Rescue and Deep Diving
Search and Rescue Diving
If you have ever witnessed a rescue while scuba diving, you probably asked yourself, "Am I prepared to help?" The first step is to become proficient in CPR and rescue diving skills. To accomplish this goal, participate in a CPR/First Aid course like Emergency First Response and become a PADI Rescue Diver. After you become a Rescue Diver, there are some tips that will prepare you to use your rescue and CPR skills:
- Practice self-rescue skills often. Remember, helping yourself creates the confidence to help others, because you know you can take care of yourself while you provide aid.
- Take your first aid kit with you every time you scuba dive and keep your pocket mask handy. Many divers consider their pocket masks standard equipment. You can also expand your search and recovery abilities by becoming a Search and Recovery Diver, and keep your oxygen administration skills sharp by participating in the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider course.
At some point after learning to dive, most divers have an urge to dive deep. As adventurers, scuba divers may want to go deeper then they have ever gone to explore a wreck, take photos or simply to see what is there. There are greater potential hazards that come with diving deeper, and learning to recognize and deal with these risks is part of what you learn in the PADI Deep Diver Specialty course.
Deep diving means different things to different scuba divers. For some it is any scuba dive deeper than 18 meters/60 feet, and for others it is any scuba dive deeper than what they have done in the past. Whatever the definition, deep dives require planning and discipline in order to safely enjoy all the fantastic things that can be found. Here are some general tips and suggestions:
- Check your air and depth gauges more often than on shallow dives. You use air from your scuba tank much faster at depth and you want to make sure that you do not exceed your planned depth limit.
- Be aware of your limits. Build your experience gradually and consider these five points before a deep dive: how you feel, your buddy, the environment, proximity of help and any previous dives. A 27 meter/90 foot dive in warm, clear water is not the same as a 27 meter/90 foot dive in cold, murky water with a current.
Diving with Sharks
Known for its big marine life, North Carolina is home to a number of shark species, most notably, the sand tiger shark. An impressive looking but docile shark, sand tiger encounters can be common occurrences in North Carolina's offshore waters. Often present in large numbers, the sharks range in size from 4 to over 8' long. Sand tigers typically swim with their mouths open, smiling for photos and proudly displaying three rows of ferocious teeth.
Chances are that you have been scuba diving with sharks all along, but unless you book a specialty dive trip that focuses on sharks, you might not get to see a shark underwater. If, however, you are lucky enough to have a close encounter with a shark, here are a few tips to make the experience more pleasurable for both you and the shark:
- Go with experts. Dive operators in many areas offer organized shark dives. While a guide experience cannot guarantee absolute safety, much shark behavior is predictable if you know what to look for.
- Sharks often swim just beyond steep inclines, so look out into big water as you descend to catch a glimpse. Often, the first divers into the water are the only ones who get to see a shark, because it swims away from the unwelcome intrusion of a dive boat and the scuba divers it unloads. Many shark species are timid. If you are trying to get a glimpse, keep your hands still and by your side at all times.
- Pay attention to currents, depth and air consumption. Do not dive too deep or come up too fast. In other words, use safe diving practices at all times. Then, if you are lucky enough to see a shark, you can enjoy the moment free from worry.