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Diving Safety, Accidents and Incidents Post here to discuss accidents, incidents, ideas, gear, or anything else to improve spearfishing safety. Memorials and condolences threads should be placed in that separate forum.

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Old 05-07-2008, 08:56 PM   #16
FredT
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

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thanks, Do you use high volume bc like old scuba pro stab jacket or something? I don't normally have a lot of lift capacity in my bc.
I use as much as I can get on a single tank wing. Do a search for "bristle worm" and you'll find a post explaining why. I used both a bat-wing and a stab jacket before they wore out, about 15 years apart. The backplate/wing is a good approximation of the SP BCP bat-wing.

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Old 05-07-2008, 09:32 PM   #17
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

This is an EXTREMELY interesting thread guys. Still a bit confused about the terms, but interesting non the less. Lookin forward to reading more. Is it possible to get a few "pics"/layouts of a "typical" rig to get a bit of a visual idea of what some of these terms are referring too?
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:34 PM   #18
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

Fred, with all due respect, anyone going down into the bottom murk of an oil rig and examining mud mats is not going to spear anything worth a damn. This is confusing my thread and I'd rather you drop this.

Rid diving is not about examining the bottom of the Gulf, rig diving is an extreme sport focused on spearing fish, most all of the rig diving I've done stops 10-20' above the bottom.

Example; We were diving in Ship Shoal on a 3 day trip, 170' water. Stan comes up and tells us he saw a big grouper on the bottom in the murk. We were in blue water with a 20' murk on the bottom. Next rig we all went into that murk looking for big groupers. Not only could we have shot each other but Carl Lowe shoots a sheepshead on the bottom right next to where a pipe formed a little cave and out comes a 150 lb. sandtiger shark that instantly bites Carl on the leg. The shark had both of Carl's legs in his mouth at one time. The only reason the shark didn't get his leg is because Carl already had a steel plate in the first leg the shark was biting from a previous injury. Carl managed to beat the shark off his leg with the speargun. And from their we flew him out on a helicoptor.

I have a habit of being the first one down, there are rigs that I would never go down into the bottom murk because I've seen bull shark on the bottom well over 10' long. I've always watched them leave, none of the other divers ever see them.

In rig diving, unless the bottom is clear, you don't go there. The last place I want to die is on the bottom of a tangle mess with zero visability.
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:42 PM   #19
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

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thanks, Do you use high volume bc like old scuba pro stab jacket or something? I don't normally have a lot of lift capacity in my bc.
As long as I can remember, the LCUDC has a rule against the use of a BC to jack up a fish. I have very little to worry about since I can't jack up anything with my BC. I don't know what kind of volume it has but it sure fills slow. I'm planning on having it worked on before the HDR.

The reason; If you jack up a fish with your BC, and then your tip pulls out, you will maybe be in an uncontollable free ascent situation.

The reason the rule was made; At the time, most of the divers only used a backpack with no BC.

For safety reasons, if you're going to jack up a fish with your BC, make sure you are outside of the structure, and use moderation when doing so. Or know your gear. Better yet, learn to use those 2 long things on your feet.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:10 PM   #20
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Lightbulb Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

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The reason; If you jack up a fish with your BC, and then your tip pulls out, you will maybe be in an uncontollable free ascent situation.
Makes sense to me. The subject of this thread is very good Louis. I'd like to try rig diving some day. A friend of mine told me some fellas wear football helmets and shoulder pads for protection for when big fish pull them through the structure. I don't know if that is true.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:25 PM   #21
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

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Makes sense to me. The subject of this thread is very good Louis. I'd like to try rig diving some day. A friend of mine told me some fellas wear football helmets and shoulder pads for protection for when big fish pull them through the structure. I don't know if that is true.
Tony, in the days of the big jewfish, (I refuse to call them goliath groupers), YES, they did indeed wore football gear to harvest these fish. Fish at the oil rigs can pull you into the structure itself. Back then these fish were up to 600 lbs..

