The Rebreather Training Council has launched a campaign to encourage all rebreather divers to use checklists every time they hit the water.
After such a long lay-off out of the water, it is not surprising that several agencies are issuing safety statements as Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns are relaxed, and divers around the world get ready to resume diving.
The latest piece of advice has been issued by the Rebreather Training Council.
A checklist is probably the cheapest piece of life support equipment a technical diver will own, but it will look after you, dive after dive. RTC
A spokesman for the RTC stated "Pilots, astronauts, surgeons and many other professionals who work in fields where lives are at risk all use simple checklists every time they initiate a task, even though they may have done it thousands of times before.
Technical diving operations are complex and there are many things to remember when planning a dive. The routine actions that should be standard before every technical dive are involved and can be easily overlooked if the diver gets distracted or fails to follow a systematic approach.
There’s a good reason why checklists are used: they save lives. RTC
There’s a good reason why checklists are used: they save lives. It takes little time to go step-by-step through a checklist, but it ensures that nothing critical is overlooked. A checklist is probably the cheapest piece of life support equipment a technical diver will own, but it will look after you, dive after dive."
Why do I use a checklist?
A number of RTC members have stated why they use a rebreather checklist.
I work as an interventional cardiologist. Despite doing these procedures for over 35 years, I use a checklist before each and every one. Doug Ebersole
"I’ve been diving rebreathers for over 18 years and have always used the same checklist approach to my rebreather diving. I am certified on and have owned many different rebreathers over the years. For each of these, I have a laminated “build” checklist in the container where I keep the rebreather. Despite thousands of rebreather dives, I use these checklists every single time I put a rebreather together."
I need checklists because I am human, and I acknowledge that I will make mistakes. Jill Heinerth
"I’ve been diving rebreathers since the 1990s, remaining active as a full-time professional diver and instructor. Why would I need to use checklists? I can recite poetry I learned in high school, so why wouldn’t I memorize these essential steps for preparing my equipment? It is a question I have been asked many times. I need checklists because I am human, and I acknowledge that I will make mistakes. In reviewing decades of diving accidents, we can see that a lot of people made human mistakes."
There are different types of checklists and each plays a different part in my preparation. Mark Powell
"Checklists are an essential part of my rebreather safety routine. No one intentionally jumps in the water with their oxygen turned off and yet it happens with tragic regularity. This occurs because the diver completely believed that everything was OK and didn’t spot that they made a mistake. I know that I, just like everyone else, sometimes make mistakes and so I use a checklist to try and mitigate that risk by giving myself an opportunity to spot the mistake I have missed."
It’s easy to rationalize skipping checklists because most of the time, you don’t catch anything ... most doesn’t mean always. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we won’t make a mistake. Karl Shreeves
"Experience is the best teacher, and experience using checklists and not using checklists has taught me this: Use checklists because while they are deceptively simple, they work. Even better than learning from experience is learning from someone else’s experience – learn from mine. Use an appropriate checklist, with your teammates, before every dive – I promise that eventually you’ll be glad – maybe very glad – you did."
Pre-event checks have been proven to work and to save lives in the aerospace communities for decades… They work for divers too. Phil Short
"And remember, checklists are not just for rebreather divers but for all divers at all levels, beginner to explorer, instructor or instructor trainer and commercial diver and for all configurations and types of equipment be that open or closed circuit, back or side mounted. And don’t only check one part! A CCR Diver can complete a thorough and complete set of CCR checks and enter with no fins, weights or their dry suit unzipped!"
One checklist that I use before my dives is my wellbeing checklist. Time and experience in this industry taught me that there is nothing more important than the personal level of readiness. Cristina Zenato
"My most extensive use of written checklists comes from my technical background, and it starts with my rebreather preparation list. I know each of the list points, but I always make sure to read it aloud and then complete the task, followed by a checkmark. This system prevents my mistake of skipping one item, forgetting it because I was interrupted and distracted and ultimately made a mistake in preparing my machine. My other checklist is on a slate and includes the pre-dive and in-water safety checks. Other lists, such as the head to toe in water used before submerging for a cave dive, assures us that the items in our bag make it on our kit and body."