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March 2008    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 23, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A Rusty BCD Connection Can Rocket You to The Surface

from the March, 2008 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Undercurrent reader Jack Augsbury wrote us about a recent Cayman Islands dive he took where a diver in his group on his first dive that day had his inflator valve free flow into his BCD. He tried to disconnect the LP inflator hose and purge the BCD to regain the proper buoyancy, but the quick-release coupling on his LP hose wouldn’t disconnect. At 70 feet, he was faced with a forced emergency ascent and a possible air embolism, but he removed his BCD and tank to let them float to the surface and buddybreathed with another diver for a normal ascent. Topside, he discovered that the inflator valve was worn and rusted.

“The moral of the story is to check the LP hose and the quick-release coupling regularly for ease of operation,” says Augsbury. “Over time, especially in salt water, they can become worn or rusted and need service or replacement.”

Steve Broadbelt, owner of Ocean Frontiers in Grand Cayman, says, “I know many divers who live here that own their own gear and just leave the LP hose connected to their BCD. Simply disconnecting it so it can be rinsed properly could prevent this from happening.”

Too many divers let their gear sit after one dive trip without checking it out before the next trip. This infuriates Sal Zammitti, owner of the dive shop Bamboo Reef in San Francisco. “So many times, I ask customers who are about to go on an international dive trip whether they’ve had their gear checked and they answer, ‘Oh no, I know it will be okay.’ If you’re spending $2,000 on a dive trip, what’s another $100 to make sure your gear doesn’t give you any problems while you’re there? Would you go skydiving without a parachute you hadn’t checked in a year? It’s no different.”

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