaking from the ERDI side with a diver in the lake he will be tethered with a line that could have a loop in it or not that he will want to keep one hand on the line. If you don't have contact with the line and it is just attached to the harness the diver will not feel the line tender signals. The diver then searches with one hand out in front of him.

    Hope this helps!:)

    Just another guyÃÔ opinion
  2. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    There is a very good reason for having teams go to uniform signals across the nation. First off if it's kept simple they are easy to learn and use. Then when neighboring teams need assistance everyone is on the same sheet of music. That was the main reason we went to the DRI signals and did away with OATHS. We are just outside of Washington's East border but if the called we could go and assist on their West side and use the same signals.

    Gary D.
  3. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

    I agree with Gary that if the diver is giving a 4+4+4 the back-up had better be there after the 12th pull -- this is the point of the whole system. The 4 pull is supposed to be continuous. The reasons for this is
    a) the diver in trouble will have something to focus on and may prevent panic and a worse situation
    b) the tender will have continuous comms with the diver in trouble and will know if things go from bad to worse - ie if he stops pulling 4's he is incapacitated in some way.

    I know I've posted this before but here it goes again
    It is MORE confusing should a real event occur if there is just one call for help signal. Think of an emergency response model (fire, EMS, police etc) Do you always respond to every call like its a life threat and we need the whole dept? Of course not. We have TIERED responses. This pull system is no diferent. Most of the time the diver will be able to handle the problem himself - hence the 2+2+2. Call this your "stand-by" response. But to not alert the shore that there is an issue makes everyone guess - why is this diver not moving and fumbling around?
    The next level is the 3+3+3. This is a call for help without a threat to life. Maybe there is just 1 peice of line that has entangled the diver that he can't reach - he simply needs an extra hand to remove that and then can continue his search. This happens ALL THE TIME. With a single response system shore has to send the backup as if its a grave situation EVERY time. If the diver knows that the calvary is going to come if he just needs a bit of assistance he will also be more reluctant to call - things could get worse.
    When we do get a 4+4+4 We KNOW without a doubt that things are super bad. How do you determine the difference with 1 signal? The team will also become complaceant as well after so many "calls for help" - it happens all the time in regular emergency response work - the diving would be no different.
    The chance of an actual 4+4+4 really occuring is slim - I've only ever heard of 2. There are lots of 3+3+3 and even more 2+2+2. Without a tiered response we are going against how our own emergency response depts act. We never send the swat team, hazmat team, ALS, high angle team, bomb squad, medevac etc to every 911 call so why would we do the same in our diving ops?

    The question of simpicity has always bothered me. IF your team trains once a month the LGS system IS easy to use and remember. For those that claim its too complicated I'd be surprised if they actaully put the system to use as its intended. It is very intuative and MAKES SENSE.
    If you don't train at least once a month - yes you'll have trouble remebering it but you should ask yourselves what else is there that you're forgetting? Is your team really sharp enough to do dive ops?
    We used the DRI system in the past for years - it leaves allot of questions and confussion on the shore and we see divers popping up all the time interupting their search just to see "whats going on" - very inefficient IMO

    The directional signals. Yeah sure, a change of direction signal can be used but it is very inefficient. It wastes:
    a) time
    b) energy of the diver
    c) air
    The more the diver has to move around the more risk of:
    a) reduced whatever vis there is
    b) potentially bury or destroy evidence
    c) potentially entangle himself.
    Why use it? Again, monthly practice should easily engrain these signals.

    Lastly. The question of which system is more popular. I have no problem being the only team in the world using what is "unpopular" if it will make my divers safer - so I don't care what other teams do and will not "conform" to a lesser system just because most teams don't want to go through the effort of learning something that works well.
    With that said I really doubt that this system is as wide spread as you guys think it is. In my province of Alberta (about the size of california) 3 of the 4 teams use the LGS system (and I'm not even sure if the 4th team is still around).

    The only objection I really see against the LGS system is that "its too hard to learn and remember" (usually from those that have never been properly trained in it). Pretty flimsy excuse IMO.
    If there are any other valid points about why it won't work I'd love to hear them

  4. ditch-diver

    ditch-diver Instructor, Scuba

    We went from the OATH to a system very similar to Bridges a few years ago. After the intitial "it's too complicated" comments came out, once people got use to it, it is every bit as easy to remember as the good ol' OATH. We are a little different though... 2+2+2 is for the safety diver to assist (the more urgent of the two situations requires less pulls, and 2+2+2 means 2 divers....,) and the 3+3+3 is the I am caught but can work at it myself.

    Being on the same page with all other teams is not really relevant up here, because with our Federal Laws coming into play, even though Bridge's team and my team could work the same incident literally shoulder to shoulder, we would be unable to mix and match the teams. We'd work together covering what needed to be done, but each team would do their own thing
  5. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

  6. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

    I don't know if it is anywhere, Jay. I don't think its smart for any team to mix with another team unless they train and practice routinely ALLOT. Theres allot more to do than just understand and use the same signal system as you know. Personally, I wouldn't want a tender from another team running my dive even if he was the best tender in the world.
    Working side by side is of course another matter

    I'd love to work with you guys one day but then theres the whole problem of your tenders getting the lines all sticky with all the jelly from the donuts...:D
  7. ditch-diver

    ditch-diver Instructor, Scuba

    Technically.., Walnut Crunches are donuts.., they don't have a hole. ;^)
  8. grumpie

    grumpie Nassau Grouper

    My guys eat sugar coated donut holes, but again thats personal taste.
  9. scubasprout

    scubasprout Dive Shop

    Our county dive team uses LGS signals. When you first look at them they may seem overwhelming but if you learn why they use the signals they do and practice them, they make sense and are not difficult at all.

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