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  1. #1
    TDF Member Divedale's Avatar
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    Buddy Checks/Alt Air Source Above Water.........

    Put this post in general dive chit chat but thought it might fit in here as well but feel free to remove if not !!!


    So, a bit of background. I was at an inland Dive Site doing a deep Spec with one student and another instructor as my HSE/Safety diver. I was using a Single 12 with a pony, the student a single 12 and my fellow instructor a single 12 with a pony.

    We did all the usual PADI Buddy checks before entering and started the dive. At 26 mtrs approx my regs started a relatively gentle free flow, I thought I would see if it would sort itself for a second or two but became apparent that it wasn't going to.......got worse.......... I got to student first as he was closest and I was was needing to get something sorted relatively quickly (with hindsight I should prob have popped straight onto my pony and gone to my safety diver for his alt, hindsight huh !!) , our student was absolutely on the ball and had his octopus ready as he had spotted what was happening. Took octopus and the first breath I took was very wet but I assumed it was due to a bad clearance on my part, second breath, more water third and fourth getting much worse.......have to admit that I did not feel all that comfy at this point but knew that A: my fellow instructor was just there and B: I had my pony so I could happily have gone onto that. My colleague was indeed there very quickly and I swapped onto his alternate and made a controlled ascent and all was well.

    This turned out well in my mind because.....

    A: We had planned a deep dive and had redundant air sources.
    B: There was no panic, due to the fact that I am relatively experienced and knew what to do and I had absolute confidence in both my buddies.
    C: We were diving with three of us in a group so when the first Alternative went tits up we had another to fall back to.

    My question is the same question I asked the forum a few years ago.......is there an argument to do a check on your alternate air source once you are UNDER the water, or as WOZ suggested back then that you should do a really hard "suck Test" before turning on yr air to check for leaks/ bad seals etc. This is the second time I have gone to someones alternate (the first one was a training exercise so no great shakes) and found myself breathing water......both Alternates breathed perfectly well at the surface during the buddy checks but not when they were really needed. The last thing you need is to be in a spiralling situation and going and getting someones alternate only to find it doesn't work, that could be the beginning of a really nasty incident.

    So do you think this should become a part of most recreational divers buddy check.....apart from WOZ telling me this method I have not heard anyone else mention it and have certainly not seen anyone actually do it !!!

    I have gone through in my head what COULD have happened had it been two relatively inexperienced divers neither with any redundancy (which you see on a regular basis) .

    The only option they would have had open to them as far as I can see would be to make as controlled an ascent as they could, with one diver breathing off a free flowing reg from nearly 30 mtrs.....not a particularly nice or simple option for anyone, let alone relatively new divers and if you throw in trying to communicate with all the bubbles and panic it really isn't a pleasant thought.

    So I shall be making sure that if I am diving ponyless I shall be trying big fat "Suck Test" topside before we go in or taking a few breaths from my buddy once at about 5 mtrs to make sure all is in order in future.

    I am sure that this must have happened many times before and I would be fascinated to hear your thoughts !!!

  2. #2
    Established WTF Member Spirit of Guernsey's Avatar
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    I carry an ALI40 side slung so that I don't have to rely on a buddy. I had a freeflow a couple of years ago at the end of a 30m dive due to sending up a lift bag full of scallops. I ascended with my buddy, continuing to breath from the freeflowing regulator and made a straight forward ascent, including 5 minutes of deco yet still had air left at the surface. Having my own redundant air source made the incident low stress and meant that I didn't have the added complication of sharing with a buddy if I had run out completely.

    I now hog loop, even with a single, so check both regs on every dive.
    There are four varieties in society: the lovers, the ambitious, observers and fools. The fools are the happiest.
    Hippolyte Taine French critic and historian (1828-93)

  3. #3
    Formerly sbc23cam Steve Clark's Avatar
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    I have a primary in my mouth that I 100% know works and will be donated to the diver who needs it.

    My backup is around my neck and I breathe it underwater at the surface during the buddy check.

    In the rare situation that I'm on a boat, I test in on the way down, but I do forget to do that sometimes.

  4. #4
    TDF Member Divedale's Avatar
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    S.O.G .......That's great and pretty much what I hope i would have done had the second AAS not been there.....having that redundancy certainly takes an amount of stress out of the situation. Thanks !!!

    Steve....I do always check mine on the way down......it's my buddies that I don't, apart from at the surface, but from now on it will be a dry suck test with air off to check for tears , grit etc, thanks also.
    Last edited by Divedale; 20-03-2017 at 04:47 PM.

  5. #5
    Grumpy Git, Not Old Yet...
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    A free-flowing reg should be an annoyance, but not an emergency. That's why we carry an alternate air source, right?

