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WaScubaDude
09-13-2007, 15:07
Getting back into diving after 20years off, it occured to me that many divers, myself included, do not practice ditching weights. With the old belt system at least you had to unbuckle the belt after each dive.

As I think back to trainings, we didn't let divers drop their weights. I am not sure of the actual rationale? (might damage the bottom of the pool or might get lost in the sand??) We would practice a very controlled ditch and don, maybe on the bottom of the pool, but never a simulated emergency ditch at the surface.

I just started using a Zeagle Ranger and practiced dropping the weights in my living room. It was work to get the thing put back together so I don't know if I will practice it enough to know instictively in an emergency. Now there are so many different weight systems, some even two sided.

Do you really have the auto reflex to know how to dump your weight in a stress filled emergency situation?

I am thinking seriously of going back to the a weight belt system. I am also resolved to make our first dive day in Jamaica a training day with real repetitive in-water weight ditch.

What are your thoughts?

finflippers
09-13-2007, 15:23
Instead of having them delete the thread that has replies to it how about having them delete this one. and replace your original question on that thread?

georoc01
09-13-2007, 17:17
I know we covered this in my confined pool dives, where we took the weights out and then put them back in. And I had one of my weight pockets fall out on a shallow dive once where I caught it, and was able to put it back in underwater.

But beyond that I don't normally voluntarily take equipment off under water, including my weights.

ertechsg
09-13-2007, 17:20
Do you know how much those things cost ..and if you drop them the dive op will make you pay for them wouldn't practice on vacation

Stingray Brett
09-13-2007, 17:40
I dont Practice that at all

WaScubaDude
09-13-2007, 17:54
hey finflipper, sorry if I fd it. My 2nd post here. Didnt look like the first one took. Got error msg screen. Did some edits and reposted.

WaScubaDude
09-13-2007, 17:55
A tropical weight belt is worth about $60. My life or my buddy's...priceless.

finflippers
09-13-2007, 18:17
The only time I use my quick release weights (when I have any) is when I am back on shore to where I am taking my gear off, then I drop them and take my BC off.

Bring the Payne
09-14-2007, 16:03
The only time I use my quick release weights (when I have any) is when I am back on shore to where I am taking my gear off, then I drop them and take my BC off.

That makes two of us. I can't say that I have ever practiced ditching weights except for my cert. classes.

Liv7301
09-14-2007, 17:08
We did practice ditching weights during one of the classroom sessions of rescue class. I was glad that we did it. I had never tried to ditching them in my own bc before. (I have a Zeagle Brigade.) I also had no idea how to rethread the ditch system, so it was a nice learning experience all around. I use the rear tank pouches and I realized here that I had to pull the releases up and then down to make sure I got the velcro flaps open in the right order.

Again, I am glad that I learned that in a controlled pool situation so that I have that knowledge if I even need it.

diverdad
09-15-2007, 09:55
I still practice weight ditching. I just hope i'll have the skill and not need it, than have the need and not have the skill. It could save your life.

BuzzGA
09-15-2007, 11:50
I run through it with my wife about once a year in the pool. Not only how to ditch my own weights but also each others. We run through a couple of things just as a quick refresher..Its especially helpful if we haven't been diving in a while

DivingsInMyBlood
09-15-2007, 12:03
i did a unknown weight ditch by accident in 46 feet of water (one pouch slipped out with 8 pounds of weight in) i shot up 15 feet and managed to dump my air out the bcd before i became a runaway. Now i got to go find it. Its a really important skill to do but if you do it make sure your buddy has their eyes glued on where your weights are going otherwise it could get expensive.

greyzen
09-15-2007, 12:14
Well, if you know you are going to practice ditching weight... can't you just rig a system up to prevent the weights from falling to the floor?

I mean, assuming you have a weight belt... don't let go.
if you have weight integrated... pull them and then drop them into a bag (if you have to) or just hold on to 'em.

If you have a Zeagle type system.. wear a weight belt and just pull the rip cord without anything in it...

jo8243
09-18-2007, 11:44
Maybe I'm being simplistic but I don't really see a situation where I would want to drop my weights. There's never a time underwater where I can think I'd want to drop them, because that would result in an uncontrolled ascent. If I was out of air I'd just get out of the BC and swim up (which should never happen anyway). On the surface my BC lifts me out of the water fine with weights.

Am I missing something?

edit: I suppose a BC bladder failure might be a reason to do this...... but I think I'd still try to swim it up first.

finflippers
09-18-2007, 11:53
Maybe I'm being simplistic but I don't really see a situation where I would want to drop my weights. There's never a time underwater where I can think I'd want to drop them, because that would result in an uncontrolled ascent. If I was out of air I'd just get out of the BC and swim up (which should never happen anyway). On the surface my BC lifts me out of the water fine with weights.

Am I missing something?

edit: I suppose a BC bladder failure might be a reason to do this...... but I think I'd still try to swim it up first.

I have always been on the same line of thinking. Even if you had a bladder failure if you are properly weighted you should still be able to swim up with your gear.

coralcrazed
09-18-2007, 13:40
Getting back into diving after 20years off, it occured to me that many divers, myself included, do not practice ditching weights. With the old belt system at least you had to unbuckle the belt after each dive.

As I think back to trainings, we didn't let divers drop their weights. I am not sure of the actual rationale? (might damage the bottom of the pool or might get lost in the sand??) We would practice a very controlled ditch and don, maybe on the bottom of the pool, but never a simulated emergency ditch at the surface.

I just started using a Zeagle Ranger and practiced dropping the weights in my living room. It was work to get the thing put back together so I don't know if I will practice it enough to know instictively in an emergency. Now there are so many different weight systems, some even two sided.

Do you really have the auto reflex to know how to dump your weight in a stress filled emergency situation?

I am thinking seriously of going back to the a weight belt system. I am also resolved to make our first dive day in Jamaica a training day with real repetitive in-water weight ditch.

What are your thoughts?


hmnnn, I would suggest thatyou look at my post about Ocho Rios Jamaica befor you make that your first dive destination. everything is NO PROBLEM MAAAAN. They are very lax there but I guess that depends greatly who you are diving with though.

ccarter
09-20-2007, 09:39
My OW class let us practice dropping our weights.. we were using belts w/ soft weight though. I don't use much weight though so it wasn't a huge deal to me.. I haven't really practiced much since.. It's a pretty simple reaction I like to think.. but a lot of things can become "complex" under stress I guess.

Like two posters said above though.. I would try and swim up my rig first.. I just can't see me dropping the few pounds I carry making much of a difference.

wxboy911
09-20-2007, 09:48
The only practice ditching weghts that I do is before each dive I make sure both the ditchable pouches slip out so that if a situation arises I can dump easily. Maybe a little practice with my buddy would not hurt.

crpntr133
09-20-2007, 20:56
No way. Ditching is the last thing that I would be doing anyway.

ScubaGir1
09-20-2007, 21:57
Not really, but in my rescue class we're going through that pretty thoroughly.

WaScubaDude
09-20-2007, 22:00
It would be a very rare thing to ditch while submerged. I was thinking at the surface.
There are many reasons to ditch at the surface. 1) You come up in a panic, for what ever reason, drop weight = no drowning. If you come up quick and push your mask to your forhead, (sign of panic and/or inexperience) the very next thing you should think about is "should I ditch my weight?" Your buddy is negative at the surface, for whatever reason and you need to provide bouyancy for both of you. Your buddy or someone else is unconcious and you need to provide more bouyancy. You just fell off the dock, ledge, boat and are negative without your reg in mouth. (A female instructor died recently after falling in the water while walking her gear out on a jetty that had very shallow water rushing over it. If she ditched, she lived. She died.
A DIR diver nearly drowned when upon exit, he fell off a ledge into the water. He swept for his main reg twice and couldn't recover it. Tried to breath from his octo but was blocked by his mask around his neck. On his third attempt he recovered his main reg and got back to shore. In his writing he never mentioned the thought of ditching his weights.

pnevai
09-20-2007, 22:20
Ah yup, if you ditch those you had better be able to go back and get them, they are expensive. Also I would not reccommend ditiching while at depth, unless you want to know how it feels to be a ploaris missile.

