Opinions from Kiwi's

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Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby Cameron_R » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:50 am

Hey,

I've been following a thread on Rebreather World, and I'd love to hear your reactions to the original post. When he says the "mighty O", the means the Ex-USS Oriskany, that aircraft carrier which is now a dive site in the Gulf (http://www.divemightyo.com/). I have my opinion, but I won't put my bias on this just yet.

I've shamelessly copied it here. I am sure he won't mind as he posted it on at least 3 forums! Let me know if you agree/disagree or what ....




Posted by "fireman"
Subject "The straw that broke the divers back"


The straw that broke the divers back
Or
I really don’t want another diver to die
By Kevin Ward

Today I read about another dead diver, this time on the mighty O. I am sorry for all the friends and families left behind. I am sorry that I didn’t do this earlier. It may not do any good, but all a man can do try. Here is my attempt.

We owe it to ourselves to be in shape, be intelligent about our activities and our limitations.

If you are a couch potato, a disgusting fat body, gravely ill etc. You should take care of yourself for the sake of your friends and family, and those of us who may have to go into harms way to help if you get yourself into trouble.

If you choose to do a little recreational paddling around in warm calm shallow waters to look at fish, Ok. You will be safer and enjoy yourself more if you are fit, and not in danger of dieing.

But as you stray from that PADI dream world, you must hold yourself to a higher standard.

If you are “tech” diving if you don’t hold yourself to a much higher standard, you are an irresponsible careless ass-hole.
This is not to say even if we were all supermen (and women) there wouldn’t be mishaps. On the contrary diving, and especially extreme diving are inherently dangerous. But that doesn’t absolve YOU of responsibility to maximize your chances of survival. And being a “BETTER” diver will increase your enjoyment of even relaxing rec diving.

So for an extreme diver you (should) already know this. To all divers, reasons to be a BETTER: Your in shape, comfortable in the water, and your skills are better. So your air lasts longer, you are relaxed, better able to appreciate the sights that we are there to see. You are able to deal with unexpected evens better, calmly. You are more likely to be able to help another.

So how do we know what a BETTER safer diver is?

I have heard from “old timers” about YMCA cert that took months with many days of skills training, and lots of induced stress.

I heard a story from an instructor about a CMAS training program, one of the drills was dive to the bottom of the pool, put a mask on off the bottom and clear it 3 times on one breath, surface.

Watch the Costner/Kutchner movie about Coast guard rescue divers. Or one of those discovery Channel seal training shows. Not that most of us will get anywhere near that level, but if you can handle that sort of artificial stress and high levels of exertion, it will make you a better diver.

Do drills, try to do them perfectly. Take all you gear off and put in on again, do it with good buoyancy, staying in the same spot in the pool or quarry, do it with no wasted motion.

There is a test from a life guard web page: 1) Swim 550 yards continuously using 200 yards of front crawl, 200 yards of breaststroke and 150 yard s of front crawl or breaststroke.
2) Start in the water, swim 20 yards using front crawl or breaststroke, surface dive 7 -10 feet, retrieve a 10 lb. Brick, return to the surface, swim 20 yards back to the starting point with the brick in both hands and exit the water without using a ladder or steps within 1 minute, 40 seconds. 3) Swim 5 yards, submerge and retrieve three dive rings placed 5 yards apart in 4-7 feet of water, resurface and swim 5 yards to the side of the pool.

I offer these examples so it doesn’t look like I pulled my suggestions out of thin air. To further add background, I have been a firefighter in a poor busy area of Chicago for over ten years, doing a lot of ALS medical runs. I was also on Air Sea Rescue in Chicago, for which among other things, included jumping out of a helicopter with scuba gear at night in December into lake Michigan. I am a trimix rebreather diver, I have build a rebreather, and a fill station in my garage.

My suggestions to be a BETTER diver:

Medical: Have a physical once a year. Have a stress test.

Physical: Swim, dive swim some more. If you are a technical diver you should be able to swim 550 yards in under 10 min. You should be able to swim 25yards, underwater, say 3 times on a 1 min interval. Pick up a 10# weight off the bottom and carry it up to the surface, hold it out of the water and tread water for 10 sec. Static breath hold in water for 60 sec. Just examples, and its not so much the actual standards, but that you are on the journey.
Cardio 3 times a week 30 min. This is too light if you are exceeding rec limits. Then more like a 90 min 4 times a week plus some weights, abs etc.

Just because you are certified, doesn’t mean you are educated. Learn read…

The standards for OW are dangerously low. If you don’t keep learning and practicing, you are asking for trouble.

