September 2017

MUD Club

Next MeetingTuesday, September 19, 2017

Andrews University, Biology Amphitheater, Price Hall

Berrien Springs, MI

Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

(3rd Tuesday of every month except December)

September 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)

River Clean Up – Riverfront Park, Niles MI – 12 PM Saturday, September 23

  1. Identify & discuss diving related news important to divers
  2. Present any Show & Tell
  3. Attendees speak about current diving experiences or lessons learned
  4. Open session

 August Meeting Highlights:

 There was 16 members present and no guests. Richard Curtis presided over tonight’s meeting. Treasurer report presented and then individuals providing support for the MUD Club Picnic identified. It was noted that only two divers were going up north for the straits wreck diving this year. A question on if waivers are to be needed for divers participating in the river cleanup in September. Mention was made of the numerous local lake dives especially Lime Lake which is getting lots of attention and the many wreck dives made which included Karen Mann’s multiple wreck dives in Tobermory, visits by Muddies to the Ann Arbor 5, Ironsides, Crane & Barge, Bultima’s Barge, Marshall, Hazel and the identified favorite was the Hume’s. Several dove a deep (170’) sand wreck tentatively named “Randy’s Wreck” pending official identification. As part of show and tell, Kevin Ailes brought in his newly constructed “fish” which has been getting a lot of use this late summer with comments on various frequency & scan resolution. After the meeting Jeri Steelman provided us all with ice cream & cobbler to celebrate several members August birthdays.

2017 Diver Related Events:

 River Clean Up, Riverfront Park, Niles MI – 12:00 PM, Saturday, September 23

 Thirsty Thursday:

Keep reviewing the club site on Facebook for “Time & Place” for Thirsty Thursday 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 (

iDiveMi. Cheboygan, MI (

Hart City Scuba Elkhart, IN (

Just Add H2O South Bend, IN [Michiana Divers] (

Altek Sports West Michigan Adaptive Diving Zeeland, MI (

Divers Corner:

 Diver Error is the cause for most common scuba diving accidents and incidents.

Although there are common mistakes that beginners make on a regular basis, and some experienced ones too, usually the consequences affect only the general enjoyment and execution of the dives.

However, some diver errors can progress from mere frustration and embarrassment, to costly mistakes financially, or even worse.

Check Out this list of seven dive problems. Do you see yourself doing any of these?

  1. Wearing Too Much or not Enough Lead Weight?

2. Incorrect or Inappropriate Equalization Techniques?

3. Rapid and Uncontrolled Ascents?

4. Not Checking Air Consumption and Gauges?

5. Diving Beyond Your Experience Level?

6. Diving While Sick or Unhealthy?

7. Omitting or Forgetting BWRAF – Your Pre-dive Safety Check?

  1. Wearing too much or not enough lead!

One of the most common misjudgments made regularly by students. In an attempt to avoid buoyancy problems, divers are often over loaded with far too much lead weight around their waist and inside their BCD (buoyancy control device).

It’s true that if you carry lots of excess weight, then you won’t struggle on the surface and will sink with more ease but this is more likely to create buoyancy problems and cause unnecessary struggling and frustration, particularly with ascents and descents.

The main problem with being over laden with lead during a dive is that air is added to the jacket to keep the diver off the bottom, which means that as you ascend you need to compensate for the increased buoyancy by deflating the expanding air. If you do not act soon enough, this could cause an uncontrolled ascent. This is especially true if you have added air to your dry suit at depth.

Although many factors influence how much weight a diver should use there is a surface weight check skill that offers a true guide on the correct amount needed to achieve neutral buoyancy underwater. Adding a little weight at this time may be appropriate. One should also remember that when using an aluminum tank they tend to cause additional positive buoyancy when the remaining air inside the tank runs low.

When a diver is correctly weighted for neutral buoyancy, the increased underwater control and comfort has numerous benefits which include conserving energy and air consumption, offering an enjoyable relaxed diving experience and making an unrestricted safety stop before exiting the water.

  1. Trying too hard to equalize your ears – or not at all!

Many new divers often have problems mastering equalization techniques and tend to make the mistake of trying too hard and too late.

The Valsalva maneuver of the Eustachian tubes is the primary method used to equalize the ears and sinuses when descending, by attempting to exhale through the nose against pinched nostrils.

However, this method should not be overdone forcefully as it can cause damage inside the ears.

The process of equalizing should begin at the surface and continued regularly before the pressure increases, especially as you descend through the first 18 feet. This is where the biggest pressure change happens, from low pressure air above sea level to higher pressure under water and can result in a ‘squeeze’.

