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Do you dive solo?

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.

Do you dive solo?

  • No, never

    Votes: 13 10.0%
  • Yes, in the past until I learned about the dangers

    Votes: 11 8.5%
  • Yes, but with depth/time restrictions

    Votes: 70 53.8%
  • Yes, regularly

    Votes: 36 27.7%

  • Total voters
I replied "Yes, regularly" because I do, but perhaps I could have voted "Yes, but with depth/time restrictions" because I don't push it or go for PB's when solo. But as my skills and activities evolve I really have to check myself! I'm heading into that dangerous phase: (at the risk of being overly generous in my assessment of myself) I'm approaching the intermediate level of freedive spearfishing developement. When a wily calico escapes around the "corner" of a reef or into a hole, I often have to catch myself and not chase after them given the fact that I'm probably at least 3/4 of the way through my breathold by that time! :head

I posted on this topic awhile back in another thread and those thoughts remain the same for me. Truth is, yes I do dive solo. I actually prefer it when hunting like I do: kelp and reefs to 40'; I'm not doing any bluewater hunting yet. But I'm also developing spearodive buddies (a guy in our club and I try to hook up most Saturdays). Bottom line is I carry my gear in my car almost all the time and if the ocean looks clear, I'm in the water (or at least trying to get out of work:D) buddy or not.
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The poll numbers are interesting. While I expected there to be a fair amount of solo divers, I never expected it to be such a high percentage. At the moment it's hovering around the 86% mark, which is way more than I thought.

I wonder if this poll been deliberately skewed by someone like the static poll was or are those figures accurate? Is there any way for the site admins to check?

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I dive solo because there are very few people in the area with whom I can hook up with. I just restrict my depth to around 10-15 meters without forcing bottom time. The way I look at it, (to put the whole thing into my awareness), is that we are just our breath-hold's capacity away from death. In other words, if our average bottom time is 1.5 minutes, at best we are 90 seconds away from death, which is not very much time at all. Scary isn't it? Just a different way at looking at what we are doing while freediving.

These numbers suprise me too. But I think nobody is trying to scam the poll. There only a few votes each day, no floods.
Probably diving solo is one of those things everyone does and hardly talks about.

Lacking a good buddy combined with a great passion for water will drive most of us into the water solo someday.
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taking time alone..

Hi I don't know this is the reason why we dive solo sometime but in my case I remember when I have some problem ..I used to take sometime to go solo to the beach ..and relax and seating .. at the shore and dive- contemplating the ocean and everything and the sky.... without notbody interrup me....Im not say that is good to be alone because we are created to comunicate each other... but sometime we need quiet time to state alone,,,, I don't know by that time what was the reason that I sat in that shore but now I know that I was looking for sometime else than the sea greater tha the sky -and this is God.....


when a longer stretch ofAnd immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. And after bidding them farewell, he departed to the mountain to pray. (Mark 6:45-46)
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Just like many here, I can and have freedived solo. I apply all sorts of restrictions to myself and never come close to my limits. As previously stated, those who love the water will not let lack of a buddy keep them out of it. I am one of those who finds diving of any sort addictive - I am now scuba qualified as well and while it's typically easier to find a buddy for scuba, that sport is something I would never dare pursue solo. The difference, for me, is that on scuba you have equipment with you that can potentially kill you. When I freedive, it's just me and the water...
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Interesting point of view there FreeFloat. I find myself on the other end of the spectrum.

I am totally comfortable scuba diving solo. I find that it's easy to carry enough redundancy to be able to deal with almost any eventuality in a recreational context. I usually have multiple sources of lift and of gas as well as a number of cutting devices and a backup mask and bottom timer.

When I freedive solo however, I do feel that there are more risks compared to solo scuba diving. There is the unknown quantity of SWB to take into account and that's always something I am aware of.

Even so, I choose to freedive solo because I am convinced that I am still in relatively little danger as long as I keep my dives quite conservative.

yep .... i dive a lots alone but now i try to dive with friend...but after 5 minutes we are 50 meter far so...!
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I dive alone %90 of the time...luckily I've found a couple of people that freedive or want to get into it...Can't wait until our water warms!!!
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Disclaimer: Reading the the following paragraphs please keep in mind that, I do not promote diving alone, I recommend nobody dive alone!

I dive alone 98% of the time, because of the buddy situation and the fact that most freedivers that I have come across do not spend much time enjoying the life that flourishes beneath. The most captivating aspect of freediving for myself is the experience of the underwater "world" and it's diversity under the craftmanship of nature. I discovered life under the sea alone and I suppose it will continue that way.

However, I really think there is a misunderstanding to the whole idea of alone/not alone. Most freedivers in these parts are competitive freedivers and that is how they were introduced to the activity. Therefore of course it is essentially required to be with a buddy if you look at it from the angle that you are participating in a competitive activity that you will push your limits in. They perceive diving alone as reckless. Diving is just training in general for these people, and training tends to have strict requirements in many ways, which puts most people into a flexible state of mind as far as when they will participate in the activity. So the reasoning keeps coming up that it is reckless since you could wait until you have a partner. What makes them think one can wait or that one can not dive? They have not found diving the same way as many others.

