200 psi . . . perhaps not

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on January 16, 2003 at 18:45:06:

In Reply to: DM'a needed or not? posted by Captain Tim on January 15, 2003 at 21:56:22:

As Tim mentioned, he and I talked about this last night and I gave him some info (as he said) that he didn't have previously. In the interest of making sure everyone understands what happened, I want to give that same info the the BBS. (And just so you know, I was on the boat and observed all of this, so believe this all to be accurate and true.)

1. Reef Seekers has a long-standing policy that if you run out of air, you are done diving for the day. Period. There are no exceptions to this. We feel that if you run out of air and nothing bad happens, you got lucky once and we don't want to tempt fate twice on the same day.

2. This policy is stated every time in our pre-trip briefing (which is mandatory for all on our trips) and is worded almost exactly as I worded it above.

3. The diver is question not only attended the briefing, but has also been diving with us many times before and is well aware of the out-of-air policy.

4. In this particular case (at Inside-the-Outside-Boiler at San Clemente - second dive of the day, approximately 10:00AM), this diver and his buddy surfaced perhaps 150 yards away from the boat. They did not give an okay sign to the boat. Our DM Kevin Binkely got a pair of binocs and shouted "Are you okay" to them. Finally we got an okay and Kevin watched them through the binocs while they tried to kick in.

5. The divers started kicking back on the surface and tried to navigate around a kelp bed. The got semi-stuck once or twice, got themsevles free, and went into some thick spots. We tried to give them verbal guidance from the boat.

6. While this was going on, Kevin noticed (he told me this later) that the male diver would kick with his face in the water, come up for a breath, kick some more, come up for a breath, etc.

7. As we had all the other divers on board and these guys wereren't making great progress, the zodiac was dispatched (at Tim's suggestion, I think) to pick them up. When they were delivered back to the boat, Kevin looked at the guy's gauge. It read ZERO, not 200 psi.

8. The first story he gave us was that he had 500 psi. We showed him the gauge again. Then he said, he meant that he had 200psi when he surafced, and had sucked it down during the kick back. Kevin pointed out that (A) out-of-air is out-of-air, and (B) during the entire time we observed him, we never once saw him put the reg in his mouth. So how did he suck down 200psi of air?

9. Kevin then told him that, based on Reef Seekers out-of-air policy, he was done diving for the day, and then asked the crew to make sure they didn't refill his tank.

10. The diver wasn't too happy about this, but changed out of his wetsuit and didn't do the other two dives that day. (His buddy did continue to dive, however.)

The one thing we neglected to do here was specifically let Tim know what was going on. Instead he overheard someone say something, didn't get the full story and was rightfully a bit concerned about what was going on and why.

But now you have (with apolgies to Paul Harvey) . . . the REST if the story!

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

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