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emcbride81
02-29-2008, 00:08
This forum, I believe, is meant for people to share experiences good and bad, that can help other divers be better. One of the biggest fears of every diver is an out of air emergency. What I am asking is that you talk about situations in which you have run out of air, why it happened, and more importantly how you handled it, so that new divers and "lightly seasoned" divers like myself can learn from your experience.

I understand that this may be embarassing for some, especially if lack of planning or experience were involved. If you feel comfortable, please tell your story. I would expect that NO ONE insult, demean, or otherwise make fun of ANYONE ELSE!!! We are here to learn from each other.

The poll is not public.

rye_a
02-29-2008, 00:13
18 years and no OOA, knock wood (and still planning ahead and staying aware & alert)

cmburch
02-29-2008, 00:34
During my first swimming pool dive it seemed like everyone was using my tank. I ran dry while at the bottom ~6'. One girl freaked out when I informed the instructor.

cummings66
02-29-2008, 07:15
I've never had it happen to me personally, I plan my dives and watch my air. I have donated air to 2 divers though. One of them panicked and tried to rip the regulator out of the DM's mouth and I was next to them with the octo in my hand next to them trying to get them to take it, they never saw it.

The other was a training dive and he ran out on a platform where I just gave him my longhose and went like clockwork.

Now, I watch my buddies SPG for them without them knowing most of the time, I don't trust that many divers to monitor their own air. I do the turn pressures and everything, seems to work. Since I've been doing that I haven't had a buddy run OOA on me.

Zenagirl
02-29-2008, 07:35
Had my hose disconnect from my regulator....doesn't take long to bleed a tank dry at the end of a dive! My buddy was close by but it was an interesting experience to say the least. ;)

No Misses
02-29-2008, 08:07
I have donated gas and been the recipient.

1. I forgot my AI DC at home. I decided to dive anyway, even though I did not have any way to measure cylinder pressure, depth, or bottom time. Things went well on the first dive. On dive #2, I stayed a little too long and had to make a CESA from ~50 fsw. I did get a couple more breaths from my reg on the way up. But, a Safety stop was out of the question.

2. I had shot a grouper and he rocked up on me. By the time that I got him out of the rock, I was dangerously low on air. My buddy shared air with me on the safety stop.

3. The same thing has happened in the other direction. I have been there to provide air when my buddy has spent too much time & effort getting a rocked up fish out of a hole.

I do a fair amount of solo diving. I now carry a pony bottle to ensure that no matter what, I have enough gas to make a slow ascent.

Let the flames start. I have on my Nomex underwear. Ya, ya, gas planning etc. I just hate to leave wounded fish behind. I have managed the risks, to my satisfaction. YMMV

ianr33
02-29-2008, 09:01
Donated air once to a Buddy whos air supply was "failing" Turned out his tank valve was only cracked open. Opened it fully and continued the dive.

I have never understood how anyone can just "run out of air" If you can't monitor an spg then you should not be diving IMHO

Seniordiver
02-29-2008, 09:33
Donated air once to a Buddy whos air supply was "failing" Turned out his tank valve was only cracked open. Opened it fully and continued the dive.

I have never understood how anyone can just "run out of air" If you can't monitor an spg then you should not be diving IMHO

That's fine for the current era. When I started in the 60s, our dive ended when it became hard to breath, and we got enough to finish by assending slowly. The J valve had an emergency back-up, but because it was not always reliable, we pulled it before going in to avoid relying on something that could let us down. All dives ended out of air. Safety stops were non existant and we used the US Navy Dive Tables to calculate our max timings. BTW-no BCDs, watches, or octos. I am not proposing this as any sort of guidline for today, certainly, but there are people out here that have done things a bit differently. Thus my title-Senior Diver

coyote
02-29-2008, 09:39
I had someone “check” my air just as I was about to jump off a boat. The guy turned it off instead of on. (Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey!!!) I had just enough air in my hose the drop about 30 feet. When the reg started to pull hard I had a good idea as to what happened.
Anyone else ever had to take a breath or two off of a bcd?

