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Technical Spearfishing Technical Scuba diving is generally defined as going deeper than 130 feet. You must have the proper training for this extreme aspect of spearfishing.

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Old 10-22-2013, 10:21 AM   #1
jadairiii
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Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

I had the extreme privilege to participate (as a guest) in the Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend in Tallahassee/Wakulla, Florida. In attendance during the weekend were some of the best cave explorers in the world. If you ever wonder how the WKPP can explore miles of cave at 300’ deep safely, it is because of weekends like this. There were no prima donnas, everyone humped tanks and gear to the sink and participated. First day was CPR/first aid/Oxygen administration class for all the participants. Saturday was in water rescues, requiring all team members to swim an “unconscious” diver (doubles and one stage bottle) out of the cave opening and then ascend to the surface of Emerald Sink cave from 60’ of water while being supervised by Global Underwater Explorer instructors. Once on the surface the instructors would critique the divers, giving suggestions, answering questions and giving positive feedback on how to do it better, then back down for another round. All and all everyone learned from the experience and had a great time.

Now you may ask, “what does a cave dive safety weekend have to do with us open water spearos/tec divers?”. Well, when was the last time any of us attempted to bring an unconscious diver off the bottom? There is more to it than just depressing the person’s inflator and shooting them to the surface like a lift bag. A controlled ascent with a stricken diver that protects you and the other diver takes practice and training. It is something we all should practice from time to time in the event we ever need to do it.
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:37 AM   #2
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Thumbs up Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

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Originally Posted by jadairiii View Post
Now you may ask, “what does a cave dive safety weekend have to do with us open water spearos/tec divers?”. Well, when was the last time any of us attempted to bring an unconscious diver off the bottom? There is more to it than just depressing the person’s inflator and shooting them to the surface like a lift bag. A controlled ascent with a stricken diver that protects you and the other diver takes practice and training. It is something we all should practice from time to time in the event we ever need to do it.
AMEN to that statement John!

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Old 11-05-2013, 10:41 AM   #3
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

Good Info. Question: I would assume by "stricken" you mean unconscious? If you're not unconscious, then potentially you have vertigo/heart attack or shark bite. There are very few examples I can think of a diver who's not unconscious that can't get to the surface without help. And if we are talking about the unconscious diver, does it really matter how fast his ascent is? If he's unconscious and underwater, he has certainly drowned. (That might not be the impetus of the problem, but after a minute unconscious underwater, the diver will certainly aspirate water. So then what? I would think the more important task would be to get him to the surface. 15 minutes of deco holding onto a corpse does you nor them any good. Furthermore, if they're not breathing, they're probably not off-gassing sufficiently to make a difference. So again, why have them do a controlled ascent?

If the premise is a stricken diver is someone that is not unconscious, then please excuse my questions.

Thanks for any thoughts on this subject.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:26 PM   #4
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

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Good Info. Question: I would assume by "stricken" you mean unconscious? ...So again, why have them do a controlled ascent?

If the premise is a stricken diver is someone that is not unconscious, then please excuse my questions.

Thanks for any thoughts on this subject.

The exercise assumed an unconscious diver. Regardless of cave or ocean there are lots of reasons a diver may have lost consciousness. And most of those reasons are not easily recognized underwater. OOA, Oxtox, hypercapnia, insulin shock, heart attack, stroke, etc. And some of those “ailments” the diver may regain consciousness as you ascend with the diver or still be breathing but unconscious. More to the point, in many cases you may be the only one able to rescue the diver upon surfacing, get him or her on the boat (to the beach or side of sinkhole), call for help and perform CPR.

The first consideration in any lifesaving situation, make sure the emergency responder (you) can remain safe, don’t endanger yourself during a rescue.
So, if you just shoot the diver to the surface like a lift bag you may add to their issues by:

1. Losing the victim on the surface due to conditions;
2. Shooting them into boat traffic or other overhead dangers;
3. They begin to regain conciseness, or start breathing but drown on the surface because no one is there to keep their head above water/wave/face up;
4. The airway could close and you could embolize them thus complicating matters 10 fold;
to name a few.

By bringing the victim up in a controlled ascent, you protect the emergency responder (you) by controlling your ascent and keeping the victim under control (keeping the reg in their mouth if that is how you found them) and protecting the airway. If they regain consciences on the way up you can still keep them under control and monitor them. Also, if there is a deco obligation you are both blowing off, there is a chance on the surface (or on the way up) you can get the dive master’s attention (or someone’s), pass them off and go back down and complete deco. If by chance they are breathing, you could actually do some minimal deco to protect you and still save the buddy.