Barracuda are really bad for this with their explosive speed. When I see the barracuda I believe is a trophy. I tend to chase the fish as long as he stays in range, to the outside of the rig before I pull the trigger.

I've been pulled thru bell housings and other small gaps that if I missed the hole could have snapped off the yoke on my regulators first stage. If that ever happens, your air is ZERO. I've watched a diver drop his tank on the boat , regualtor attached and he broke the yoke off his tank. Imagine if that happens at 100'? Your tanks will not be connected to your reg anymore. You either make the free ascent or if you make the mistake to suck on the reg you may just suck saltwater. In this case; a good defense could be a pony bottle, but the reason I don't wear one is because that's one less peice of gear I have to worry about getting tangled on something in the rig.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:27 PM   #22
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

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Fred, with all due respect, anyone going down into the bottom murk of an oil rig and examining mud mats is not going to spear anything worth a damn. This is confusing my thread and I'd rather you drop this.

In rig diving, unless the bottom is clear, you don't go there. The last place I want to die is on the bottom of a tangle mess with zero visability.

Agreed, which is why I mentioned to stay out of it, and why. subject dropped.

I'll use a BC if the shaft is through skull, but not if it's though body meat.

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Old 05-07-2008, 11:31 PM   #23
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

Louis, visibility has to be a safety concern on those rigs. I watched the Sheri footage and some of Fishkillas footage. The viz seemed pretty good in those cases which would tend to make dealing with complex structure a bit easier. Can you express in percentages how often the viz on your rigs is below say 20 feet? Like, is it that bad or worse on 10% of the trips you take? Just curious, Tony
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:54 AM   #24
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

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Louis, visibility has to be a safety concern on those rigs. I watched the Sheri footage and some of Fishkillas footage. The viz seemed pretty good in those cases which would tend to make dealing with complex structure a bit easier. Can you express in percentages how often the viz on your rigs is below say 20 feet? Like, is it that bad or worse on 10% of the trips you take? Just curious, Tony
Lately, we use a service called Rip Charts, to tell us where the good water is. Back in the day when the only boats we had were POS's we couldn't get out very far and dove in dirty water alot more often.

The thing is, just as in the Lake, I've dove alot of these structures so many times that without good viz I still know what it's all about.

Rule of thumb; when the water looks dirty and alot of current on the surface, swim directly to the pipe on the surface and go down the pipe, at this time your gun should not be loaded and your tip should not be on your shaft. Hug the pipe till it breaks clear, then load and hunt. If it doesn't break clear and it only gets dark as night follow the pipe back to the surface.

CURRENT
I've never been washed out of a rig in my life, even though I had alot of close calls. If I see the crrent is really ripping, a good way to make it to the rig is to jump off the bow of the boat and when your falling to the water hook your arm over the rig rope. When you fall into the water the boat will move a little closer to the rig but then you'll be able to pull yourself to the rig. Once behind the pipe, your out of the current.

You just got to remember, when you hit the water it's all business, don't try to adjust your mask or fins at that time. You were supposed to do that on the boat.


SPEARGUNS

On the crewboats with 10 Hell Divers diving off at one time, we always loaded in the water but not until we cleared the dirtly layer up top. Then on the way back to the boat, unloaded before we entered the top murk, with the tip off.

I wasn't going to get on the speargun subject because if you shoot someone, you probably won't kill them, but you will sure lose alot of friends that way. My roomate in the Hell Divers Lodge got shot twice, by the same person.
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Last edited by Louis Rossignol; 05-08-2008 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:39 AM   #25
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

So Tony, since you asked about dirty water rigs, let me tell you about clean water rigs.

There are 3 rigs around the mouth of the river that I consider the most dangerous rigs in the Gulf. These 3 rigs have either killed or injured more divers than probably any others.

WD-152, MC-268, MC-311

They are situated relatively close together so in a day of diving that area you will most likely hit all 3 of them. These 3 rigs sit in 375', 325', 400'. They may have a dirty layer but alot of times don't. When these rigs are cobalt blue, they are the most dangerous. I've never heard of anyone going too deep in dirty water. But in blue water it's a different story.