Ditching weights are not done inOW classes, because

1. They usually mess up the bottom of the pool
2. On land they have a tendency to fall on the students toes
3. The ballistic missile effect.

Mollusk in training

jo8243
09-20-2007, 23:07
It would be a very rare thing to ditch while submerged. I was thinking at the surface.
There are many reasons to ditch at the surface. 1) You come up in a panic, for what ever reason, drop weight = no drowning. If you come up quick and push your mask to your forhead, (sign of panic and/or inexperience) the very next thing you should think about is "should I ditch my weight?" Your buddy is negative at the surface, for whatever reason and you need to provide bouyancy for both of you. Your buddy or someone else is unconcious and you need to provide more bouyancy. You just fell off the dock, ledge, boat and are negative without your reg in mouth. (A female instructor died recently after falling in the water while walking her gear out on a jetty that had very shallow water rushing over it. If she ditched, she lived. She died.
A DIR diver nearly drowned when upon exit, he fell off a ledge into the water. He swept for his main reg twice and couldn't recover it. Tried to breath from his octo but was blocked by his mask around his neck. On his third attempt he recovered his main reg and got back to shore. In his writing he never mentioned the thought of ditching his weights.

In all those situations just adding air to the B.C.D. should have the same effect.... I don't really see how dropping weights would make much difference unless there is a problem with the BCD (bladder torn or inflator not connected or out of air).

WaScubaDude
09-21-2007, 01:51
In the case of the dead instructor. Her air was off, fins in hand, walking to the entry point. Easy enough to see how dropping the wieghts may have saved her life? I have more examples, if this one is not clear.

ccarter
09-21-2007, 10:17
In the case of the dead instructor. Her air was off, fins in hand, walking to the entry point. Easy enough to see how dropping the wieghts may have saved her life? I have more examples, if this one is not clear.
I don't see how that happened.. I've jumped in plenty of times without inflating my BC and been able to just kick and stay afloat..

Edit: Neglected the point about her not having fins.. that would make things more difficult. Why was her air off though? In that situation I can see ditching being a valid response.. Doesn't this go back to "air on reg in mouth" until you're clear of the water.. for both scenarios..

jo8243
09-21-2007, 10:30
In the case of the dead instructor. Her air was off, fins in hand, walking to the entry point. Easy enough to see how dropping the wieghts may have saved her life? I have more examples, if this one is not clear.

I see your point, but I think it wouldn't take much longer to just ditch the entire scuba unit (get out of the BC) vs trying to drop the weights. Two clips and a cumberbund velcro and I'm out. Wouldn't take more than a few seconds. Also another quick thing to do would be to reach around and turn on the air (yes I can do this underwater). If you were to fall in like she did who is to say you're gonna be head up, feet down? If you're not, the weights may not come out so easily (at least in BCs where they drop out the bottom).

WaScubaDude
09-21-2007, 10:32
This is one example. There are many other real examples and lots of theoretical examples. Do you ever cattle boat dive? On the boat trips I have been on the DM tells all to put on their wieght belts first,then put fins and clean mask, then they bring your tank/bc set up to you. I try the belt on seated then leave it in the crack of the bench seat while walking on the boat taking care of all the other things. I put the belt on after bc is on and a little inflated. Imagine if you were pitched off the boat with a weight belt on and no fins, no bc no nothin.

Can you think of other examples yourself?

jo8243
09-21-2007, 10:50
I generally don't let other people set up/hand me my gear and I don't use non-integrated weights anymore.

BTW back to your original post about going back to a weight belt..... I wouldn't. I think there are probably more failures with those crappy plastic buckles many belts have than w/ integrated weights. Plus w/ integrated you generally have 2 or more weight locations.. if one falls out somehow you still have 50% of your weight most likely.

I personally had a weight belt buckle fail and all my weights dropped 10 years ago on my OW checkout dive. Luckily I was doing my safety stop on the anchor line at the time...... I'd rather err on the side of not being able to ditch cause you can always ditch the entire scuba unit. If weights come out when they're not supposed to you are in big time trouble.

No Misses
09-21-2007, 10:51
WaScubaDude, you bring up some good points. If you have ditchable weights, you should practice unhooking them underwater and then putting them back (important lost weight recovery drill). I do not have ditchable weights on my rig. In a true emergency, if I were unable to swim it up or stay on the surface, I would have to ditch my whole rig. If it were not a true emergency, I could inflate my lift bag in the case of bladder failure, or I could deploy my pony bottle in the case of air off/main gas delivery system failure. Keep in mind that I am properly ballasted and I can swim my rig to the surface. Of course, this depends on my having fins on and some air in my tank. I could always do a CESA, but that is a last resort.

Disclaimer: I have chosen to dive a rig without ditchable weights. Do not follow my example, for I may not lead where you want to go.

ccarter
09-21-2007, 10:54
I have a weight integrated BC as so many people do these days.. so it's unlikely I would experience this scenario but..

If I didn't have booties on I'd tread water and wait until a line was tossed out.. I dive with very little weight even in salt water.. Bonaire I used like 3 - 4 pounds with a 2mm shorty.. and with a 3mm farmer john & jacket I only had like 8ish I think this past spring. I think I could hold either amount without straining myself too much.

I believe this was an exercise we did in Open Water class.. treading water with our weight belts and no fins.. and I was severely overweighted for that exercise.. not to mention I'm like 145 soaking wet and fairly lean so I sink like a rock anyway. That sucked. When I was taking swimming lessons years ago when I was around ~9 - 10 we had to tread water whilst holding like 4 pounds..

Pretty extreme example IMO but yeah.. if no one was around you might have to ditch.. weight belts don't require much practice though.

ccarter
09-21-2007, 10:58
I generally don't let other people set up/hand me my gear and I don't use non-integrated weights anymore.

BTW back to your original post about going back to a weight belt..... I wouldn't. I think there are probably more failures with those crappy plastic buckles many belts have than w/ integrated weights. Plus w/ integrated you generally have 2 or more weight locations.. if one falls out somehow you still have 50% of your weight most likely.

I personally had a weight belt buckle fail and all my weights dropped 10 years ago on my OW checkout dive. Luckily I was doing my safety stop on the anchor line at the time...... I'd rather err on the side of not being able to ditch cause you can always ditch the entire scuba unit. If weights come out when they're not supposed to you are in big time trouble.
Agreed, the last time I used a weight belt was for my OW check out dives.. after that I promptly bought me a nice weight integrated Zeagle BC and never looked back.

Most belts, especially rentals have very cheap buckles which scream "Hey I'm gonna randomly release whenever I feel like it!" although I have seen some with stainless steel hardware..

WV Diver
09-21-2007, 12:57
Keep in mind that practicing any skill is good. There are many good suggestions listed above but also keep in mind that if you want to practice ditching weights this should be done at the beginning of your dive day/week to be sure that your nitrogen load is at the very minimum. In the case of a runaway ascent and popping to the surface like cork, this will minimize you DCS risk. Ditch on the exhale is also a good habit to get into.

jo8243
09-21-2007, 13:54
Keep in mind that practicing any skill is good. There are many good suggestions listed above but also keep in mind that if you want to practice ditching weights this should be done at the beginning of your dive day/week to be sure that your nitrogen load is at the very minimum. In the case of a runaway ascent and popping to the surface like cork, this will minimize you DCS risk. Ditch on the exhale is also a good habit to get into.

You're suggesting practicing ditching weights at depth. I'll have to disagree with that suggestion. It's a bad idea IMO. You're creating a risky situation for no reason. I don't see how anything could happen except a runaway ascent, unless you're implying that the weights should be caught during the ditch (which is still an iffy proposition).

