Op'eds & comments

Outside comments, debates, chronics

Out of Control

Narcosis vortex
Narcosis is the biggest threat to a diver on an air dive to 60m (200ft).

In his Scuba book series, Simon Pridmore often tells tales of diving close calls or near misses. He tries to identify the key factors and suggest what the divers might have done differently to pre-empt or better deal with what happened. All the stories are true. Some he witnessed, some were recounted by friends, and others just crossed his radar screen at some point to be filed away for future sharing.

The Barracuda Dive

Readers of my Scuba books often say how useful they find the stories I tell to illustrate key messages. The stories are all true. I wish I could say I made them up, but I am not that creative. Fortunately, life tends to be able to conjure up real situations that are far more instructive than those I could ever invent.

Beware of the Corner Cutters

Beware of corner cutters. Underwater photo by Peter Symes
Know that cheaper prices always involve corner cutting of some sort. Sometimes you can see it and it just involves the level of comfort or service. Sometimes you cannot see it and it may be prejudicial to your safety.

There are thousands of dive centres, resorts and liveaboards all over the world. Some are very good and provide excellent, safe and highly professional service. Others are not so good and are best avoided.

Ten Commandments of Tech Diving Ops, Part II

Cave diver. Photo by Andrey Bizyukin.
Cave diver. Photo by Andrey Bizyukin.

In part one of this series, which appeared in issue #103, I suggested a few commandments to consider in order to ensure, as far as possible, that your technical dives are safe and successful. These were: First commandment: Prepare paperwork; Second commandment: Nominate a supervisor; Third commandment: Deploy safety divers. In this sequel, I deliver a few more tablets of stone.

Ten Commandments of Tech Diving Ops, Part I

An excellent strategy to guard against complacency and protect you and your dive team from becoming too casual about your diving is to establish set operational procedures for all your technical dives.

Today, technical diving is well into its fourth decade. We now have better tools, technology and systems than we did in the past and we know far more about which methods, decompression strategies and gear configurations work well and which do not.