Minor niggles and kit issues we can all learn from

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Mandy Knott
Welfare Officer
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Minor niggles and kit issues we can all learn from

Post by Mandy Knott »

At last Monday's committee meeting there was a bit of discussion about minor things that have gone wrong for people and whether we could share some stories to help one another avoid them in the future. So I'm going to kick this off with a couple of anecdotes of things that happened to me in my early diving days, both buoyancy control related.

DRYSUIT CUFF DUMP BLOCKED WITH TALC

My membrane drsusit had a cuff dump rather than shoulder dump which I actually like. I had latex wrist seals and used talc to lubricate to get into it. On one dive I just couldn't dump any air from the suit no matter what I did. Fortunately I was only at a shallow depth and did all the things I'd be trained to do - breath out, dump all air from BCD and I think I managed to hold on to something to stop me going straight to the surface.

Once back on safe dry land I was shown how to unscrew the cuff dump and clean it. For anyone who doesn't yet know there's a rubber diaphragm in it that can easily be gently prised out and cleaned. This does need checking regularly as it can get perforated over time. Cheap thing to replace.

I've tried to find something online to show you but I think it's so easy and straight forward (hence my ability to do it!!) that there's nothing there!


UNABLE TO CONTROL BUOYANCY AT AROUND 17m ABOVE A WRECK

I was diving on a small wreck out of north Wales. The skipper put all 12 divers in at the same time. At one point while mouching around the deck of the wreck I started to start rising up. I dumped air out of my drysuit but carried on rising. I realised that there were quite a few divers below me all checking out something on the wreck and I believe I was trapped in a stream of their air bubbles that was pushing me up. I swam perpendicular out of the bubble stream and immediately regained control of my buoyancy.

I hope these tips might help others. I'd be really interested to read other peoples' experiences as for me that's one of the benefits of being in a club - learning from one another.

Here's to a great year of plentiful safe diving :) :)
Neil Radcliffe
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Re: Minor niggles and kit issues we can all learn from

Post by Neil Radcliffe »

Good one Mandy, and I've definitely been there with the bubbles issue.

Two quick thoughts from me:

When on a surface interval or similar, try and avoid putting mobile phones and wallets in your drysuit pockets - most experienced divers will probably know at least one person who has inadvertently taken their phone diving. My own experience was losing a couple of loose banknotes, which went missing after I left the zip open.

RAF pilots have a 'failure of the day' - a randomly chosen topic which they then discuss and rehearse as part of any pre-flight briefing. That has always struck me as good practice, and it's something I try and replicate e.g. when sharing a lift to a dive site. Stuff like "what to do if you find your suit inflate has stopped working".
Anna Heyes
Committee Member
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Re: Minor niggles and kit issues we can all learn from

Post by Anna Heyes »

That bubbles one is such a useful thing to know, Mand, thank you. As a newbie, it's not something that I would have automatically considered given the same situation. :)
Geoff Roberts
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Re: Minor niggles and kit issues we can all learn from

Post by Geoff Roberts »

Another cuff dump story. On a technical dive to 80 metres we couldn’t get back to the shot line so we had to do an open water ascent. I deployed my dsmb at about 40 to 50 metres on the ascent. We had about an hour’s deco to do with an ascent with several stops. Reeling in the line meant that air from my cuff dump kept venting and by the time I got to six metres I’d emptied my suit bottle. Plugged my suit into a bailout bottle. Got rid of my cuff dump now mainly be it can’t be turned off. Realised afterwards that it just gets in the way.
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