Tech and Training

Technical Diving & Training

Divers Adrift - Surviving Being Lost at Sea

The more difficult a wreck is to get to, the more rewarding its discovery, but also the more likely it is that you’ll run into trouble during or after your dive. Challenges become hazards quickly, and many offshore adventures are rife with risk factors that make it more likely that you’ll surface from your dive without a boat in sight.

Whether your charter sprung a leak and became a new dive site or drifted off in search of another diver here’s what you need to know to survive.

Avoiding Bad Gas - Tips for Preventing Breathing-Gas Contamination

Sources of contamination include hydrocarbons from compressor lubricants, carbon monoxide (CO) from engine exhaust (or overheated compressor oil) and impurities from the surrounding environment such as methane and carbon dioxide (CO2). Dust particles in breathing gas can also be hazardous, potentially impairing respiratory function or damaging diving equipment. Excessive moisture can cause corrosion in scuba cylinders and other dive gear and may cause regulators to freeze due to adiabatic cooling (heat loss following increased gas volume).

Oxygen Toxicity for Divers

Following training guidelines and conservatively planning our dives can reduce our risk somewhat, but learning how oxygen toxicity affects us and how we can prevent it can mean the difference between a fun dive and one that ends in injury. Push back against complacency and unquestioning acceptance of common practices—understand the effect of oxygen on your body before you plan your next dive.

IPE in Technical Diving — Risk & Response

IPE is the abnormal leakage of fluid from the bloodstream into the alveoli, the microscopic air sacs in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing up bloody sputum, and respiratory distress. Leakage into the alveoli results in fluid buildup in the lungs, and interrupts gas exchange, similar to drowning. It is important to note that fluid resulting from IPE comes from within the body, rather than from inhalation of surrounding water.

Safety in Expedition Diving

However you define your expedition it is important to recognize that once you begin planning it you have crossed out of the realm of normal recreational or technical and entered a world that requires serious oversight, preparation, and risk mitigation. Expedition diving does not have to be technical or extreme – a recreational diving trip to a destination like Truk Lagoon could put you hours or days away from the nearest medical help and require expedition level preparations for medical treatment and evacuation.

Expired sensors from an Inspiration CCR

Oxygen sensor shortage leaves rebreather divers high and dry

Oxygen sensors, or "cells," which are used in rebreathers have a limited shelf life and need to be replaced every 12 to 18 months. However, new ones are currently not available to the dive community.

In the United Kingdom, oxygen cell manufacturers have been mandated by the UK government to supply cells to the medical industry, leaving the dive community with back orders.

Full Cave Navigation Protocols in Mexico

Guide line in Cenote Chac Mool, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Photo by Larry Cohen.

I started cave diving in Italy in 1990. At that time, the rules were very clear, codified and related to the kind of caves that were encountered in my region. Very often, they were resurgences with current (sometimes strong) or sumps inside caves, with water ranging from crystal clear to the color of coffee and variable visibility, depending on the rains.

Defensive Diving, Part 2

“Dive the same way as you drive. Watch the ocean as you watch the road.”

In Part I of this two-part series (see issue 100), I made a correlation between scuba diving and driving a car, particularly in the context of learning how to anticipate and assess dangerous situations, make well-informed sensible decisions and stay safe—things that motorists tend to group together under the catch-all phrase of defensive driving.