Holding students "down"


Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Karl S. on February 01, 2003 at 12:38:28:

In Reply to: Training Methodology posted by seahunt on January 31, 2003 at 19:03:47:

When and when NOT to hold students down gets a fair amount of coverage in any ITC/IDC, seahunt[small-s].

The student has the right to bolt to the surface if they want. The main concern of the instructor is whether they are exhaling continuously and not holding their breath [Rule #1 per Jacques Yves Cousteau] as they bolt.

If it looks to the instructor like the student is holding their breath, then you cannot let them ascend, and so you have to restrain them underwater, and keep them there, until they start breathing again normally on their regulator. Often times they will have already spit their regulator out, if theyre in panic mode, so you have to find it for them and put it back into their mouth, and purge it, so that they will start breathing on it again. Or else you can feed them your own octo instead.

You are taught as an instructor to first have a subtle but secure hold on the student's B/C before you begin any high risk drill, such as mask clearing or Emergency Swimming Ascent.

Holding ones breath is apparently a natural reaction in a case of panic underwater. Ascending with a breath-hold full of compressed air even in a pool is sure to cause an embolism, as everyone who is already a certified diver knows. It is more likely that a student would survive a near drowning [aspiration of water into the lungs] than survive an embolism. Thats why instructors are taught to hold students down in some LIMITED cases.

seahunt, I dont agree with the notion of conducting a drill with a student where you as an instructor would purposely hold a student down, to "teach" a difficult skill, like mask clearing. If the student cant get the skill in the ordinary manner of training, which is by degrees, then this particular student probably should be given additional conventional training, or else dismissed from the course.


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