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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 09-16-2011, 03:53 PM   #16
FISHKILL
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

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Originally Posted by Keysdivers View Post
Don't know much about freedivers, but scuba spearos usually dive solo. Just because there are more than one diver on the boat does not constitute "buddy diving". We very seldom see the other guys/girls once we hit the water.
Ditto. Solo diving is not the no-no it once was, and it is normal for scuba spearos to be alone. Even if another diver is in the water, they are not practicing the "buddy" system. I notice you said you had recently picked up spearing. Solo diving is not an option until you are intimately familiar with all of your gear, are very comfortable, and have developed the skills you need to be self sufficient in the water. You need to know what you will do if something happens, and if on scuba a secondary air supply is a must.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:10 PM   #17
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

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Ditto. Solo diving is not the no-no it once was, and it is normal for scuba spearos to be alone. Even if another diver is in the water, they are not practicing the "buddy" system. I notice you said you had recently picked up spearing. Solo diving is not an option until you are intimately familiar with all of your gear, are very comfortable, and have developed the skills you need to be self sufficient in the water. You need to know what you will do if something happens, and if on scuba a secondary air supply is a must.
Clearly the guy is talking about freediving solo. Scuba diving solo is very different than freediving solo because the scuba diver can EASILY make equipment modifications that provide a level of redundancy that can significantly reduce the need for assistance from a buddy. There is no comparable, equipment modification a solo freediver can make other than possibly buying the freedive recovery vest.
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:33 AM   #18
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

I would recommend to never dive solo again. Even the most experienced divers in the world are subject to blackouts and since we're on the topic I'd like to share a short story about myself.
I've been freediving for over 18 years now and never experienced a shallow water blackout until a few years ago. Three years ago, Memorial weekend 2008, I was at Ginnie Springs (North Florida) diving with a couple buddies who were joining the United States Navy to become Navy SEALS (candidates). There were four of us, each descending into the cave sometimes in groups of two and other times alone. All of us were pushing ourselves to our limits trying to outdo one another to see who could dive into the cave the longest and farthest. It's what SEALS do, right? Be the "best of the best." Within the last couple years, I was striving to increase my bottom time pushing myself beyond my limits. I was up to a 3:15 bottom time, so I was feeling really good about myself and deep down inside I knew I had these guys beat. I think that's when I made my mistake. I thought I knew my limits, but apparently I didn't know my own limitations. The four of us were diligently gathered on the surface inhaling as much air as one could fathom. We all descended into the cave at once seeing who could reach the gate at the "end" of the cave. As I entered the main cavern, I found myself looking over the first ledge within seconds. At this ledge is a main rope permanently affixed to a large rock, which descends into the abyss as natural light fades away. I proceeded to follow this rope which seemed like eternity to a wall where it was attached to the limestone. Once I got here, I turned around to see who was still with me. No one. I was all alone, with the exception of two scuba divers who were providing some light with their dive lights near the gate. At this point, I was so close to the gate and I thought, "There's no turning around now, I've made it this far. What's another 45ft?" So I proceeded towards the gate where I met the two divers and let me tell you what. When they turned around and saw me down there without gear, the look on their faces was priceless! They gave me a "what the hell look" and a quick thumbs up and were kind enough to offer me air. I was quick to turn it down because in the end I was only cheating myself and this was something I had been wanting to accomplish for some time. After my brief encounter with the divers, I rushed back up to the surface struggling to gain every breath of fresh air and that's when everything happened. Right before I broke the surface everything faded away. My momentum carried my lifeless body to the surface. My friends saw me break the surface, but failed to recognize my body had become limp. After a few seconds of being unconscious, I miraculously regained consciousness somehow and something as simple as kicking to stay afloat turned into the most difficult task. I had no recollection of the moments prior, but only to be rudely awakened with water in my lungs coughing and struggling to stay afloat on the surface. Everything seemed like one giant blur and I didn't realize what had happened until moments later when everything was finally settling in.
So, please learn from my experience and use a dive buddy. If you are diving with a buddy, make sure that person watches you like a hawk because it can happen without notice. I didn't feel any affects prior to my blackout. It happened instantaneously.
I'm not sure if any of you have seen Kyle Hart's video on youtube, but it's a great documentary about his experience and almost fate from SWB.
Kyle Hart's Freediving Blackout - YouTube
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:29 AM   #19
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

I dove alone for the same reason you list but I can tell you that it is an excuse, not a reason. Once I put in a concerted effort, joined the local club, joined this site, made some good freediving friends who I talk with regularly and planned well ahead...everything changed.
Always use proper dive methods (no snorkel in mouth ever!), have every dive observed by a buddy who understands how to save you, etc. Try to take a class if you haven't. I freedove for many years before taking a class but it was well worth it.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:46 AM   #20
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

@navydiver82;

Glad you were here to post this! Welcome back? Scary assed video for sure. Played the next one in line, some chick with a boat, crew and multiple divers with her and she was still almost toast! No testosterone/endorphin thing goin' on there, just a blackout. Maybe, just maybe some of these guys will not dive solo, though there will still be those 'accidents' and loses. Sad.