But again, you may be it, so after controlled ascent, you surface properly (there is a trick to that also) get the victim to the boat/beach/side, remove their gear, get them stabilized, call for help and then begin CPR (if necessary)

But this assumes you are going to do what it takes to save your buddy. There is much more to this and I attempted to put down into a few paragraphs 2 days of life saving drills, lectures and recuses. But don’t hesitate to ask me anything else here or by pm, if I cannot answer it I can refer you to those that can.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:01 PM   #5
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

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Originally Posted by jadairiii View Post
The exercise assumed an unconscious diver. Regardless of cave or ocean there are lots of reasons a diver may have lost consciousness. And most of those reasons are not easily recognized underwater. OOA, Oxtox, hypercapnia, insulin shock, heart attack, stroke, etc. And some of those “ailments” the diver may regain consciousness as you ascend with the diver or still be breathing but unconscious. More to the point, in many cases you may be the only one able to rescue the diver upon surfacing, get him or her on the boat (to the beach or side of sinkhole), call for help and perform CPR.

The first consideration in any lifesaving situation, make sure the emergency responder (you) can remain safe, don’t endanger yourself during a rescue.
So, if you just shoot the diver to the surface like a lift bag you may add to their issues by:

1. Losing the victim on the surface due to conditions;
2. Shooting them into boat traffic or other overhead dangers;
3. They begin to regain conciseness, or start breathing but drown on the surface because no one is there to keep their head above water/wave/face up;
4. The airway could close and you could embolize them thus complicating matters 10 fold;
to name a few.

By bringing the victim up in a controlled ascent, you protect the emergency responder (you) by controlling your ascent and keeping the victim under control (keeping the reg in their mouth if that is how you found them) and protecting the airway. If they regain consciences on the way up you can still keep them under control and monitor them. Also, if there is a deco obligation you are both blowing off, there is a chance on the surface (or on the way up) you can get the dive master’s attention (or someone’s), pass them off and go back down and complete deco. If by chance they are breathing, you could actually do some minimal deco to protect you and still save the buddy.

But again, you may be it, so after controlled ascent, you surface properly (there is a trick to that also) get the victim to the boat/beach/side, remove their gear, get them stabilized, call for help and then begin CPR (if necessary)

But this assumes you are going to do what it takes to save your buddy. There is much more to this and I attempted to put down into a few paragraphs 2 days of life saving drills, lectures and recuses. But don’t hesitate to ask me anything else here or by pm, if I cannot answer it I can refer you to those that can.

Again, great info. I think it's very important to talk through these things. I'm still struggling with a certain scenario, however. We're in the technical diving forum, so in this scenario I'm assuming we're discussing deep diving with deco obligations. If you find your buddy unconscious, or he becomes unconscious while diving beside you, you cannot revive him underwater. The next thought is to bring him to the surface. If I'm coming from 200' and have a 15 minute ascent, my buddy is going to be dead by the time I get him to the surface if I take him with me on my controlled ascent. I understand you saying that he may become conscious, but I find that highly unlikely if he's breathing an open circuit system that requires draw from a regulator. I assume you could manually provide him with air through his regulator, but that would probably be futile since you can't hold his regulator in his mouth and form the seal necessary to prevent him from aspirating water. So that leaves us with a controlled ascent with no air and 15 minutes to the surface. Where I dive, surface traffic isn't a concern (usually very far off the coast with no company). At this point, the only benefit I see from doing a controlled ascent with the body is not losing it. I can prevent that by attaching a lift bag or safety sausage to him. Why would I want to endanger my ascent by holding on to dead weight and an uncontrollable buoyancy. The body will inevitably have gasses that blow up when ascending from 200,' especially with no lung capacity to exhale. This seems incredibly dangerous to save a corpse.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:58 PM   #6
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

