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Accident at the Blue Hole!

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.
I think it's 2mm stainless.
I'm looking into 2 different suppliers of similar sized fiberglass or plastic rod / tubing to pair with the cable.

Something really flexible without bending or snapping is the goal, while wanting to straighten back out (memory). I see no reason to change the stainless wire as the strength / safety element - its tried and tested.

Think really flexy CB antenna or long fishing rod as an idea.
Got 4 pcs of fiberglass stock / rods that should be here next week for lanyard backbones.

I'll use the same "engineering approach" by electrical taping it to the wire lanyard. :D

I've also got a piece coming that has a 1/4" od with 9/64" id that the cable can run inside of.

We'll see which works best. Obviously 6+mm is more drag than ideal.
Finally got myself a backbone!

The fiberglass stock came in.

Solid round rod:

1/4"OD (9/64" ID) round tube

I've only rigged up the thinnest (5/64") as its very close to the Dia of the existing lanyard wire.

It's flexible, yet adds rigidity and a "straightening memory" to the wire.

Has yet to be tested in the water. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1340139698.639280.jpg

I think the larger round tube, with the wire running inside would be a great sol'n for anyone wanting a totally rigid lanyard.

I want some flexibility, so that if I swim a bit closer to the line, I don't feel an opposing force through my wrist strap.

More to come next week, as in-water trials begin.
New and improved already!!! (more electrical tape)

The tape around the base of the carabiner firms up the most suspect end of the contraption (which leads to tangles) and the extra rings of ET along the cable add just a bit more stiffness to the lanyard and support the fiberglass rod a bit better.

This design is very promising and an 8' length of the fiberglass rod (enough for 2 lanyards with some left over) is $2 + the cost of 2 ft. of elec. tape.

Hi all

Some ingenious solutions to the problem of lanyard entanglement.

Couple of observations from five years of training in a lake here in Auckland that is not known for particularly good vis or light levels (natural anyhow).

1. I have seen divers trying to swim off horizontally from the line. Without lanyards we would run an unacceptably high risk of losing someone.

2. Some divers seem to suffer from regular lanyard entanglement, others never. Why? Technique - grabbing rope & lanyard while pulling down, dropping down below the baseplate, reaching for the tag with the lanyard arm, spiralling down the line, too far away, too close...

3. Some lanyards tangle easier than others. The first set of lanyards I made used a 2mm ss wire flex rope probably 7 x 19 lay and alloy carabiners. These lanyards tended to kink easily and the divers who tended to tangle the lanyard had some problems. In around four years of use in the club these lanyards had to be released several due to entanglement. I have since remade the lanyards using 3mm ss 7 x 7 lay and stainless carabiners, since then tangling problems have reduced considerably and there has been no kinking.
The stainless carabiner drops in advance of the diver keeping it clear.
The diameter and lay of the wire rope is important if you want something of a particular stiffness.

Phil C
Auckland Freediving Club
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Tried out the "backbone'd" lanyard with the smallest dia fiberglass rod tonight.

4 divers used it.

Result: incredible. It simply worked well and did what it was supposed to do, without anyone noticing that it was there.

One diver was a newbie and I watched her swim around the line in a corkscrew... But the lanyard kept a decent 18" (45cm) diameter as the diver descended and it straightened back out as the diver reached the bottom of her dive.

Also, I believe that the electrical tape around the base of the carabiner is a key feature.

I'm going to try out one thickness higher in fg rod (3/32"), to see if we can reduce some additional flex, without noticing it while diving.

HIGHLY recommended to upgrade ALL existing lanyards. Cost is less than $2 in materials and :10 mins of time.

As a bonus, it prevents the lanyard from kinking when being transported / stored / not in use.

I would love to get some other opinions from other experienced / veteran line divers.
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Apneaddict,your landyard set up looks like the one i'm using for almost 6 years.
The only thing i would change in yours is the quick release ball cord.I think is better to put the ball directily for avoid involuntary releases.
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Apneaddict,your landyard set up looks like the one i'm using for almost 6 years.
The only thing i would change in yours is the quick release ball cord.I think is better to put the ball directily for avoid involuntary releases.

Are you using a fiberglass rod (or other material) alongside the steel cable as a stiffener?

Re: the quick release, I like it on the cord, as it allows me to access it with either hand - which is important to me in case of entanglement with a net / fishing line or if my other hand is otherwise unusable.

