June 2018

MUD Club

Next Meeting: Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Andrews University
Biology Amphitheater, Price Hall
Berrien Springs, MI

Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.
(3rd Tuesday of every month except December)

June Meeting:

Normal Meeting sequence is as follows:

1. Introduce Visitors.
2. Present Specific Club Information.
3. Identify dive events upcoming or planned. (Dives & Road Trips)
*Establish Date & place of MUD Annual Picnic and supporting details
4. Identify & discuss diving-related news important to divers.
5. Present any Show & Tell.
6. Attendees speak about current diving experiences or lessons learned.
7. Open session.

May Meeting Highlights:

There were 15 members at the meeting and no visitors: Jim Scholz spoke about the new 503c Great Lakes Search and Recovery group (GLSAR); Noted that Mary Beth, Sir Larry and Mack displayed antique diving equipment at the Sportsman Dinner” at Midway Baptist; Discussed upcoming participation in the South Haven Mermaid Mega Fest as safety personnel; Discussed recent dives in Lake 16 and concerns about the conditions of its u/w platforms and chains; Paw Paw Lake has been dove as well as Lake Cora which has been the scene of several boat recoveries by Brian & Skyler Daisy; notice to all that I&M planes on doing a drawdown of 3 feet on the Lake Chapin Dam which will make the river very fast and high downstream in Berrien Springs; Wednesday Night SASS dives are in full swing and Hart City Scuba also has weekday dives scheduled with the MUD Thirsty Thursday dives being minimal partially due to lousy river conditions; Update by Kevin on recent efforts by the SWMUP that resulted in buoys being placed on the AA5 and Ironsides followed by comments about using train wheels, if available, as wreck buoy anchors as well as Helix anchors in sand bottoms. Meeting ended after discussing the Safety Article on “Three enter a cave only two exit” with comments by Richard about confined space diving and equipment snagging event in the submerged bus in Gilboa Quarry.

2018 Diver Related Events:

August – MUD Club Annual Picnic -> Time & Location to be determined

“Thrill of the Chill” dives. As always, please keep updating the club site on Facebook for “Time & Place” for Dives.

Check out these dive shops that Muddy Divers use:

Wolf’s Marine Dive Shop Benton Harbor, MI
Sub Aquatic Sports & Service Battle Creek, MI
Divers Inc. Ann Arbor, MI
Hart City Scuba Elkhart, IN
Just Add H2O South Bend, IN [Michiana Divers]
Altek Sports West Michigan Adaptive Diving Zeeland, MI

Divers Corner: Lessons for Life

Here you are reading about many different events which resulted in a diver dying. As you read the accounts what do you see as the root cause of the drowning and ask yourself if YOU could have been one of those divers. What simple actions can help to prevent these fatal events? Prepare to talk about a couple of these events at the next dive meeting.

Scuba Diver Leaves Buddy to Make Solo Wreck Dive
By Eric Douglas – October 31, 2016

When the ship went down in the storm, it was full of supplies intended for a city on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Over the years, the cargo of boxes and crates had deteriorated, leaving dishes, appliances and other items strewn across the interior.

Fred couldn’t believe he had finally made it inside the cargo hold. It was too bad his dive buddy, Willie, wasn’t with him; Fred had really wanted a picture of himself, with the cargo in the background, to prove that he had made it. The wreck was protected by legislation prohibiting salvage, and the crew would never have let Fred back on board if he snagged a souvenir.

Fred settled for snapping some photos and did his best to get a selfie before deciding to leave the wreck and find his dive buddy.

The only problem? Fred wasn’t sure how to exit the cargo hold.

The Diver: A certified open-water and nitrox diver, 33-year-old Fred was in average physical health with no known medical problems. He had been certified for 10 years, but he didn’t log his dives, so no one — including Fred — knew exactly how many he had made.

The Dive: Fred and Willie were occasional dive buddies. Although they didn’t know each other especially well, the pair would often team up when given the chance to go diving. When he learned a local dive charter planned an outing to one of his favorite wrecks, Fred convinced Willie to be his buddy. Fred had planned to penetrate the ship’s cargo hold and needed a partner.

Willie was up for the dive, but he was less excited about the wreck penetration. He knew he lacked the training and experience to venture inside the ship, and knew it was dangerous. Unfortunately, he didn’t communicate this to Fred. Instead, Willie decided he’d make his decision once they reached the wreck.