And to all those who read my post on the insurance gig, my humble apologies. There is nothing funny about this at all. I will reiterate, diving alone DOES NOT increase the chances of something going wrong, it only ELIMINATES someone there to help you when it does.

Fair winds and lots o' bubbles!
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:20 AM   #21
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

hi , i m not the best to give you answers but i ll try ,
1. you need a good mask
2. a comfotable diving suit for the climate area you dive ,with the apropriate mm
3. a snorkel ( trust me with out it your free diving search from the surface can be very hard - i learn the hard way-)
4. a spear gun (you can select it by the place you aim to dive and by the fishes you are going to hunt
5. four differrent kinds of heads -edges- for the spear gun so you can use the apropriate for each fish
6. fins there are many kinds you can buy fins specialy made for free dive or fins wich are softer in use but not giving big speed
7 a net for your hunting or
a nail carrier (a stainless steel nail with a small hole in the middle , from that hole pass a small line , -every time you get a fish you pass that nail through the eyes of the fish and when finnish you do the opposite do take them off -which on the other site has a shuckle tided on you and is better for medium fish to big or
a floating surface basket with diving flug attached where you can put anything you want to carry with you including fish you catchthis basket is tided with line on the hand that you dont use for the speargun
8. weights for making the diving easier (leaving the surface easier) but just as much as you need to leave the surface easy (as greendiver said also) , not more because swimming and diving can get very hard (the deeper you go the fewer you need) weights needs may vary according the dive suit you were
9. a good buddy
10 and finally good condition and practice

Last edited by Nate Baker; 09-29-2011 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:18 AM   #22
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

Take the free diving class! Your life is worth every penny!
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:37 AM   #23
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

My advice for diving alone:

1) As you are already doing, allow a surface interval at least double your bottom time.
2) Dive well within your "max" limits of breathhold and depth.
3) DO NOT overweight. This means neutral bouyancy at 33 ft. In my PFI clas in Kona a couple years ago, every diver without exception started the class out overweighted.
4) Invest in a freediving class, if for no other reason than what you will learn as regards safety and minimizing risk.
5) Save deep diving and pushing limits for when you ARE able to dive with others of at least equal skill, that have been properly trained and are willing to dive one up, one down. That was one of the best things about taking the PFI class was the ability to safely push limits to the max and knowing you are in good hands.
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:58 PM   #24
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

+1 on the above advice, but I will add, look into getting a FRV. Terry Maas gave us the opportunity to try them out, and they work well. they are a little on the pricey side, but it will save your life in the case of an SWB.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:06 PM   #25
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

Being weighted for freedive spearfishing and freediving is different. Freediving uses less weight.

Diving within your honest limit will save you more than a buddy.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:48 PM   #26
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

I have been diving alone 9O% of the time for the past 2O years.

Most of the diving I do is Aspetto Shore diving.. sleeping on the reef in 3Oft or less of water waiting for snapper. If there is a buddy within a 5Oft radius above you.. the Snapper do not show up..

The other 1O% of the time, when I have a buddy and we know are are diving deeper and in currents, I still expect that I'm alone. If I know that I'm going to make a particularly deep dive, or stay down longer, I will actively grab my partner by the shoulder and let them know that I'm doing this, and that my floatline is attached to my belt.. since I'm using a Big Reel.

I don't push it. I'm not making 3-4 minute stays.. rather 2 mins, and if the fish shows up, great. if not.. still good. The best advice I could give, having lost many friends to SWB, is not to get fixated on a goal.. ie a fish, a time, a depth. Each day your body is different. Dive well within your limits.

Deeper diving, ie anything over 5Oft, can be very dangerous. Don't over weight. Buddy up.. But, really, a buddy is only going to help you if they are completely vigilant. Don't push your limits thinking your buddy is watching.. he might not be. If you need to make a particularly taxing dive, ie to retrieve a fish, etc. tie a floatline to your belt and use a reel.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:43 PM   #27
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

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Deeper diving, ie anything over 5Oft, can be very dangerous.
I think everyone's spearfishing true comfort zone is different so there really isn't an exact number at what depth is dangerous.

Sometimes the viz is very poor and it is hard for your buddy to watch you even if he is trying. I think having the discipline to dive very conservatively is key. If a fish is holed up, I make sure my buddy is watching me.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:31 PM   #28
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

I limit myself to 20ft and have a lifeguard rescue can with flag attached to my belt when I go alone. I do need to start taking the snorkel out of my mouth though
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:38 PM   #29
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

Maybe this is a dumb question but why is it important to take the snorkel out of your mouth when you dive? I usually do but I just do it to avoid scaring fish with bubbles.
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:16 PM   #30
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

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Maybe this is a dumb question but why is it important to take the snorkel out of your mouth when you dive? I usually do but I just do it to avoid scaring fish with bubbles.
If a SWB occurs the snorkel in your mouth allows water to enter your lungs.
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