WV Diver
09-21-2007, 14:27
Keep in mind that practicing any skill is good. There are many good suggestions listed above but also keep in mind that if you want to practice ditching weights this should be done at the beginning of your dive day/week to be sure that your nitrogen load is at the very minimum. In the case of a runaway ascent and popping to the surface like cork, this will minimize you DCS risk. Ditch on the exhale is also a good habit to get into.

You're suggesting practicing ditching weights at depth.

I did??

Even a few feet in a pool is worthy of safety precautions.

jo8243
09-21-2007, 15:04
Keep in mind that practicing any skill is good. There are many good suggestions listed above but also keep in mind that if you want to practice ditching weights this should be done at the beginning of your dive day/week to be sure that your nitrogen load is at the very minimum. In the case of a runaway ascent and popping to the surface like cork, this will minimize you DCS risk. Ditch on the exhale is also a good habit to get into.

You're suggesting practicing ditching weights at depth.

I did??

Even a few feet in a pool is worthy of safety precautions.

Ok, my apologies if you weren't. When you started talking about runaway ascents it seemed like it.
:smiley16:

WV Diver
09-21-2007, 15:09
Keep in mind that practicing any skill is good. There are many good suggestions listed above but also keep in mind that if you want to practice ditching weights this should be done at the beginning of your dive day/week to be sure that your nitrogen load is at the very minimum. In the case of a runaway ascent and popping to the surface like cork, this will minimize you DCS risk. Ditch on the exhale is also a good habit to get into.

You're suggesting practicing ditching weights at depth.

I did??

Even a few feet in a pool is worthy of safety precautions.

Ok, my apologies if you weren't. When you started talking about runaway ascents it seemed like it.
:smiley16:
Don't sweat it. :smiley20:

cummings66
09-21-2007, 23:29
A DIR diver nearly drowned when upon exit, he fell off a ledge into the water. He swept for his main reg twice and couldn't recover it. Tried to breath from his octo but was blocked by his mask around his neck. On his

I'm not a DIR diver and never claimed to be. I want to make that clear to everybody, the gear config does not make me DIR nor technical. It is a Hogarthian dive gear configuration, no more and no less.

You've got to realize that my config like that of many divers has ditchable weight and sometimes non ditchable. Do you know how much mine is, and what it was on that day?

It will vary depending on suit and undergarments from 0 lbs of lead to a MAX of 8 lbs of lead in the dead of Winter. If my tank is 12 lbs negative full of air and I ditch 8 lbs I'm not coming up without kicking, no fins means there's not much propulsion there. You can come up by the way, but it's very tiring to stay there for long. On that day with the Sport drysuit I had no weightbelt, I don't need one because I'm neutral without it, and yes I'm heavy at the start and middle of a dive. On that day I wore myself out getting to the surface once because I was negative. If I had fins on it would have been much different and easy to stay up.

That example is not a good one for ditching lead at the surface, but rescue class does teach that as ONE method. My buddies knew I had no lead to ditch so their approach would have been to add air to the wing or drysuit if they had tried to rescue me.

I see no reason to practice ditching your weight, it's easily done in a normal configuration. Under water it's not needed in most cases, I could see a time for it though. What you should practice is ditching the buddies weight without getting climbed on top of.

cummings66
09-21-2007, 23:39
Edit: Neglected the point about her not having fins.. that would make things more difficult. Why was her air off though? In that situation I can see ditching being a valid response.. Doesn't this go back to "air on reg in mouth" until you're clear of the water.. for both scenarios..

Yes it does, and that's the mistake many divers make. They end the dive and surface, remove the regulator from the mouth and then drown.

What I do is clip off my primary and use the backup until out of the water, now.

However, you try ditching your weights when you're drowning. I guarantee it's the last thing you'll think of because you're not thinking, that's why in rescue you're taught to submerge as you approach them deep enough they won't latch on, then you release their weights or come up behind them clamping on and adding air to the BC. A diver in trouble does not usually think.

No fins and being heavy will make it very hard to stay afloat, very very hard. It's doable for a short period but not for long. Trying to undo the crotch strap, then dump the belt in that time period would be tough. Of course for me I didn't have a weight belt so I couldn't ditch one then.

I use 4 lbs on my 7mm wetsuit, 8 lbs in my Viking Extreme drysuit with heavy under garments, and 0 lbs in my Viking Sport with heavy undergarments. Not much on a belt to help with, but I've got plenty of lift in the wing and in the drysuit. Inflate either and I'm good to go.

WaScubaDude
09-22-2007, 05:58
Edit: Neglected the point about her not having fins.. that would make things more difficult. Why was her air off though? In that situation I can see ditching being a valid response.. Doesn't this go back to "air on reg in mouth" until you're clear of the water.. for both scenarios..

Yes it does, and that's the mistake many divers make. They end the dive and surface, remove the regulator from the mouth and then drown.

What I do is clip off my primary and use the backup until out of the water, now.

However, you try ditching your weights when you're drowning. I guarantee it's the last thing you'll think of because you're not thinking, that's why in rescue you're taught to submerge as you approach them deep enough they won't latch on, then you release their weights or come up behind them clamping on and adding air to the BC. A diver in trouble does not usually think.

No fins and being heavy will make it very hard to stay afloat, very very hard. It's doable for a short period but not for long. Trying to undo the crotch strap, then dump the belt in that time period would be tough. Of course for me I didn't have a weight belt so I couldn't ditch one then.

I use 4 lbs on my 7mm wetsuit, 8 lbs in my Viking Extreme drysuit with heavy under garments, and 0 lbs in my Viking Sport with heavy undergarments. Not much on a belt to help with, but I've got plenty of lift in the wing and in the drysuit. Inflate either and I'm good to go.

You make my point. You swept for your reg. Why did you do that? Why did you do that several times? Because you were trained to do that!

But not set up or trained to do the ultimate "I am drowning fail safe", Ditch to positive bouyancy.

In rescue training you are taught to ditch a victims weight. But you do not see the need to be able to ditch your own to positive bouyancy?
You are negatively weighted and have non ditchable weight. Why not be able to ditch to positive bouyancy?
You nearly drowned, when training in ditchable weight would have saved your life.
So strange to me that there would be any question.

crpntr133
09-22-2007, 14:04
A good point was made by cummings66...When you are panicked you don't think. Even if you are trained you probably aren't going to think.
In my rescue class my instructor told us that the victim is probably not going to drop his weight or inflate his BC him/her self. Even if you tell them to.

If I was to practice dropping weights it would be at maybe 10'.

quasimoto
09-22-2007, 16:12
Agree, don't drop your weights at depth. 10'to 15' is more than plenty. As mentioned before, do this before a dive if you really think you need to do this.

cummings66
09-22-2007, 16:47
You make my point. You swept for your reg. Why did you do that? Why did you do that several times? Because you were trained to do that!

But not set up or trained to do the ultimate "I am drowning fail safe", Ditch to positive bouyancy.


You missed my point.

I could not become positive by ditching 8 lbs of lead at that point on that dive. It just will not happen unless the tank is nearing empty because air has weight and a larger steel tank therefore weighs more which makes you negative for a longer period of time in comparison to an AL80. My tank was not empty and due to the amount of air in it I would be negative no matter what happened. It would have not made me stay afloat and save my life I guess is what I'm saying. I screwed up by not having air in my BC, I blocked access to my backup on my neck, heck I did other things wrong but ditching a belt would not have helped, besides I didn't have one on that dive. That's not to say it couldn't help at some point, merely that on that dive at that time it was not the most appropriate action and I knew it. I knew I needed to breathe and add air to my BC. Both fundamental skills, both commonly taught. Both of them initially were out of reach.

