How To Handle Heavy Current While Scuba Diving
Present might be discovered on the floor, in mid-water or on the backside. Assuming you’re not doing a deliberate live-boat drift dive — along with your exit down-current out of your start line — comply with these methods for starting and ending in the identical place.
• Take note of the briefing. If there’s floor present, the boat crew can have particular directions for entering into the water, together with hanging on to a tag line as a way to descend collectively as a bunch. These traces path off the strict of the boat. Dropping contact with the road, even momentarily, might end in you being swept away. In very heavy present, and in case you’re descending down a mooring line, they’ll most probably additionally use a granny line. These traces both run alongside the boat and are tied off to the mooring or anchor line, or are tied off to the tag line and result in the positioning.
• Pay attention to your environment. At depth, you’ll be able to inform which approach the present is operating by observing the marine life. Tender corals are pushed within the route the present is shifting, and colleges of fish face into the present. Begin the dive by swimming into the present so that when you flip the diving cruise, you’ve acquired a neater swim again to your start line.
• Drop down. If the present picks up, adjustments route or pops up unexpectedly throughout a dive, you’ll be able to descend a bit, to the place the impact of the move is hopefully not as robust. Usually, present is strongest on the floor or in midwater.
• Keep collectively as a bunch. If others in your group are lagging behind, search for a coral outcropping or some form of shelter in order that stragglers can catch up.
“You wish to be certain that all of the divers could make it again to the boat safely,” says Liz Parkinson, an teacher with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas. “Air consumption generally is a downside.” That’s as a result of as you kick extra vigorously to make progress, you additionally breathe more durable.
• Name the dive, if needed. If the present isn’t manageable, abort the dive. In the event you’re in a bunch, don’t be stunned if the dive chief calls the dive. “The dive information has to make the decision as as to whether the dive web site is protected sufficient, and if it falls inside the certification, capability and luxury degree of her divers,” says Parkinson. And by all means, in case you’re struggling however the dive information is continuous the dive, let him and your buddy know. Electing to skip a difficult dive isn’t the worst factor that may occur to you.
• Comply with directions to exit the water. Your briefing can even embrace the way to get again on the boat. In heavy present, you’ll use the anchor or mooring line to make your security cease and use a granny line to get again to the boat’s ladder. If divers are starting to bunch up on the ladder, seize onto the tagline and wait till it’s your flip to exit.
Currents which are robust sufficient to push you up or down might be unnerving — and might be harmful. An up present or upwelling is a present that comes from deeper water and propels the whole lot in its path towards the floor. Conversely, a down present or downwelling usually begins in shallow water, rushes over the lip of a wall and flows down alongside the wall’s face. These can even happen when two currents collide from reverse instructions. You might be compelled shallower or deeper inside seconds.
“I used to be main a bunch of eight individuals on a wall dive,” remembers Parkinson. “We had lovely circumstances, no floor present, clear blue water. We acquired right down to the sting of the wall at 40 toes, and I seen that bigger colleges of fish have been swimming up onto the reef and hiding behind enormous rock buildings. It didn’t take me lengthy to comprehend down-current had picked up and we have been being pushed out and over the sting.
“Fortunately, I didn’t have a big group, they usually have been all skilled. I hugged the wall as intently as I might and led them to a special a part of the reef till we now not felt the pull. It’s a scary feeling being pushed down into deep water, however I used to be grateful that everybody knew what to do.”
If you end up in a state of affairs like Parkinson’s, comply with the following pointers.
• Reverse your route and swim parallel to the wall. Typically, in case you understand it rapidly, you’ll be able to keep away from a extra harmful state of affairs. Down-currents are like waterfalls, so shifting even just some toes to both facet can drastically change the power of the present.
• Add air to your BC and dump your weights, if needed. You may have to inflate it utterly. If that doesn’t work, attempt to attain the wall and pull your self up. If the present is simply too robust, attempt to pull your self horizontally. As soon as you’ll be able to get out of the down-welling, re-establish your buoyancy and dump the air out of your BC as you start your ascent.
