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Thread: The straw that broke the divers back.

  1. #1
    rEvo combat swimmer fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman's Avatar
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    The straw that broke the divers back.

    The straw that broke the divers back
    Or
    I really don’t want another diver to die
    By Kevin Ward

    Today I read about another dead diver, this time on the mighty O. I am sorry for all the friends and families left behind. I am sorry that I didn’t do this earlier. It may not do any good, but all a man can do try. Here is my attempt.

    We owe it to ourselves to be in shape, be intelligent about our activities and our limitations.

    If you are a couch potato, a disgusting fat body, gravely ill etc. You should take care of yourself for the sake of your friends and family, and those of us who may have to go into harms way to help if you get yourself into trouble.

    If you choose to do a little recreational paddling around in warm calm shallow waters to look at fish, Ok. You will be safer and enjoy yourself more if you are fit, and not in danger of dieing.

    But as you stray from that PADI dream world, you must hold yourself to a higher standard.

    If you are “tech” diving if you don’t hold yourself to a much higher standard, you are an irresponsible careless ass-hole.
    This is not to say even if we were all supermen (and women) there wouldn’t be mishaps. On the contrary diving, and especially extreme diving are inherently dangerous. But that doesn’t absolve YOU of responsibility to maximize your chances of survival. And being a “BETTER” diver will increase your enjoyment of even relaxing rec diving.

    So for an extreme diver you (should) already know this. To all divers, reasons to be a BETTER: Your in shape, comfortable in the water, and your skills are better. So your air lasts longer, you are relaxed, better able to appreciate the sights that we are there to see. You are able to deal with unexpected evens better, calmly. You are more likely to be able to help another.

    So how do we know what a BETTER safer diver is?

    I have heard from “old timers” about YMCA cert that took months with many days of skills training, and lots of induced stress.

    I heard a story from an instructor about a CMAS training program, one of the drills was dive to the bottom of the pool, put a mask on off the bottom and clear it 3 times on one breath, surface.

    Watch the Costner/Kutchner movie about Coast guard rescue divers. Or one of those discovery Channel seal training shows. Not that most of us will get anywhere near that level, but if you can handle that sort of artificial stress and high levels of exertion, it will make you a better diver.

    Do drills, try to do them perfectly. Take all you gear off and put in on again, do it with good buoyancy, staying in the same spot in the pool or quarry, do it with no wasted motion.

    There is a test from a life guard web page: 1) Swim 550 yards continuously using 200 yards of front crawl, 200 yards of breaststroke and 150 yard s of front crawl or breaststroke.
    2) Start in the water, swim 20 yards using front crawl or breaststroke, surface dive 7 -10 feet, retrieve a 10 lb. Brick, return to the surface, swim 20 yards back to the starting point with the brick in both hands and exit the water without using a ladder or steps within 1 minute, 40 seconds. 3) Swim 5 yards, submerge and retrieve three dive rings placed 5 yards apart in 4-7 feet of water, resurface and swim 5 yards to the side of the pool.

    I offer these examples so it doesn’t look like I pulled my suggestions out of thin air. To further add background, I have been a firefighter in a poor busy area of Chicago for over ten years, doing a lot of ALS medical runs. I was also on Air Sea Rescue in Chicago, for which among other things, included jumping out of a helicopter with scuba gear at night in December into lake Michigan. I am a trimix rebreather diver, I have build a rebreather, and a fill station in my garage.

    My suggestions to be a BETTER diver:

    Medical: Have a physical once a year. Have a stress test.

    Physical: Swim, dive swim some more. If you are a technical diver you should be able to swim 550 yards in under 10 min. You should be able to swim 25yards, underwater, say 3 times on a 1 min interval. Pick up a 10# weight off the bottom and carry it up to the surface, hold it out of the water and tread water for 10 sec. Static breath hold in water for 60 sec. Just examples, and its not so much the actual standards, but that you are on the journey.
    Cardio 3 times a week 30 min. This is too light if you are exceeding rec limits. Then more like a 90 min 4 times a week plus some weights, abs etc.

    Just because you are certified, doesn’t mean you are educated. Learn read…

    The standards for OW are dangerously low. If you don’t keep learning and practicing, you are asking for trouble.

