To MHK , Eins, et al - How do we prevent solo deaths? kinda long

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Posted by bullethead on October 02, 2000 at 15:18:48:

I stumbled across all the solo diving posts, and to be honest, did not read them all, so if this question was answered already, I apologize. My question as it applies to solo diving, or now that I think of it, almost all diving, is that is it more realistic to encourage people to train and practice skills and carry equipment to handle emergencies without the assistance of others, or to dive only with those that you are confident that not only will that buddy not leave your side, but is also capable of rendering assistance should you need it? As humans we all make mistakes. If a diver makes a sudden fatal mistake, the best buddy in the world won't be able to save him.(rapid spontaneous ascent resulting in embolism, for example) Fatalities under such circumstances should not be used pro/con the buddy system and are almost in a class by themselves IMHO. However, getting divers to be prepared to save their own bacon,OR having attentive and capable buddies at all times are both daunting tasks. Actually, being able to save your own bacon AND having a buddy at hand who can do the same for you or himself would obviously be the best scenario. As my mind thinks all the various scenarios through though, I recall how easy it is for even the best intentioned buddy to become separated from us. This weekend I was assisting an instructor with a small group of five. two ahead with him, and three behind with me. We worked hard to keep all students within sight of both of us at all times, but it took only 10 seconds for us to lose sight of each other. Since we took great lengths to stay together, we were separated for only a few moments before we got the groups back together. In new england thats often all it takes to get separated, at that kind of vigilance is beyond many divers. Getting paired with a buddy not known personally by you is a big unknown variable. Maybe a diver who is not capable of self rescue should not put himself in such a situation. Holy crap batman, more questions pop up as I try to think up solutions.Obviously, I do not believe anyone should be solo unless they are fully capable of self rescue, regardless of how their being solo came to pass. I dive solo and alone or whatever anyone wants to call it, but I hope I can extricate myself from whatever I get into. I say "hope" because in my mind, there is always the unknown factor that you may not be prepared to handle no matter how much you ponder all possible eventualities. I'm sorry. I'm rambling. The bottom line: HOW do we keep divers safe?How do we keep divers who should not be solo from endind up so? What are your opinions?

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