WV Diver
02-29-2008, 09:51
Not yet. So far so good. I haven't even had to donate air yet.

texdiveguy
02-29-2008, 09:59
Have never been in a OOG situation.

WV Diver
02-29-2008, 10:02
Do you have a story to share with us Eric?

Chad
02-29-2008, 10:13
Not yet.

emcbride81
02-29-2008, 11:10
Do you have a story to share with us Eric?


Nope, I was reading the last DAN magazine and it had a small poll about predive and dive habits in regard to to safety as well as OOA emergencies. I found that the article was interesting as is mentioned that a significant percent of the divers questioned paniced or felt some degree of panic when the OOAE occured...which I would think would be expected...I don't think I would freak out or anything, but there may be a slight increase in my concern for the situation! So I thought it would be interesting/helpful to hear real life stories and how they were handled...in case it could help me or someone else should it ever happen.

emcbride81
02-29-2008, 11:18
I have donated gas and been the recipient.

1. I forgot my AI DC at home. I decided to dive anyway, even though I did not have any way to measure cylinder pressure, depth, or bottom time. Things went well on the first dive. On dive #2, I stayed a little too long and had to make a CESA from ~50 fsw. I did get a couple more breaths from my reg on the way up. But, a Safety stop was out of the question.

2. I had shot a grouper and he rocked up on me. By the time that I got him out of the rock, I was dangerously low on air. My buddy shared air with me on the safety stop.

3. The same thing has happened in the other direction. I have been there to provide air when my buddy has spent too much time & effort getting a rocked up fish out of a hole.

I do a fair amount of solo diving. I now carry a pony bottle to ensure that no matter what, I have enough gas to make a slow ascent.

Let the flames start. I have on my Nomex underwear. Ya, ya, gas planning etc. I just hate to leave wounded fish behind. I have managed the risks, to my satisfaction. YMMV

No need to flame, you made these decisions based on your comfort level given your experience. You took a "controlled" risk, if there is such a thing, and you were willing to accept the consequence of your actions. At my level of experience, that could be flirting with disaster.

I made a dive once with a faulty SPG. Some would question that, but I knew the area, it was a shallow dive (20-30ft), and my buddy knew about it. Even though I knew I wouldn't breathe out the tank at that depth, I was kind of hoping to, just so I could have a controlled training OOA situation in shallow water, but it didn't happen.

cummings66
02-29-2008, 11:22
Let me put it this way, during valve drills you breathe down the reg or purge it, or at least some technical divers do that, then you switch to the other and continue the drill. I have never been without air, but I do see that within a couple breaths you have 0 air and it just stops without any warning whatsoever, at least my regs give no warning. You're breathing fine and then you're not.

I could see if that happened to a diver at 100 feet you would start getting mighty concerned.

IMO there are very few excuses outside of gear failure which are acceptable for running OOA. It's a poor habit that if it has happened to you accidentally there should be some attempt in the future to identify why and prevent it from happening again.

doczerothree
02-29-2008, 11:37
I have never had an out of air situation. Why?? God, Blessed, and frequent gauge checks.

CompuDude
02-29-2008, 13:49
I've never run out, although I have purposely brought my tank pretty close a couple of times.

I have had to donate gas once, when a buddy had an LP hose connector fail at 90' and she blew through 1200 psi in about 3 minutes. I deployed the long hose and we did a slow, swimming ascent back to the boat, complete with safety stop. No issues whatsoever.

in_cavediver
02-29-2008, 15:03
Let me put it this way, during valve drills you breathe down the reg or purge it, or at least some technical divers do that, then you switch to the other and continue the drill. I have never been without air, but I do see that within a couple breaths you have 0 air and it just stops without any warning whatsoever, at least my regs give no warning. You're breathing fine and then you're not.

I could see if that happened to a diver at 100 feet you would start getting mighty concerned.

IMO there are very few excuses outside of gear failure which are acceptable for running OOA. It's a poor habit that if it has happened to you accidentally there should be some attempt in the future to identify why and prevent it from happening again.