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Originally Posted by goldfinchs1 View Post
Again, great info. I think it's very important to talk through these things. I'm still struggling with a certain scenario, however. We're in the technical diving forum, so in this scenario I'm assuming we're discussing deep diving with deco obligations. If you find your buddy unconscious, or he becomes unconscious while diving beside you, you cannot revive him underwater. The next thought is to bring him to the surface. If I'm coming from 200' and have a 15 minute ascent, my buddy is going to be dead by the time I get him to the surface if I take him with me on my controlled ascent. I understand you saying that he may become conscious, but I find that highly unlikely if he's breathing an open circuit system that requires draw from a regulator. I assume you could manually provide him with air through his regulator, but that would probably be futile since you can't hold his regulator in his mouth and form the seal necessary to prevent him from aspirating water. So that leaves us with a controlled ascent with no air and 15 minutes to the surface. Where I dive, surface traffic isn't a concern (usually very far off the coast with no company). At this point, the only benefit I see from doing a controlled ascent with the body is not losing it. I can prevent that by attaching a lift bag or safety sausage to him. Why would I want to endanger my ascent by holding on to dead weight and an uncontrollable buoyancy. The body will inevitably have gasses that blow up when ascending from 200,' especially with no lung capacity to exhale. This seems incredibly dangerous to save a corpse.

Thanks for your thoughts.
First off, coming up from 200 will not take you 15 min. Actually, fully controlled ascent should be 6 min or less. I am blowing off deco to get my buddy to the surface. Second, done properly, you can keep the reg in the mouth and functioning while operating the victim's inflator and dump valve. Just takes practice (ergo, the training weekend)

The "body" is completely controllable, proper control of airway to vent the lungs and the victims gear and you can even do safety stops (not that you would want to with a non-breathing diver)

Point is, you are not doing it to "save a corpse", you are bringing the diver to the surface in the hope of resuscitation. And bringing a diver up is a skill, not something you want to wing if the worst case happens.

But the first assumption is that you are team diving and you are right there at the time of the emergency.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:53 PM   #7
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

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First off, coming up from 200 will not take you 15 min. Actually, fully controlled ascent should be 6 min or less. I am blowing off deco to get my buddy to the surface. Second, done properly, you can keep the reg in the mouth and functioning while operating the victim's inflator and dump valve. Just takes practice (ergo, the training weekend)

The "body" is completely controllable, proper control of airway to vent the lungs and the victims gear and you can even do safety stops (not that you would want to with a non-breathing diver)

Point is, you are not doing it to "save a corpse", you are bringing the diver to the surface in the hope of resuscitation. And bringing a diver up is a skill, not something you want to wing if the worst case happens.

But the first assumption is that you are team diving and you are right there at the time of the emergency.
"First off, coming up from 200 will not take you 15 min. Actually, fully controlled ascent should be 6 min or less."

Maybe with no bottom time. And your assumptions that you can keep an unconscious victim breathing by manually operating his or her regulator while working his inflator and monitoring your own deco obligations seem a little overzealous. Obviously these training procedures were practiced on conscious actors that unconsciously formed the seal around the regulator. I seriously doubt that would work in real practice with a real unconscious victim. Again, 15 minutes of no breathing equals a corpse.

If we change our assumption to a shallow water dive: 100' or so, I can definitely see the merit in your proposed procedures. But not at 200' or greater.
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:06 PM   #8
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

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Maybe with no bottom time. And your assumptions that you can keep an unconscious victim breathing by manually operating his or her regulator while working his inflator and monitoring your own deco obligations seem a little overzealous. Obviously these training procedures were practiced on conscious actors that unconsciously formed the seal around the regulator. I seriously doubt that would work in real practice with a real unconscious victim. Again, 15 minutes of no breathing equals a corpse.

If we change our assumption to a shallow water dive: 100' or so, I can definitely see the merit in your proposed procedures. But not at 200' or greater.
There are real world examples of this, Billy Deans brought a guy up that toxed at a gas switch from a dive in 260. Both survived. But even if they are not breathing, done right, I can have that victim on the surface in less than 6 min.

While at this training session I was speaking with one of the top decompression experts in the county. Speaking personally he said his limit in bringing up a diver and blowing off deco was an hour. Repeat, an hour of DECO (not bottom time plus deco). He prefaced it with "don't try this at home kids" but that was personal limits. There is no one on this forum (well maybe one) that incurs an hour of deco obligation while deep diving.