If you want to effect a rescue of me you will simply add air to either the BC or the drysuit at depth or on the surface. Keep in mind that dropping lead is not always your first or only course of action. As you progress into technical diving you'll find out that you will almost always be heavy at the start of a dive. Part of tech training is how to rescue a diver with a couple stages and doubles from depth and on the surface. Dropping a weight belt at the start of a dive will not make them postive, you've got to learn to use what's at hand. Most of use have at least 2 if not 3 means to get positive not counting dropping a weight belt. Those means are Wing, Drysuit, and bag of some sort.

I'll toss this out for you to chew on. During my rescue course the instructor made a point on one of the dives to use a BCD I'd never before seen and not do a buddy check. You have no idea where his integrated releases are and you can't find them. The scenario was a person from another pair of divers who you happen to come across in an active panic on the surface. His tank is empty and he's struggling to keep from sinking. All the other options such as reaching, tossing something, etc are out. It's just you and him in the wide open water with nobody or nothing around. Now save him. What would you do?

Now to me, a more pressing question, why did you think I was a DIR diver?

quasimoto
09-22-2007, 16:53
Never thought about the different system issue..good point cummings66.

WaScubaDude
09-23-2007, 13:03
You make my point. You swept for your reg. Why did you do that? Why did you do that several times? Because you were trained to do that!

But not set up or trained to do the ultimate "I am drowning fail safe", Ditch to positive bouyancy.


You missed my point.

I could not become positive by ditching 8 lbs of lead at that point on that dive. It just will not happen unless the tank is nearing empty because air has weight and a larger steel tank therefore weighs more which makes you negative for a longer period of time in comparison to an AL80. My tank was not empty and due to the amount of air in it I would be negative no matter what happened. It would have not made me stay afloat and save my life I guess is what I'm saying. I screwed up by not having air in my BC, I blocked access to my backup on my neck, heck I did other things wrong but ditching a belt would not have helped, besides I didn't have one on that dive. That's not to say it couldn't help at some point, merely that on that dive at that time it was not the most appropriate action and I knew it. I knew I needed to breathe and add air to my BC. Both fundamental skills, both commonly taught. Both of them initially were out of reach.

If you want to effect a rescue of me you will simply add air to either the BC or the drysuit at depth or on the surface. Keep in mind that dropping lead is not always your first or only course of action. As you progress into technical diving you'll find out that you will almost always be heavy at the start of a dive. Part of tech training is how to rescue a diver with a couple stages and doubles from depth and on the surface. Dropping a weight belt at the start of a dive will not make them postive, you've got to learn to use what's at hand. Most of use have at least 2 if not 3 means to get positive not counting dropping a weight belt. Those means are Wing, Drysuit, and bag of some sort.

I'll toss this out for you to chew on. During my rescue course the instructor made a point on one of the dives to use a BCD I'd never before seen and not do a buddy check. You have no idea where his integrated releases are and you can't find them. The scenario was a person from another pair of divers who you happen to come across in an active panic on the surface. His tank is empty and he's struggling to keep from sinking. All the other options such as reaching, tossing something, etc are out. It's just you and him in the wide open water with nobody or nothing around. Now save him. What would you do?

Now to me, a more pressing question, why did you think I was a DIR diver?

Last point first. Simply because you had your octo on a necklace. Sorry if it was a false assumption. When i first posted this q, I did not know enough about DIR/Nondir distinctions to tell the difference.

Did you have non ditchable weight on your rig that day?

You make some other great points about different BC weight configs, different set ups entirely, like yours. My conclusion is that the industry has moved so far from weight belts and even far from the old notion that you had to have enough easily ditchable weight to become positive in an emergency.
Lastly that you need to train divers to instinctively be able to ditch at or near the surface is a lost art and lost tool.

In my opinion this is a very bad thing and will continue to result in unneccessary deaths.

More later, got to go to work for a while, then diving on Alki at 3pm!!

jo8243
09-23-2007, 15:29
Agree, don't drop your weights at depth. 10'to 15' is more than plenty. As mentioned before, do this before a dive if you really think you need to do this.

You can embolize in 4' of water. I still don't think it is safe.

cummings66
09-23-2007, 17:34
Did you have non ditchable weight on your rig that day?
Lastly that you need to train divers to instinctively be able to ditch at or near the surface is a lost art and lost tool.

In my opinion this is a very bad thing and will continue to result in unneccessary deaths.


Sniped a few things.

First, no I did not have any weight on my beyond the plate for that dive.

The reason is for that gear config there simply is no way for me to have weight I can ditch. I don't consider that dangerous because I have 3 means of getting positive and I'm trained in using them. The weight belt would be a 4th method, quite enough variety to get positive don't you think?

What you need to think about is that those of us who dive gear configs where we are negative or likely to be so for a portion of the dive, we have other methods of establishing positive buoyancy. We just don't go down relying on one method only. That's fool hardy. I suspect you're not used to multiple methods of positive buoyancy which is why you think the dropping of weights is the only way to do it.

The training you mentioned where you're taught ditching weights, I was taught that as an OW diver and again it was reinforced as a rescue diver. It's not a lost art by any means. However it is not the only way to become positive is what I am saying. It depends on your gear.

That day was an accident, I made a mistake by forgetting about the drysuit. I'd guess that even though I wasn't panic'd I was not thinking 100% because if I had I would have used the drysuit. The real thing is that I was caught totally off guard and what I thought was going to be simple turned into something much more complex, and dangerous.

See, what's funny is that my first thought was this is what I'm trained to do, go to the backup and solve the problem. But, the backup was blocked and I wasnt prepared for that, the primary was lost and floated away from me, and I was out of air and had to breathe bad. The inflator for the Wing was trapped and not available, plus I was blinded due to the cold water (around 36F) and no mask, and it took too much muscle to swim up the rig and that got rid of whatever reserves I had. You had to be there to realize the impact, all the systems I'd been taught to fall back to failed me and by the time I had worked through them all I was out of time and air and quite frankly I forgot about the drysuit. It should have been hit right after I discovered the inflator for the wing was trapped and not available. I couldn't find it because it was under the harness somehow. The situation to start with was bad, I had exhaled and had no air from the start, it was a bad start to solving the problem because I needed to breathe more than anything else.

I knew the water was shallow so I wasn't concerned about hitting the bottom, I in fact planned on it as I was going under. I knew I needed air and the initial plan was backup, breathe find and put on my mask and clear it, then crawl back up to shore. However that plan went bye bye almost immediately. I remember thinking this is not how its supposed to happen. Then I remember thinking lets inflate and establish buoyancy, then thinking where is that inflator. Then I'm thinking I need to breathe now or I'm going to be breathing water very soon.

I can not say looking back on it if I had a weight belt on like I do with my Viking Extreme if I could have got it off in time or not. Practice is good, but can you do it quickly enough? I had things happen in a way that nobody practices. How many of us practice getting knocked into the water on an exhale, being negative, no access to air, no air in BC or drysuit, no fins, and no mask? I'll bet you not one person here has done that.

I have practice all of the above on their own, but what fool would add them all together and then do it? Not me, but that's what happened. I'll be honest with you, I don't think I would have had time to get a weight belt off from under the BP/W, it's trapped there remember which means I've got to remove the BC belt, crotch strap, then I can release the weight belt. This is how many deco divers rig it because you absolutely do not want to lose weights on a deco stop at the end of a dive, you have got to be able to stay down because blowing a stop can mean it's over for you. The drawback is its harder to release them at the surface.

Here's what you're taught in rescue. First establish positive buoyancy any way you can, drop the weights is first in line, adding air is second and using other methods you come up with is fine, anything you do is good. You want to make the effort without getting in the water if at all possible, that's the very last thing you want to do, throw them something, reach out to them, anything but get in the water next to them. But if that's what it takes then you do so but be ready for them to climb on you, and frankly you'd be surprised how easy it is to get rid of them if you do get trapped. But releasing weights is primary, but you've also been taught the other ways of making them positive because sometimes the weights are not there to release, won't or something goes south. We're taught many ways of dealing with it. Of course rescue teaches you to only attempt the rescue if you're able to pull it off safely. That's part of the thinking, can I do this safely?