There is IMHO only two more 'valid' times. 1) - Air Sharing from worst case - could have OOA for the donor, even if they plan in accepted limits. 2) Entanglement. Not much you can do here either.

That said, I have breathed a few tanks down on purpose in controlled environments. Mostly to see how my particular gear behaved. Not really OOA since I have gas in another tank though.

rfb3
02-29-2008, 15:16
I'm kinda afraid to tell you all this, but I've actually turned off my own air... I was jacking with the value and turned it the wrong way. Glad I had the Spare Air for a couple of breaths until I got it turned back on.

OK, now who's going diving with me!?!?! :)

RoyN
02-29-2008, 15:26
I've been out of air situation a few weeks ago and that was the first time. I wasn't the one out of air, but a fellow diver was out of air and pretty much thats where things went downhill. And yes, she was all over me, not the way I wanted, but completely in a panic, grabbing my arm, leg, reg, and camera. Eventually I stuffed my reg in her mouth and began a slow ascent back to the boat. She pretty much sucked my tank dry in process too and when I got up the surface, there was nothing left in the tank. Thank goodness I didn't do a safety stop because we both would have drown. Yes I had to pay a visual inspection, but the tank was due for an inspection next month anyway. Her boyfriend was somewhere on the other side of the pinnacle and he came back with around 200 something psi and my mom wouldn't allow them to go back into the water because the guy had some symptoms that looked like the bends. However, I didn't rip her apart, had an argument or anything like that. I just told her, glad I could help. The good thing the visibility that day was beautiful otherwise, if it wasn't they may have given up diving since majority of new divers who dive in monterey tells me the diving there is terrible. This happen at Ballbuster in Monterey, and those that dive in California probably know this is a deep dive and is very expose to the ocean. Otherwise, the following week, they came back on the boat but with my instructor doing a refresher course with some rescue elements in it.

Puffer Fish
02-29-2008, 15:40
I've been out of air situation a few weeks ago and that was the first time. I wasn't the one out of air, but a fellow diver was out of air and pretty much thats where things went downhill. And yes, she was all over me, not the way I wanted, but completely in a panic, grabbing my arm, leg, reg, and camera. Eventually I stuffed my reg in her mouth and began a slow ascent back to the boat. She pretty much sucked my tank dry in process too and when I got up the surface, there was nothing left in the tank. Thank goodness I didn't do a safety stop because we both would have drown. Yes I had to pay a visual inspection, but the tank was due for an inspection next month anyway. Her boyfriend was somewhere on the other side of the pinnacle and he came back with around 200 something psi and my mom wouldn't allow them to go back into the water because the guy had some symptoms that looked like the bends. This happen at Ballbuster in Monterey, and those that dive in California probably know this is a deep dive and is very expose to the ocean. Otherwise, the following week, they came back on the boat but with my instructor doing a refresher course with some rescue elements in it.


Ouch.... not the way one is obviously supposed to plan a dive. Glad things came out ok... well sort of ok.

I have never run out of air.... but I sure have had to donate a lot over the years. But then I had never lost a fin until last october, so it could happen.

SkuaSeptember
02-29-2008, 16:45
So, I was looking at the current poll results and wondering if there will actually be anyone able to post who had suffered an entanglement or entrapment leading to an OOA.
I suddenly realized that was me! Sort of.
As a kid I used to spend a few weeks each summer with an aunt and uncle in ME. They had a nice little cottage on a quiet little lake. Perfect for swimming, fishing, snorkeling and not much else. After a few summers I learned a few things:
1. I don't like to eat FW fish.
2. You lose a lot of fishing gear to snags on rock piles and tree trunks.
3. Snorkeling to retrieve snagged lures can be fun and profitable.

