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Depth of Practicing descending .....
MrDwhite - 4/23/2018 2:09 PM
Category: New Diver Q&A
Replies: 8

I completed my Open Water on April 13, 2018 in Maui. A week later, I did a two tank dive. The first was at forty feet and the second, about an hour later, was at sixty feet. And apparently, I am still not comfortable with letting all of my air out of my BCD .... security blanket phobia ? Anyways, about half way through the dive, I must have repositioned myself in a way that the pocket of air worked its way up, and before I knew what was happening, I started to ascend .... it was a very slow ascend, but in order to regain the depth that I had achieved, it would have required a lot of unnecessary work .... so I allowed myself to slowly ascend to the top. And yes, I was able to signal to the Dive Master that I was going up .... so, my question is, that I am going back out tomorrow, single tank dive, to practice descending and getting comfortable with depleating my BCD and not worrying about ‘being down there without any air in it’. How many times can I practice this if I keep the depth of this practice session at 20-30feet. Thank you for your kind advice.
MrDwhite - 4/23/2018 6:38 PM
Thanks Eric. Regarding Boyancy, I am good with that. I think I just need to ‘let it go’ when it comes to descending while emptying the BCD ..... I can raise or lower myself otherwise quite well. Will see how it goes tomorrow... again, thanks for your comments. Guess I’m just looking for validation.
MrDwhite - 4/29/2018 9:04 PM
Gregg, thank you for your response. I will need to read this a few times in order to understand all of what you explained. You did a great job. In regards to what I perceived as ‘too much work to regain my depth’ it was what I left out that explains ... I realized that I was not as calm as I should have been, and that pushed me to consider coming up .... so it all worked out. I need to relax at being comfortable.... vs working on getting comfortable and relaxing .... thank you so much for your response .... I really appreciate it.
CharlesGraves - 6/22/2018 12:00 AM
My dude, ascending from a depth of 60 feet to the surface would bring a huge risk of getting DCS. You skipped a safety stop and probably ascended faster than 1 foot per second. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been horrible DCS. But still, quite possible you could get it.

If you didn’t get it, then it was most likely either luck, or because you weren’t at 60 feet depth for very long at all.

Your “comfort” in the water is of secondary importance to your actual safety and proper procedures. What happens if you feel very uncomfortable inside of a wreck? Will you panic, run into a sharp stick, take your reg out and drown? Or will you ACCEPT the discomfort, and calmly tell yourself “ok, I’m uncomfortable, but so what? I need to follow the protocol.”

What you should’ve done is immediately deflated your BCD completely by both your deflator valve and emergency dump valve with your other free hand, then once that was done, go headfirst and kick yourself back down to where you were.

Ideally, you want to have proper neutral buoyancy where you neither float nor sink. I used to be the opposite, I liked to sink slightly and kick up. I had to learn to use less weight, and in general maintain neutral buoyancy and only kick horizontally with proper trim.

It’ll take practice to get good, like any sport or hobby but ultimately you need to make sure you don’t ascend to the surface like that again. It’s bad news waiting to happen. And some people who had unknown heart conditions have actually unfortunately died doing exactly that.

Even when I’m doing a 35 foot dive, I ascend 1 foot every 2 seconds or less and do my 3 min safety stop. And I’m not averse to risk, I do cave diving, but you should never intentionally do something that could cause you problems. If you’re gonna go, have it be by an equipment malfunction or a shark or some sh^t lol. Don’t cause your own injury/death home boy
MrDwhite - 7/02/2018 7:30 PM
Thanks to everyone for your comments. They all apply, and I am going to slow down, relax and focus on the task at hand, which will improve my safety as well as everyone else’s.
CharlesGraves - 2/15/2019 3:37 AM
Greg has some good points, about the fact that the air expands as you go up, so sometimes when you start ascending (Going up), It creates a chain reaction where you keep rising.

I’m in experience rescue diver and this doesn’t happen to me often, but occasionally if I get distracted and start rising, what I do is I immediately do 2 things:

1) I grab my deflate valve, hold it high and deflate myself until I stop rising and start descending

2) immediately after I’ve gotten a hold of my deflate valve and started letting air out, I immediately grab my dive computer/watch (I just hold my right hand to my face and read it, as it’s on my wrist) and I carefully monitor my depth.

If I start descending, then I will kick and let a little air back in as I kick to maintain depth. I also will use air in my lungs to help maintain depth until I stabilize. An almost full breath helps you rise... empty lungs helps you descend (go lower).

WHAT NOBODY IS MENTIONING IS THAT THIS SIMPLY TAKES PRACTICE TO GET GOOD AT. It also takes mental memory... so doing it a few times on many different days will help you master it.

Ideally, you also want to focus on making sure your WEIGHTING is correct so that when you deflate your BCD, you are just barely neutrally buoyant on the surface (at eye level or forehead level with a full breath). Then you can blow your air out of lungs, pull yourself down with your arms, and bam; you’re neutrally buoyant right off the bat. To get this perfected you need to figure out your right amount of weight. This can change if you’ve gotten fatter or skinnier since your last dive, or if you’re wearing a different wetsuit.

You also need to focus on staying very calm- like a surgeon, almost. Think clinically and logically, be calm but think quickly. Do not ever panic. If you think intelligently and calmly, focus on what you’re doing and always think 2 steps ahead too, then you’ll be fine.
ArtCurry - 9/10/2019 8:52 PM
1. I’d be willing to bet you are carrying too much lead.
2. Air moving from one side of the BC to the other will not affect buoyancy.

Use the weight calculator on this website to get starting point for how much weight you need.

When you’re done practicing, run the tank to 500 psi (at the surface, bleed the air out by pushing the button on the second stage) and start removing weight a little at a time and try to descend after each time you take a little weight out. Now practice on a second tank with that amount of weight. From there on, every time you dive, write in your log book what equipment you used, how much lead you used, and if it was too much or not enough or just right.