I've dove these rigs enough to know the pipe structure and what depths the decks are at. But still you never know what you will encounter on these 3 rigs. They have been notoriously know for big warsaws. The only problem is what depth will you run into that big fish. I guarantee you, it won't be above 220'.

If you are not experienced enough your best bet is to just avoid the area till you get experience. I've had close calls there as late as last year. Wil had a close call there just last week.

Most divers will deffinately get narced out. I haven't been narced in a while but if you can hear your heart thumping in your ears, you're narced. The only way to stop it is to go up.

Terry made a rescue dive on that rig several years ago, he didn't catch the narced out diver till they got to almost 300'. At which point the divers regulator fell out of his mouth. Terry ditched his speargun and put the regulator back in the divers mouth and dragged him up. After a certain depth the diver thought Terry was trying to kill him. The diver rushed to the surface screaming and Terry grabbed him by the fins and drug him back down to 20' to decompress. Neither diver got bent but they found out the one divers depth guage wouldn't read any deeper than 160'.

Gear Problems, definate death if you don't know what to do.
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:25 AM   #26
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

Jacket fabrication and installation pics, with a few shots of floating rigs.

http://www.coleshairston.com/index.p...3&p=0&a=0&at=0


http://www.inthegulf.com/video/divin...video_mp3.html


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Old 05-08-2008, 12:13 PM   #27
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

Pieces of the rig, tools, walkways, whatever can fall and do serious damage.

If your buddy is below you, be careful not to knock anything loose.

I know an old diver that had a 100# metal grate fall on him. Hooked his regulator behind his head and he couldn't shake it loose. By the time he ditched his gear, he was doing a free acent from 160' with nothing but his mask, fins, and shorts on. Lucky to be alive today.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:25 PM   #28
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

Fred, thanks for the pics.

Southern Cross, that is CRAZY. You say lucky guy so I assume he survived?

You guys are intense...that's all i have to say. What types of gear are you guys diving to do those dives? Steel tanks? doubles? This is all really interesting, and damn impressive.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:38 PM   #29
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

I prefer steel singles in the ~100 SCF range to minimize total weight on the boat, but I've done lots of dives with old 72s, up to 3 drops per tank with 72s, 4 or more with 100s

Lots of rig divers use Al80s, I've never seen a double out there but assume someone has tried it. Remember most rig drops are quick trips.

Single reg, no octo, minimal "danglies." Entanglements suck so if I don't need it it stays at home. Generally I have a spare everything on the boat.

5' Lift bag and PLB tucked under the backplate are standard on all dives though.

Preferred mix is either air or 26% nitrox if the rigs actually have a floor.


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Old 05-08-2008, 01:16 PM   #30
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Re: 100 Ways for a Rig Diver to Die

Gear Problems

When you're diving under an oil rig and you have a gear problem blasting to the surface may not be so easy. There are pipes above your head, and maybe 10-30' of dirty water on the surface.

Here is another near death instance for me. I was only 20' deep. Conditions were 10' of total chocolate milk on the surface, with cobalt blue underneath. I was hunting mangroves and took a shot on a nice one. When I shot, the gun recoiled into my mouth and my second stage that had just gotten rebuilt by some dos gris working at a dive shop.

The exhaust diaphram totally popped out of the regulator and my next breath was pure saltwater. I tried to rush to the surface but my tank got hung up on something in the dirty water. At one point I could feel the air above the surface but couldn't get my head above it.

Then it struck me, hold the purge valve, I did and was able to breath the bubbles. Afterwards, I got on the rig, coughed up a bunch of water, felt really unsure if I was gonna keep diving but did anyway. I don't think I swam inside the rig for about the next month, just hunted the open water outside the rigs.

Good thing I learned that little trick because the same thing happened again to me about 3 weeks later, this time the diaphram just folded over and after hitting the purge it corrected the problem.

Since then, I've learned to stay at the bottom of my hot tub for however long I want. Just breath the bubbles.
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