What I'm objecting to I suppose is the thought that weights is the only way to do it and appropriate for all occasions. It's not and we've got to use our heads whenever the situation comes up. The first step is to stop and think, it's not to jump in and act. So what I am saying in way too many words is we need to think things through first before deciding there is but one way.

For what it's worth, I believe dumping weights at the surface is appropriate, but I do not believe a diver in distress will be able to do so, not if it's real and they're already tired.

I will tell you this much, I am lucky I'm alive today. If I was knocked off a boat in this state and had I acted the same way I think I would have drowned. I'll never know for sure but I think I would have drowned. I have fixed the issues that occurred and it will not happen again.

Of course on a boat my wing always has air in it, it was only shore diving that I got lax on. But assuming I goofed like that on a boat I feel I would not be here today.

I hate to say it, but luck saved me that day, not skill. A final thought if you will, it's far easier to save somebody else than it is to save yourself.

Buoyant1
09-24-2007, 11:12
I've yanked them out in a pool a few times after I bought the BC, but never since. I've read that it's a good idea to just do it at the end of a dive at the surface just to get the motion down, but I'd be leery in case they slip out of your hands (where you can either lose them or even worse drop them on someone's head)

WaScubaDude
10-02-2007, 23:15
Did you have non ditchable weight on your rig that day?
Lastly that you need to train divers to instinctively be able to ditch at or near the surface is a lost art and lost tool.

In my opinion this is a very bad thing and will continue to result in unneccessary deaths.


Sniped a few things.

First, no I did not have any weight on my beyond the plate for that dive.

The reason is for that gear config there simply is no way for me to have weight I can ditch. I don't consider that dangerous because I have 3 means of getting positive and I'm trained in using them. The weight belt would be a 4th method, quite enough variety to get positive don't you think?

What you need to think about is that those of us who dive gear configs where we are negative or likely to be so for a portion of the dive, we have other methods of establishing positive buoyancy. We just don't go down relying on one method only. That's fool hardy. I suspect you're not used to multiple methods of positive buoyancy which is why you think the dropping of weights is the only way to do it.

The training you mentioned where you're taught ditching weights, I was taught that as an OW diver and again it was reinforced as a rescue diver. It's not a lost art by any means. However it is not the only way to become positive is what I am saying. It depends on your gear.

That day was an accident, I made a mistake by forgetting about the drysuit. I'd guess that even though I wasn't panic'd I was not thinking 100% because if I had I would have used the drysuit. The real thing is that I was caught totally off guard and what I thought was going to be simple turned into something much more complex, and dangerous.

See, what's funny is that my first thought was this is what I'm trained to do, go to the backup and solve the problem. But, the backup was blocked and I wasnt prepared for that, the primary was lost and floated away from me, and I was out of air and had to breathe bad. The inflator for the Wing was trapped and not available, plus I was blinded due to the cold water (around 36F) and no mask, and it took too much muscle to swim up the rig and that got rid of whatever reserves I had. You had to be there to realize the impact, all the systems I'd been taught to fall back to failed me and by the time I had worked through them all I was out of time and air and quite frankly I forgot about the drysuit. It should have been hit right after I discovered the inflator for the wing was trapped and not available. I couldn't find it because it was under the harness somehow. The situation to start with was bad, I had exhaled and had no air from the start, it was a bad start to solving the problem because I needed to breathe more than anything else.

I knew the water was shallow so I wasn't concerned about hitting the bottom, I in fact planned on it as I was going under. I knew I needed air and the initial plan was backup, breathe find and put on my mask and clear it, then crawl back up to shore. However that plan went bye bye almost immediately. I remember thinking this is not how its supposed to happen. Then I remember thinking lets inflate and establish buoyancy, then thinking where is that inflator. Then I'm thinking I need to breathe now or I'm going to be breathing water very soon.

I can not say looking back on it if I had a weight belt on like I do with my Viking Extreme if I could have got it off in time or not. Practice is good, but can you do it quickly enough? I had things happen in a way that nobody practices. How many of us practice getting knocked into the water on an exhale, being negative, no access to air, no air in BC or drysuit, no fins, and no mask? I'll bet you not one person here has done that.

I have practice all of the above on their own, but what fool would add them all together and then do it? Not me, but that's what happened. I'll be honest with you, I don't think I would have had time to get a weight belt off from under the BP/W, it's trapped there remember which means I've got to remove the BC belt, crotch strap, then I can release the weight belt. This is how many deco divers rig it because you absolutely do not want to lose weights on a deco stop at the end of a dive, you have got to be able to stay down because blowing a stop can mean it's over for you. The drawback is its harder to release them at the surface.

Here's what you're taught in rescue. First establish positive buoyancy any way you can, drop the weights is first in line, adding air is second and using other methods you come up with is fine, anything you do is good. You want to make the effort without getting in the water if at all possible, that's the very last thing you want to do, throw them something, reach out to them, anything but get in the water next to them. But if that's what it takes then you do so but be ready for them to climb on you, and frankly you'd be surprised how easy it is to get rid of them if you do get trapped. But releasing weights is primary, but you've also been taught the other ways of making them positive because sometimes the weights are not there to release, won't or something goes south. We're taught many ways of dealing with it. Of course rescue teaches you to only attempt the rescue if you're able to pull it off safely. That's part of the thinking, can I do this safely?

What I'm objecting to I suppose is the thought that weights is the only way to do it and appropriate for all occasions. It's not and we've got to use our heads whenever the situation comes up. The first step is to stop and think, it's not to jump in and act. So what I am saying in way too many words is we need to think things through first before deciding there is but one way.

For what it's worth, I believe dumping weights at the surface is appropriate, but I do not believe a diver in distress will be able to do so, not if it's real and they're already tired.

I will tell you this much, I am lucky I'm alive today. If I was knocked off a boat in this state and had I acted the same way I think I would have drowned. I'll never know for sure but I think I would have drowned. I have fixed the issues that occurred and it will not happen again.

Of course on a boat my wing always has air in it, it was only shore diving that I got lax on. But assuming I goofed like that on a boat I feel I would not be here today.

I hate to say it, but luck saved me that day, not skill. A final thought if you will, it's far easier to save somebody else than it is to save yourself.

Please notice I took a long and thoughtful pause before responding. I have read over your reply several times. In the end I think all that you say justifies my point. A DIVER NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO DITCH TO POSITIVE AND TRAIN TO DO SO.

Read line by line your rationalizations and justifications.
If your rig started positive, and you added a weight belt over everything, including your crotch strap you would only have to scrape your right hand across your mid section and you would be positive. Floating. Alive. With no need to explain or justify.

webwidejosh
10-11-2007, 17:49
I knew the water was shallow so I wasn't concerned about hitting the bottom, I in fact planned on it as I was going under. I knew I needed air and the initial plan was backup, breathe find and put on my mask and clear it, then crawl back up to shore. However that plan went bye bye almost immediately. I remember thinking this is not how its supposed to happen. Then I remember thinking lets inflate and establish buoyancy, then thinking where is that inflator. Then I'm thinking I need to breathe now or I'm going to be breathing water very soon.

This may be off topic, but I heard something on Mythbusters that you can't breathe water in until you pass out. Any opinions on that?

subsur
10-12-2007, 19:59
as few have already mentioned - ditching is the very last resort unless we're talking about very shallow dives. for some reasons, the idea of ditching weight belt is so popular (due to OW class books and instructors), that newly certified divers don't know any better and think that ditching their weight belts is a panacea for every emergency.
i think, practicing every skill is important and i wish i practiced all skills. OOA drills are more important, i believe.

webwidejosh
10-12-2007, 20:01
as few have already mentioned - ditching is the very last resort unless we're talking about very shallow dives. for some reasons, the idea of ditching weight belt is so popular (due to OW class books and instructors), that newly certified divers don't know any better and think that ditching their weight belts is a panacea for every emergency.
i think, practicing every skill is important and i wish i practiced all skills. OOA drills are more important, i believe.