• Experience it out. If the above fails, keep calm. A down-current diminishes in power because it goes deeper. As soon as it weakens, transfer both left or proper to get out of it, after which ascend. As you make your ascent, test your dive laptop and make all required security stops.
• Reverse your route, and swim parallel to the wall. Simply as with a down-current, it’s doable to flee the clutches of an upwelling in case you understand it earlier than you enter it absolutely.
• Empty your BC bladder of air. It will assist gradual your ascent and assist stop a decompression damage. In the event you do end up on an categorical elevator to the floor, flare out your legs and arms to gradual the ascent. Proceed to deflate your BC, and don’t neglect to exhale.
• Deploy floor signaling units. As soon as the boat crew spots you, keep calm. They may want to select up different divers earlier than reaching you.
Tidal currents journey from the open ocean towards the shore on a rising tide or from the shoreline to the open ocean on a falling tide. Right here’s the way to deal with them.
• Learn the native tide tables. Seek the advice of a tide chart and make a dive plan that’s based mostly on when to enter and exit the water. In the event you’re not skilled with tidal currents or the native websites, dive with an area information.
“You’ll be able to attempt doing it your self and googling it, however native data is all the time an incredible supply of data,” advises Parkinson. An skilled native dive operator can let you know an incredible deal greater than when excessive and low tide is. They’ll let you realize the simplest entry and exit factors, the place to search out marine life, and the perfect place to seize a post-dive beer.
At all times dive throughout a slack tide — slack excessive tide and low tide happens when the tide reaches its highest and lowest level, respectively. Throughout these intervals, you’ll expertise much less present.
• Carry the right gear. “It’s essential to dive with a timing gadget, SMB and audible sign gadget,” says Parkinson. “Plan for a few exit factors, in case you mistime your backside time.”
• Inform somebody your dive plan. Ensure that somebody is aware of your exact dive plan. Higher but, have somebody ready for you on shore. That approach, in case you get swept away and miss your deliberate exit time, a search group can start on the lookout for you as quickly as doable.
Washing-Machine and Vortex Currents
There are websites all over the world named Washing Machine and Vortex, and when the dive is deliberate, these roller-coaster-type rides might be lots of enjoyable. A washing-machine present happens when the underside typography bounces currents round. The telltale signal of a vortex present is a snake of bubbles. A lot of these currents can toss you want a seashore ball on a windy day, making you extraordinarily disoriented. Fortunately, each of those currents are uncommon, and in case you possess situational consciousness, you’ll discover the water “behaving” erratically and might take steps to keep away from being caught in a single.
• Swim out horizontally. As with up- and down-currents, attempt to kick out of the present horizontally — the present will likely be weaker on the perimeters.
• Grasp on to your gear. The power of those currents can dislodge gear, particularly regulators and masks.
• Flow. It’s going to dissipate; when you’re out of the present’s grip, set up buoyancy and finish the dive safely.
These suggestions are helpful any time you dive, however are crucial whenever you dive in present.
• Streamline. Dangling gadgets can create drag — plus, that costly gauge or octo might be broken.
• Don’t be overweighted. Though additional weight may also help you descend rapidly whenever you’re making a detrimental ascent in present, it will possibly work towards you whenever you’re having to fin towards it.
• Carry a number of signaling units. You’ll be able to tuck a security sausage, mirror and whistle in a BC pocket, or connect to a D-ring. In the event you dive frequently the place currents are current, you may wish to contemplate buying a Nautilus GPS. When activated, the GPS emits a GPS-specific misery sign to boats inside an Eight-mile radius.
Cease, Suppose, Act
In the event you’re caught in a robust present, bear in mind the coaching mantra “Cease, suppose, act.” You’re in a self-rescue state of affairs, and also you’ll have to make selections and take steps to finish the dive safely.