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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 06-21-2012, 09:37 PM   #61
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Re: Advise on spearfishing alone

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Originally Posted by dakamaainahaole View Post
Soooo.... after descending, it IS good practice to take the snorkel out? could you explain why??? mahaloz for the information.
If you have an SWB with a snorkel in your mouth, it is a direct line to your lungs for water. With it out, your mouth is closed. Make sense? One of these other guys could probably explain it better. Hahaha
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:55 AM   #62
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

I was under the impression that the reflex that stopped you from breathing when your face was immersed in cold water involves the muscles in your throat, not clamping your mouth shut. Otherwise, diving with a snorkle in place would be a constant battle to keep water out of your lungs. Yes, it gets in your mouth. I feel like I spend a fair amount of time with some water in my mouth. I am just skeptical that water would not find it's way into my mouth if I blacked out without a snork. You could argue that sets you up to inhale water if you "wake up" from an SWB. I think you're gonna get some water on board regardless of snork use, unless you wake up on a boat.

Am I talking out of my ass? Sure! I have not blacked out before, nor have I had to rescue a diver. Thank God for that.

To contribute to the other part of the discussion, I learned to spear in a little lake in rural Zambia. I was in the Peace Corps at the time, and the time I spent in the water is one of my best memories of my time there. The lake was unique in that the water was extremely clear for freshwater, there were no critters like hippos or crocs to worry about, and there was "no bottom". (95m deep as measured from a line dropped straight down the shore wall.)
I agree that a dive buddy is the number 1 best safety measure. Where I was, adults do NOT swim, and even if they did, everyone thought the lake was cursed. So, no chance for a dive buddy. That's probably why my spearing method is very surface oriented. I basically look for structure less than 30ft. (honestly, 25' is probably where my brain starts ringing alarm bells. I'm a weenie). I dive on a side where there aren't any fish, and I try to drift around it to hit what's in the shadow. If there's nothing there, I surface and move on. My bottom times and depths make me a very unlikely candidate for SWB, but I know there are other things that can go wrong.

I'd like to try luking in wait of fish, but I'd want a class first, for comforts sake. When I have money and time, FII is on my radar.

If I have a point, I suppose it's to support the idea that for alot of people diving alone is unavoidable unless you want to dive seldom or never. I think adjusting your methods is a reasonable compromise between "all" or "nothing".

I have a new set of reasons to want a dive budy now. I'm all set to get in the water on a big freshwater lake, (St Clair, Michigan), but this lake is full of boaters and hook and liners. I'm glad I DO have a dive partner to call on now, because whoever is up will have double duty: Watch the diver down, warn off people who think a dive flag is a nav aide and provide support if a hooker wants to give me his opinion on spearing.

Of course, I have to get cleared medically first. (unrelated wound.)

Stay well.
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:46 PM   #63
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

My understanding of taking the snorkel out of your mouth when diving is that it's actually the purge at the surface when you are done with your dive that can increase the likeliness of SWB or Samba. The sudden violent emptying of the lungs can cause a drop in both blood pressure and oxygenation that can put someone over the edge. The goal is to take a deep controlled breath at the surface which typically means letting a controlled exhale out right before surfacing.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:07 PM   #64
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

It's absolutely not OK. It's also not OK to play Russian roulette. You black out alone and you're dead.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:16 AM   #65
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

I have been involved with dozens of BO's. Everyone of them had closed mouths because of their no snorkel in mouth dive training. After several minutes of laryngospasm the midbrain reflexively tells you to take an agonal respiration in a final survival attempt. This is when you flood your lungs. An unconscious diver with a snorkel (water funnel) risks loosing those precious 2-3 minutes of dry lungs. The snorkel purge would contribute to a blackout as well. This causes decreased venous return and an accelerated drop in the already low percent of oxygen in the lungs and blood, a slight decrease in cardiac filling and decreased cardiac output. That is why we hook breath upon surfacing, a technique borrowed from high G turn tolerance (pilots)

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Old 08-09-2012, 04:53 PM   #66
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

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Ive owned the frv and have used it extensively over the last 8 months. One of the things that is left out of the conversation on the vest is that you preset when it's going to take you to the surface BEFORE you make your dives for the day. So, this takes out of the equation seeing that hogfish when you are at your limit and pushing to get it. If you do your going to pay the price of the vest inflating. As users know its a drag when you have to get out of the water re-pack the vest and repressure the bottle. It makes you stick to your predetermined dive times regardless of the size of the fish you see. Happened to me over the weekend I only want to be down a minute so i set the frv to 1:10(little bit if wiggle room) got caught up chasing something and then comes the sound you hate to hear the rush of air inflating the vest. Most freedive spearfishermman I have met are type a competitive people and the vest keeps us in check. Not to sound like a commercial for the vest but if you feel you have to dive alone get the vest.
this may be a dumb observation/question on my part, but I gotta ask if only to satisfy my own gnawing ignorance. I strictly freedive, and quite honestly and am not comfortable with diving anymore than 20 - 25 ft and mostly working the rocks somewhere. I've never spearfished alone, and have been lucky once for it, but my question is this: If you're wearing the FRV, and are alone, and you float to the surface after you experience SWB hypothetically, what then if there's no one around to see what's going on? Are you just floating on the surface in your FRV, still in a blacked-out state? Granted, you're no longer underwater, but if you're still out like like a broken light....I don't know, just saying man.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:59 PM   #67
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

I guess to add to that, it's preferable IMHO to have a buddy on tap if you were to float up in your FRV than not and it's better than nothing at all. But if you don't have a buddy there, and there's still water in your lungs while you're floating on the surface, then that's probably not good no matter what. You could hope there were people nearby on a boat or something who would see you in short order, but am I missing something here or reading to deep into this in my logic?

