EDUCATIONAL blog

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  • March 05, 2018 6:34 PM | Anonymous

         One of the most important piece of Safety Gear we can have is one we often don't even know how important it is to use.

         Surface Marker Buoys (SMB's) are an important piece of safety gear to have on every dive. All scuba agencies now require it to be carried in classes and many dive boats require it as well.

         But how much do you know about it and how much consideration did you put into buying yours? Surface Marker Buoys have been around for many decades and have been a part of every Technical Divers tool box. But, it's more then one other piece of gear to carry.

         Although one never hopes to lose the person carrying the flag, in reality sometimes it happens. As you learned in your Open Water Class, the rule is to search for one minute and then surface. But, what if the line snaps on the flag and it continues to drift away with the charter boat following it?

         This is where a SMB can be helpful to make you visible. Divers in the water are hard to see by boats. Since only your head is visible and waves can obscure visibility, a SMB can give you some height over the water.

         When picking a SMB to carry you need to consider the brighter the better and size does sometimes matter. In rough seas or bright days, a dive flag can be hard to see and can be lost in the waves. 

    Image result for dive flag in water

    But deploying a SMB to supplement the flag on the surface now creates a bigger object to see and you can wave it. 

    An SMB signal is handier than a DSMB

    Several divers deploying a few SMB's make a bigger target. How easy do you think it would be to see these several divers with their deployed SMB's? 

    Image result for dive smb

         In ending, SMB's can be used to make a dive boat captains job that much easier in rough seas and can be valuable when you lose the flag or the person holding it. I prefer a bright yellow because it sticks out but red and even pink are pretty bright too. I also prefer one that can be filled manually or by inserting a regulator to fill. This SMB can be inflated solidly and can be raised over the head without going limp. But like all other dive gear you need to look at the cost you are willing to pay, how you will attach it to keep it out of the way, and how big you are willing to carry.

    Safe Diving

    Thomas Stenger 

  • February 04, 2018 2:07 PM | Anonymous

    Hello Everyone,

    I have had a few people ask me about putting on a CPR/ First Aid class for the club. As you may know I am a current Dive Instructor as well as CPR/ First Aid Trainer.

    I wanted to get a feel for who may be interested. It was suggested that this could be done as a social event and that would be a great ideal.

    I could either host it at a site down on Ft Lauderdale Beach for a minimal cost (paid to the building) at the USCG Auxiliary building followed by dinner down there on Ft Lauderdale Beach. It can also be hosted by a club member, if someone would like to host it at their home (my condo is too small)?  Keep in mind that if we have a big turnout space may be tight. I teach at the USCG Auxiliary site and it can easily hold 50 people.

    Although this would be a full certification class, you will not be issued a card. If you would like a card their is a fees, I have to pay to the certifying agency and if you would like to pay that I will issue you the card. The card is not necessary, but many need it to meet certain work requirements (IE: OSHA Standards, Daycare Workers, Boat Captains, Active Divemasters, ETC. )

    The class would take about 4-5 hours (depending on how everyone is getting it) and would be scheduled on a Sun late Morning till the afternoon.

    This is a great skill to have for your everyday life. If you are interested please email me and let me know it you want the card as well.

    Thomas Stenger
    safety@usadiveclub.org

  • January 28, 2018 8:26 PM | Anonymous

         Diving in South Florida can be a year around sport. But water temps in January can get down to the low 70"s and in hind sight from say the waters off New Jersey that pretty warm. One still gets cold and this can lead to issues while diving. 

         So how do you maximize diving while keeping yourself comfortable? Having the right thermal protection for the dive environment is a big factor. Water draws heat away from the body 20 times faster then in air. Having the right wetsuit and it fitting right will make a big difference. Most people think that Florida is a year around 3mm suit state, but most experts will tell you that a 3mm wetsuit is only good to a low of 73 deg F. But if your doing multiple dives and the air temperature is cool, you body is working to stay warm in the water and out.

         For those who dive a lot and may have less natural thermal insulation, a 5 mm may be the new standard suit for you cooler water diving. this will keep you comfortable down to the mid 60's.

         How about hoods and gloves? Hoods help prevent heat loss from your head that is estimated to be 20 to 40 percent of the bodies heat loss. Gloves also help protect your fingers and reduces your loss of dexterity. 

         One must remember that the bodies main goal is to keep your core warm, so as the core gets cold it regulates blood flow to your outer extremities. So it is important to help the body out and protect those areas as well. 

         In between dives you need to rewarm the body to prepare it for the next dive. This may include peeling off the wetsuit, drying off and putting on a sweater. This will quickly allow your core to reheat.

         Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Even in the cold, you body dehydrates and this causes your body to do more work with less resources.

          For those wanting gadgets, technology is coming to help in the form of Thermal Garments. Many companies are now offering Thermal heated undergarments that work underwater, but they are still pricy. Check out www.heatedwetsuits.com for some examples.

         If that's not in you budget, perhaps placing a heat pack against you chest near your core, can give the body that slight heat edge. Check out www.reusableheat.com for hot packs that are safe to dive with. Placing one in your suit for a dive may help you feel more comfortable thru the dive.

         I guess when all else fails just wait till summer to dive. On the other hand that just take the fun out of being an avid diver. Maybe a semi-dry or drysuit is a must. But I'll let you make that call. 

    Thomas Stenger 

    Safety Coordinator

    1/28/18

     

     


       

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