Conditions on the site were typical, with water temps in the upper 60s, and good visibility. The surface was mostly calm, with just a light current running to the south. Both divers were using aluminum 80s filled with nitrox 32 for the dive but did not have backup supplies of breathing gas. On the bottom at 90 feet, the current disappeared. As Fred and Willie approached the hatch that led to the interior cargo hold, Willie began to have second thoughts about penetrating the wreck. Fred started to swim inside without hesitation, and Willie grabbed Fred’s leg and stopped him, signaling that he wasn’t going to follow Fred in.

Fred was visibly angry, and he signaled that he was going to enter anyway. On a slate, he wrote that he would be back in 10 minutes. Then he turned and swam inside the wreck.

The Accident:
Willie waited outside the ship, looking around the hull and peering inside portholes. He stayed close to the exit, waiting for Fred to appear and keeping a close eye on his dive computer and pressure gauge.

A 10-minute penetration was still within no-decompression limits for the dive, but Fred couldn’t be late. Because of the time spent getting to the hatch and communicating that he wasn’t going to penetrate the wreck, Willie knew that as soon as Fred appeared, they would need to make their way toward the surface.

The 10-minute deadline came and went, and Fred was nowhere to be seen. Willie waited a few more minutes but then realized he was going to have to ascend by himself. He hoped Fred would be right behind him. Throughout his ascent and safety stop, Willie looked behind him, hoping to see Fred. He never did.

When Willie’s head broke the surface, he reported to the boat crew that Fred was not with him. The crew organized a search and found Fred later that day. He was still inside the cargo hold, and his tank was empty.

The first, most basic problem in this incident was Fred didn’t prepare for the dive. He was so focused on getting inside the wreck and taking his photos that he didn’t think about how to do it safely.

Divers trained in wreck penetration understand that after entering the vessel, it’s not always easy to find the way back out. The amount of light, silt and general disorientation can cause confusion during a wreck dive, which can make it difficult to locate the exit. Trained wreck divers know the best method for navigating out of a wreck is to tie a line to the ship’s exterior and play out the reel while swimming inside.

Once it’s time to exit, the diver reels in the line and returns the way he or she came. This is the same method used for diving inside any overhead environment. By keeping a line connected to the outside of an overhead environment, divers ensure that they will find their way back out. Fred either didn’t have the training to understand this technique or didn’t take the time to do it.

Another problem was the dive plan.

Fred and Willie didn’t agree on the purpose of the dive. Fred planned the dive as a penetration, but Willie wasn’t convinced that it was a good idea and failed to communicate that to Fred. Neither Fred nor Willie was “wrong” on their approach to the dive — penetrating or finning along the ship’s exterior — but the pair should have come to some agreement during the pre-dive planning. They didn’t.

The final mistake was made outside the shipwreck. Even if both divers had agreed to penetrate the shipwreck during the dive as part of their dive plan, Fred should have remained outside the wreck when Willie backed out. There is a credo among technical divers that “any diver can call any dive for any reason at any time.” When Willie decided not to penetrate the wreck, Fred should have stayed with his buddy outside the wreck, or ended the dive to surface and discuss the problem.

Penetrating a wreck is serious and dangerous. It should be attempted only by properly trained and experienced divers. Fred wanted to penetrate the wreck but didn’t take the time to get the necessary equipment or training to prepare for diving in an overhead environment. He and Willie didn’t agree on the plan beforehand, nor did they agree on a contingency in case there was a problem, and Fred paid the ultimate price. There is nothing — especially not a photo — that is worth dying for underwater.

The Lesson!

1) Equip Yourself: Make sure you have the proper training and equipment to make the dive, especially in an environment where a line is needed to secure your exit route.

2) Establish a Goal: Dive with buddies who have a similar goal for the dive, and agree on that goal and plan before making your descent.

3) Create a contingency plan: Agree on what to do if something goes wrong or if a diver needs to end the dive.



If you have “air” you have time.

Wisdom is learned from adverse learning “experiences.”

You got in the water easy enough, but can you get out just as easily?

Remember: ANYONE can call off a dive at any time.
It’s always OK to say “No”.

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