Monday, March 5, 2018

Response to Cave Diver Harry Article: Proper weighting

There is so much more about proper weighting. This is a great topic! Here is a list of things that are not talked about enough when it comes to proper weighting and that all new divers should be trained on! Oh, wait. I do... Does Patty? Who is this Patty everyone keeps talking about?

-- Aluminum cylinder or Steel cylinder: do you know the buoyancy characteristics of the cylinder you're diving on and when will a change of buoyancy be problematic. At the beginning of the dive, having too weight for how much air you'll be using out of your aluminum cylinder and at the end of the dive and not having enough if you take your tank down to 500psi. Starting the dive over-weighted only with the understanding that you must be cautious entering the water. There might be as much as a 5lb shift! If you are in steel, just because the tank stays negative you should still do a weight check. Consider the tanks ballast! If you switch from a LP steel 72 to LP steel 120, you will NOT need the same amount of weight on a belt/harness.

-- Did you learn to ditch your weight, a weight belt, in the pool only to have a weight harness in open water and NOT practice ditching the weight? Ditching weight from harnesses like the DUI is not easy for everyone. Similarly, integrated BCD's that are too tight might not release the pockets easily. You must practice ditching your weight in open water and your dive buddy must try to ditch your weight, too. Doing a BARFW and/or telling someone how you ditch your weights is NOT a proper buddy check.

-- Doing skills on your knees and negative is not a realistic for emergency skills. In the pool, meh... In open water? You MUST be neutral and in diver position so you can immediately decide if you're going to do a swimming ascent or buoyant ascent. If you are negative and run out of air, you are likely to start climbing the invisible ladder. See video on the YouTube "Diver Panic."

--CESA is done kneeling or standing are not representative of being out of air. Do the skill where you are neutral, at depth, then arch your back and get in a kick or two to be in the correct orientation (in a position to make an ascent). If you are going to continue swimming to the surface, your inflator MUST be in your left hand so you can orally inflate your BCD when you surface. In a real OOA situation, by the time you get to the surface from starting neutral there won't be much of a struggle to stay on the surface even without ditching weight (if properly weighted). If you are negative, you MUST ditch your weights and follow EBA procedures. Break the CESA into two parts: getting into proper position THEN a swimming ascent -- but separately.

-- Practice orally inflating the BCD underwater when air sharing with a buddy. Don't just say you're okay to go to the surface if you're negative. If you are negative, you need to add air to your BCD before trying to swim to the surface. If you are in a 2-piece farmer john wetsuit at 100ft and sitting on the ground and run out of air, you will NOT be able to swim to the surface until you get neutral. If you ditch your weight at 100ft, hold onto something because you'll be in orbit as soon as you breach the surface.

-- If you go to a warmer climate and a change of weight is necessary, don't let the Divemaster tell you to put 20lbs on! DO A NEW WEIGHT CHECK. Geeez, really?


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