By the time I was about 12 or 13 my freediving skills were pretty sharp, and I thought nothing of heading off on my own to see what I could find. I had one favorite tree that had fallen into only about 8ft of water that would always produce a few good finds. On one particular day I spotted a shiny new Red Devil deep in the snag. Getting down to it was no problem, coming up was easy until I got within about 2ft of the surface and got hung up. A few odd thoughts went through my mind - It's pretty looking straight up through the surface, My Mom's gonna be pissed, this wasn't very bright, I wonder when they'll find me?
No matter how hard I tried I couldn't kick or pull myself up. I got to that last point where I almost couldn't hold my breath any longer and tried one last thing. I exhaled, pulled myself down, unbuttoned, unzipped and wriggled out of my shorts!
It took me about three tries to retrieve them, but in the end, my family was none the wiser to my close call. I however learned an awful lot about good and bad judgment, as well as not panicking and thinking out a solution to a problem.

maggs_the
02-29-2008, 17:18
I had someone “check” my air just as I was about to jump off a boat. The guy turned it off instead of on. (Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey!!!) I had just enough air in my hose the drop about 30 feet. When the reg started to pull hard I had a good idea as to what happened.
Anyone else ever had to take a breath or two off of a bcd?

held over from my original training, i turn my own air on and off and dont count on them "checking" my air and like you said, they did it anyway and turned it off (i think it was in Cozumel?) .. lucky for me, i was watching and habit has me breathing out of my reg 3-4 times before i jump in so i caught it before i plunged but yeah, they do this for a living, right?

Chocoholic
02-29-2008, 17:36
I have been low on air, but not out. I knew I was getting low, but I just had to see under the bait ball of fish, it was way cool, but I was low on air and just barely finished the safety stop with air.
I have had to donate air a couple times, but nothing serious just really low on air, not completely out.

Crimediver
02-29-2008, 17:47
Man, I had a bunch of stuff happen to me that others have mentioned. I dove the old J-valve and run out when the lever got bumped. Came up without a problem though. Had my air turned off by a divemaster prior to entering the water and ran out under the boat. Just turned it back on.
On a two tank dive I came up and swapped tanks and went up on the bow to sun. Had the crew put my old tank back on without knowing they did so. I did not do a good buddy check prior to going in and the first time I checked my guage I was very low and had to come up. My fault for sure. I have had an o-rings go and have had a a malfunction of a second stage Dacor Dart diaphram that flooded my reg but I was able to purge it when I needed air. I had no octopus back in those days. I was able to just swim up w/o a problem. Each of those were an educational experience, but the main lessons I learned is double check your gear and closely watch your guage. I find I check mine every couple of minutes or so. When diving vintage gear I keep a check on my j valve to make sure it is up and monitor my time and calculate SAC rate, etc to keep from getting in trouble. I have not had any drama for years now. Hope to keep it that way.

CompuDude
02-29-2008, 20:14
Hopefully some of these stories will impress on people the importance of being able to reach your tank valve underwater, to turn the air back on if need be.

68raggtop
02-29-2008, 22:00
My only OOA was quite different. I was doing my 4th of 5 jumps to get my wings (US Army Paratrooper). I was the 1st man in the door on my side of the c130. The light turns green, the 1st man on the other door and I jump. He gets out just before me and his chute deploys and I am on it. My chute won't open because....I am out of air! His chute literally steals the air from mine and we fall from about 1500' to less than 500' when I finally manage to crawl to the edge of his chute, and mine catches air and pulls me off of his canopy. We land, get on the bus and an hour or 2 later do the final jump. That was 34 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I also remember how calm I felt and how time almost stood still while I thought about my options.
I have not had an OOA with Scuba, but I have also learned that no matter how diligent and cautious I am, there is always the potential for OOA and any number of other unexpected emergency's.

emcbride81
02-29-2008, 22:47
Hopefully some of these stories will impress on people the importance of being able to reach your tank valve underwater, to turn the air back on if need be.

Yeah...both shoulders seperated and the labrum/rotator cuff torn in my right shoulder...I cant even scatch my back...I always check my SPG and breathe off the reg a few times before I get in!

navyhmc
03-01-2008, 03:50
35 years of diving and have never had an OOA incident. Have only had one time where my buddy needed to borrow air as he blew out his HP hose at 75' This was in the days before the octopus was readily available so it was a slow buddy breath to the surface.