For all the silliness surrounding DIR/GUE--(drink the Kool-Aid) They are a wonderful resource. I think their classes a bit expensive, but very sound. Take a fundies class, at least go on their web site and buy the material and read it. Their attitude towards basic skills is outstanding. Trim, buoyancy skills. When is the last time you did an OOA drill with your buddy--if the answer wasn’t the last dive we did together, it was wrong.

And of course you are CPR certified and some sort of basic first aid right?

So when there is a tech diving mishap, our after dive analysis should start like this:

Well His last stress test/and physical where clear. And even though there was a ripping current the only one who beat him back to the boat was Phelps. We see his equipment was in perfect shape and the predive check list was in order. The dive plan was flawless, and his buddy was right there to provide moral support when the hang nail occurred at depth. First aid consisting of a band aid and cold beer was administered on the boat ride back in and an emergency manicure scheduled.

Lastly I would like to put a good word in for underwater hockey. I have been playing this silly looking but great sport for a while. It will motivate you, and make you fit. Its like a good game of basketball or what ever your sport is. I go and chase the puck around the bottom of the pool for an hour and a half and don’t even realize I am getting a work out. It will make you comfortable in the water like nothing else.
The link for my club: Chicago Underwater Hockey - UWH History
The US link: USOA Underwater Hockey


Panic: If your life depends on it, you better not. If it doesn’t, why panic.
Please stay safe.

Posted on RBW, Deco stop, SB
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby Andy » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:13 pm

My feelings are mixed, Cameron.

I think the principle of being fit, and taking responsibility for your own diving etc... well, that's common sense.

Should all people learning to dive be able to do multiple swim tests back to back, drag a 5kg weightbelt to the surface and bench press their instructor whilst both are wearing full kit? Probably not.

The argument about the supposed continual watering down of dive training is an ongoing debate in the Instructor-to-Instructor section of Scubaboard. It will still be raging in 20 years time.

Entry level training can be "toughened up", but why should it be? I have yet to see any argument that holds water when it comes to the safety record of diving. There is a huge difference in terms of what you are hoping to achieve in training an OW diver, and what you are hoping to achieve in training a US Navy Seal.

Saying that, any diver who dives independently of dive guides etc should take responsibility for their own fitness and skill, and be in a position to assume the risks of what they are doing. But where does the responsibility to ensure that happens lie? With the training agencies, with the instructors or with the diver themselves? Or is it some mix of all three?

I tend to agree with the principles of what this guy is saying, but I think he could have picked better (and more sensitive) ways of saying it. I do, however, disagree with the point of view that says "let's start the accident analysis by questioning these things" - it's essentially an approach that is looking to lay blame.
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby Andy » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:30 pm

Pete wrote:Go figure, this guy has a problem - 6,000 people in the US die every year from domestic violence, 400ish on NZ roads - why should he care about a handful of divers enough to bandstand?


I would guess it's about choice, Pete.

The "choice" to avoid domestic violence is not that easy, the "choice" to be run over by a drunk driver is non-existent, the "choice" to go shopping at the 7-11 and be mowed down in a drive by is just bum luck.

The choice to dive outside of your capabilities is an active choice. It's one that has an impact on many people involved should something result in an accident - on ones family, on the rescuers, on divers in the region and so on. It only takes a couple of stupid fatalities before we start seeing murmurs of legislation.

Part of the problem is that to dive within your limitations actually involves knowing what they are.
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby Andy » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:53 pm

Pete wrote:Exactly! If people knew their limits and also acknowledged the comparative risk of undertaking an activity based on their current ability they may choose to refrain and train.


"If people knew their limits"?

Well, here's a question..... why don't they know their limits?
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby tara » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:14 pm

isnt training in itself stepping outside of your ability?

if you dont stretch yourself - how do you learn?

now i appreciate that there are two sides to this discussion
- doing it safely
- and just reinforcing the theory of natural selection

however for the majority, i think that realising you have attempted a task beyond you sends you on the hunt for training/an instructor.
theres the minority that dont stop themselves before they become a fatality
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby tara » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:29 pm

Pete wrote: .... but that would usually imply training that many don't realise they need...
But if people make the assumption their limits are much higher than they are or just don't consider limits in their planning... you end up with a disco bunny dancing on a rock with an inflated safety sausauge about 15m from safety...


and we can only hope that these are the exception rather than the rule

and then as a group promote good instructors, applicable training and the behaviours that led the more bunny-ish out there to seek out controlled environments rather than dancing on rocks .....
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby tara » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:44 pm

yea ... but we dont have to mention a training agency/any training agency here.

more like - SDNZ members support/encourage .. etc etc etc
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby Cameron_R » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:07 pm

all interesting points, but they are a side issue to the main show in the article (IMHO).

