Rescue Diver Course, Day 2

September 9, 2009

Time for the second day of my Rescue Diver course (see the first day at Rescue Diver Course, Day 2).  I met with Larry, my instructor for this portion of the course, and Seena, who would be playing the victim in our rescue dive scenarios.  We started out from the harbour at 9:30 am and headed for Turtle Canyons.

Larry briefed us on the scenarios we would be going through and the skills I would have to demonstrate.  The scenarios we were going to concentrate on were:

  • Sharing air
  • Injured but responsive diver at depth
  • Unresponsive diver at depth
  • Tired diver at the surface
  • Panicked diver at the surface

Sharing air is one of the first skills you learn when getting your Open Water certification but it was good to practice it again.

For the injured but responsive diver at depth Seena simulated a cut to her leg.  I applied direct pressure and then got her to apply direct pressure to the wound while I towed her back to the mooring line.

For the unresponsive diver at depth I "found"  the victim floating face down on the bottom.  I went through all of the steps I practiced yesterday for this scenario.  Here's a shot of me towing her back to the boat after I got her to the surface.

Towing a diver

The tired diver at the surface was the easiest scenario.  It's just a matter of making contact with the victim, reassuring them and towing them back to the boat.

The panicked diver at the surface was probably the most interesting situation of the bunch.  We went through this one a couple of times.  In both cases the victim was flailing wildly and put on a pretty convincing act.

The first time I approached but stayed at a safe distance.  A panicked diver may try to grab you and climb on you, effectively pushing you under, in an effort to get out of the water any way they can.  With the victim's adrenaline pumping this can become a very dangerous threat.  In this case I got a bit closer, grabbed her by the wrist and spun her around.  Then I locked my knees around her tank to prevent her from grabbing on to me.  I inflated her BCD and began talking some sense into her.  Most people will calm down after buoyancy has been established.

On the second go around, I again approached but stayed at a safe distance.  This time I descended to the level of her feet and approached her from underwater.  Surfacing behind her I locked my kness on to her tank and went through the same motions as before.

Going through all of these scenarios over a couple of dives made for a pretty exhausting morning.  Here's a shot of me getting back to the boat tired but relieved.

Tired rescuer

The dives weren't all work though.  We did tour around the reefs inbetween running through the scenarios.  We came across a sea turtle cleaning station.  Just  a place where sea turtles seem to gather together to have fish eat anything that builds up on their shells.  We also came across a rare harlequin shrimp hanging out underneath a reef.

At the end of it all I got my Rescue Diver certification.  Gotta say it felt pretty good.  This also marks my last dive in Hawaii as I'm returning to Canada permanently tomorrow.  Now diving will go from a once or twice a month thing to a once or twice a year thing, if I'm lucky.  Ah well....

Aloha.

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Everett Toews
TBT: 89h 39m