Our dive instructor would not teach us weight ditching until we promised we would never never ever do an emergency bouyant ascent unless we were willing to risk all sorts of decompression illness and death to get to the surface.

WaScubaDude
10-12-2007, 20:34
as few have already mentioned - ditching is the very last resort unless we're talking about very shallow dives. for some reasons, the idea of ditching weight belt is so popular (due to OW class books and instructors), that newly certified divers don't know any better and think that ditching their weight belts is a panacea for every emergency.
i think, practicing every skill is important and i wish i practiced all skills. OOA drills are more important, i believe.

If you read the original post you will find my suggestion was about ditching weight at the surface. That said, there may be many circumstances where ditching at depth, exhaling, look up, hand up and flaring out at the end would be the proper response, and a better alternative to inhaling water and sinking to the bottom. In Dan Orr's book he sites a 2003 study that states 85% of 284 deceased divers were found with there weights on.

I can site several real accidents and deaths that could have been prevented or mitigated simply by ditching weight. At this point in my analysis I have concluded that weight ditching is a lost art. In part because training organizations do not want the liability associated with what I would call very important training. And in part because many instructors and most divers would rather stick there head in the sand and think wieight ditch will never be needed by me or my students. Big smiles, diving is just fun, fun, fun. Oh, and buy more gear and take more classes.

Scubastud16
10-13-2007, 01:44
The only time I practice ditching weight is when showing an insta-buddy or new buddy how my BC works.

WaScubaDude
10-13-2007, 01:52
I knew the water was shallow so I wasn't concerned about hitting the bottom, I in fact planned on it as I was going under. I knew I needed air and the initial plan was backup, breathe find and put on my mask and clear it, then crawl back up to shore. However that plan went bye bye almost immediately. I remember thinking this is not how its supposed to happen. Then I remember thinking lets inflate and establish buoyancy, then thinking where is that inflator. Then I'm thinking I need to breathe now or I'm going to be breathing water very soon.

This may be off topic, but I heard something on Mythbusters that you can't breathe water in until you pass out. Any opinions on that?
You can breathe water in until you are dead. I think that is not a Myth.

WaScubaDude
11-04-2007, 22:35
Good advice...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your tip on ditching weights was excellent. My son who is a commercial diver taught me to regularly and often practice dumping my weights and manually inflating my BC at the surface.

Twice now I'm glad he did.
=========================================
A PM from a living diver. Practice ditching weights, it could save you or your buddy.

liuk3
11-05-2007, 19:56
Just my opinion, but I think that ditching weights is a good thing to practice. One recommendation is to practice doing it with your dive gloves on your hands. I know my wife could do it with her bare hands (integrated weights) but could not do so with the 5mm gloves she dives with. So, we just practice doing it in our family room while watching TV. Practicing both ditching the weights and replacing them with her gloves all in the comfort of our home on dry land.

Puffer Fish
11-05-2007, 20:13
I have Zeagle weight system, and every day I go diving, I make sure I can find and could pull the nylon line...I have done it so often that i can close my eyes and know exactly where it is.

in_cavediver
11-05-2007, 21:13
Having just read this, I'll say this. WaScubaDude, your oversimplifying it.

The idea is to get positive right. There are LOTS of ways to get positive. 1) Ditch weight 2) add air to wing 3) add air to drysuit 4) inflate lift bag 5) dump gear 6) use Buddy assist

For many, ditching weight is the easiest but also the most dangerous, especially at depth. I say the only time you ditch at depth is when you choice is 'Die there' or 'maybe die up top'. Its purely last ditch. You WILL GET HURT on the way up, but HURT beats DEAD. Whenever possible - solve the problem underwater.

Now, why do I say this. Simple. I dive a rig that at the start of the dive is horribly negative. (twin 104's) I carry zero weight even with the heaviest winter undergarments, hood dry gloves etc. There is no way for me to get positive in this rig by dumping wieght. That said, I still have options. Many in fact. All it takes is discipline in your setup and gear up routines. (that and reaching valves helps)

For those just considering the ditch idea - I have seen cases where weight belts were fouled and non-ditchable. I've seen stuck releases. Ditching may fail. Its not foolproof. Have a backup plan.

Lastly, for the bogus study of 284 dead divers with weights, they probably also had masks and fins. Did that contribute as well? Unless you can make the causal case for weight and lack of the ability to get positive being a major factor (and they tried to but failed), its just coincidence. More likely, they got in a bad situation over their head an panicked. Once you panic - you're at the mercy of someone else to help/save you. I have seen two panicked divers underwater. Not something I want to see again.

WaScubaDude
11-05-2007, 22:31
Just my opinion, but I think that ditching weights is a good thing to practice. One recommendation is to practice doing it with your dive gloves on your hands. I know my wife could do it with her bare hands (integrated weights) but could not do so with the 5mm gloves she dives with. So, we just practice doing it in our family room while watching TV. Practicing both ditching the weights and replacing them with her gloves all in the comfort of our home on dry land.

Thank you for your thoughts.

WaScubaDude
11-05-2007, 22:34
I have Zeagle weight system, and every day I go diving, I make sure I can find and could pull the nylon line...I have done it so often that i can close my eyes and know exactly where it is.

I hope to get to the point that I can do it panicked, face full of cold water and gasping for air.

WaScubaDude
11-05-2007, 23:06
Having just read this, I'll say this. WaScubaDude, your oversimplifying it.

The idea is to get positive right. There are LOTS of ways to get positive. 1) Ditch weight 2) add air to wing 3) add air to drysuit 4) inflate lift bag 5) dump gear 6) use Buddy assist

For many, ditching weight is the easiest but also the most dangerous, especially at depth. I say the only time you ditch at depth is when you choice is 'Die there' or 'maybe die up top'. Its purely last ditch. You WILL GET HURT on the way up, but HURT beats DEAD. Whenever possible - solve the problem underwater.

Now, why do I say this. Simple. I dive a rig that at the start of the dive is horribly negative. (twin 104's) I carry zero weight even with the heaviest winter undergarments, hood dry gloves etc. There is no way for me to get positive in this rig by dumping wieght. That said, I still have options. Many in fact. All it takes is discipline in your setup and gear up routines. (that and reaching valves helps)

For those just considering the ditch idea - I have seen cases where weight belts were fouled and non-ditchable. I've seen stuck releases. Ditching may fail. Its not foolproof. Have a backup plan.

Lastly, for the bogus study of 284 dead divers with weights, they probably also had masks and fins. Did that contribute as well? Unless you can make the causal case for weight and lack of the ability to get positive being a major factor (and they tried to but failed), its just coincidence. More likely, they got in a bad situation over their head an panicked. Once you panic - you're at the mercy of someone else to help/save you. I have seen two panicked divers underwater. Not something I want to see again.

First off let me say that I respect your opinions and suggestions very much. I think you are one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful posters on this board.
That said, you are "in_cavediver" your diving, skills and rig are much different then the average diver. I think my "learn how to ditch your weight" reccomendation has put you and other tech divers on the defensive. In large part I am speaking to the audience of casual, occasional recreational divers that represents the majority on this board.

I get that, if you are in a cave you don't want your weight belt to fall off and pin you to the ceiling. I also get that if you are deep diving on a 200ft wreck you don't want to drop your weight and take a rocket ride to the moon.

In my OP I tried to make it clear that I was talking about ditching at the surface. I personaly have seen at least six divers panicked at the surface and negatively bouyant. I also think that divers are no longer really trained to ditch there weight belt, ever. Thus the many excuses and justifications against my suggestion. Many now have integrated weight systems that they might not even really know how to ditch. A few posters asked "do you know how much those things cost??"

And yet many divers drown every year, with their weight still attatched.

Cave divers that do die usually die stuck in a cave, thus dropping weight would not help. I will leave it to you to do the analysis on how their deaths could have been prevented.

