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Distractions Under Water
brokenogre - 4/11/2014 9:07 PM
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There are lots of things going on underwater while you’re diving. Your buoyancy, your breathing, your kick cycle while you’re navigating to that supposed treasure spot. It’s all happening at once, and the last thing you need is another distraction. Then it happens, your camera floods; and to add a sense of panic to this hypothetical, so does your light. You’re at 22 metres (72 feet), and the whole purpose of diving (to photograph part of reef in deep water) just flooded. You’re finicking with your light and your camera, and you start sinking. You’re no longer thinking about your buoyancy, you’re busy with your camera. It’s still not working. Your buddy has swam on without you, he didn’t even check to see if you were keeping up with him. You’re still sinking; 27 metres (89 feet) now; and you’re camera isn’t going to work any better with you banging on it. The air in your BCDs’ bladder is compressing faster now from your descent in the water column; you’re at 29 metres (95 feet) now. Your buddy finally decided to start looking for you. He couldn’t find you and has begun his ascent up. You’re at 30 metres (98 feet) now, and it has suddenly dawned on you. You get neutral buoyant and begin your ascent back to where you were originally at 22 metres. Your buddy finally sees you as you come up. You guys rejoin at 20 metres, signal to each other that you’re both okay. You show him the flooded light and camera; he laughs at you and writes something that pokes fun at you on his slate. You eventually surface together (after completing a safety stop) with no problems.
You may be laughing at my corny story; but stuff like this does happen, and divers get injured because of it. It’s one of the many reasons that cameras are not typically allowed in Open Water class for student, dive master, or instructor; they’re distracting, and if you’re busy fiddling with a camera or really cool shiny new toy underwater, you’re no longer focusing on the task at hand. Technology for underwater photography and videography has gotten better and better with each passing year, and thankfully it has also gotten cheaper too. GoPros and similar devices are becoming industry standards for taking videos and promoting diving on YouTube. But what these cameras don’t show is the level of experience the diver had before purchasing the camera and using it. These are not typically brand new open water divers using 4 GoPros to make a really beautiful dive short with catchy music and thought provoking sound bytes of Alan Watts. I focus on cameras, but really it’s anything that is new and shiny. There is a such a thing as “too much gear” (gear nerds hate me right now); and in all honestly I used to be a gear nerd myself. One dive in San Diego cured me of that small problem. Pony bottles can be included in distracting gear. If you don’t need it, why bring it. Now, please don’t mistake me; I’m not saying that you shouldn’t bring if you need it. I’m saying if you don’t need it, then don’t bring it in the water. I seriously doubt that a diver needs a pony bottle in 18 metres of water, but divers do it. You absolutely need your compass and your SMB of course, but if the visibility is really clear think about whether or not you need a dive light in the middle of the day. Just a thought. I recommend a diver bring only what is needed for that dive based on conditions, objectives of the dive, and following the rule of thirds. Distracted divers are that much more prone to injury, and the sport is already risky as it is; practise good risk management and think about your equipment choices before you dive. And remember no matter what you dive with, test your shiny new stuff in a pool first. It’s much easier to correct a mistake in 3 meters than it is in 26 metres.
Dive safe my friends.
- Webmaster Your World. Underwater.