After such a long lay-off out of the water, it is not surprising that several agencies are issuing safety statements as Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns are relaxed, and divers around the world get ready to resume diving.
The latest piece of advice has been issued by the Rebreather Training Council.
A checklist is probably the cheapest piece of life support equipment a technical diver will own, but it will look after you, dive after dive. RTC
Molecular Products have proudly unveiled two new versions of their popular 797 sofnolime today. We gather that it has been specifically targeted at the diving market, enabling rebreather divers to purchase a flavoured sorb.
This new range has been launched with two flavours; strawberry and mint. The idea is that the taste fades as the sorb life diminishes, giving the diver an additional way to track carbon dioxide breakthrough.
I heard the strawberry is really good one. Teppo Lallukka
On the back of this news, four rebreather instructors have issued some timely advice regarding sorb.
Sally Cartwright - expedition CCR diver, and former chairman of the Sub Aqua Club - stated "Life is far too important and precious. Don't skimp on lime. People try and save money on fills and push their scrubber time. It's not worth it."
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.
If you are a certified rebreather diver and you have experienced a caustic cocktail, or have dived with someone who has experienced a caustic cocktail, please participate. You can find the link to the survey in the 'Sources and References' box at the end of this article.
To this end RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) worked with a number of rebreather industry experts to identify key safety issues.
The result was a film that gives divers and those new to rebreathers a solid awareness of the key safety factors for diving with rebreathers.
Richard Pyle is an early adopter of technical-diving practices and is known around the world as a rebreather diver and designer. He is a highly respected Ichthyologyist (in plain English a scientist who studies fish) and he has discovered many new species of fish.
A dive with a profound effect
When Richard Pyle was 19 he was living and diving the western Pacific Ocean off Palau. During his time there he suffered a very serious case of decompression sickness and became quadriplegic.
RF3 was convened primarily as a platform for discussion of various issues that may have an impact on the safety of diving with rebreathers. It was attended by many expert presenters and rebreather divers who contributed to these discussions.
It was recognised however that the forum would also attract some divers who were not rebreather users, but who were perhaps contemplating purchasing one, or simply interested in learning about them. For this reason the program included this presentation on the basics of rebreather devices.
I completed a Module 1 course on the Inspiration Classic back in the late ‘90s but found that my limited ability meant that maintaining situational awareness while also having to continually monitor handsets was very difficult. In the early 2000s, I also did a series of technical diving courses with Global Underwater Explorers (GUE), and I still rate these lessons as the most significant dive training that I have ever undertaken.