Divers that die deep diving usually die of some sort of reaction to the gasses they are breathing, read: convulsions, unconsiousness breathing water and death.

But the vast majority of dive related deaths are recreational divers who breath in water and drown most at depth of less then 60ft. and I contend that most could have been saved by ditching to positive at the surface or at depth with proper exhale on the way up. Both lost arts. Lost skills.

Lastly, You are smart. And other tech guys are smart, why simarily dismiss the idea of adding permanent bouyancy to your big heavy rig to make it less negative? I know thats not the way its done now, but isn't it worth thinking about. A well balanced rig that you could swim to the surface if you needed to?

I am just trying to figure out ways to keep more divers alive. I like you guys!

WaScubaDude
11-05-2007, 23:30
Having just read this, I'll say this. WaScubaDude, your oversimplifying it.

The idea is to get positive right. There are LOTS of ways to get positive. 1) Ditch weight 2) add air to wing 3) add air to drysuit 4) inflate lift bag 5) dump gear 6) use Buddy assist

For many, ditching weight is the easiest but also the most dangerous, especially at depth. I say the only time you ditch at depth is when you choice is 'Die there' or 'maybe die up top'. Its purely last ditch. You WILL GET HURT on the way up, but HURT beats DEAD. Whenever possible - solve the problem underwater.

Now, why do I say this. Simple. I dive a rig that at the start of the dive is horribly negative. (twin 104's) I carry zero weight even with the heaviest winter undergarments, hood dry gloves etc. There is no way for me to get positive in this rig by dumping wieght. That said, I still have options. Many in fact. All it takes is discipline in your setup and gear up routines. (that and reaching valves helps)

For those just considering the ditch idea - I have seen cases where weight belts were fouled and non-ditchable. I've seen stuck releases. Ditching may fail. Its not foolproof. Have a backup plan.

Lastly, for the bogus study of 284 dead divers with weights, they probably also had masks and fins. Did that contribute as well? Unless you can make the causal case for weight and lack of the ability to get positive being a major factor (and they tried to but failed), its just coincidence. More likely, they got in a bad situation over their head an panicked. Once you panic - you're at the mercy of someone else to help/save you. I have seen two panicked divers underwater. Not something I want to see again.

First off let me say that I respect your opinions and suggestions very much. I think you are one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful posters on this board.
That said, you are "in_cavediver" your diving, skills and rig are much different then the average diver. I think my "learn how to ditch your weight" reccomendation has put you and other tech divers on the defensive. In large part I am speaking to the audience of casual, occasional recreational divers that represents the majority on this board.

I get that, if you are in a cave you don't want your weight belt to fall off and pin you to the ceiling. I also get that if you are deep diving on a 200ft wreck you don't want to drop your weight and take a rocket ride to the moon.

In my OP I tried to make it clear that I was talking about ditching at the surface. I personaly have seen at least six divers panicked at the surface and negatively bouyant. I also think that divers are no longer really trained to ditch there weight belt, ever. Thus the many excuses and justifications against my suggestion. Many now have integrated weight systems that they might not even really know how to ditch. A few posters asked "do you know how much those things cost??"

And yet many divers drown every year, with their weight still attatched.

Cave divers that do die usually die stuck in a cave, thus dropping weight would not help. I will leave it to you to do the analysis on how their deaths could have been prevented.

Divers that die deep diving usually die of some sort of reaction to the gasses they are breathing, read: convulsions, unconsiousness breathing water and death.

But the vast majority of dive related deaths are recreational divers who breath in water and drown most at depth of less then 60ft. and I contend that most could have been saved by ditching to positive at the surface or at depth with proper exhale on the way up. Both lost arts. Lost skills.

Lastly, You are smart. And other tech guys are smart, why simarily dismiss the idea of adding permanent bouyancy to your big heavy rig to make it less negative? I know thats not the way its done now, but isn't it worth thinking about. A well balanced rig that you could swim to the surface if you needed to?

I am just trying to figure out ways to keep more divers alive. I like you guys!

Puffer Fish
11-06-2007, 05:03
Having just read this, I'll say this. WaScubaDude, your oversimplifying it.

The idea is to get positive right. There are LOTS of ways to get positive. 1) Ditch weight 2) add air to wing 3) add air to drysuit 4) inflate lift bag 5) dump gear 6) use Buddy assist

For many, ditching weight is the easiest but also the most dangerous, especially at depth. I say the only time you ditch at depth is when you choice is 'Die there' or 'maybe die up top'. Its purely last ditch. You WILL GET HURT on the way up, but HURT beats DEAD. Whenever possible - solve the problem underwater.

Now, why do I say this. Simple. I dive a rig that at the start of the dive is horribly negative. (twin 104's) I carry zero weight even with the heaviest winter undergarments, hood dry gloves etc. There is no way for me to get positive in this rig by dumping wieght. That said, I still have options. Many in fact. All it takes is discipline in your setup and gear up routines. (that and reaching valves helps)

For those just considering the ditch idea - I have seen cases where weight belts were fouled and non-ditchable. I've seen stuck releases. Ditching may fail. Its not foolproof. Have a backup plan.

Lastly, for the bogus study of 284 dead divers with weights, they probably also had masks and fins. Did that contribute as well? Unless you can make the causal case for weight and lack of the ability to get positive being a major factor (and they tried to but failed), its just coincidence. More likely, they got in a bad situation over their head an panicked. Once you panic - you're at the mercy of someone else to help/save you. I have seen two panicked divers underwater. Not something I want to see again.

First off let me say that I respect your opinions and suggestions very much. I think you are one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful posters on this board.
That said, you are "in_cavediver" your diving, skills and rig are much different then the average diver. I think my "learn how to ditch your weight" reccomendation has put you and other tech divers on the defensive. In large part I am speaking to the audience of casual, occasional recreational divers that represents the majority on this board.

I get that, if you are in a cave you don't want your weight belt to fall off and pin you to the ceiling. I also get that if you are deep diving on a 200ft wreck you don't want to drop your weight and take a rocket ride to the moon.

In my OP I tried to make it clear that I was talking about ditching at the surface. I personaly have seen at least six divers panicked at the surface and negatively bouyant. I also think that divers are no longer really trained to ditch there weight belt, ever. Thus the many excuses and justifications against my suggestion. Many now have integrated weight systems that they might not even really know how to ditch. A few posters asked "do you know how much those things cost??"

And yet many divers drown every year, with their weight still attatched.

Cave divers that do die usually die stuck in a cave, thus dropping weight would not help. I will leave it to you to do the analysis on how their deaths could have been prevented.

Divers that die deep diving usually die of some sort of reaction to the gasses they are breathing, read: convulsions, unconsiousness breathing water and death.

But the vast majority of dive related deaths are recreational divers who breath in water and drown most at depth of less then 60ft. and I contend that most could have been saved by ditching to positive at the surface or at depth with proper exhale on the way up. Both lost arts. Lost skills.

Lastly, You are smart. And other tech guys are smart, why simarily dismiss the idea of adding permanent bouyancy to your big heavy rig to make it less negative? I know thats not the way its done now, but isn't it worth thinking about. A well balanced rig that you could swim to the surface if you needed to?

I am just trying to figure out ways to keep more divers alive. I like you guys!
Nice post, and very thoughtful. And I believe you are overall very right. That panic - not dropping weight thing is interesting, having seen it first hand.. I believe, and it is just that, a belief... that panic is part from running out of options. When things are going terrible.. out of control and you cannot come up with a correction. If you have ever been with someone right at the edge of panic...and they suddenly see a safe path.. they calm down and relax. I think dropping weights, in some cases would have been that path, but when that does not come up as an option...

Drowning at the surface with lots of air in your tank happens a lot more than it should... and usually (there were 3 I know of in south florida this last year) even putting the regulator in their mouth was not consided.

Because, in a situation like that, you have to already be prepared to do something..reminding yourself how to ditch is not so bad a concept... because, if 2 minutes later you need that skill, it is fresh in your mind.

