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Don’t Drink and Dive!

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By Stephen Phillips

It’s that time of the year when divers plan holidays or expeditions to many diving destinations all over the world. For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime dream. It shouldn’t be a nightmare.

The whole experience revolves around diving and of course the social interaction with like-minded people, but we need to be responsible. As the old saying goes, “First drink/last dive.” It seems harsh, but would you drink and drive or use complicated machinery in your job under the influence of alcohol? Of course not. Diving is no different. There are a number of effects that can lead to bad consequences, both underwater and when we surface.

Really diving and consuming alcohol before after and during surface intervals do not go together. Alcohol affects the central nervous system. It impairs judgment and coordination. This reduces the ability to react and coordinate many skills and tasks we try to perform during our excursions underwater.

Diving whether Recreational or Tech we are exerting ourselves physically and mentally.

If an emergency happens, we need to act quickly. Studies looking at the effects of alcohol and performance have shown that a high percentage of all drowning incidents in adult males are associated with alcohol (Diving and Subaquatic Medicine, Edmunds C, et al.,2002)

Alcohol takes time for effects to subside and the body to metabolize alcohol and its effects to subside. Performing skills and thinking processes can be impaired by as little as a blood alcohol (BAC) of 0.04%. Put in laymen’s terms, this would be the BAC of an average 82 kg/180 lb adult male who drinks two, 12-ounce beers in a short period of time on an empty stomach. This was highlighted in a study by M.W.Perrine and colleagues. The study also found that, at lower levels, situational awareness and problem solving were impaired. Remember that, in a diving environment were awareness and problem solving are critical if an emergency occurs

In many of the courses we teach, dehydration, when severe, is most likely a major factor in decompression sickness (DCS). This may be caused by recent alcohol intake as well as seasickness, excessive sweating, the fact we are breathing dry air and diuresis from immersion. It has not been conclusively answered whether alcohol causes diver’s susceptibility to DCS due to only a few studies out there but that’s for another day and personally, I do not want to be that statistic.

Tech diving, in particular, is a section of diving where meticulous planning and skills are required given the depths sometimes attained. So it is in our interest and safety that we think carefully about alcohol consumption before and after these formal activities. Trimix lessens the effects of nitrogen narcosis on some deeper dives. However, this benefit can be offset by a high BAC. High blood alcohol levels may enhance the effects of nitrogen narcosis along with dehydration. This could lead to accidents because of poor problem-solving.

The bottom line is that diving and drinking alcohol do not go together.

The central nervous system is affected in such a way that judgment is impaired. Plus in fact, reaction times and coordination are reduced. This is not the best recipe for sport or tech diving. How many risk assessments do we see with alcohol consumption highlighted?

As divers we need to take a responsible approach to alcohol consumption. Not only before diving but afterward. Following a few simple rules will leave us with good memories, not ones we regret.

These rules are:

  1. Get a good night’s sleep. Anything up to eight hours or more.
  2. Limit alcohol consumption the night before to two or three, with a non-alcoholic drink between them.
  3. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks the morning of your dive. Being well-hydrated helps.
  4. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. A good meal helps slow the flow of alcohol into your system.
  5. Don’t forget to have a healthy breakfast on the morning of your dive.

I have covered only the tip of the iceberg here. There is a lot more information out there. They say knowledge helps us make the right decisions, so let’s be safe.


To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

Dive Training Blogs

14 Divers You Do Not Want To Be On A Scuba Diving Charter Boat! (Watch Video)

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We’re counting down some of the scuba diving etiquette faux pas that I see week in, week out on dive charter boats. I’m giving you my best advice to not become ‘THAT’ diver and stay in the good graces of you Charter Boat Scuba Captain and Crew.

This is stuff they just don’t teach you during your PADI Open Water Course! The unwritten rules of scuba diving. Good behavioral habits to develop to be the scuba diver that everyone looks forward to having on their dive boat.

I’m drawing from my experience as a charter boat Captain, but also asked a whole bunch of my friends in the Scuba Diving business for their input on what divers do to drive them crazy! Thanks for your input!

I’ve been asked for this video a bunch. Let me know in the comments which diver stereotypes I missed!

Thanks for watching!

D.S.D.O

James


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Dive Training Blogs

My Dive Buddies Episode 3: Jimmy Gadomski’s Sunken Treasure (Watch Video)

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My Dive Buddies Episode 3: Jimmy Gadomski’s Sunken Treasure! I’ve brought in my good dive buddy Jimmy Gadomski to the dive locker to regale you with stories from his treasure hunting exploits. We’re also talking the difference between being a recreational dive boat captain and a technical dive boat captain and discussing what has gone wrong with so many near-misses/almost-accidents.

Jimmy is one of those great guys who can’t walk past a muddy puddle without wondering what is at the bottom of it. He shares his insight on how he decides if a student is ready to start tec training and how to train a dive master to run tec trips. He also makes me killer jealous with his stories of diving the wrecks of the Great Lakes – something I was supposed to also do until COVID-19 got in the way!

And as always, Jimmy faces the 10 questions we ask everybody.

Here are the timestamps:

  • Intro: 00:01
  • Jimmy’s jobs: 01:03
  • How Do You Decide If A Potential Student Is Ready For Tec? 02:15
  • Considerations for running a Tec Charter boat: 04:18
  • Service and Safety in Tec Diving: 05:47
  • What’s happening with all these near misses this summer? 06:46
  • How can the Tec Diving community identify safety concerns? 10:12
  • Show and tell! 13:51
  • Gold and silver coins: 16:36
  • Great Lakes diving: 18:52
  • 10 Questions We Ask Everybody: 20:50 Cheers! 22:48

You can connect with Jimmy on Instagram: www.instagram.com/fl_tekdiver/

I really hope you guys enjoy watching this series of videos as much as I enjoy making them or else it wouldn’t be fair!

Thanks for watching. D.S.D.O James


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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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