Mine the Harvest

Rescue Diver Training

by on Nov.18, 2007, under Dive Trips

This weekend Syd and I completed our Diver Stress and Rescue training.

We are now certified Rescue Divers which along with our previous Advanced Open Water training, and with the number of dives we have completed also earns us the highest recreational rating of Master Divers. This marks the sixth diving course we have completed. While there are other recreational courses we can take, the next significant training would be in the professional / technical areas such as Cave diving, Dive Control Specialist, tech diving certifications, etc. which we are interested in looking into.

This was a great course that covered self rescue skills as well as rendering assistance to another diver or rescuing them. The primary focus was on accident prevention by early recognition of stress factors which if not addressed lead to panic and resulting accidents or dive injuries. It was pretty informative really. It also dispelled some myths you accumulate, such as when people are drowning on the surface – contrary to the typical TV show depiction – they are too panic ridden and are often unable to call for help and thus can just slip quietly below the surface.

The skills part was done at Hudson Grotto – our second dive there. We practiced the methods of towing a fatigued or unconscious diver, how to handle a person who is panicking on the surface or at depth, how to control a person without allowing them to put you in a dangerous situation, etc. A person in a complete panic state may try to climb up on you, pushing you under, grab on to you, etc. but there are some simple techniques that allow you to stay safe and in control – like just descending beneath them and observing them. They most certainly will not follow you down!

We also practiced recovering an unconscious diver from depth, getting them back to shore and out of the water and running through mock scenarios of handling bystanders, contacting EMS, etc. I can tell you, carrying a guy out of the water is not as easy as you think.


The class also teaches about different diving maladies and how to recognize them. Of course you have DCS, but there are several other extremely critical injuries a diver can suffer, and recognizing them early for proper treatment is critical. A better understanding of the physiology of diving and compressed gas injuries is great to have.

The class was very good and was certainly worth it. Like anything else, the better you understand something, the more competent you can be and perhaps it may make the difference in saving someone’s life some day – perhaps your own.

After the class Syd and I did a fun dive at Hudson Grotto. We call it the “Haunted Grotto” – a perfect description. We descended to the platform at 100′ – the sun quickly fading in the thick tannic water. On the surface you just see your fins – tainted a different color. At about 40′ the sun looks pretty pale, and rather red. By 60′ it’s getting pretty dark. At 80′ it is dark – you can’t see the sun anymore – there is practically zero ambient light left and there is a significant thermocline, the temperature drops about 15 degrees. You keep going down into the black below you – unable to see past your fin tips, just watching your dive computer and the rope slip past you. At 100′ it is absolutely pitch black and murky. The water has a rather nasty taste to it which you have the pleasure of experiencing as it penetrates through the regulator quite well. Yummy. There are some little surprises sunken in the grotto, we circled around a boat and tried to see if we could locate lines running to other objects. It was so black though we couldn’t really find any. My light (Underwater Kinetics C4) barely illuminated anything. Syd’s penetrated better (Princeton Shockwave LED) but still the gloom devoured it. As we were only diving air, we had but a short time to search around so we decided to head back up to about 80′. We were just free floating in the void at that point and so I figured we would just take a south bearing to the cavern wall and then explore the perimeter. We followed the 180 deg. course through the black and once we were about 4 feet from the wall we could see it. We explored along it for a while, the surface looking like swiss cheese, covered in uncountable crevasses and holes to peer in.

Eventually we circled our way back to the north end, ascending slowly to a platform at 30′ There was plenty of ambient light to see with now, but still surprising how much sunlight was reduced in only 30′. We located a guide line that took you around the entire circumference of the sink at this depth – a little tour. We followed this route and discovered several little statues that had been placed in the crevices, and a really spooky looking tree covered in what looks like spider webs. The whole effect definitely earns the “Haunted Grotto” name.

Eventually we came back to the platform, played around a bit, worked on some skills and then ascended. There were some fish around 20′, a big catfish and another black fish that seemed quite curious about me – he swam right up to my mask a few times and followed me a bit.

It was a fun day of class and diving and now we are Rescue Divers & Master Divers! WOOT!

1 comment for this entry:
  1. Rob Eby

    Cool story. Found timelordz.com

    R.E.E.

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