The main point that I am interested in hearing from you all on (and remember this is my thread - so you must do as I say :wink: ), is how much personal responsibility does one have to stay healthy and in shape for diving?


Thanks
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby tara » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:10 pm

Cameron_R wrote:a .. is how much personal responsibility does one have to stay healthy and in shape for diving?


no one else can make you take care of your body
- the same way that the main reason divers get DCS etc - therefore i'd say 100% of the responsibility of personal physical and mental fitness lies with the diver.
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby Cameron_R » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:17 pm

tara wrote:no one else can make you take care of your body
- the same way that the main reason divers get DCS etc - therefore i'd say 100% of the responsibility of personal physical and mental fitness lies with the diver.


You are quite correct, and I worded my question badly.

What I meant was how much of an obligation does one have to stay fit and healthy. I am thinking more of the impact on those who are 'left behind'. I was thinking more of the risk that I put on my buddies because I choose to eat nothing but pies for 6 weeks before diving .... etc.

The post I copied basically said that if you are not a world class athlete, who can pass the NASA astronaut program for health and the NZ SAS program for fitness, you should not be doing any diving tougher than shallow, warm water recreational diving.

Thoughts ... ?
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby tara » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:27 pm

geez ....

okay. i'm a big girl. always have been. before i learned to dive, i lost 40 odd kilograms.
but i kickbox / yoga / walk etc. and when i started divemaster and thinking of tech diving, i tried giving up smoking.
it took a while but i kicked it. i think we have an obligation to ourselves but you know - a lot of it is a confidence and self esteem issue.

for me - my health is my responsibility. not that of my buddy. lots of us here are Self Reliant Divers - and taking care of your physical/mental health is a part of this.
i wouldnt expect anyone to drag my fat bubbles on board if something happened to me because i didnt take care of myself (even though of course i would hope that they would try to).

when i see (especially young girls) in courses and on the boats who have the same weight issues i do - either through lifestyle choices or laziness - i have a quiet word.
you'd hope that the medical statement picks some of it up and the doctors also have a quiet word before they tick the "no health issues incompatible with diving"

but thats just my 10 cents worth
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby Andy » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:39 pm

Cameron_R wrote:What I meant was how much of an obligation does one have to stay fit and healthy. I am thinking more of the impact on those who are 'left behind'. I was thinking more of the risk that I put on my buddies because I choose to eat nothing but pies for 6 weeks before diving .... etc.


You expect an answer to that?? :shock:

I don't think there is a single answer, Cameron. My obligation to keep myself fit and healthy for diving changed when I got married, it will change again should we have kids, it's different if I'm teaching as opposed to just diving, it's different if I'm doing a dive with in reach of a chamber as opposed to being three days away by helicopter....

If you want to eat pies (the food of champions!) for six weeks, you're "obligation" is as much an obligation on your buddy to say "no, I'm not doing this dive with you". That is very much a shared responsibility. For my personal diving, I have no issues with saying no to people if they are not in the physical and mental shape for the dive. I've done it as just as often as I've sat a dive out because it's too much for me.

I'd be more concerned about the obligation we have for our loved ones, they are not in a place to say "no".
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby djwazzo » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:03 pm

On the fitness point of view, i know top end tek divers who drink/smoke/eat what they like, one that has an artifical knee who reguarly dives to 100m+, i've had trainees who were racing fit cyclists and semi-pro rugby players who got cramp often and had issues. Most of the commercial divers ive worked with never had a fag out their mouth on the surface and usually sank 6-8 pints a night but did 3-4 dives to 30m+ a day scallop diving. Not big or clever but thats what happens in the general diving world. In terms of statistics theres always going to be liability divers, let down by their training, instructor, fitness, gear etc etc.
Fitness isnt the major player, i would put it down to the individual and the standard of training/instructor..

my 2 cents worth!
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby NEMES1S » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:26 pm

I dont think this guy is someone thats opinion can be taken of that of the opinion or attitude of GUE :shock: ,he is just suggesting regradless of "the silliness" surrounding GUE their training in his opinion is sound,now I definately dont see that post as GUE assaulting the "Recreational Diving World" just some "Underwater Hockey Player" who has decided to have a bit of a rant and rave about how he personally feels.....(for all we know this guy himself hasnt even done any GUE training at all,unless sombody knows better..?)

