“Let go of me!” What to do when you’re entangled down deep

When you're down deep, accidents can happen

When you're down deep, accidents can happen

People say that no matter how careful you are with your actions, there will still be moments where you have to face danger. This is Especially true, when, as a scuba diver when you’re deep down under the sea.

One of the common dangers that scuba divers like you and I should be aware of is getting entangled or entrapped. What do we do in order to avoid these situations? How should we deal with it?

When you come to grips with the sea and it won’t let go

The first tip is that you should never dive a wreck or other overhead environment without the proper training and equipment. Common sense, right? Right. But some still do. Just like the soldiers who should not to go into battle without thorough training and suitable equipment, you shouldn’t dive without proper gear and training.

Second, you must approach those wrecks, cavern, fast-moving water, and other entanglement or entrapment hazards with extreme caution. Be wary of your immediate surroundings. Keep alert of anything that might entangle you or otherwise harm you.

Accidents happen

Now, even if you have kept those tips in mind, there may still be times that you will, for some stupendous reason, still get yourself entangled. Just in case, here’s what you do if ever you do get entangled:

The very first thing that you should keep in mind is that you have to stay calm and conserve your air. Be mindful of your breaths and try to make sure that you’re breathing out in minimum because you’d want your air supply to last.

During these kinds of situations, you should use all the possible means to draw any co-diver’s attention to your situation. You may bang on your cylinder with a metallic device like a knife or any metallic object you have with you to draw attention.  You should also use an underwater horn or rattle if ever you do have one with you.

Thirdly, you should also consider use a safety sausage or SMB to signal for help.

Your last option would be, if your air supply is already depleted, and you cannot disentangle your equipment, consider ditching your gear and making an emergency ascent to the surface. Do that ONLY when all other option seems bleak.

As mentioned earlier, there just those darned times when accidents happen. So it’s essentially important for you to always be careful of when you’re deep down under the sea. I’m sure that this would be taught by your diving instructor – if not already. And always keep in mind that you should first think of your safety before exploring the beauty of the sea.

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  1. Advice regarding not exceeding your training is good. Last Fall, I took a wreck/u-boat course (SSI). I have dived wrecks before but not penetrated any.

    In my open water training, it was stressed that you carry a cutting device like sea snips (shears) or a zip knife (line cutter). Having trained for wreck diving, I carry a dive knife. I have mounted them so one is accessible by my left hand and the other by my right hand. The most common entanglement hazard to divers is mono-filament fishing lines. Sea shears and line cutters are perfect for this. Divers must be aware of their surroundings and hazards all of the time. Also, you and your buddy should practice doff-and-don as well as air sharing.

    If you find you find yourself entangled, I agree with "stay calm and conserve your air." The first thing I would do is STOP and get neutrally buoyant. Second "stay calm and conserve your air" while alerting my buddy. Third, I check my gauges. Then I cut myself free or get my buddy to help. The first three steps happen in less than 30 seconds and almost at the same time.

    Your buddy is there to help with freeing you and if need be, air-sharing on a controlled emergency ascent. Trust me a solo emergency ascent is dangerous and no fun. I know a guy very well who had to do it and is alive to write about it.

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