    For all the silliness surrounding DIR/GUE--(drink the Kool-Aid) They are a wonderful resource. I think their classes a bit expensive, but very sound. Take a fundies class, at least go on their web site and buy the material and read it. Their attitude towards basic skills is outstanding. Trim, buoyancy skills. When is the last time you did an OOA drill with your buddy--if the answer wasn’t the last dive we did together, it was wrong.

    And of course you are CPR certified and some sort of basic first aid right?

    So when there is a tech diving mishap, our after dive analysis should start like this:

    Well His last stress test/and physical where clear. And even though there was a ripping current the only one who beat him back to the boat was Phelps. We see his equipment was in perfect shape and the predive check list was in order. The dive plan was flawless, and his buddy was right there to provide moral support when the hang nail occurred at depth. First aid consisting of a band aid and cold beer was administered on the boat ride back in and an emergency manicure scheduled.

    Lastly I would like to put a good word in for underwater hockey. I have been playing this silly looking but great sport for a while. It will motivate you, and make you fit. Its like a good game of basketball or what ever your sport is. I go and chase the puck around the bottom of the pool for an hour and a half and don’t even realize I am getting a work out. It will make you comfortable in the water like nothing else.
    The link for my club: Chicago Underwater Hockey - UWH History
    The US link: USOA Underwater Hockey


    Panic: If your life depends on it, you better not. If it doesn’t, why panic.
    Please stay safe.

    Posted on RBW, Deco stop, SB

  2. #2
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    Re: The straw that broke the divers back.

    i dont know why there are no replies, but at least from me, you have a huge well done. also green mate.

    i agree with all of it. maybe not that traning needed, but i guess the idea of keeping a fitter level than normal padi open water stuff, is clearly given.

    well done. if you dont mind, please open a thread with " CCR Diver - Fitness and exercise - what do you do?"

    i would have done it now, but i guess this belong to you. if you dont do it, then in a couple of days, i shall.

    Thanks again.

    Spyros

  3. #3
    RBW Member mixedgas is an unknown quantity at this point mixedgas's Avatar
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    Re: The straw that broke the divers back.

    Thanks for the post! I totally agree with you.......
    Last edited by sadave; 16th November 2009 at 05:21. Reason: removed the long quote

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    Re: The straw that broke the divers back.

    fantastic post. I agree 100%
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    Re: The straw that broke the divers back.

    I concur. Advice to live by, if your goal is to stay alive.
    Walt Stearns
    Editor-in-Chief
    www.UnderwaterJournal.com

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    Re: The straw that broke the divers back.

    Very well put! I agree 100%.

    THanks RBN

    PS: Have some green

  7. #7
    So Cal Tech Diver aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie's Avatar
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    Re: The straw that broke the divers back.

    Quote Originally Posted by fireman  View Original Post
    The link for my club: Chicago Underwater Hockey - UWH History
    The US link: USOA Underwater Hockey


    Panic: If your life depends on it, you better not. If it doesn’t, why panic.
    Please stay safe.

    Posted on RBW, Deco stop, SB
    I played for that club, many years ago. It's an awesome sport. Does that amazing woman - Maryjo or something - still play? She was by FAR the best player, including some very buffed looking guys. Give her my regards if she does.

    Great post, especially about the panic.
    Andrew Ainslie

    Buhlmann = Bend and Mend
    VPM/RGBM = Mend and Bend
    GF 35-50/70-85 = Mend and Mend

  8. #8
    RBW Member rohan will become famous soon enough rohan will become famous soon enough rohan will become famous soon enough rohan's Avatar
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    Re: The straw that broke the divers back.

    I read this and would like to also discuss other issues that I see as well as the fitness side of it. I am talking generally and not about any particular incident or situation. I am now putting my suit of armour on and here I go:

    I have been working as a full time instructor for the last five years diving all year round with one day off a week. I am constantly diving OC, mCCRs and eCCRs. I teach PADI up to AI level and TDI courses to trimix.

    I see a lot of problems with standards and Instructors with zero experience. When I say zero experience, I mean instructors who have dived on weekends only and who had never even guided a dive as a working DM, then getting instructors cards with the minumum required dives. Then they get another instructor level with the minumum number of certs and have no idea about anything except their way of diving.