    Its interesting that your first response was to revert to your basic training and to go to a buddy looking for an Octo. Whilst we train in our ab-initio courses to gas share this way, there is no course that has us practice bailing out to a pony, no course that tells us to go to the safety diver rather than the student.

    I do think that this reinforces the message that we should adopt a single method for gas sharing from day one. Nothing to unlearn.

    It also tells me that we should practice practice practice the basics, even when we think they're already ingrained. particularly when we change the system.

    I know the last time I ran an S drill. It was less than 6 months ago, but I've not dived much since. It's on the agenda for my next dive. I'm a LONG way from perfect, but I hope I'm aware enough to realise it.

  6. #6
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    From the OP:

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    "My question is the same question I asked the forum a few years ago.......is there an argument to do a check on your alternate air source once you are UNDER the water, or as WOZ suggested back then that you should do a really hard "suck Test" before turning on yr air to check for leaks/ bad seals etc. This is the second time I have gone to someones alternate (the first one was a training exercise so no great shakes) and found myself breathing water......both Alternates breathed perfectly well at the surface during the buddy checks but not when they were really needed. The last thing you need is to be in a spiralling situation and going and getting someones alternate only to find it doesn't work, that could be the beginning of a really nasty incident.

    So do you think this should become a part of most recreational divers buddy check.....apart from WOZ telling me this method I have not heard anyone else mention it and have certainly not seen anyone actually do it !!!"
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____________________________________________

    BSAC teaches the 'breathe down' test i.e. turn gas off and breathe down to test for leaks during kit assembly in the second sheltered water lesson for Ocean Divers (OS2). Don't see it done much in practice though.
    Last edited by jeff1955; 21-03-2017 at 06:45 AM.

  7. #7
    TDF Member Divedale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_6301 View Post
    A free-flowing reg should be an annoyance, but not an emergency. That's why we carry an alternate air source, right?

    Its interesting that your first response was to revert to your basic training and to go to a buddy looking for an Octo. Whilst we train in our ab-initio courses to gas share this way, there is no course that has us practice bailing out to a pony, no course that tells us to go to the safety diver rather than the student.

    I do think that this reinforces the message that we should adopt a single method for gas sharing from day one. Nothing to unlearn.

    It also tells me that we should practice practice practice the basics, even when we think they're already ingrained. particularly when we change the system.

    I know the last time I ran an S drill. It was less than 6 months ago, but I've not dived much since. It's on the agenda for my next dive. I'm a LONG way from perfect, but I hope I'm aware enough to realise it.


    Totally concur with all that......I was also fascinated by the fact that I automatically reverted to training and not to take the much easier option of just popping onto my pony !!!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Divedale View Post
    Totally concur with all that......I was also fascinated by the fact that I automatically reverted to training and not to take the much easier option of just popping onto my pony !!!!
    Yes, that happens. But training isn't something that you did yonks ago, and was given to you by an instructor. Training is something you did yesterday, and the day before and the day before that. So practice popping your secondary reg in on every dive, and when you have the need, your training will come to the fore.

  9. #9
    TDF Member Divedale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tens View Post
    Yes, that happens. But training isn't something that you did yonks ago, and was given to you by an instructor. Training is something you did yesterday, and the day before and the day before that. So practice popping your secondary reg in on every dive, and when you have the need, your training will come to the fore.
    Fair point and i will certainly start that practice from now on.............you are right about the fact that training is something you did yesterday and the and before etc , problem is that constantly teaching O/W courses means that I am constantly teaching the PADI OOA drill so that was the one that immediately sprang to mind !!!!

  10. #10
    Established TDF Member OutOfTest's Avatar
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    I tend to test all regulators, whether that's 2 or some other ridiculous number, in the water.

    I get into the water, fully inflate my drysuit and shake out the undersuit, I float face down, chill out.

    I test both regs face down and check my gas pressure for each cylinder is what it needs to be and remind myself of turn/drop points for each cylinder.

    It ensures I start the dive with all regs working. Enough gas. A visualised dive, a comfortable drysuit and all cylinders are on/off as appropriate. And I'm nice and relaxed, it's my transition from life above water to the dive.

    Some dives, you can't do this, normally because of space restrictions at divebase, but sometimes because it's the 30th dive of the already 20 hour trip in a wetsuit in 6 degree water. But I always check the regs, all of them, in the water.

    I appreciate this wont work as well for most diving most people on this forum do, with swell and stuff. But if it takes you so long to check all your regulators in the water you have to question whether it's worth doing, maybe you need to question how you stow and access regs...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


 
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