I suppose the FRV as opposed to no FRV is better than nothing and give you an edge though. I do plan to invest in one at some point regardless.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:18 PM   #68
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

First of all, its highly unlikely that you'll have water in your lungs unless you set the time trigger at some ridiculous time way in excess of your normal dive time. When you black out, your throat spasms and prevents you from breathing water.

So you will probably be on your back on the surface. Then after some time passes, if you haven't started breathing, the throat opens and you gasp for air. At that point, its better to gasp air than water.

And as you said, maybe a buddy or a boater will see you, and they wouldn't have seen you if you were underwater.

And if nothing else, its easy to recover your body. That may seem trivial, but it beats having an unsuccessful search and telling your loved ones that you're out there somewhere.

I have just one personal experience with this sort of thing, but its dramatic what a difference a vest would have made. The third diver and I were picked up by the Mexican driving the panga and headed over to the other guy's Riffe float. By the time we got to it, it was obvious he couldn't have held his breath that long. We jumped in to look for him, and saw him on the bottom at 90 feet, but that was only possible because of the exceptional vis.

When we got him in the panga, his lungs were definitely full of water. Bloody water and foam came out of his mouth and nose with every compression. He was dead.

If he had been wearing a FRV, then when we headed over to his float, he would have been floating on his back next to it.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:31 PM   #69
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

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First of all, its highly unlikely that you'll have water in your lungs unless you set the time trigger at some ridiculous time way in excess of your normal dive time. When you black out, your throat spasms and prevents you from breathing water.

So you will probably be on your back on the surface. Then after some time passes, if you haven't started breathing, the throat opens and you gasp for air. At that point, its better to gasp air than water.

And as you said, maybe a buddy or a boater will see you, and they wouldn't have seen you if you were underwater.

And if nothing else, its easy to recover your body. That may seem trivial, but it beats having an unsuccessful search and telling your loved ones that you're out there somewhere.

I have just one personal experience with this sort of thing, but its dramatic what a difference a vest would have made. The third diver and I were picked up by the Mexican driving the panga and headed over to the other guy's Riffe float. By the time we got to it, it was obvious he couldn't have held his breath that long. We jumped in to look for him, and saw him on the bottom at 90 feet, but that was only possible because of the exceptional vis.

When we got him in the panga, his lungs were definitely full of water. Bloody water and foam came out of his mouth and nose with every compression. He was dead.

If he had been wearing a FRV, then when we headed over to his float, he would have been floating on his back next to it.
Understood now Bill, thanks for taking the time to explain. I wasn't sure how the FRV actually worked in this regard in relation to how the body functions in the water.

Sorry about the third diver. RIP. I think I'll get that FRV sooner than later at this point.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:42 PM   #70
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

It's a bit pricey for me right now (looking at the oceanicss website), but at some point in the nearer future!
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:45 PM   #71
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

Best piece of advice, DONT DIVE ALONE.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:00 PM   #72
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

I haven't so far and don't think I ever will.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:24 PM   #73
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

Ok. In my opinion EVERYONE is RIGHT and EVERYONE is wrong. We all are!

Having said that and back to the original question and point:

Advice on Spearfishing alone = The best advice is to not do it, Dont spearfish alone!
Now, reality is different than theory, so you are saying that your are going to spearfish alone and want some advice... then i think the next best advice is to get some lessons, FII, AIDA or whatever, so that you can understand and experience your body, learn the safety, theory and ultimately respect more what you are about to do.
Next advice = Make peace with your life, because like everything else including just living, you could well be just about to die! But it kind of makes sense that you understand that like solo climbers, you are cutting your safety rope, which is fine, and you can do it, and maybe something happens and you make it, but be CONSCIOUS of what it means to dive alone.

And everyone has already said lots of good things, but this i feel adds a bit more: Dive light (not heavy), Dont push your limits, dont even go past your comfort zone (if you dont know what that is for you, more to the take a lesson advice). Leran when not to make a shot, when to loos a shaft and when to loose a fish and enjoy!
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:45 PM   #74
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

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Best piece of advice, DONT DIVE ALONE.
better advice, DONT DIVE stupid ALONE.



trick question. how many swb divers are found with their $30 weight belt?
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:57 PM   #75
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Re: Advice on spearfishing alone

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better advice, DONT DIVE stupid ALONE.



trick question. how many swb divers are found with their $30 weight belt?
The ones who are lucky enough to be revived say that they don't recall getting a warning. I've speculated that they did have a warning, but can't remember it because their short term memory band dumped when they blacked out, but of course there is no way to know.

But does it really matter? If guy are found with their weight belts on, then they aren't dumping them, and FRV could have saved them, no matter why they didn't dump it.
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