    When I became a DM, my instructor gave me advice I always remember, he said "Don't even think about becoming an instructor before you have at least 500 working dives under your belt". The emphasis was on "working dives" not fun dives. I then said "why so many?" He replied "because you have to see what stupid things certified divers do, let alone students"

    I took that advice and now I look back, it couldn't have been a more true statement. As a DM, I worked full time for one year and the amount of check dives I conducted, having divers panic, loosing buoyancy, mask skills, equipment issues, the list goes on. Then went it came time to become an instructor, I had the sufficient experience and skills to be a competant instructor. Not a person just holding a card.

    Over the years I have seen many groups come to dive at the centres I have worked at and of course with their own instructors. I have seen these instructors lost on dive sites with a sloping reef on one side where you just go one way, then turn and come back the same way, their IDC Staff Instructor not famililiar with a DIN valve, their students and certified divers overweighted to the max, teaching the use of a compass as saying you just follow "E" and then turn and follow the "W" with no explanation as to what a lubber line is, a heading, bezel ect, surfacing students between boats and seeing skill demonstrations I have seen students do better.

    Then I assist on IDCs and I also see things that I think is not possible from an Instructor candidate. These include removing and replacing their BCD and having one of us go to their aid to prevent them from drowning, being asked what is a fin pivot and one removing their mask and panicking going to the surface. Then in the academics, I have one ask "what is an AGE, are they talking how old the student is?" or "what actually is a safety stop?" and the beauty "What is a decompression dive?"

    Now we might laugh and take the piss, but the reality is that these students are only days away from possibly becoming "instructors" teaching REAL students and being in a situation where they are responsible for REAL human lives. I think that is very scary. AND these people DO PASS the IE. How I don't know.

    Then of course these instructors get the minumum certs and go on to the next level with hardly any experience. I have worked with IDC staff Instructors that are certified to teach instructor level training and have never even taught a DM course.

    Now I want to tell you about my experiences with my Instructors and so called Instructor Trainers.

    I never did an IDC. That is right, I never did an IDC. The course director just signed the paperwork and off I went. Now I was a bit smart, I went and seen another CD and studied my arse off and then sat the IE.

    When it came time to do my TDI coures, I did adv nitrox and deco procedures with four dives. I never saw any deco software, I used a 50% deco mix because the instructor said "we just do". I then did Extended Range with the same instructor and carried two 50% deco slings and only ever breathed from one of them. I only did one 50m deco dive on air then a second deco dive on trimix to 60m again carrying two 50% slings and only breathing from one of them. I was then given a ER card and trimix card. Mmmm, good ha?

    The first time I ever did two gas switches in one dive or see deco software was when I did my ER Instructor course with Aaron BRUCE from TEKSTREME now "TEKGURU". Thank god I found Aaron. I then did my CCR KISS with him and trimix Inst. Aaron was top notch and I finally learnt from a great IT.

    Then I did my Evolution CCR course at a DC I was working at. The instructor (again, never worked full time in the industry) was absolute crap to say the best. The list of standards breaches and crap was scary. I introduced the idea of carrying a bail out tank to him. He told me not to bother analysing the 02 again as it came from the same "J" tank as the last fill. He told me to use medical sofnolime and it would last Five hours dive time. The list goes on. I managed through the course as I had a KISS course and had the basic survival skills to survive the course so to speak. I QAd this instructor to IANTD. I do not know what the outcome was. This same instructor while I was doing the course, had an 02 tank catch fire and burnt himself while I was there having to be hospitalised. Mmmm, good to ha?

    I see today we have a diver asking on this forum for help on how to do a dil flush!

    I set out to study physiology, physics of diving and all the rest to be a good instructor and put the hours in diving on my days off. I wasn't taught.

    So my point is this. I think there is a lot of crap instructors out there and they teach rubbish. This also attributes to accidents and incidents as much as other factors. So I think standards have to get higher and the pole raised a few metres to obtain instructor ratings.

    Cheers,
    Rohan
    Last edited by rohan; 15th November 2009 at 20:10.

  9. #9
    So Cal Tech Diver aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie has a reputation beyond repute aainslie's Avatar
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    Re: The straw that broke the divers back.

    Dude, you ARE in Egypt...
    Andrew Ainslie

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  10. #10
    rEvo combat swimmer fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman has a reputation beyond repute fireman's Avatar
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    Re: The straw that broke the divers back.

    I have heard Maryjo stories, but never met her. Small world.
    It is the great thing about Underwater Hockey is even if you are huge and fast some little woman who breaths like a lizard will play keep away with you until you are out of air. Fun stuff.

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