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August 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Your Guide to Conservative Computer Settings

from the August, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

From The Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS) and the European Underwater and Baromedical Society come this sage advice:

  • For a diver with a physiological need or a personal wish to dive more conservatively, most dive computers have user settings to make this possible. However, there is a variability in conservatism between models, so if you need advice on reducing DCS risk, consider these recommendations.

  • If the information exists, be aware of the baseline level of conservatism of your computer. Additional clues may come from comparing the operation of your computer against those of diving colleagues or by wearing two computers made by different manufacturers and decompressing as guided by the more conservative of the pair. Make yourself aware of the operational implications of a dual-algorithm computer.

  • Never use the RGBM 50 percent settings because you are increasing the risk of a DCS incident many fold.

  • Avoid staged decompression diving. In addition to increased risks, the computer may automatically cascade down the conservatism levels towards the default algorithm.

  • Use higher-level personal factor in the computer's settings if more conservatism is required.

  • If a computer 'locks up,' or enters error or gauge-only mode, because of a violation of a mandated deco stop or a too fast ascent rate then do not dive while it is locked (usually 24 hours but it may be longer if you have applied personal settings).

(Source: Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Vol 46 No2 June 2016 -Conservatism Settings in Dive Computers)

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