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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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September 2006 Vol. 21, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the September, 2006 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

That Fatal Weight Belt: Last month we reported on the risk of walking around a dive boat wearing your weight belt. Here’s another risk. In July, dive instructor Barbara McAlpin was offering lessons in at the Scuba Center pool in Tyler, Texas, when a student noticed a snorkel on the bottom. McAlpin entered to retrive it, her only gear a weight belt. The students were busy getting dressed, but one eventually noticed her on the bottom, jumped and pulled her from the pool. She couldn’t be revived.

Don’t Kill the Diver You Saved: In our June report on a New Zealand diver’s three-day drift in 68ºF water, Dr. Simon Mitchell, a columnist for Dive New Zealand, noted that if someone who has been adrift pulled from the water in an upright position, he can have a heart attack. Dr. Ernest Campbell, aka Scubadoc, explains why. “Dramatic fluid shifts and low blood pressure occur due to sudden release of the support from the water and the shift of fluid into the lower extremities. An apparent rescue then turns into cardiac death.” Sean Harrison, of SDI’s training division, adds: “Though we have never seen this in real life, we’ve taken to lifting patients horizontally in roll-up nets if we feel that the person has survived prolonged immersion.” Roll-up nets also make the job easier, says Harrison, “especially with large persons or high freeboard boats.”

Undercurrent E-mail: Several times a year we send emails to our subscribers with diving news and research questions. If you didn’t get an e-mail from us in August, then we don’t have your email address. Please send it with your name and hometown to

Cozumel: A long time diver-oriented hotel, the Barracuda is no longer, says Jerrord Harrison, who stays there because “we prefer a laid back, quiet vacation.” He goes on to say, however, “It now has a pool with swim-up bar that serves snacks. They have knocked out walls through the hotel to create an entrance from the street to the bar. Therefore, tourists constantly flowed from the street. My wife and I had room #104, literally 12 feet from the bar. Now, if I was 19 and on Spring Break, it would have been great, but I could never get away from the noise. Every time I went into my room on the weekend I had to clear people off my patio because they treated it as part of the pool area. The crowd got downright rude, loud, drunk and obnoxious.” Be forewarned.

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