Response post to, "Cave Diver Harry: "Every dive is a solo dive."
I agree that every dive is a decompression dive. Just because one off gasses at 1 atmosphere instead of 4, 3, 2, etc... are just semantics...
Every dive is a solo dive; I disagree! Semantics aside, one can dive with a buddy or not dive with a buddy. In only but a few set of unique circumstances would separation from one's buddy occur, but then it would be just until those moments later reunited underwater or on the surface -- but being in the same ocean but too far apart to be of assistance is a choice.
The choice to pick up your cellphone while driving or to drive faster than conditions allow that result in injury or death are labeled "accidents;" something happening out of our control or ability to prevent -- but the reality of it is, you don't have to text and drive and slow down when it's raining/snowing/icy...
So, just because the inevitable happens -- poorly trained divers get separated -- that is an excuse.
Training on diving with buddies is just about non-existent as is diving in large groups. That is an instructional issue first, then followed by the lack of experience. The two greatest culprits in separated buddy teams are buoyancy issues and the flutter kick!
If you're buoyant, you are where you are in the water column and one is not chasing after another or seeing them floating off to the surface like a helium-filled balloon. The second, slow down. Flutter kick has the expectation of always having to have forward momentum. Consider the modified flutter or modified frog kick. Just enough momentum to move one forward and when you stop, you remain neutrally buoyant.
I dive in the PNW in sometimes zero visibility. When I am with a student, I prefer them on my left so if needed I can reach out and put my hand on their bcd or finger through a d-ring in order to stay in contact. When they are on my left, they are also able to still operate all their equipment without feeling that their dive buddy is crowding their space while still having unrestricted access to their inflator and SPG...
Lastly, situational awareness! You have it or you don't. Consider watching this:
I tell students to keep your eyes on the road in front of them. Stop thinking like you're still on land. One can only see directly in front of you with direct line of site so if you have to helicopter to find your dive buddy, you're too far away... with just a turn of your head, your dive buddy should be there!
[ On the extreme side of the training I do, "SDI Solo Divers" and technical dive training get the situational awareness beaten into them... boot camp style -- break them down to build them up again... Yes, the solo diver course means one will dive alone, but the dive is planned that way, then dive that way -- no "accidental" separation... While I believe in diving with teams on tech dives, due to ceilings or deco obligations, I also train for contingencies that reduce the risk of two victims... those variables can include (but doesn't have to) one diver finishing their obligations and leaving bottles hanging for others to continue in water emergency decompression, but again, these are in extreme cases, not recreational divers that get lost like kids in Wal-Mart! ]
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