My thoughts anyway.

in_cavediver
11-06-2007, 05:25
Having just read this, I'll say this. WaScubaDude, your oversimplifying it.

The idea is to get positive right. There are LOTS of ways to get positive. 1) Ditch weight 2) add air to wing 3) add air to drysuit 4) inflate lift bag 5) dump gear 6) use Buddy assist

For many, ditching weight is the easiest but also the most dangerous, especially at depth. I say the only time you ditch at depth is when you choice is 'Die there' or 'maybe die up top'. Its purely last ditch. You WILL GET HURT on the way up, but HURT beats DEAD. Whenever possible - solve the problem underwater.

Now, why do I say this. Simple. I dive a rig that at the start of the dive is horribly negative. (twin 104's) I carry zero weight even with the heaviest winter undergarments, hood dry gloves etc. There is no way for me to get positive in this rig by dumping wieght. That said, I still have options. Many in fact. All it takes is discipline in your setup and gear up routines. (that and reaching valves helps)

For those just considering the ditch idea - I have seen cases where weight belts were fouled and non-ditchable. I've seen stuck releases. Ditching may fail. Its not foolproof. Have a backup plan.

Lastly, for the bogus study of 284 dead divers with weights, they probably also had masks and fins. Did that contribute as well? Unless you can make the causal case for weight and lack of the ability to get positive being a major factor (and they tried to but failed), its just coincidence. More likely, they got in a bad situation over their head an panicked. Once you panic - you're at the mercy of someone else to help/save you. I have seen two panicked divers underwater. Not something I want to see again.

First off let me say that I respect your opinions and suggestions very much. I think you are one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful posters on this board.
That said, you are "in_cavediver" your diving, skills and rig are much different then the average diver. I think my "learn how to ditch your weight" reccomendation has put you and other tech divers on the defensive. In large part I am speaking to the audience of casual, occasional recreational divers that represents the majority on this board.

I get that, if you are in a cave you don't want your weight belt to fall off and pin you to the ceiling. I also get that if you are deep diving on a 200ft wreck you don't want to drop your weight and take a rocket ride to the moon.

In my OP I tried to make it clear that I was talking about ditching at the surface. I personaly have seen at least six divers panicked at the surface and negatively bouyant. I also think that divers are no longer really trained to ditch there weight belt, ever. Thus the many excuses and justifications against my suggestion. Many now have integrated weight systems that they might not even really know how to ditch. A few posters asked "do you know how much those things cost??"

And yet many divers drown every year, with their weight still attatched.

Cave divers that do die usually die stuck in a cave, thus dropping weight would not help. I will leave it to you to do the analysis on how their deaths could have been prevented.

Divers that die deep diving usually die of some sort of reaction to the gasses they are breathing, read: convulsions, unconsiousness breathing water and death.

But the vast majority of dive related deaths are recreational divers who breath in water and drown most at depth of less then 60ft. and I contend that most could have been saved by ditching to positive at the surface or at depth with proper exhale on the way up. Both lost arts. Lost skills.

Lastly, You are smart. And other tech guys are smart, why simarily dismiss the idea of adding permanent bouyancy to your big heavy rig to make it less negative? I know thats not the way its done now, but isn't it worth thinking about. A well balanced rig that you could swim to the surface if you needed to?

I am just trying to figure out ways to keep more divers alive. I like you guys!
Nice post, and very thoughtful. And I believe you are overall very right. That panic - not dropping weight thing is interesting, having seen it first hand.. I believe, and it is just that, a belief... that panic is part from running out of options. When things are going terrible.. out of control and you cannot come up with a correction. If you have ever been with someone right at the edge of panic...and they suddenly see a safe path.. they calm down and relax. I think dropping weights, in some cases would have been that path, but when that does not come up as an option...

Drowning at the surface with lots of air in your tank happens a lot more than it should... and usually (there were 3 I know of in south florida this last year) even putting the regulator in their mouth was not consided.

Because, in a situation like that, you have to already be prepared to do something..reminding yourself how to ditch is not so bad a concept... because, if 2 minutes later you need that skill, it is fresh in your mind.

My thoughts anyway.

My opinion on panic stems from divers who either A) have gas but have run out of options (rare) or B) don't have gas and can't get through options. This is usually coupled to a chain of events leading up to the actual panic event. Break one link, prevent the panic.

Now, how do you break links? You train for them. And yes, I agree, practicing weight ditching is good (at the surface only), but it is far from the only thing to practice. Wieght ditching is far down the list of items 'to do' when wanting to get positive, I believe training time could be better used. I know there are cases where its the perfect first choice (rescues, failed wings etc) but the vast majority, simply ADD AIR TO A WING.

Lastly, for the tec-rec comparision. There is a large misconception in the rec community that the surface is always a good option/savior (tec says no). I personally don't agree and believe its a major disservice to teach that. Most problems can and should be solved underwater. A controlled ascent, with or without a safety stop beat buoyant ascent, cesa etc hands down. Concentrate on whats in *your* best interest in the emergency procedures.

Also in the gear comparison. I have commented on the idea of a balanced rig and I challenge anyone to balance my rig. Its 2 PST104's, and add a slung 80 for fun. I dive it because I need/want the gas. How much gas, well anywhere from 22lbs-26lbs of it. When looking at this way and wanting to 'positive stuff' to get it neutral, you're then adding another 26lbs of weight to the rig to be ditch able. (it already is over 125lbs).

The solution is training, its just training on more than ditching weight. Its training for air share's, equipment failure, buddy equipment failure etc. (realize, I don't disagree over practicing your emergency procedures, except ditching at depth and cesa). Those divers who dies with full tanks on the surface (excepting medical reasons) were under trained period. We need to recognize that is a problem and that they were indeed over their head.

I fallen in without a mask, fins on, reg in mouth and drysuit fully closed. Made it to 20' cursing the whole way. I found my alternate, turned it on and proceeded to put my gear on prior and then surfaced safely. It never was an emergency (other than I was DM'ing at the time for an OW class). Lesson here - good training + good experience = mitigates many risks in less than optimal situations.

kenmendes
11-06-2007, 08:16
I haven't practiced that since i got certified

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
11-09-2007, 15:20
When I buy accessories I like to try them out in the pool.

While I am there trying out the new gear I always work on basics such as buoyancy, mask clear and replace, reg recovery, donning and doffing my rig under water, and yes, weight ditching. I've even jumped in fully geared up with my air intentionally off and wing empty.

With this strategy, the more I spend on SCUBA the more work I end up doing on the basics.

WaScubaDude
12-20-2007, 16:24
Anyone see the latest real word incident in Scuba Diving Magazine? Shoulda ditched!

cutter77
12-31-2007, 20:03
I have Zeagle weight system, and every day I go diving, I make sure I can find and could pull the nylon line...I have done it so often that i can close my eyes and know exactly where it is.
_____________________
Ditto....I know right where the pull is so I don't have to waste time feeling around for it. Also, every time I surface I visualize dumping my weights...a good drill.

akbpilot
01-01-2008, 20:53
I ditch weight every time I get back on a boat in Cozumel with my op. Hand weights up, ditch and hand BC and tank up, hand fins up with one hand on ladder, in that order. Did the same in Xcalak last year.

Daved
01-01-2008, 22:54
Thanks for all the posts--great conversation and debate. I doubt that with opinions so strong that any one will change. That being said--a good lively debate.
I only get to dive once a year at resorts now. The first thing I do is my own refresher course. Flood mask, "sweep" for reg, no air, pull weights. I do this in a controlled environment--for my own peace of mind. I do not recommend--I doubt anyone on this board would recommend--practicing skills in a dangerous situation. My no air is done in ten feet of water--or less, it comes with manual inflation of BCD.
If you are comfortable without refreshing your skills--good for you. I like refreshing my skills--it is all comfort levels.

Once again thanks for the lively debate--It has been good.