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Deep Air and Depth Records November 11, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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As you go deeper, the issues start to compound. I’ve been to 165′ without noticing any narcosis (doesn’t mean I didn’t have it, though), and I’ve felt it at 85′ when inside a dark wreck (or maybe it was just a normal sense of forboding). Air density increases as you go deeper, and it limits exertion and contributes to CO2 buildup, which contributes to O2 toxicity and narcosis.

At about 185′ you hit the 1.4 PP02 limit, so you’re adding risk of O2 toxicity beyond that. At 200′ divers on air have been known to experience deep water blackout – simply falling asleep with the reg in the mouth until they are rescued or run out of air and drown. This apparently happens the first time a diver reaches that new depth.

So somewhere between 100 and 200 feet is where Trimix is needed, either from the nature of the dive, the diver’s training, experience or willingness to take risks, and the abilities of the diver’s buddy or team. Either way, if you stay for more than a couple of minutes you’re going to get a decompression obligation, and need to be trained and equipped to handle it.

There are layers of issues with each new depth and layers of training, equipment and experience required to do it safely, and even with that, the risk still goes up. If even if you survive a new personal depth record it doesn’t mean you can do it again safely, unless you’ve taken a sensible approach to it the first place. You also must be prepared and trained to handle anything that goes wrong – all the more so when you’re narced..

Hal Watts set a Guinness record of 390′ on air in 1967. Guinness no longer publishes air records because it is so dangerous to go that deep on air.

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