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May 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 32, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Are You Ready to Drop Your Weights?

from the May, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In reviewing a previous Australian DAN report, I was appalled at one recurring theme regarding dead divers: the vast majority still have their weight belts or integrated weights in place when their body is recovered. In many emergency situations, establishing positive buoyancy can make the difference between life and death. So it is patently clear that training in weight belt ditching is inadequate.

Even when one considers this action inappropriate, it still might not be. World-renowned diving physician Prof. Simon Mitchell and Dr. Barbara Trytko reported the case of a technical diver who, when losing consciousness at 80 feet (24m) deep after a 260-foot (80m) dive, was sent to the surface by his buddy in what might have been considered a dangerously fast buoyant ascent. The diver survived when he almost certainly would have died with his weights still on.

Taking the precaution of ensuring your weights are unobstructed should you need to drop them in an emergency should be part of every pre-dive buddy check. Better to risk injury at the surface than be dead on the bottom!

- John Bantin

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