View Full Version : low times high times

03-10-2013, 14:01
This past trip to Coz pushed me up in dive count to 18
and it was truly a contrast of best and worse
the BCD incident really made me question my ability to dive safe. that being said, my training helped me remain calm and overcome the incident
on a good note, we dove a site with low currents for photos and I finally broke the 60 minutte mark on a 80 tank
that is telling me I fight currents to much, and need to learn how to manage energy in currents
our DM got my weight dialed in and showed me how to use trim and angles to manage strong currents
looking forward to developing those on our next trip

I am taking the BCD in to make sure those threads are not stripped

03-10-2013, 15:10
So, what exactly happened with the BCD?

03-10-2013, 16:55
the cap ring that seals the inflator on the shoulder caame loose
so whenever i added air it just blew right out

03-10-2013, 19:05
the BCD incident really made me question my ability to dive safe

that's a pretty major failure for anyone and you made it back ok so that's a plus

03-10-2013, 19:38
Since this is a dive forum, this is the kind of thing we all can learn from. If you don't mind, could you give us details? Were you in heavy current, depth, duration of dive when failure occurred? When it happened what happened and what did you do? What was the effect of the failure....did you descend rapidly?

Not trying to find fault with anything to did or didn't do...you made it out so that was a success.


03-10-2013, 21:05
not at all, as a new diver, input is welcome
We were diving cedral pass, fortunately we were reducing my weight a bit so I had 14lbs
the currents were very fast, not the heaviest i have seen but close
going in the water the BCD seemed to be working in that it held me on the surface before going down
time for me to get my bearings and adjust my mask
the descent was not the smoothest as we all got scattered out a bit. once we regrouped the dive appeared tl be a typical fast dridt dive the problems started when I hit my 1000 mark on presure we Donna and I were with 4 other very experienced divers and the DM
They split off to one side of a coral ridge and we were on the other side with the DM
The DM signaled for us to come back toowards him. against tthe current
so I my air consumption went up dramatically
Donna was closer to him when I signaled low air at about 650
so he signaled to foollow the sausage line up to safety stop
Since i can be a air hog, this is nothing new to us
at this point, other than the currents and being spread out there was no great emergency
I allways swim my weight up and fill my bcd once on the surface
that is when the trouble started.. everytime I put air in I could hear it dumping right out

got a little worried, but then thought, I have air, and i can keep my self at the surface swiming. but I was getting tired fast. I managed to site our boat andit was close by. So i signaled for help, and got ready to dump my weights
the boat got to me fairly quickly and they had a rope onthe side I Grabbed..... that was a major relief
they got me in the boat, and as soon as I gathered my wits I inspected the bcd. the cap was still on butnit was finger loose
once i tiightened it the seal held air

I dive a 3mm long john oceanic, boots and atomic split fins with a dive skin shirt on top

03-10-2013, 21:06
stiletto bcd and oceanic data pro 2.1 computr
depth was max 42 feet, and duration was only 42 minutes
according to my computer I was aat 27 feet when i started coming up
the only alarms on the computer were the air alarms i had set, and once on me ascent i hit the yellow on too fast

03-10-2013, 21:14
this was a second dive by the way, we had dove the horeshoe prior to this with no issues other than my normal air hog usage

I am on a tablet

03-10-2013, 21:21
good job but dump them weights once you get to the surface just make sure no ones below you. you can get new weights.

03-10-2013, 21:25
the two things that I took from this are
check that ring before going in the water
dont wait to drop the weigbts

03-10-2013, 21:34
Good job keeping your wits about you and not panicking. You knew you had air so you stayed calm. Obviously, dripping weights would have been the right thing. The other thing in my mind is don't take off swimming for the boat. Spend time signaling and let them come get you. You can tire really quick trying to swim in calm seas, let alone currents. Better not tire yourself out and let them come get you.

All in all, good job.


03-10-2013, 21:40
thanks, still have to wonder why that ring came loose like that. I am taking it in to get looked at
Donnas zena has the cap snug down flush with fabric. mine has a gap
makes me wonder if someone did not lift iit by the hose when it was weighted

03-11-2013, 19:49
Can't believe somebody would try and lift by the inflator hose, but who knows....other strange things have happened.

SEMO Scuba
03-11-2013, 21:47
The loose cap is not that uncommon. It happened on my BC and I have read of it happening a few times since. Lesson learned is to FULLY check all of you dive gear before the dive.

03-11-2013, 21:55
of all the thousands of incident reports i read, i missed that one
so what are the other common fail points
maybe i can learn about those in a safer way

03-14-2013, 00:38
Good job! I tell my students that dropping weights is a must in a situation like that. I also tell them that if they are pissed at me later because they lost the weights, I will cover the replacement cost. I feel that strongly about the concept. I would rather them be able to complain to me! Of course it only applies to when things go bad, not just drop the belt when getting on the boat :) Good job with the turnout.

03-14-2013, 07:03
What to check on the BCD? Some things I've seen or heard about and what I do.....

