Risks of solo diving

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on September 06, 2000 at 10:51:35:

I took the liberty of moving this up higher on the list because at this point it's so far down people may start to miss the responses and it's an issue that merits further discussion and examination.

(Terry May posted, much lower down) Point of question to Ken's KSDA death (was it KSDA?); the diver didn't have the heart attack until he was on the surface and at the boat in mostly full view of the
DM, crew and others on deck. If there was a chance he could of survived the attack and it happened underwater when diving solo, would he or would he not of have a better chance of survival if he were diving with a buddy? Add to the equation the possibility he could have become unconscience.

I don't think anyone is questioning that your chances of survival, especially if you go unconscious, are infinitely more remote when solo diving than if you had a buddy around. Even a totally incompetent buddy might be able to ditch your weights and inflate your BC and shoot you to the surface where further assistence and a better shot at survival would be available. No question or debate on that (at least, not from me).

But the reason I posted the above scenario is that you made a statement in this same thread where you said that diving with a buddy would increase your chances of survival . . . regardless of the nature of the problem.

It's the second half of that statement I take issue with. It almost makes it sound like (and I think I know you well enough to know this wasn't your intent) that buddy diving is a panacea that will provide a solution for all life-threatening diving problems. And I used the heart-attack-within-reach-of-many-people as an example that the nature of the problem DOES matter and just because there's help readily available doesn't insure a positive outcome.

Buddy diving doesn't make you bullet-proof. Solo diving isn't suicide. Like in life, in diving there are no guarantees and few absolutes (except maybe for don't hold your breath while ascending).

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, Ca.

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