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Rules for safe diving in caves

According to experts, only one percent of divers, diving outside open water, has the knowledge, skills and assessment of safe diving in caves.
According to experts, only one percent of divers, diving outside open water, has the knowledge, skills and assessment of safe diving in caves. Perhaps this is the reason for the relatively high number of accidents that occur during immersion in underground spaces. If you are interested in this topic – read the article, probably the instructions of an experienced diver John Richards will be useful to you.

Underwater caves of north Florida with crystal clear water have long attracted the attention of divers. And if you follow all the principles of safe diving, exploring these areas can be just as safe as open water diving is usually. At the same time, when someone deviates from the rules, the result can be sad. Since the 1950s, nearly 400 people have died in the caves of Florida, and most of them have never trained to dive in such places.
In the 60s and 70s, the diving pioneer Sheck Exley thoroughly investigated every tragic event. And that’s what I found out – literally every time the tragedy was caused by one, two or, in extreme cases, three negligence. A little later, the chairman of the coaching board of the NSS-CDS (National Speleological Society – diving department in the caves) Wes Skiles added a couple of factors, perhaps not responsible for the death of divers directly, but certainly leading to the creation of unpleasant situations.

Based on the research of Exley and Skyls, rules were formed that divers in the caves call the Accident Analysis Rules – now they form the basis of any underground diving training course. Anyone who wants to dive in closed spaces should know them.

Nine out of ten divers special training course will help to avoid incidents in the caves. But this is not a panacea – for example, the training itself will not save you from death at a depth of over 40 meters.

So if you are going to literally discover new depths of skill, take at least a two-day course in preparation for diving in caves. And volumes will open to you that an ordinary mortal cannot see! In any case, even after the course follow all precautions.

If the caves of Florida and can be described in any word, better than the “labyrinth”, they can not be called. Many victims of accidents described their entry into the “direct visible channel”. Imagine their shock, when, instead, on the way back, the divers found an extensive network of aisles, and through which exactly they climbed inside, it was not at all obvious …

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that divers who have not undergone cavern diving training may not have enough control over buoyancy and, because of this, raise silt from the bottom, which leads to the creation of a zone of poor visibility behind the back. Disoriented divers seek clean water, hoping that it will lead them on the right path. Such behavior in the cave leads strictly the opposite – farther from the exit. In some cases, victims of such misconceptions with oxygen ended were found at the farthest point from the entrance.

That is why one of the most important requirements for diving in caves is to always leave a cable that can be passed to the exit to the outside. With it, you will not even get lost in the labyrinth.

Through the years, the following trend can be traced: the death of divers in conditions where they knew the way out, or retained the ability to find a way out, but could not do it because of the end of oxygen.

This is especially true for closed-water divers, who often do not think that the mixture is close to the finish – until the pressure in the balloon drops to between 500 and 1000 pascals. Some “handsome” swim in a cave with a pressure of 2000 pascals – and in this case it is difficult to turn back to around 1000. If unforeseen circumstances arise (loss of visibility, the need to share air with a friend), the chances of survival will be much lower. Experienced cave divers try to keep two thirds of the balloon “just in case”.

Although only one out of ten fatal cases occurs with divers who have completed the course of preparation for diving in caves, 90 percent of the incidents are related to people who put themselves in conditions of “equivalent narcotic depth” at a depth of 40 meters and more. Also included in the action factors of nitrogen intoxication, carbon dioxide partial pressure and physiological mechanisms, the reasons for which scientists argue so far. And they can all lead to a very unpleasant situation.

This can happen during technical diving, if you use not oxygen, but various mixtures for breathing.

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