Obviously, the cap on the inflator hose coming lose.
The diaphram inside the inflator hose gets gunked up and will not open/close - won't let air in/out.
The cable inside inflator hose breaks or tears apart - won't let air out.
Punctures to bladder - fill up and loses pressure.
Strapping breaking or connectors breaking.
Inflator hose not attached correctly - won't fill up.
Bladder full of water - displaces ability to lift.
Items hanging off BCD - snag issues.

Things I can think of off the top of my head.

03-14-2013, 11:20
the BCD incident really made me question my ability to dive safe. that being said, my training helped me remain calm and overcome the incident

Then you're probably good-to-go for life. "Scuba class" isn't about learning to dive, it's about how to deal with problems that arise while diving. And it sounds like that kicked in, you kept your shiznet together, handled your business and carried on. Nicely done FNG.

03-14-2013, 13:06
Another issue, that seems to happen, is the tank is not securely attached to the BCD. It is usually identified before going into the water. I was involved in an incident where my buddy signalled he wanted to go to the surface. When he got there, he said something was wrong with his hoses. The tank valve was snagged on the tank strap and the tank had slid down, pulling on the hoses. It could have been worse. It is not easy to get a tank back under the strap while floating on the surface.

After your BCD failure, I think you are ready to dive. My instructor always taught us to stop, think, act. You did well in handling a touchy situation. My only suggestion is to drop weights. They are replaceable.

03-14-2013, 13:35
Here is my question about proper weight
I have read that properly weighted you should be able to float at the surface with a half empty tank at eye level, and lungs half filled
if that is the case I should not have had to struggle that much at the surface as my tank was at somewhere between 500 - 700

At the time I had 14 lbs, and later my DM and I played around on the bottom and came to 18 lbs was what seemed right diving my 3mm new oceanic long john and a long sleeve shirt
After that I was able to dive with no air at all in BCD and control buoyancy with breaths of air in my lungs. (breath in go up, breath out go down)

So if I went lower in weight (14) and had to even kick down the first 15 feet on descent, would I not face problems holding at safety stop since my tank would be empty and expanding, BCD empty and lungs at least with some air in them.

That is where I get confused. 18 seemed perfect on the bottom and descent was good. But I would have hated to try and kick 18lbs versus 14. And I still dont get how if I was properly weighted (even lite) struggling to stay on the surface was so hard.
Maybe I was more panicked than I thought?

I plan to do some more research on the weight profiles and figure out how to dial this in. My major concern is how would Donna have fared in this situation. She is a competent diver, but we both need to be better. I have started practicing manual inflating my BCD on surfacing just to make that skill second nature, and Donna will be using that soon as well in case inflator restrictions are an issue.

If anyone has resources on weight profiles ascent and descent they would be greatly appreciated.
we will both be carrying safety sausages with inflator valves soon, as I understand they can be a redundant surface flotation device if needed. Sure would have been handy here.

03-14-2013, 17:11
Your weight needs can change constantly. As you gain experience it is common to find you need less lead. My guess is that if you are an air hog (as I used to be ) you are probably holding a lot of air in your lungs. As you get more comfortable under water and breath more consistently you will shed a few pounds off your weight belt. Weighting will also change depending on your gear configuration, cameras, lights, a different wet suit can all make a difference. Do a weight check before every dive on the surface and keep notes in your log book and you'll have it under control in no time.
I was taught to empty your bc at the surface holding a normal breath and you should float at eye level. As you exhale you should slowly descend. Depending on your tank you might add a couple lbs. to compensate for air use.

03-14-2013, 17:57
In theory, with a near empty tank you should be able to hold a breath on the surface no air in BCD and be at eye level. Exhale you should descend slowly...not plummet and not have to fight to get down. Myself, I want to be perfectly buoyant with a low tank for the safety stop....you do not want to have to fight to stay down for a safety stop. I tend to like to be a couple pounds overweighted...it just feels better for me.

It is true that as you become more comfortable you will shed weight. But, don't get caught up in the Macho Thinking that less weight makes you a better diver. Weight properly. I hear it over and over people bragging about how little weight they use as if it is some sort of prize. If you need more or less weight that is fine for you.

As a new diver your body will naturally want to hold air in the lungs. As you get more comfortable this will lessen. Also many new divers tend to hold their breath to adjust for buoyancy.....you know this is a no-no....breath properly and avoid skip breathing.

Also, another trick....many divers will kick their fins when descending....it's another one of the bodies defense mechanisms because we were not built to be underwater and the body is trying to get to the surface. You many not even know you are doing this and probably swear you are not. Many will pile on the weight to compensate. Next time cross your fins as you descend so you can't kick....you will be amazed at first it will not be natural.


03-14-2013, 18:47
thanks for the tips
sounds like I need to get back in the water and just keep working on it.
back to cozumel what a bummer

actually I think we could benefit by taking the advanced open water
it is getting warmer now, so maybe we will just get with scuba toys and do it here. If I read correctly bouyancy control is one of the classes