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Can I use a security rope instead of a dive buddy?

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New Member
Apr 17, 2002
I skin dive just easily, usually around 10 meters depth. I would like to go deeper, but I do not want to take the risk to do this alone.

My "buddy" is usually a truck inner tube, to keep jetskies away. I hope that I dont run danger because I make very low effort and dont try to get close to any limits.

I want to dive deeper, take a few risks, make effort. I cannot get buddies, except if I pay a scuba diver to watch me. Is this a good idea? But anyway, it is expensive!

I can cheaply get a non-diver to accompany me on a small boat. I could tie a rope to my weight belt, and the person could watch every dive and pull the rope so it has not slack.

Is this very crazy? Anyone else does this? Of course there is a danger of the rope to snag, but in that case I can always shed the weight belt together with the rope.
Maybe a better thing to do is: your non-diver getting a wetsuit and a mask and get in the water with you,wait for you at the surface. He (or she) can always see you since the depth are not big.
The most of incidents happen at the surface so a non-diver at the surface familiar with idea of SWF can be of life saving help. I also recomend that you practice "what to do in case of emergency" in case of emergency.

I don't know about the rope. Here (Croatia) spearos use ropes attached to their buoys but that is to "drag" to bouy along with them so they could be noticable.

The system you speak of is similar to the DRUMS system designed by the Amphibios group.

If your buddy on the surface knows how to rescue you should something happen, then you are doing OK - but why not encourage them to join you in the water?

hang 'em high

over here, we used to use a rope for the purposes you describe.

It's called a noose. :duh

can you provide details or link exactly how the rope buddy procedure works?

I am happy to hear that other people have tried the same thing, using a rope for security in diving.

I am sure this has been tested and described precisely. So I will not risk my life while reinventing the wheel.

For example, I figure it is very unwise to firmly attach the rope to my feet. Imagine the rope gets entangled! This is why I figured it would be good to attach it to the weight belt, so it can be thrown off (and at the same time this would help salvaging a shed weight belt)

There sure are many other important details. Can you describe them or provide a link to the description?

Why I don't convince the buddy to swim with me? because he cannot dive lower than 10 feet. But he can perfectly stand on a outrigger paddle boat and pull me out using the cord. Even if he does not know first aid, just getting me onto the boat would probably solve most problems arising from blackout.

By the way, what is samba? This has been mentioned together with blackout, in a few postings!!
Samba is a loss of muscle control due to a low oxygen level in muscle cells.

Importance of your buddy being in the water with you is that he can observe you when you're under the surface! Some blackouts happen 1 - 2 meters before the surface, and there are often pre-BO sings that he can recognise and act accordingly.

On Ibiza WC we were forced to use security rope in training. The rope is 1,5-2 meters long and it is attached to the main cable. Later I heard that some diver (I can't verify this, it was just something I heard) got entangled at -50 m!! And that was only a short rope. Not a pleasent thing. I was feeling very uncomfortable being attached all the time...

Be carefull with the ropes..
Hi Mario,

Try this web page, <http://www.seapromarine.com/> They've invented the worlds smallest CO2 powered inflatable "swimmers safety belt". I just ordered one and I'm going to try to rig the pull cord so that it would get pulled if I blacked out or lost motor control. Even if I can't rig it that way it would be helpful to have say if you speared a fish at 100 feet and wanted a little help getting back to the surface. In one way something like this might just be an excuse to get myself into more trouble but with that in mind I'm going to try one.

Tom P.
Re: the Seapro Marine vest

If you could get the thing to go off when you black out that would be a nice trick. Not sure how you'd do it reliably without sensors and a triggering mechanism. I imagine that the lift it would provide in SWB incidents would be OK. But as a newbie to both free and scuba diving, I am curious just how much the 6 pounds or so of lift it would provide at 4 atmospheres would help. I'm basing the 6 pounds on the venders claim of 25 pounds support at surface and Tom's comments about spearing fish at 100 feet. I guess it depends just where you're neutral at. How negative is the typical diver at 100 feet?
I'm curious too about how much lift it will provide. I'm going to just get one and mess around with it and then figure out the numbers. Will let you know how it goes. Other bonus thoughts of having a little inflato-pack on hand for a free diver could be to assist on the surface with a tired or ill buddy or to help get a friskier than normal fish to the boat. The benefits will have to be pretty big to offset the hassle of having one more piece of equipment. Take Bangsticks and Powerheads for example, forgetaboutit! Too much hassle and you're more than likely going to blow your hand off before you have a chance to use it on the big bad sharky.
Originally posted by jero

On Ibiza WC we were forced to use security rope in training. The rope is 1,5-2 meters long and it is attached to the main cable. Later I heard that some diver (I can't verify this, it was just something I heard) got entangled at -50 m!! And that was only a short rope. Not a pleasent thing. I was feeling very uncomfortable being attached all the time...

Be carefull with the ropes..

I had a problem in Ibiza when my "safty line" got entangled at approx 33m on the first (and only!) day of "practice". Due to being the first time I had worn a wetsuit with a hood (very strange) it scared the $h!t out of me (I thought I was completely entangled but it actually cleared easily) and I could not dive anymore in the time allowed (heartbeat was off the scale!) I don't know if I was the one you heard about - I would love to be doing -50m....
Interesting posts about the vest.

One way do rig it so it goes off when you blackout could be to use a mechanical or electronic timer.
ie if you plan to dive for 1:30, set it for 1:40, then you have to press a reset button on the surface(or pressure switch) or something otherwise it inflates.

Could even have a 'snooze' type function where if you press reset the first time it waits 10 seconds or something......
Kirk Krack was telling us about someone who was developing a vest. What it had was a "deadman" trigger that you would hold onto once you started your ascent or were getting concerned, then could be deactivated when you safely reached the surface. If that device was combined with a timer, then it would be very effective. Now, you wacko cave freedivers might have a few problems, but the rest of us would be ok ! ;)
Erik Y.

Kirk talked about it in the clinic and it was even written about in the last FREEDIVER magazine. I thought that there was a problem with actually producing one. Too bad, becasue it looks like it would work out really well. It was a very sleek design.

I guess that someone could always get an old Fenzy or a buddy BC, but these are way too bulky compared to the freediver vest that I saw.

I have carried a spare air with me when I use my scooter. I cover to much distance to really use another diver as an effective buddy, so it was the next best thing that I could come up with. Actually Kirk came up with that too and I just stole the idea;)

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