Bottom line is, you can do nothing on the bottom, and leaving the victim on the bottom is a death sentence. It is a skill that can be taught just like any other skill.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:28 PM   #9
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

Thanks for the info. I personally have had multiple 45 minute deco stops and would not skip a minute. After being bent (some minor, some severe) 7 times, I can't risk skipping a minute of obligation. I usually go longer than what is required because of my susceptibility. This would be a real mental challenge for me to forego my obligation while DEEP diving to save someone who is likely dead. But I'm glad it's been accomplished before.

Again, thanks for the info.
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:40 AM   #10
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

Normally one would surface the diver if close to shore and a chamber and medical help was quickly available.Commercial divers will surface slowly and get into a chamber onsite.The trick is the training to not freak out,ascend at a safe rate and get the guy breathing.Offshore I would likely try to do the deco or at least enough to get the guy into position for the boat to assist.

I think there may be a few more guys diving that deep and long but not many and mostly solo or same ocean buddy diving.I can't justify the He for working dives but I'll do fun dives that deep.The WKPP/GUE guys roll their eyes at most spearfishermen in any case.

I miss the early days of internet tech forums,it was a hoot to see "someone" have an aneurism over bungie wings,80% 02,split fins etc..but those guys did a lot to expand the boundaries of diving while bringing back everyone alive.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #11
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

Tony,
Agreed. I think the proposed plan is very reasonable up to a certain depth. Bringing an unconscious diver from 100' to the surface in 3 minutes for the boat to begin assisting while you descend to complete your obligation is very reasonable. It doesn't seem so reasonable below 200' or with extended bottom times. Obviously, getting to the surface in 5 minutes or so isn't a problem, which will certainly increase your buddy's chance of survival...but your chance of being able to make it back down for your recompression isn't very likely...at least not with that much bottom time, or that much depth in the previous dive. Seems like you're taking too much risk to save someone that is likely dead anyway. Because remember, even if you can get back down to resume your obligation, your buddy can't...at least not soon enough to save him from a very bad bout of DCS.
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:07 PM   #12
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

I sure would of liked to have been there to listen and maybe ask a few questions. I don't do caves but have common intrests at those depths.
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:42 PM   #13
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

Sure it is,it is done thousands,maybe 10s of thousands of times a year by commercial divers.They routinely blow by the stops at 10 to 30fpm to get guys in a surface chamber.We would blow by the deco while trying to keep him from embolizing or taking in water and hand him off to the boat to IWR or start getting him CPR'd and possibly arrange evac via heli or fast boat.
Spearfishing exposures are jokes to actual commercial dives.Even mine and there very few spearfishermen that get within 1/2 what I do in a day on the break.I doubt the brief time above the ceiling would matter.

The ceiling in any case is only a best guess of a point where gasses will be at a tension sufficient to not cause DCS while allowing decompression.It;s not a death sentence nor even a guarantee of DCS.I've blown off deco and seen up to a 1/2 hour blown off when Mr hugeshark got overly friendly without symptoms.Particularly on modern computers where dives 2 and on in deep water are hugely penalized.

Also be aware they guys teach this as they have done it,not as they wish it was or believe it should be.They are protocols developed over years of pushing the very limits of human ability and tolerance where there were no tables and getting tweaked was a probability.Like was mentioned there recorded cases of buddies being saved at extreme depths.These protocols won't guarantee survival but the risk of minor DCS is paltry compared being the guy that left his buddy.

And these things should be discussed prior to diving.Who goes down with me is contingent on stuff like this.I'll take anybody I think suitable diving but only buddy up deep(200+) with guys who don't need to be taught how and why to do this shit.

But,yes he is likely dead,but just like the guy with a thigh or chest wound 100 miles in,you still bring him out and under fire if need be.That's what buddy means.
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:46 PM   #14
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

Moose,I've met some.Some were difficult to talk to but most have been pretty decent.I have a few buddies that do deep and long cave penetrations 300+ and 6 hours total time that think these guys are the real deal.They have made caving safer and pushed dive tables to new understanding.
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:49 PM   #15
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Re: Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) safety weekend

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I sure would of liked to have been there to listen and maybe ask a few questions. I don't do caves but have common intrests at those depths.
I don't cave dive either but one of my best friend/dive buddy is a GUE instructor and WKPP diver. That's how I was able to stick my nose in there. I can say from meeting most of the inner core that weekend, they are all real easy to speak to and extremely helpful. It is the fringe minions that can sometimes be problematic

If you have questions, pm me and I would be glad to give you a name or two that would answer questions.
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