When is it okay to abandon your dive buddy?

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VikingDives

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I like the narrow beam of light idea someone posted. What are other good options for better communication? Noisemakers? Tank bangers?
A double ended bolt snap can be used as a tank banger, and for anything else you need to clip on. Wetnotes and a pencil can solve most communication problems as well.

I concur with everything @drrich2 said about solo and rescue, but if I was your instructor, I'd tell you to do rescue first, given what you said about your stress level.
 

drrich2

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I do find this all pretty interesting. A few years back I posted about a near panic after buddy and other divers went into an overhead environment I wasn’t comfortable with. I pretty much got railed for getting separated from my buddy.
And that response is no surprise; don't hold your breath waiting for a unified, consistent response to such a situation.

That past episode highlights a dive reality; you can find yourself diving solo when it wasn't the plan.
I didn’t even know you could do a solo course but it sounds like an excellent idea!
I know of 2 options; the SDI Solo Diver course (which I took; you can buy the manual independently of taking the course, and it's a good read!), or the PADI Self-Reliant Dive Course.
well, it’s my SISTER and I’d die before I let something happen. So, we stay close, we do lots of checks. If she goes up, I go up. Guess my husband is not as much of a softie and I need to prepare for that.
What you expect of each other and yourselves can be a tough conversation. Many people love diving, pay a lot of money and use precious vacation time to pursue it one or two times per year, value every dive and will not call one unless there is no other choice. And some may call a dive to stay on the boat and comfort a sea sick buddy. It's easy for resentment to arise between 'You're selfish and only care about yourself' vs. 'You're ruining this for everybody.'
 

rick00001967

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there are a couple of main considerations that some commenters may have over looked.

first....the buddy was a spouse. this drastically changes things whether we like it or not. lol i have commented before about my past issues with diving with my spouse. it took a long while and several heated discussions before we came to understand how to better act and react in the water while diving together. it is just a hard fact that most of us do not, and would not, react the same with a spouse than we would with a weekend dive bussy or a complete stranger. it is just human nature. the roblem is that our "over reactions" we tend to do with a spouse can lead to dangerous situations like the one you have described. my advise is to talk ALOT bout what happened and constantly work on your communication moving forward. when in the water try not to think of your buddy as your spouse but as a team mate.

second.....unless i am misunderstanding, this all took place in an over head environment? this also can drastically change things. i was nt there and do not know what the exact conditons were (depth, visibility, amount of natural light, current etc) but having the problem you describe can be a far more dangerous situation in any restricted environment compared to open water.
for many divers, loosing site of the guide in an unfamiliar location can be quite traumatic. loosing them in an overhead environment, whether it is a cave, cavern, or a "swim through" can b mouch worse.

i am glad it all turned out ok. i can sympathize with your thought process. i too have had to make a conscious effort to avoid over stressing my breathing when i dive. nothing take precedence over that for me. i don't care where the group is, where the guide is, or even my buddy. if i have to stop in order to gather myself, relax, and control my breathing, then that is what i do. then i decide how to proceed.

i was once diving in Coz. the group stated its ascent. somoene saw something cool and they all darted back down. including my buddy. i was one of the first to begin the ascent and so i was above the reef and was caught in a pretty strong current. we had been working fairly hard all dive to hide from the current or swim through it. so i was kinda fed up with all that by the end of thee dive. so i just let myslef drift off. i slowly ascended. hung at my safety stop. deployed my smb. switched to my small bail out bottle (i used to carry one on trips) to practice that skill and see how long the bottle would last. it was actually the best part of the whole dive. lol my group leader (who was my boss) and the guide felt a bit different. oh well. i did what i had to do to keep myself safe first.
 

Wibble

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The solo / self sufficient "courses" aren't really courses as such as you need to come along dived up and used to using backup gas sources (e.g. ponies). They're more of a workshop of your existing skills and a test of how you behave.

They're borderline technical diving as you need to plan with available and independent reserves in mind.

The Rescue Diver course is excellent. Finally a course where you think of others and not yourself. It's quite hard too. Definitely before Solo Diver (which requires a minimum of 100 dives -- twice that of DiveMaster).
 

Soloist

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For us it would involve attorneys and a division of marital assets, so we found solo diving to be much more economical. In all seriousness, a dive plan (including unexpected scenarios), eye contact and unmistakable hand signals are essential. Clear communication (before and during the dive) is critical to avoid miscommunication at depth.
 

agilis

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The solo / self sufficient "courses" aren't really courses as such as you need to come along dived up and used to using backup gas sources (e.g. ponies). They're more of a workshop of your existing skills and a test of how you behave.

