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What's your close call?


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#1 attrezzo

attrezzo
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  • Tahlequah OK

Posted 21 March 2016 - 02:32 PM

I am a scuba diver and have considered using weights to help with photography. That got me to thinking about the kinds of hazards that may befall a stream or river snorkeler with the added dynamic of current and obstacles. 

 

For example, scuba weight belts are designed so that they can be dropped in an emergency but I imagine that this can be a problem in shallow streams where you might not be able to reach the clip.

 

I was wanting to hear about people's close calls or real emergencies. What happened and what got your butt in a bind?

 

Have you ever had trouble pulling the safety clip to drop the weight?

 

Are there problems with getting wedged by current into downstream hazards like rock crevasses or treefall? 

 

What about current entrapment? There's a low water damn near me that claims one or two kayakers who ignore the warnings every few years because they get sucked into an underwater eddy and can't get out. Even with flotation! 

 



#2 Casper

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  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 21 March 2016 - 04:18 PM

Bryce and Isaac use weights and get better photo angles because of it.  Strapping weights on scares me a bit though.

The only typical danger i see is slipping and breaking a bone or knocking your head.

I have learned to not jump in fast flowing water without knowing what is downstream.  Submerged snags can kill you if you get trapped.

Sometimes i swim under log jams.  Not a real good idea.  We need oxygen quicker than you think.

When young i was tubing and got caught in a "hydraulic".  Basically was held under water.  I began to thrash and was eventually spit out.  I washed up on a rock downstream like a drowned rat.

They say you should take a buddy with you but i would never get out to my satisfaction if i lived by that rule.

 

Do you know we had our last NANFA convention in Tahlequah?  I really like your town.  We clear water snorkeled several sites in the area.


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#3 trygon

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  • Knoxville, Tennessee

Posted 21 March 2016 - 08:30 PM

I too am a scuba diver and as Casper said I wear weights, 27 pounds on my waist plus a 3 pound neck weight. I have the waist weights on a rubber free divers belt which is faster to drop than a nylon scuba divers belt. I've never had to drop either type of belt in an emergency situation, but when testing both belts the rubber one was always faster and they are quieter also; I was always bumping the metal clamp buckle on rocks and scaring my subjects. I can't imagine a scenario in a river where one couldn't reach one's waist or belt tail to drop the weights. Wearing weights while snorkeling is inherently dangerous and I wouldn't recommend it.

The only close call I've had in a river was misjudging the current on entry, having my legs taken out from under me and rolling perpendicular to the current for about 20 yards. More importantly I've had the good sense to not get in when that inner voice says it's too high, too fast, or it's just no worth it. Situational awareness is everything, no photo is worth dying for. Ignoring warnings only makes one eligible for a Darwin Award.
Bryce Gibson
There are sharks in every ocean...except Billy Ocean.

#4 don212

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  • NANFA Member

Posted 21 March 2016 - 09:01 PM

me and my wife dove into the apparently calm Delaware river once ,but really it had a raging current, which put us completely out of control, and caused regs to free flow, after that I learned to throw a stick in the water and check current flow



#5 attrezzo

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  • Tahlequah OK

Posted 22 March 2016 - 09:34 AM

Anyone kept a spare air with them or buddy tank just in case?

 

http://www.scuba.com...X5HAaAr5L8P8HAQ



#6 trygon

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  • Knoxville, Tennessee

Posted 22 March 2016 - 10:26 AM

I'm going to side mount an 80 this year for some deeper pools.  In the past I've back mounted a 100.  I'm not a big fan of the spare air, If you're going to scuba then scuba.  At least hold a small pony tank, a 20-40 will last a long time if you're careful.


Bryce Gibson
There are sharks in every ocean...except Billy Ocean.

#7 don212

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 09:56 PM

switching to scuba under water has it's own hazards



#8 attrezzo

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  • Tahlequah OK

Posted 23 March 2016 - 08:00 AM

switching to scuba under water has it's own hazards

 Noted, but anything shallower than 10 feet results in almost negligible nitrogen loading. You can stay at 10 feet for something like 3 hours before you run into problems. I don't know anyone who can dive on a single tank longer than an hour. Then again that is based on dives of around 30 feet where tanks don't last quite as long. I'd have to guess that you might be able to take a typical 12L 200 bar tank to 10 feet for about 2 hours if you were experienced. 

 

Compared to open water and depths of greater than 30 feet the risk of hurting yourself is magnitudes smaller. That's why resort dives (ones for untrained divers) only go down to about 15 feet. It's just barely more dangerous than snorkeling. 


Edited by attrezzo, 23 March 2016 - 08:33 AM.


#9 don212

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  • NANFA Member

Posted 23 March 2016 - 08:14 AM

danger is embolism from breathholding and rapid ascent, carry a knife snorkeling for entanglement, stay clear of overheads, use caution , if you see something worth scuba go back and get a tank. I usually carry a 30 cf pony tank on a simple harness on my boat in case I want to retrieve something.



#10 mikez

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 09:50 AM

No close calls to report.
I use over 30 lbs on a cheap dive belt. In full suit with hood and can't get my head under without it.
This gives me only slight negative weight which I can swim with pretty far.

Early on I did drills in deep fast water swimming with the belt, dumping the belt and swimming soon then dumping belt.
I got comfortable with it. In open water (I'm in the salt) a BC would be a most but I'd don't in the inlets.

By far the biggest danger is climbing around on the wet rocks. That 30 + lbs around your waist kills balance and weighs 600 lbs at the end of a swim.
Mike Zaborowski
I don't know, maybe it was the roses.

#11 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 27 March 2016 - 12:41 PM

My experience is similar to a few of the other guys. I wear weights and have never had a close enough call to have to drop the weight belt. But I almost always stay in shallow water (<6ft) when wearing weights. I actually feel safer in current with weights since I have more control (easier to anchor myself to the bottom and not be pushed around by the current), but obviously there is a point at which the current is too strong to be safe. Like a couple of the other guys said, my biggest danger has been slipping/tripping/falling on rocks.



#12 don212

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 09:29 PM

30lbs., shallow water,.rocky shore, why not throw the belt in the water and put it on there?



#13 FirstChAoS

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  • Regional Rep

Posted 27 March 2016 - 11:08 PM

My closest call was trying to snorkel the Connecticut River in higher than usual water. I could not swim forward against the current and swam accross current slightly downstream from where I started.



#14 mikez

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Posted 28 March 2016 - 06:35 AM

30lbs., shallow water,.rocky shore, why not throw the belt in the water and put it on there?


In my case there is usually a sea wall and sharp dropoff. I'd lose the belt. Anyway its climbing back after a long swim that is toughest.
Mike Zaborowski
I don't know, maybe it was the roses.



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