Crimediver
03-01-2008, 07:25
Yeah, it is important to reach your valve.
A pre-dive check should include putting your reg on a tank with the air turned off and attempt to lightly breath off it. If you get air you have a leaky second stage with possibly a torn diaphram or debris under an exhaust valve. This will cause your reg to breath wet or flood.

Also breath off your reg with the air on while watching the SPG needle. If it drops the reg and lines may be charged but then the air turned off. If the needle fluctuates the valve may be open only partially which could cause an OOA situation at depth.

In extreme cold it may not be wise to breath off the reg on the boat as it could cause your reg to freeze from condesation. I do my checks with the reg submerged at the surface before I descend.

emcbride81
03-02-2008, 00:02
Yeah, it is important to reach your valve.
A pre-dive check should include putting your reg on a tank with the air turned off and attempt to lightly breath off it. If you get air you have a leaky second stage with possibly a torn diaphram or debris under an exhaust valve. This will cause your reg to breath wet or flood.

Also breath off your reg with the air on while watching the SPG needle. If it drops the reg and lines may be charged but then the air turned off. If the needle fluctuates the valve may be open only partially which could cause an OOA situation at depth.

In extreme cold it may not be wise to breath off the reg on the boat as it could cause your reg to freeze from condesation. I do my checks with the reg submerged at the surface before I descend.

That is good to know, I was not aware of checking your reg like that, thanks.

cummings66
03-02-2008, 08:30
I found that diving freshwater lakes a lot you will sometimes get sand under the exhaust diaphragm and cause it to breathe wet. I religiously rinse it after every dive but I've still managed to get sand in it.

I learned the checks crimediver suggested when I brought it to my LDS and said it's misting water at me when I breathe hard, it's ok otherwise. The first thing they did was to inhale on it with the tank off and you could suck air at that point so they showed me the tricks to checking a reg out in more detail. Things I was never told in my OW or AOW classes.

rfb3
03-03-2008, 09:16
Yeah, it is important to reach your valve.
A pre-dive check should include putting your reg on a tank with the air turned off and attempt to lightly breath off it. If you get air you have a leaky second stage with possibly a torn diaphram or debris under an exhaust valve. This will cause your reg to breath wet or flood.

Also breath off your reg with the air on while watching the SPG needle. If it drops the reg and lines may be charged but then the air turned off. If the needle fluctuates the valve may be open only partially which could cause an OOA situation at depth.

In extreme cold it may not be wise to breath off the reg on the boat as it could cause your reg to freeze from condesation. I do my checks with the reg submerged at the surface before I descend.

Thanks for these tips! I usually do this one (breath off your reg with the air on while watching the SPG needle. If it drops the reg and lines may be charged but then the air turned off.), but the otehrs are new to me...

ianr33
03-03-2008, 11:28
A pretty sneaky problem is if a tank valve is turned off then cracked open. (Done in error for turning on then easing the valve back slightly)

This can breathe OK on the surface but not at depth. Had it happen to a buddy once and is the reason I inhale very rapidly when checking that the spg is not moving. (Fortunately not much ice diving in Texas :smiley20: )

ScubaJW
03-05-2008, 13:42
No, never been OOA since I start diving. I have occaisonally been in a situation that is low on air, but no problems at all.

UCFKnightDiver
03-05-2008, 14:15
ok a bit off topic but obviously there is a couple breaths of air in the line even if you are ooa if you find you run out of air in your primary can you switch to your octo and get a couple of breaths?

No Misses
03-05-2008, 14:25
ok a bit off topic but obviously there is a couple breaths of air in the line even if you are ooa if you find you run out of air in your primary can you switch to your octo and get a couple of breaths?

No, your primary and octo are fed from the same Iintermediate pressure point.

Another OOA situation for me...I somehow rolled my first stage off. It got very hard to breath. I knew that I could not be out of gas so soon. I reached back and turned it on. I finished the dive with a bag full of bugs.
:smiley20:

UCFKnightDiver
03-05-2008, 14:26
ok thats what I was thinking no misses thanks