They're borderline technical diving as you need to plan with available and independent reserves in mind.

The Rescue Diver course is excellent. Finally a course where you think of others and not yourself. It's quite hard too. Definitely before Solo Diver (which requires a minimum of 100 dives -- twice that of DiveMaster).
I've been diving for more than 50 years, and have dived solo for most of those years, solo exclusively for the first two years that I dived back in the 60s. When I finally got certified in 1972 buddy diving was like a religious article. I tried it, didn't much like it. When I'm paired with a stranger on a tropic dive boat I let them know that both of us are really on our own, that they can follow me if they choose, but I'll basically be ignoring them. All scuba is really solo. People who depend on others if they get into trouble are fools. Redundancy is great for things like cave diving, deep mixed gas, etc., but diving at recreational depths is seldom a problem if you are one of that increasingly rare breed- a diligent, careful, and skilled diver who can keep their head and is not afraid of the water.
 

ofg-1

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When do you abandon your dive buddy? When they are drunk and start barking at the female customers in the lounge.
 
OP
scoobajay

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I've been diving for more than 50 years, and have dived solo for most of those years, solo exclusively for the first two years that I dived back in the 60s. When I finally got certified in 1972 buddy diving was like a religious article. I tried it, didn't much like it. When I'm paired with a stranger on a tropic dive boat I let them know that both of us are really on our own, that they can follow me if they choose, but I'll basically be ignoring them. All scuba is really solo. People who depend on others if they get into trouble are fools. Redundancy is great for things like cave diving, deep mixed gas, etc., but diving at recreational depths is seldom a problem if you are one of that increasingly rare breed- a diligent, careful, and skilled diver who can keep their head and is not afraid of the water.
I'll bet there are a whole heck of a lot of divers out there who get a chance to dive once or twice a year in a tropical place and never become (or haven't yet become) dilignet, careful, skilled divers who can keep their head. I know two at least but we're working on it because we love diving :)

You can only become one of these "increasingly rare breeds" through experience and learning, so shouldn't we allow divers the chance to learn and grow?

If I go back to my training, I was taught to use the buddy system, not to depend on others, but as redundancy for worst case scenarios. I don't see how that makes anyone a fool.

*shrug*
 

lowwall

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...Soon, he was around the corner and out of site. As I reached the turn, I couldn’t see him ahead at all. I was getting really winded from swimming hard into the current and started to feel a bit of panic setting in. When I finally caught sight of him I signaled for him to slow down. He made some angry gestures and continued on as fast as possible. At this point we were around 30 feet apart (or what I consider too far to effectively handle an emergency situation, thus too far). I gestured at him twice more to slow down and both times he angrily swam faster and further from me. ...

Afterward, I found out he thought I purposefully ignored the fin tug and was trying to swim away from the group to do our own thing. He thought my subsequent gestures were telling him not to slow down but to calm down bc he was mad
Do you know the sign for "buddy up"? Regardless, your husband should not have left you behind.

But the real issue is not who was at fault, it's how do you prevent this from happening again/ If the two of you are going to be buddies, you need to sit down ahead of time and work out your expectations and work on your communication. Everything needs to be crystal clear. For example, are you diving leader/follower or side by side?

If the former, the leader has to understand that he or she has to check often on the follower and move slowly enough so that the follower can stay close. Meanwhile the follower has to understand that he or she has to actually follow close enough to grab a fin with a hard kick or two. If the follower wants to stop and look at something, he or she needs to get the leader's attention first, but will have to continue on if the leader does not want want to stop. Also agree on a sign for switching positions between leader and follower.

If diving side by side, you should be within touching distance. Since you can't always do this (swimthroughs or hiding from the current for example), you need to both agree on the signals to switch between side by side and leader/follower.

I'm attaching the WRSTC common hand signals booklet. There's only 31 signals and you already know most of them. Review them with your buddy before every dive day until you are both certain you know them.

Re, the solo diver tangent. Sure it's good to have self-reliant skills, but this is not an insta-buddy question, this is a regular buddy. A proper buddy relationship brings equipment redundancy, a helping hand, and an additional pair of eyes. It would be silly to throw that away when all it takes is a little communication and understanding to make it happen.
 

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