And as far as I know "Ditch and recovery" is not an exercise that GUE uses or promotes in any shape or form,so I would say this guy is either as Pete said a NAUI graduate or possibly UTD or similar as they have adopted both GUE and NAUI training ideals.
I did a "D&R" exercise in the pool in 1.2m of water yesterday,ditch then swim along the bottom for a width and then up to the surface and repeat,and with a wetsuit and no weightbelt and being so shallow it was quite a test... :lol: (why you might ask?,why..because I was unsure if I could and I thought it would be a challenge,is this a practical real world challenge..? ,I guess not, but to try to replace a B/P W with no mask in 1.2m while being rudely positively bouyant was definately worthy stress exercise.)

In my limited experience in Diving I think there are a certain group of individuals that will ruin any situation,and this is not restricted to diving,the Rugby boys diss the Soccer Boys,the Karate guys diss the Kung Fu guys....(dont get me started on that ha ha :lol: ).
And there lies the problem everybody has their own opinion,and if its a poison opinion well they are entitled to their opinion regardless of how stupid its seems to you or stupid it is in fact.

There are people that call themselves "techie" divers and all sorts of fancy names but really its what you do that defines you,people call me a "Tech-diver" because I am very interested in diving in caves and mainly because I dive in the kit, so I can eventually do so when I feel my skill level is appropriate,yet I still dont call myself a "Technical-Diver" as in my opinion I just havent got the skills or the training,(And most of my dives are well within recreational boundaries,as I dont feel comfortable extending myself beyond thos boundaries and I am not afraid or embarassed to say so,as I know my limits and comfort threshold.) but I am training towards bettering myself...not for the name or apparent qdos of resting under the banner of a "Technical Diver" but to achieve the goal of diving comfortably within my limits in overhead environments,...my goal...

Its like training to be a Ninja....after years of training do you really think a Ninja will call himself "A Ninja" ...???
If its the name you are seeking then you havent even found the bus stop where the vehicle leaves towards what you really should be seeking.
Amen... :wink:
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Re: Opinions from Kiwi's

Postby Andy » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:53 am

djwazzo wrote:Fitness isnt the major player, i would put it down to the individual and the standard of training/instructor..

my 2 cents worth!


I guess when I think of fitness, Shane, I'm thinking of "fitness to dive" which is a slightly broader thing.

I recently had the dubious joy of running again, which made me realise that I am incredibly unfit in some respects - but I can still hop on a bike and cycle 100km in a fairly nifty time. Fitness has so many dimensions - strength, endurance, power, speed etc. A lot of the guys pushing for multiple swim tests as part of diver assessment are just wanting to try and measure it along all those dimensions - but the crazy thing is, you can normally tell by the first length whether someone will complete a swim test, so why make them do it all? Anyway, you're only really gauging their swim fitness, not their fitness to dive.

Fitness to dive, for me at least, is about being in the right mental space to do the dive. Taking the example that Cameron posted about (I've seen this on other forums so know some of the details), but doing a 40-42m dive on a CCR in strong currents is not an easy dive. I wouldn't be comfortable doing that unless I'd been diving a lot leading up to the dive. There's no stigma to say "no, I don't want to do this" and do something shallower, in less current etc.

I guess the guys out drinking all night are, in their own minds, "fit to dive". They are, at least, diving regularly and somewhat acclimatised to the residual alcohol in their bloodstream (not that it's a good idea, mind you!) so they are making some vestige of informed choice. Ultimately, it's up to the individual to decide on each and every dive whether they are fit to dive, and for those around them to recognise the ability of peer pressure to slip in to the mix, even if it's not always intentional.

NEMES1S wrote:I dont think this guy is someone thats opinion can be taken of that of the opinion or attitude of GUE :shock: ,he is just suggesting regradless of "the silliness" surrounding GUE their training in his opinion is sound,now I definately dont see that post as GUE assaulting the "Recreational Diving World" just some "Underwater Hockey Player" who has decided to have a bit of a rant and rave about how he personally feels.....(for all we know this guy himself hasnt even done any GUE training at all,unless sombody knows better..?)


No, he hasn't done GUE training - Kevin is a self confessed "dork diver", which is about as far away as you can get from GUE! He's a CCR diver (dives a rEvo II) and has done training with PADI and ANDI as well as some public safety courses through his job in the Fire Department.

His reference to "the Kool Aid" indicates that most of his GUE knowledge likely comes from trawling internet forums.

And as far as I know "Ditch and recovery" is not an exercise that GUE uses or promotes in any shape or form,so I would say this guy is either as Pete said a NAUI graduate or possibly UTD or similar as they have adopted both GUE and NAUI training ideals.


It's definitely not a GUE skill - and in fact it's not a "real" skill at all. Many agencies teach it - YMCA (before they ceased to exist), NAUI, SEI, CMAS etc. The whole point of skills like ditch and don, ditch and recovery etc is really just building diver confidence.
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