If pain or discomfort is felt during the descent it indicates that the air spaces have not been equalized and the descent should stop. If you then ascend to a point where the discomfort disappears and slowly try again more often, you may find that this will clear the problem.

Equalization techniques tend to become easier if they are used regularly and correctly. If you have repeated equalization problems during descents and ascents, we would recommend that you seek professional advice from a diving instructor and/or medical physician.

  1. Ascending to the surface too quickly!

There is a common saying in scuba – you should ascend slower than your slowest/ smallest bubble. Although this has very little technical application, an ascent that is slower than your smallest exhaled bubbles does indicate that you’re avoiding a rapid ascent which can have serious consequences if it happens. Once a rapid ascent has started, it’s often extremely difficult to control it and/or slow it down.

Shooting to the surface is very often a reaction by beginners to a stressful situation under water or a result of panic. A recommended ascent rate of 30 feet per minute maximum and slower is even better. Safety stops and deco times will be based on your specific dive profile.

You HAVE to avoid the following:

A risk of lung over-expansion because a breath hold rapid ascent can cause serious injury and even death if the lungs rupture and force air into the blood stream.

A risk of decompression sickness by ascending too quickly forcing nitrogen out solution from the tissues and forming small bubbles in the body.

Assuming that the fast ascent is not panic induced sometimes new divers assume that you need to inflate to go up. Excess air inside the buoyancy controller will expand as the pressure decreases at shallower depths, so the correct method is to deflate the BCD and use your fin kicks to slowly ascend. Inflating as you reach the surface will allow you to float effortlessly and relax.

  1. Not checking air consumption and dive gauges often enough!

It sounds inconceivable that a diver would run out of air without even knowing it, especially since all divers carry dive gauges that inform us of air consumption, depth and general direction. The pressure gauge does not give you a 15-minute warning that you’re about to run out of air unless you look at it and the standard depth gauge doesn’t alert you if you descend below your recommended limit.

So, the important thing for all divers to learn is that most gauges need to be constantly monitored and a good rule of thumb is that even new and modern scuba gear has a plus or minus 5% inaccuracy reading. Dive limits should not be tested unnecessarily but used as absolute parameters.

  1. Diving beyond your current experience level!

Having the necessary skills and experience to make advanced dives takes extra training and practice. Additional care should be taken if you’re tempted to try specialized diving such as at night, on a shipwreck or in a cave without the proper equipment and training.

The dangers that are associated with diving beyond your current experience level without qualified supervision or oversite are the cause of some of the most serious fatal diving accidents.

Taking structured advanced and specialty scuba courses are extremely exciting and rewarding.

  1. Diving when you feel sick or unhealthy!

Diving is supposed to be ‘fun and safe’ and very few divers are willing to cancel a planned dive because of a minor illness. However, the risk of diving while you’re sick or in an unhealthy condition can be very dangerous and even fatal. The most commonly suffered illnesses include diving with a cold and diving whilst still influenced by alcohol.

Head colds may interfere with your balance and inability to equalize, whereas diving with amounts of alcohol still active inside the body can easily cause dehydration, which happens to be one of the contributing factors for recorded cases of decompression sickness.

If you anticipate that there may be days when you’re not quite 100% fit and healthy for diving and you would like to increase the recovery chances from a bad day, I strongly recommend DAN for anyone who is concerned about the safety and treatment for diving accidents.

  1. Omitting or forgetting to make the pre-dive safety check – BWRAF.

The previous common problems tend to be isolated incidents among newer divers, but the pre-dive safety check – Buddy Check – is omitted regularly, yet it’s one of the simplest ways to avoid a potential diving catastrophe.

For those who’re not familiar with the Pre Dive Check, it goes like this – BWRA

  1. BCD – manual and oral inflation and deflation check, low pressure inflator secure, quick dump valves working.
  2. WEIGHTS – securely attached with a working release, correct position and how many, belt (if worn) not twisted.
  3. RELEASES – all securely fastened, tank band, quick release connectors, snap connectors, velcro fasteners and being familiar with their function.
  4. AIR – full tank, regulator valve fully open, verified breathing properly with air that tastes and smells good.
  5. FINAL CHECK – no twisted hoses and all streamlined, mask, fins, gloves, snorkel as needed, BCD inflated ready for entrance.

This simple but effective check can literally ‘save a dive’ and it takes less than minute to perform just before entering the water. Ideally you would check your own gear and your buddy’s so that you’re also familiar with his equipment configuration should it become necessary to adjust it for him or remove it from him.

This safety check is taught in the entry level diver course and is one that forms the foundation of dive safety and problem prevention.

Modified from:


Always remember, anyone can call off a dive at any time.

In other words, it’s always OK to say “No”.

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