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SCUBA-L  June 2000, Week 3

SCUBA-L June 2000, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Wings for a WWW?

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 19 Jun 2000 16:02:33 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (63 lines)

>>
>>Hi Ron
>>I find very interesting this thread about Wings and
>>I begin to be convinced they are better than a
>>conventional BC. However I have a question:
>>what happens at the sourface? Is the diver
>>floating head down?
>>Thanx in advance
>>
>He stays face down the same as he would with a jacket!! The human body
>floats face down in moving water. Even the horse collars won't keep an
>unconscious person face up. Just look at the photos of dead U.S. Navy
>pilots from WWII. If knocked out, they drowned and those vests had far more
>buoyancy then most current designs.  One of the cruelest lies about dive
>equipment was that wings float you face down face down and jackets don't.
>The dive industry propagated the myth for years while fighting the Water
>Gill patents, now that anyone can make wings the same old stories come back
>to haunt the products.
>
>Ask yourself this. .
>Why is the diver unconscious on the surface in the first place?
>How did he get there.
>What could HE do differently if in a stab jacket instead of wings? (He'll
>still be face down in less then five minutes, if left alone)
>

What Giovanni asked about wings and buoyancy on the surface has been very
much on my mind. I've been quite interested in all the DIR talk on the
internet, and a great deal of what they espouse makes sense to me. Still,
just looking at the rig makes me wonder if it wouldn't be rather difficult
keeping one's head above water.

I dove Palau last fall, wearing a Scubapro Classic. One morning, I dove
Siaes Tunnel, sort of a big cavern, on the eastern side of the reef that
surrounds Palau - a dive of around 100'.  Unlike most of the dives, Siaes
Tunnel is out in the middle of the water, with no islands nearby. I ran low
on air and came up earlier than the others on the dive. The boat was
nowhere in sight. The boat operater, usually quite competent, had lost our
bubbles when we were inside the tunnel and had somehow ended up guessing
we'd gone in another direction. No problem, the BC supported me as if it
were a life jacket, I blew up the safety sausage, and bobbed around for ten
minutes or so until the boat caught up with me. If I'd been wearing wings,
I doubt it would have killed me, still, the wait might have been less
comfortable.

There's a place in Palau called the the Peleliu Dropoff. I didn't make that
dive myself, but there are strong currents that run between Peleliu and the
southernmost island, Angaur, which are strong and unpredictable. From time
to time, divers get separated from their boat and get swept out to sea. In
a case like that, a bc which would support an unconscious diver with his
head above water would certainly be an asset. It's not much of a
consideration when diving a Florida cave, but in open water (I remember a
story out of Florida a month or so back where a couple were forgotten by
their boat and spent the night on a buoy), a bc that doubles as a life
preserver could be a good thing.

I haven't ever used a backplate/wing setup, and until I do and have a
chance to judge its stability for myself, I don't have an opinion on the
matter. Still, stability on the surface for open water divers seems a
legitimate concern.

Tim Fox

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