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Reckless diving January 19, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Emergencies.
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I’m only able to report this second hand, as I missed the club’s live aboard trip to the Bahamas in December. One of the club members, let’s call him Ryan, has been obsessed with setting personal depth records despite the wise counsel of the other club members. On the Labour Day weekend in Brockville, the night before a scheduled dive on the Lillie Parsons, he told people he was going to drop down to the bottom of the river as we have done on our technical diving excursions and drift there at 165 feet instead of at 30-40 feet like the rest of the divers. This prompted our LDS owner to instruct the divemaster to clamp down and threaten any diver who missed the exit point with a return boat trip back to the dock instead of a second dive, and so he behaved himself and also apologised for his remark.

So it was to my great surprise that I heard he’d descended to 275 feet on one of the dives in the Bahamas. This of course is extremely risky behaviour on a number of scores. First, when diving on air  narcosis at this depth can be totally debilitating and also result in deep water blackout, which if the diver is alone like Ryan was is going to be fatal. Second, the partial pressure of Oxygen is way beyond the recommended levels and can result in convulsions, which are also going to be fatal. While this isn’t all that likely on a bounce dive due to the brief exposure time it’s still not worth the risk. The deep air records were set long ago and the people that set them now disavow the practice. Third, air consumption at that depth is over 9 times that at sea level, so a single AL80 isn’t going to last long.

And it didn’t. On ascent he ran out of air at 40 feet and surfaced without serving his 15 minutes of mandatory decompression time. The boat captain put him on Oxygen right away and luckily he had no symptoms.

With this kind of suicidal behaviour he is likely to find that noone wants to dive with him. I don’t want my buddy running out of air or taking risks that I might have share. Someone else on the boat might have needed that Oxygen, so this kind of behaviour not only foolish, but selfish and arrogant as well.

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Comments»

1. psuscubaguy - January 19, 2009

Thank you for sharing this important lesson. Lets hope that “Ryan” and others like him learn from this before it’s to late.

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2. Pages tagged "reckless" - January 27, 2009

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