23 Jun Why I Feel Safe to Dive Deep
But to be honest I have not once had any genuine concerns for my safety on a deep dive. There are simply too many systems in place that cover almost any possible danger. Although I suppose it is inevitable that some negative thoughts would jump into my mind before or during a dive, that is the nature of negative thoughts, they always come suddenly- trying to surprise you.
If I were to run through every possible danger during a dive this is what my mental dialogue would sound like:
On the surface breathing up I would think, ‘I’ve connected my lanyard to the line, right?’ I double check that the lanyard is connected, ‘it’s connected. Oh good! I’m not going to float away’
Then I take my final breath and start my descent, ‘I hope the line isn’t near any structures, cliffs or rocks that I can run into? No, no, no’ I would remind myself, ‘we’re diving in the middle of the ocean but there better not be any curious Oceanic White Tip sharks around!’
As I free-fall, sinking effortlessly into the ocean. ‘What If I black out at the bottom of the dive? What If I get tangled around the line at the bottom or become disorientated from Nitrogen Narcosis? It’s all good,’ I tell my increasingly frantic mind, ‘there is a counter ballast system and if the safety team notice anything irregular on the sonar they will drop the weights and I’ll get lifted back up to the surface. But what if I’ve drifted away from the line? Don’t you remember you idiot…you already double checked that you were attached to the line via your lanyard!’
As I reach the bottom I think, ‘but what if I have a lung squeeze? What if I flood my lungs with fluid and blood? There is %100 medical oxygen on the surface and apparatus to help me breathe if I’m having trouble with any lung function. Don’t forget that speed boat is there too to take me to hospital if it’s serious.’
Well all that makes me feel better as I start my ascent. ‘But, but what if I black out or have a samba (loss of motor control due to hypoxia) near the surface? That’s what the safety divers are for. They know my dive time and exactly when to meet me on my ascent’ I tell myself as I meet the first safety diver at 30 metres and the second safety diver at 15 metres right on cue.
Then on the surface I’ve done my recovery breathing and I’m feeling great, ‘wait wait! There is still a chance that I’ve got decompression sickness’ (a build up of nitrogen in the tissues or blood stream due to the water pressure at depth) I set my worried little brain at ease by telling it again that there is %100 medical oxygen to help dissipate the nitrogen while the speed boat takes me to hospital.
Everything is set in place for all the known risks. But besides all the safety systems we use for deep dives the real truth of the matter is that I feel safe because I simply have never had any kind of diving accident before. The whole freediving community gets by simply due to the fact that freediving incidents are rare and few and far between.
In one respect it is because safety and conservative diving have always been preached in the freediving community. It could also be because freediving, while it seems dangerous, isn’t actually a dangerous activity- as long as we don’t neglect our safety procedures. But you don’t see anyone jumping out of a plane without a parachute!
Related tag: Deep Week