Wednesday, May 3, 2017

PADI | HLSD | 20 Performance required skills for PADI Open Water | REVIEW and EVALUATION

20 Performance required skills for PADI Open Water

Like all certification agencies, performing the necessary skills in order to pass the course is important. Yet, minimizing the scope of all the skills really required means that divers get in the water, have mechanical failures, don't know how to deal with them, and believes that resolution of the problem equates to getting to the surface.

Getting to the surface is the last step of a safe ascent. Stop, breathe, think, and act is something that should be part of every certification agency's training standards. The dumbing down of skills is very worrisome.

...did not check hydro date; did not check visual date; did not check o-ring; did not check functionality of pressure gauge through purging of regs from full to empty; did not check for leak between 1st stage and tank valve under pressure; did not breath on alternate 2nd stage; did not check primary 2nd stage and alternate 2nd stage for holes in diaphragms (sealed on inhalation under no pressure); did not check inflator for functionality (starting and stopping); did not check BCD for leaks (holding air by squeezing BCD).

Ready for buddy check...

PADI calls their buddy check, “BWRAF,” where it looks like they run their arm downward, pulls, grabs, points, and pats around the diver...

...diver then breaths on his alternate while 30lbs+ of gear is on his back. A buddy check should include a full removal of the equipment as if one was in an emergency situation. It should not be necessary to it before every dive, but familiarization with the removal is not something that should wait for a "Rescue Diver Course." Buddy checks start with the assembly of gear.

Each in the buddy team should be watching and listening for proper assembly. Waiting until the diver has completed the assembly often results in only one person making sure of proper assembly instead of two or the group. How do two or more people result in a failure in equipment assembly? That is not a buddy check...

...the other points to his manual deflate button. ...the spins the diver around and they both give the “okay” sign.

Where is the diver's weight belt? Isn't the buddy going to confirm that it is donned properly with a right hand release?

Diver is ready to do a deep-water entry and already has his fins on. Did he have help doing this? Did he use the figure-four technique? How did he don them?

Notice that the diver immediately puts his hand to his head to sign that he is “okay." He didn't confirm that he is staying on the surface, that he has not lost his mask, or that he has not lost his weight belt (weights)...

By immediately giving the okay signal upon coming to the surface, the person watching the entry turns around starts helping another. Do not give the okay until you are sure your are okay which also means that the person watching the entry is available to help if necessary!

...this is where he is doing his weight check. Is this a weight integrated BCD? If so, the buddy check didn't include how to ditch integrated weights. Weights (in their entirety) should not go in non-ditchable pockets.

Notice that you can see the diver's alternate 2nd stage keeper is not attached to his alternate. So... where is it?

...there it is. NOT attached to the keeper while he is switching between his snorkel and primary 2nd stage. If his primary 2nd stage fails, he loses it, or is unavailable, the diver will have to search for the alternate which he is assuming it is connected at the keeper's location, but it will NOT be.

Choosing a reg keeper that fails to keep the reg attached should be tossed. Find and use ones that keep the reg where you put it!

...the diver is demonstrating switching between the snorkel and his primary 2nd stage underwater. While he is demonstrating regulator removal, regulator replacement, and regulator clearing techniques, doing so while one is moving through the water puts the student at risk.

I teach, outside of demonstration of techniques, NEVER take the regulator out of your mouth until you are sure you have reached positive buoyancy on the surface. If for any reason the diver dropped below the surface, no water goes into the diver's mouth and can precipitate aspirating water. It also looks like the diver is not fully on the surface to be using his snorkel. His legs and feet are way to low to be “snorkeling.”

I saw the diver equalize on the surface using the Valsalva Technique or the Toynbe Maneuver. If he was continuing to equalize on his decent using the Frenzel Maneuver, he should have pointed to his nose to demonstrate to the student to continue to equalize. Even in the shallow side of a pool, damage to the tympanic membrane can still occur. I can feel pressure as soon as I kneel down, and this diver descended to the bottom of the pool from the surface!

The diver's “lean and sweep” is done very poorly. His head is leaning, but his body is leaning very little. The gap created is so small that his hand almost doesn't fit between his body and the low pressure hose. His arm and hand stop prematurely, too. It stops so far to the right...

The slide states that they will be out of air and then “buddy breathe.” The diver raises his arms and lets the other diver get the regulator on his own!

There is no control nor defense in the event of panic. The alternate should be donated and put in front of the face of recipient so that the only thing is visible is the regulator. If the recipient cannot see anything other than the donated reg, there is more control and doesn't put two divers at risk.

Additionally, this is NOT, “buddy breathing.” It is out of air and air sharing from an alternate. Buddy breathing is one reg between two divers! If the instructors use the wrong terminology, how can the students expect to do the right thing.

They are doing an air sharing ascent. The recipient does not have the low pressure inflator system in his hand to deflate or slow himself on the way to the surface.

Additionally, he has a hand on the reg which looks like he is preventing it from being taken out of his mouth. One hand from each diver is enough to make sure they don't get separated. When he gets to the surface, he will have to find the low pressure inflator in order to orally inflate the BCD.

Since the donor has air in his tank and is letting air out of the BCD (because it is in his hand), it is possible that the donor could get to the surface and stay there and the recipient could fall away and drop back below the surface if he is let go of...

Breathing from a free-flowing regulator is easy. Why don't they teach a buddy team how to resolve the issue and stop it? If that procedure doesn't work, the diver will only be able to breathe on a free-flowing regulator for about 30 seconds if the cylinder only has 500psi in it... a full tank can empty in less than 5 minutes.

Cold air and cold water are the primary concerns. Cold water techniques MUST be taught if diving in a cold water and cold air environments. This is not an advanced specialty.

Fin pivots mean that the diver has fins on the bottom of the pool while practicing buoyancy techniques. A preferred method is to get off the bottom entirely and focus on something on the wall of the pool and be able to emphasize neutral buoyancy with breath control alone...

More acronyms? Using acronyms are the best way to have someone to skip part of the process altogether or even fill in other techniques that are not part of the process.

Diver IS wearing a weight pocket style weight belt... was not part of the buddy check. Proper weighting, explanation of weight placement, and ditching weight has to be done before being near any body of water.

Floating vertically is easy. All the air is at the top of the BCD. All of the diver's weight is below them. This is NOT a natural position for a diver. Teach diving position from the beginning.

The last techniques were remove and replace weights on the bottom and surface and remove and replace the BCD on the bottom and surface...

While there are aspects of each that have their merit and the pool is a great place to practice these skills, in the open water, doing these skills may have unforeseen consequences. The need to ditch ones weight, therefore easy access and understanding how of to do it, is important.

Similarly, removing life support equipment, namely the BCD with the attached tank and regulators has incredible risk. A technical diver would never remove their equipment and as the best trained divers in the industry, keeping your gear on has a valid reason. If one is on the surface and entangled, one can ditch their weights first and use a cutting tool to free oneself.

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