Re: DIR question (long)

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Posted by Gerry on November 13, 2000 at 17:48:34:

In Reply to: Re: DIR question posted by MHK on November 13, 2000 at 10:54:31:


You made so many points I had to print your post to keep it straight. But here goes...

From your first paragraph, I think what you mean is that GUE is developing an OW (read beginner diver) course. If JJ is wise enough to put something together that improves on what we now have, then he’ll get my respect. Until then the jury is out. IMO, CMAS and BSAC's "club training" approach is nearer to optimal than our profit driven model. GUE’s “cherry picking” attitude has heretofore put me WAY off. Disparaging other agencies OW training while offering nothing themselves is no way to gain credibility. I know you’ll say that JJ doesn’t disparage, but he lets his poster boys and hand puppets slander everyone in sight and has never brought them to heel.

The point that I made is that DIR was developed without thought to the needs of OW divers. That’s all I said. Nothing about somehow “disqualifying it’s advances”. Hell I don’t even disqualify its retreats. Your racecar analogy makes my point adequately – If racecar designers had to build them street legal the Indy 500 would take two days to run. They are designed totally without regard to the driving most of the world does. Now, re-read this paragraph – notice that I say nothing bad about DIR.

Gear standardization is a reasonable idea, but it will work only if the standard meets all of the varied requirements of OW. From photography to wreck pillage to hunting, what we do is more varied than simply hanging onto a scooter for hours at a time. A tougher task will be to overcome the egos that were the point of my tongue in cheek statement. You’ll win over a few easily led types, and antagonize the people who have trouble surrendering their “personal preference” (insert ego here.) Interestingly, these are the people who become the local leaders. Again – I’ll have to wait and see.

I’ve no problem with a seven-foot hose in OE, but remember we’re talking about recreational diving defined specifically to exclude OE. A five-foot hose still seems to be an entanglement risk, but if you show me how to route it close to the body I’ll keep the one I’ve owned for years.

The questions of dry vs. wet, ditchable vs. non-ditchable weight and backplate/wings vs. jacket style BC seem to be so interrelated that it’s hard to separate them. The foundation of my own analysis is the weight issue. Non-ditchable weights are an unacceptable risk to an OW diver. The only objection I saw in your post was to “all your weights in one basket”. Well, lots of droppable weight systems permit a choice of how much weight to drop. DUI, Zeagle and other weight-integrated systems are examples. A few days ago you were posting about how important it is to drop weights in an emergency. If it’s important to drop, it’s important to drop it all. To me, this is far and away the most important difference between the two diving styles we are talking about. Remember, my discussion applies only to recreational divers.

My problem with the backplate/wings is the face down when unconscious issue. Since few divers dive unconscious (though some of my students have been exceptions), and unconsciousness is unlikely in a diver who follows the rules, this is a minor point. I dive BP/wings and have for years. However, your fix for face-down-when-unconscious involves non-ditchable weights so the fix becomes more dangerous than the problem. If the keel weight you propose is somehow made ditchable (a la the old AT-Pac) my objection disappears.

The difference in buoyancy between an empty steel ’72 and an empty aluminum ’80 is tiny, a couple of pounds. It’s ludicrous to require a Drysuit based on that difference. Remember that we are discussing short shallow dives (less than 130 fsw, less than NDL), so no one should need double sets. If the drysuit is needed for exposure protection then by all means use it. But don’t require a drysuit solely as an emergency flotation device. That’s just plain nuts. I’ve flooded three drysuits, but never had a (BC) bladder failure*. Once again, we have a dangerous cure to a minor problem.

I’m sure there are quick release devices that can fail; I concede that you have an example of such in your garage. I can buy failure-prone masks, regulators, fins and almost anything else you can name (even 2” webbing, it ain’t all nylon.) I try, however, to buy quality stuff. And I teach my students to do the same. The real point is that the shoulder quick release is handy, and could be critical in a rescue. So you have to demonstrate that a failed QR is somehow critical, but at most, I see it as nuisance. Three straps hold my rig to my bod. If any one fails, two are left. Where’s the criticality?

OK Mike, no attacks, no nitpicking, and no parsing of words, and I’ve tried to address each of your points specifically. Your turn.

COKE ALERT!! I have to insert here something I just heard on NPR. Quoted from the Times of London: “The electoral college is the swollen appendix of the American body politic.”



* Non BC-related bladder failure turns “diving dry” into “diving smelly.”

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