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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 09-26-2016, 02:16 PM   #1
blondski135
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Are safety courses for Spearfishing/free-diving necessary?

Dont get me wrong im not one to completely ignore safety and concerns for safety. I am totally new to speardiving but am a PADI certified SCUBA diver. open water cert.

I am wanting to get into spearfishing and have done alot of reading and watching of informational videos. Some made me scared to try diving and others made it seems relatively safe.

Would you recommend a type of safety class? why?

Have you ever dove as a complete beginner? and what recommendations or tips can u give a complete beginner?

thanks in advance!

Eli
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Old 09-27-2016, 06:18 AM   #2
Chuuken
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Re: Are safety courses for Spearfishing/free-diving necessary?

necessary? No. I'd hazard to guess that most spearos start out with a learn by doing approach.

But then, most people who are brand new don't dive deep or long and probably don't know safety classes exist. Taking a course from a good instructor is a quick way to climb the learning curve and put the dangers in perspective. (If you have to worry, it's good to worry about the things that are worth worrying about).

If you want to start without a class, try to dive with a buddy and come up when you feel like you need to breath. Every time.

When you can take a class, take a class. It's especially valuable for a beginner, because it will basically give you years worth of knowledge over the course of a couple days. You could be flipping around, doing a mediocre job for 3 or 4 years before you put together most of the stuff you get in a class on your own. PLUS, some of the safety stuff is not intuitive. The information you get from the class lets you make a more informed set of safety decisions when you dive.

So get wet and try to stick some fish, either way, but take a class when you can, it's worth it.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:52 AM   #3
CuzzA
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Re: Are safety courses for Spearfishing/free-diving necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blondski135 View Post
Dont get me wrong im not one to completely ignore safety and concerns for safety. I am totally new to speardiving but am a PADI certified SCUBA diver. open water cert.

I am wanting to get into spearfishing and have done alot of reading and watching of informational videos. Some made me scared to try diving and others made it seems relatively safe.

Would you recommend a type of safety class? why?

Have you ever dove as a complete beginner? and what recommendations or tips can u give a complete beginner?

thanks in advance!

Eli
If you're looking to take a class on how to be a safe spearfisherman I don't think you will find any. At least I'm not aware of any safety specific spearfishing courses. The rules are pretty simple, don't kill yourself and don't kill anyone else.

Nevertheless, you didn't mention how long you've been diving or what your experience level is. If you're spearing on scuba you have to understand that it's pretty much a solo diving deal. Maybe you can form a buddy team, but for the most part you will find that most everyone dives solo. There's no buddy to bail you out if you get in trouble. You need to do it all on your own and have the mindset to handle any situation. Panic kills.

So, you've got a couple options or both. Get experience with those with experience. You'll learn much more diving with people who have done this for years. And/or you could take the solo diver course where a good instructor will beat self reliance into you. For example, redundant gas supply, diving without a mask, handling equipment failures, etc.

At the end of the day you have to be a good diver to be a good spearfisherman. Diving comes first.

IME, the two things that probably scare new spearfisherman the most is when they get complacent about navigation and surface too far from the boat and big sharks. Unfortunately I had both happen to me on the same dive when I started out. I didn't panic, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned. I quickly corrected this and now even in low viz I'm able to swim out and usually come right back up where I dropped in. Sharks are sharks. You need to be the big dog on the reef and also realize that you're NOT the big dog on the reef. When you enter the water, you are now entering the food chain.

I can't speak to freediving, but it's my understanding you should be buddy diving. No if's, and's or but's. Don't push limits. There's no fish worth dying for.

I hope this helps. Good luck. Spearfishing is a lot of fun with the right people.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:35 AM   #4
StukNotAnchored
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Re: Are safety courses for Spearfishing/free-diving necessary?

If you are scuba, most people do not know that PADI has an "underwater hunter" certification. They do not advertise it even on their website, but Eric Billips at the Islamorada Dive Center wrote the textbook they use. Like any other PADI course it provides you with the basics.

Beyond that, just go slow and learn as you go. I know of no specific "safety" training. Rescue Diving courses help you with what you need to assist others, but not how to be safe yourself. That latter part should be intuitive to some degree.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:59 AM   #5
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Re: Are safety courses for Spearfishing/free-diving necessary?

Regarding spearguns, don't load a speargun out of the water and don't transport loaded spearguns. Only load them in the water, keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times (especially when loading or entering and exiting the water) and always treat your speargun like a loaded weapon, this reinforces the discipline of following the rules mentioned above. Maintain your gear; if your bands and shooting line are looking ratty it is time to replace them, rinse your mechs clean with fresh water after every trip to flush out salt and sand.

In the water, if you run into a problem while submerged don't try to be Aquaman. Ditch your gear and surface, then re-assess your situation. Gear is always expendable, dive with a buddy one-up-one-down and be safe.
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:27 AM   #6
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Re: Are safety courses for Spearfishing/free-diving necessary?

I would never dive with a buddy if I wasn't comfortable he could bring me back. The FII courses, etc, are a good start. Beyond that, BLS provides a good breadth of basic skills that are very helpful if you're really willing to pay attention and learn. ACLS isn't very applicable in a freedive scenario, in my opinion, but certainly helps improve your resuscitation skills.
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Old 09-27-2016, 03:29 PM   #7
quatin
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Re: Are safety courses for Spearfishing/free-diving necessary?

This was my situation 2 years ago. PADI OW certified, dove for 2 years while mainly lobster hunting while dabbling with spearfishing. Finally realized that freediving is a far more efficient method for spearfishing.

I bought some basic gear and did some research online. I watched a lot of videos and read up on a lot of techniques. As a total newbie, there's almost too much information out there, which makes it confusing and quite often contradictory to each other. I finally decided to pony the money for FII level 1. I didn't learn many new things, but the class cleared up a lot of the information. It also helped me define my technique and gave me the confidence to continue training those techniques, knowing that they are correct and safe. I would recommend you take the class. Gear comes and go, but knowledge stays with you forever.
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:03 PM   #8
Shorediver
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Re: Are safety courses for Spearfishing/free-diving necessary?

Never did a freediving course in the +10 years I have been spearfishing and I have done plenty of deep dives safely.I personally know several people who have freedived deeper than me and they also haven't taken a freediving course either. Common sense goes a long way in this sport and it's hard to teach that in a class.
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