I use my lanyarded hand to hold my nose and my other hand is overhead for streamlining and is the first thing down, which could get tangled up if anything was down there.
For the record, here is where I bought the fiberglass rod stock from:


I think the proof-of-concept was encouraging enough that other ppl should consider doing the same. I will follow-up with results from the 3/32" rod next week.

They sell 8' long rods but for cheapest shipping they keep it to 3' (90 cm) lengths (free cutting) which should work well for most lanyards and will do 2 of them.

Since shipping is likely to be more than the item itself, feel free to order enough material for all the line divers you know / your entire club.

Not only is it safer for the diver, it should be easier on the safety as well! ;)
Good thoughts! I love to see innovation happening in this sport. We're practicing a sport that's still in its infancy and, especially applicable to deep diving, has inherent dangers.

Some points:

The tennis ball was to reduce entanglements beneath the plate. We could consider, as ApneaAddict has suggested the free ball with the "egg" over the knot. I think the lanyard could still wrap beneath the "egg." Kars suggested the knot inside the ball, this seems like a good solution to me but I believe that a wrap-type entanglement is still possible.

The stiffening of the lanyard cording seems like the best solution to me. People have been doing this for years using a type of plastic tubing over the wire. I didn't (in the past) think that this was necessary since the addition of the tennis balls but now see that it may be. I now think that a stiffening of the cording is a really great safety solution to a possibly big problem.

Some other key points:

Eric F. said that diving blind wasn't a good idea. I totally agree. Every dive should be planned and practiced (also suggested)to the point that on any point during the ACENT you can release your lanyard if need be and pull your way up to the surface. I always, if I've had a problem, resort to FIM for the ascent so I don't lose the line. While diving blind is a bad idea, in my opinion, I think every diver should practice releasing their lanyard blind regardless of wrist, waist or ankle attachment. We've all had masks flood, fluid goggles with limited field of view and other vision limiting problems. Practice getting out of your lanyard, with either hand if possible. If your dive is of a reasonable depth compared to what you've recently been diving, you'll make it to your safeties. If you release ballast also you may surface without a problem at all.

Dive safely all!

incredible story! I'm glad you're counting, and everything was in a story!!
Update on my modified lanyard and some revisions:



Other pics:

I have used silicone putty (Sugru) to solidify the carabiner end on the lanyard. I think this is the most important change to reduce entanglements.

I have used and love the lanyard with the semi-flexible backbone. It is my preference for CWT.

I have not used the one with the 1/2 solid rod / tube with the cable running through it. I made it approx 30cm long, but think that even 10-20 would help a lot over a typical flexible "snare" type of cable lanyard. I had the material, so I whipped one up. Worth trying.
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Nice work. Been looking for materials that would do exactly that.

I once had the lanyard make a loop all around my throat!, tightening up on ascend... scary shit! It was a bit of a special incident, since I came down slowly on a shallow warm up, did a full stop, and hung upside down, letting my legs fall by themselves, thereby pushing my head inside the loop... only 10-15m down, butt still...:blackeye Needless to say I changed procedures...
Brilliant with the one that is half rigid... Have you considered a combination fx doing 1/3 rigid,1/3 flexible and 1/3 only wire near hand?
Snaring your own neck at depth sounds terrifying! A real test to stay calm and a strong case for an easily accessible (by either hand) quick-release!

I had not considered the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 approach, but could be retrofitted in :05 mins. Once I have a chance to test it, I can add it if I feel that it needs more.

At this length, I can't see it forming a loop around the line or easily getting snagged - but we will see.

The semi-rigid one really is awesome. Safety is up 10-fold and i don't notice a difference. I adapted to it within 1-2 dives. I'm using the second thickness mentioned above and it's the perfect gauge. It bends if I swim closely towards the line but doesn't form a loop around the line... And yet I don't feel resistance on my wrist if I swim close and put a bend in it, yet it just "wants" to straighten out. The loop in the picture is about as much as it'll bend and I don't store it like this.

I put the lanyard on my "equalizing hand", so really don't want it pushed off my nose by resistance! :D

I think that I may feel some resistance with anything longer that the 30cm of hollow tubing.

