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Out of Air
Posted by Agojo
Out of Air
Agojo - 12/28/2013 8:18 AM
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Category: Personal
Comments: 6
August 2013 on a charter (Florida Panhandle) 3 dive trip with dives to 102-114’ with 32% EAN. Buddy & I taking pics, being first in and last out on first two dives. On third dive we extended SI due to depth and nitrogen loading. On the way down we meet the spear fisherman that went down with short SI. We toured the wreck and started up anchor line thinking we were the last divers in the water. At 84’ we paused while I secured and stowed my camera. It was at this time we noticed a lone diver (spear fisherman that went down after us) below us with speargun speed swimming toward anchor line 15’ below us. Upon his arrival at the line he looked up, seen us, and bolted to us signaling out of air. At this point I still had 1700psi and was 2 minutes from deco. I immediately tried to give him my octo with 5’ hose but he had fixated on getting my buddies octo and was having trouble grabbing it. Once I got my octo within 6" of his face he took it and completed a safe reg exchange all the while his speargun had floated up between my legs. Before going any further I showed him my computer/air remaining and had him unload the speargun. We completed a 1 min stop at 50’ and 3 min at 20’ with me holding my octo hose to keep it from being stressed on my first stage (out of air diver was attempting to drag me to the surface by my octo hose). My buddy staying with us and monitoring the situation ready to intervene if necessary as he had only a few hundred psi less than I at the beginning of this event. When the out of air diver reached 3-5’ my buddy witnessed him toss my octo and bolt to the surface. He then attempted to climb the ladder on to the boat with his fins on. The dive master on the boat got him to remove his fins then he turned and fixated on me while I staying about 10’ away and waiting on him to get on the boat before approaching the ladder. After what seemed like several minutes he ask me (with the underwater OK signal) if I was ok. Now I was confused but returned an OK to him.

Nice that I regularly share air with my buddy to extend dive times which makes us both practice regulator exchange. We also continually discuss safety practices and how to minimize risks along with practicing skills on a regular basis.


SantaFeSandy - 1/28/2014 4:39 PM
I hope some of the "real, trained and certified" Freedivers see this thread and comment, as to the best of my "limited" knowledge, a distinction needs to be made when applying the terms, ’freediver’ versus ’skin-diver’.

Until a month ago, I was considering becoming trained and certified as a freediver, Level-1, but with funds needing to be reserved, I opted spending more on Level 2 Cave, and then Rescue Diving, instead.

Meanwhile, what I learned was that anybody without training, can call themselves a "Freediver". Anybody can buy a speargun, hire a boat, and find somebody just as "confident" in their own inabilities, to be a buddy.

Killing fish, and going deep on a single breath, and going buddy-less, does not make one a freediver, anymore then our scuba buddies, who grew up near caves, who venture into them without proper training, makes them a Cave Diver. As we all know, this is mentality is how you die.

In this story, I think that the proper term for the "dummy diver" (whose scuba certification was never established) should have been skin diver.

In regards to how I would have responded in this situation, well while I’m sure I’d have given him air, when I got to the surface, no doubt I’d have held onto him until he told me all the specifics. I imagine I’d have been ticked off for having to intercede for what I would have reasoned as a "foolish and deadly mistake".

Like when diving certain springs with cave systems, C-Cards have to be displayed or presented, before one can dive them. I have heard stories of far too many "non-certified divers" gaining access to dive gear, who dive beyond their level of knowledge and expertise, in environments that they are not trained to deal with, in the wrong equipment, and die.

What are the stats, like 80%+?
Agojo - 1/01/2014 12:13 PM
To clarify the out of air diver was not a free diver. Him and is wife were scuba divers on the charter. She had said before leaving in the morning they were regulars on the boat and liked the crew. Unknown to us at the time of the incident she had gotten sea sick and still don’t know why he continued diving without a buddy or if he had buddies with someone else. After second dive it was a 20 minute move to 3rd dive site so we completed an hour SI before 3rd dive. Those that had been spear fishing or couldn’t do the bottom time we could do went in before us or we thought shortly after us. We do know this diver was on the boat when we went in and came out on the first 2 dives. We were last ones on the boat after dive 3. Once most we’re off the boat in port I ask DM if he knew what happened. He knew but thought out OOA was at 15’.
uwlover4u - 1/01/2014 10:58 AM
I think you should post something on why this idiot freediver did this.
Pixel - 12/31/2013 3:45 AM
I’d probably have mini heart failure and need to remind myself first that I can only do what I can do, but in all honesty I’d do it without putting myself of my buddy in danger. As RockRat says, what if he panics and bolts to surface, there’s nothing a diver who needs to safety stop can do.

Glad all turned out ok and everybody was safe.
RockRat2008 - 12/30/2013 9:01 AM
Great article and crazy situation. I’m like Greg, not sure what I would have done personally; Out of habit and training I probably would have given him my octo when he signaled out of air (I’ve drilled it so much it is automatic) but thinking about what could have happened is scary.

Is there more to the story? i.e. Did you discuss it with the DM on the boat and get his take on it? Did you determine what made him panic and continue his bolt to the surface? He had done a safe ascent from 84’ to 5’ on the octo so the panic should have passed at this point?
Greg - 12/30/2013 6:59 AM
Wow, I’m not sure what I would have done in that case. It’s not normal to share air with a person that is freediving with a speargun. You don’t know his qualifications. What if he took some of your air at depth, then bolted to the surface from there? He could have ruptured his lungs if he didn’t know to breathe out while ascending. I’m glad everything turned out ok for you. I’m going to post a survey to see what other divers would have done.