Equipment FailureDo I Have a Case?
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Today’s scuba equipment is, generally speaking, quite safe and dependable. Over the last 50 years technical refinements in equipment have made the sport safer and more enjoyable for millions of divers worldwide. It is, therefore, rare that equipment failure is the direct cause of scuba diving accident injury or death.
However, poorly maintained equipment, especially rental equipment, has the potential to start a panic cycle if a diver is not properly trained to handle the situation. An example of this would be a free flowing regulator. If the regulator is not properly serviced and maintained and begins to free flow (i.e., constantly blasting air at high pressure into the diver’s mouth rather than delivering air only upon the demand of the diver), an untrained diver may panic and bolt to the surface causing injury or death. A more experienced diver might instead simply use the secondary regulator called an “octopus” and safely return to the surface.
Equipment problems frequently occur when sand and grit find their way into the equipment, such as regulators and buoyancy compensators. The sand can cause valves to stick open or closed. In the case of a regulator, this could cause the free flow described above. In the case of a buoyancy control device, the result might be a diver putting air into the buoyancy compensator only to discover that he can not stop the inflation, thereby causing him to rocket to the surface. Again, there are training protocols to handle these equipment related emergencies. Unfortunately, the typical certification process does not devote adequate time to instruction in these emergency measures and equipment failures can start a fatal panic cycle. We can help you find out what went wrong.