Can You Say That Again?

The dive plan gets lost in trans­la­tion when one buddy has an equip­ment mal­func­tion

Sport Diver - - Dive Travel - BY KARL SHREE­VES

Stephen and Rodolfo were wreck div­ing in pris­tine con­di­tions in 60 feet of wa­ter and tak­ing pho­tos to show their dive club and share on­line. Un­ex­pect­edly, Stephen sig­naled “up.” Rodolfo sig­naled “OK?” as he moved in close. “OK,” Stephen replied; Rodolfo in­di­cated that the pair should swim to the as­cent line. Stephen nod­ded, fol­lowed by “up,” this time a lit­tle more ur­gently. “OK?” Rodolfo asked again. “OK,” sig­naled Stephen, fol­lowed by “up.” They reached the as­cent line and made a con­trolled as­cent, but Stephen skipped the safety stop. Rodolfo fol­lowed, just in case.

“Why the heck didn’t we go straight up?” griped Stephen. “I’m get­ting wa­ter with every breath!” (The prob­lem later proved to be a torn mouth­piece.)

“What? I thought you just wanted to end the dive. I didn’t know you had a prob­lem be­cause you said you were OK.”

“I meant I was OK to han­dle it.”

What They Did Wrong

The pair didn’t com­mu­ni­cate clearly, lead­ing to con­fu­sion. Stephen should have clearly in­di­cated he had a prob­lem by sig­nal­ing that some­thing was wrong. And if Stephen was more knowl­edge­able about his gear, he could have iden­ti­fied that the prob­lem was with his sec­ond stage and switched to his al­ter­nate to fin­ish the dive with­out hav­ing to breathe past wa­ter.

What They Did Right

Although not clearly, they did com­mu­ni­cate, and han­dled the prob­lem with­out fur­ther in­ci­dent. Even though Stephen sig­naled “OK,” Rodolfo stayed close.

IN­CI­DENT RE­PORT DIVERS: Stephen (Di­ve­mas­ter, 500-plus dives), Rodolfo (Di­ve­mas­ter, 800-plus dives) SITE: Joe’s Tug, Florida Keys CON­DI­TIONS: 85˚F wa­ter, 100-foot vis­i­bil­ity, calm

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