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Posted by Ken Kurtis on December 28, 2006 at 14:53:58:

In Reply to: Quick question about buddy seperation posted by divinotter on December 28, 2006 at 11:05:01:

(Nice to take a break from our closing-down tasks to actually talk about diving . . .)

I would say no. Here's why.

First of all, let's make sure we have our nomenclature right. A SAFETY STOP is optional/voluntary and a good idea. A DECOMPRESSION STOP is mandatory as you'll (likely) get bent if you skip it. Skip a SAFETY STOP and there shouldn't be a problem.

Let's assume worst-case scenario. You've not only lost your buddy but your buddy is trapped underwater in an out-of-air scenario. (Or even is about to become out-of-air.) Once they go unconscious and stop breathing, you've got at most SIX minutes before brain death will set in. You've probably already used up one or two of those minutes either looking for them or realizing that they're gone and ascending (using a 30fpm ascent rate).

So right now, your lost, unconscious, non-breathing buddy has about FOUR minutes left before irreversible brain death sets in. Why squander 3 of those 4 minutes for a safety stop you likely don't need? (Plus add in the fact that it'll take us at least a few minutes to mount a search-and-rescue.)

And the bottom line should be, because the bends is treatable but death is not, that hopefully you're willing to take a chance on getting bent for the greater good of saving your buddy's life.

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



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