Solo/buddy/buddy seperation

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on September 25, 2000 at 23:46:44:

Rather than keep hashing this out here, I decided to call Karl Huggins, Director of the Catalina Chamber, and ask him what his perceptions were on this issue.

Karl's perception is that the categories are buddy diving, solo diving, or buddy seperation. Karl clarified that buddy seperation is usually accidental or unplanned. (Karl also says that when two people jump off the boat together, and then deliberately seperate, it would fall under the solo category.)

Karl has just returned from a UHMS conference where they discussed diving fataltieis. Karl's recollection of the DAN data presented at the conference was that was buddy seperation represented a significant percentage of the fatalties (20-30%).

The speculation is that when you get seperated from your buddy and you're not prepared (mentally) to be alone, your anxiety level builds and could either cause a problem to occur that might have otherwise not occurred, or the anxiety may exacerbate a problem that you or a buddy could have dealt with successfully as a team.

And remember that NONE of this implies that solo diving is dangerous or that buddy didivg is safe since we may know the numerator (raw number) but we don't know the denominator (total number of dives) to calculate the relative risks.

For instance, you could have 5 solo deaths and 50 buddy deaths and you'd think buddy diving was more dangerous. But if the solo deaths were 5 out of 1000 dives, and the buddy deaths were 50 out of 1,000,000 dives, the solo rate would be 5 deaths per thousand, while the buddy rate would be 0.05 deaths per thousand, making the relative risks of solo diving 100 greater than that of buddy diving. (REMEMBER - I'M MAKING THESE NUMBERS UP JUST FOR AN EXAMPLE.)

Anyhow, what the conversation with Karl seems to point out to me, is that what may be getting people into trouble and sometimes killing them are bad buddy skills (i.e. staying together and being ready to respond), compounded perhaps, by lack of top-of-the-line diving skills.

Food for thought and grist for the mill.

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

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