Also, I suspect that if I were to add a "backbone" to the tubed one, I would have to be the thinnest gauge, as it would feel quite a bit stiffer over a 30cm length, as compared to 90cm or so. If I don't like the semi-rigid one, maybe it'll end up as 10-15cm of tubing and the rest rod-reinforced.
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The problem with well-meaning regulations is that they resolve some problems and create new ones, even `boxing´ divers into impossible situation ... akin to asking to do push-ups with one hand tied behind your back. The more you pile these things on the greater the risk of bad s**t happening to you. I've had the good fortune of seeing some things considered impossible, really gravity-defying stuff, to know that if you start gravitating towards complexity things break-down, and at an exponential rate, which requires you to pile on even more counter-measures. I call these safety bubbles, and bubbles don't/can't survive. If you want to really understand the nature of risk and its randomness or, basically how not to be a sucker and make your approach robust or anti-fragile, I suggest you get yourself a copy of the Black Swan by Nicholas Taleb, and then apply it. It's often a heavy read that requires rereading for it to percolate through, and for many it will be an overload, but certainly the people dishing-up these rules should be made to read it, to get a real appreciation of risk.
I have read the book, as well as Fooled by Randonmess and Dr. Benoit Mandelbrot's "The (Mis)behavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence".

To me, the black swan event we can not plan for or foresee is what the quick-release system in the lanyard is for.

We can build the system to be as robust as possible, but we do not know what issues we may encounter during a dive and must be prepared to abandon the lanyard and FIM or even swim up.

This is one reason why I personally will not dive to depth that I can not manually swim or pull myself back from - AKA, no NLT dives for me!!

I also like the lanyard and counterweight system, so that there is a safeguard in place to give me an added chance if everything goes wrong - and worst case scenario, at least gives my family some peace of mind by being able to "recover" me.

I'm open to other mechanisms and am intrigued my Eric's designs mentioned in this thread.
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The act of engaging in freediving exposes you to Black Swan (BS) events, but so does being on the ground or just being alive, obviously to a lesser extent. Diving risks can occur because of: strictly limited and dwindling O2 reserves + distance removed from surface + a need to engage in activity to get to surface + limited field of view + physiologic changes + wild animals + equipment + just being being in water + others. Therefore, if you dive you must recognize that there is a possibility of not coming back because of these restrictions. Though this is the undeniable reality, these are not BS events in themselves, especially since you knew about them. To think so is to confuse BSs with foolishness, i.e., the BS issue is a relative term and depends on your reference point, your knowledge base. For example, the tennis ball with lanyard thing: some knew it was a source of problems, whereas other didn't. Therefore, this is a BS for some but not for others.

".... the black swan event we can not plan for or foresee is what the quick-release system in the lanyard is for. We can build the system to be as robust as possible, but we do not know what issues we may encounter during a dive and must be prepared to abandon the lanyard and FIM or even swim up."
The very act of introducing a new `gadget´ in the hope of bolstering safety has the potential to harbor BSs. The very existence of the lanyard is a source of BSs, i.e., until we find out all its potential problems, which we may not. There now apparently seems to be plenty of reports that the lanyard may actually be increasing the risk of bad s**t happening to you or at least not bettering your situation (on average). If it does not actually bolster safety then you should get rid of it or find another solution. Importantly, one has to be deeply introspective about the difference between real and apparent safety, they are very different and it's very easy to dress the latter as the former, with the effect of falling into a false sense of safety. The bottom-line, you have to really challenge yourself and question what you're doing all the time and be open to other possibilities. Ideas come from everywhere!

I think that one potent way to resolve this problem is to have divers tethered to the surface by means of a back-mounted line and harness, and have them wound up to the surface with the use of a counter-weight (careful here) or reel. This leaves the problem of the reference line. With some thought this need not be an insurmountable challenge either. Years ago, I mentioned using two lines instead of one, i.e., you dive along a track instead of a line. This would be really easy to set-up and would not necessarily result in twisting if correctly prepared. Anyway, there's plenty of really real-world clever people out there these days that could come up with even better solutions.

This is one reason why I personally will not dive to depth that I can not manually swim or pull myself back from - AKA, no NLT dives for me!!
This is a seemingly sound and robust approach, and the best you can hope for given the fact that your are actually freediving, i.e., an inherent risk. To engage in NLT you have to have a good reason. I am opening myself up to BSs, it is risky, I have a good reason, it's not about some empty chase for records, but many think so, that's ok.
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