Now if we erase that perspective from our minds and approach it as an activity discovered out of passion for the experience of the environment below, you have no choice but to compare it to all other activities of the same nature. Under this perspective you would have to admit that almost every activity of outdoor passion/interest has a heightened possibility of injury/fatality when compared to inactivity. And by adding a partner to each of these activities we decrease the risk, although we do not rid ourself of the possibility. So do we stop going on scenic drives alone? Do we stop hiking alone? Do we stop going for a walk on the street? Do we stop riding a bicycle in the forest trails alone?

The answer I am certain is individual and dependent upon our own philosophies/beliefs/approaches to life. But it must be obvious that all of us partake in activities where we could choose to only take part when a partner is available, at the cost of something else, and yet we still do it alone. Generally most people are not even aware of the dangers involved in more than half of the activities they take part in daily. Sometimes we ascertain a concept of risk, we weigh this against our interest, we weigh it against our beliefs, and we decide whether this feels right for ourselves. Therefore, I personally think it is hypocritical to draw a sweeping conclusion for everybody of what is the correct/sane/best approach. It ends up being very personal. The cost to most of us who dive alone to change to a lifestyle of diving only with a partner, is a loss of experience for something that heightens our appreciation for life. And doing so would only be towards avoiding a possibility which is inevitable sometime anyhow. Not knowing when death shall greet us, but certain it will, is part of the nature of our existence.

Even the solution to safety presented is rather inconsistent. Buddy system slightly increases the chance of survival in the local waters of BC. Why? Waters can get murky here and are very dark looking down. So if you have a SWB and float to the surface and have not already drowned and your partner is close enough to respond in time and your partner keeps your airway free then you have a good chance of survival. Now what does this say to us about the adamant proclamation that diving alone is not ok, yet diving in these waters with a buddy is wonderful. It says that all the freedivers, alone or not alone, are taking part in a risky activity. They are all as sane or insane as each other. At what point does a slight safety enhancement make an activity ok to take part in? Whereas without that slight enhancement it is foolishly ridiculous and irresponsible? What are they going to say when a non-diver claims the same about them!? Because from the non-diver's perspective the "safe" freediver is not so safe and is taking unnecessary risks!

So when somebody informs me that they stay home all day waiting for life to end, but very safe in the meantime, then I will feel the challenge of a decisive, consistent approach. But until then, all I see is people who have drawn their conclusions very rigidly for one activity, while not applying the same concept to every other activity and decisions in their lives, maybe unaware of the relations in other aspects of their lives.

My point being that so many of us are posting here that we are "guilty", which implies in general that it is prevalent that we are doing something we are not supposed to. I think it is the complete opposite. We should not feel guilty for living and exploring why we are doing so. We should feel guilty when we let our fear and other's dictate what should and should not be done. I say be proud that you believe in life and make sure to explore your true reasons and understandings for your participations in life's possibilities.

Please do not mistake me for trying to promote diving alone. I would say to everybody "do not dive alone", but if you do, know why you are doing so and what is involved. Just as I would recommend to think about why you jump into a car and drive around so confidently, alone or not. Doing so for myself has led me to lessen the amount I drive, recognize when I am responsible for my passenger, and make sure I know what it means for me to take part in driving.

As usual an expected 2 paragraphs grew... :head

PS. Actually I often wonder if I have not already drowned while freediving and I just think I am alive. Would I know when I had left the world? Would it matter?
I think that this thread clearly demonstrates the fact that freedivers will always dive alone, and there are good reasons for this (not least of which Tylerz above).
Therefore perhaps it would be a good idea to change tack and start discussing methods of maintaining security whilst diving alone?
For example after suffering moderate samba whilst diving alone (scold me now!) I adopted CO2 loading and have been clean every time.
Breathe no more than four times in the last minute and your dive should be CO2 limited. It goes without saying that this won't make you invincible, and therefore care still needs to be taken.

Any other ideas? Let's solve the problem rather than describing it!
When you say co2 loading, is that to say that you allow more co2 build up than you would with a buddy so that you have a strong warning to breath? If so I'd be interested on your breath up method and what kind of bottom times you get. Does it severly hamper your bottom times? Not that that should matter, if it's safer then it's better I guess.
Thanks ,
I used to freedive alone quite regularly, and when I did I used a similar approach. That is no purges whatsoever. I would go right from the breathe-up (3-4 breaths/min) into the dive. The theory I had, like Will, was to have higher C02 levels thereby inducing the desire to breathe sooner. For me it did indeed limit my bottom times as I always headed up at the first desire to breathe. I have since however decided not to freedive alone anymore due to stories of "I didn't see it comming" in reference to SWB. I also have a fairly regular buddy now, and I know that made my decision that much easier.

As always, great thinking and great writing. I remember a dive with a buddy here in less than ideal vis. He headed down, and at the appointed time I decended to meet him on his ascent. I waited for a few seconds hanging on the rope, then continued decending as it was past when I should've seen him. I dove all the way to the bottom and he wasn't there either. Of course we had passed in the murk and missed each other, and thankfully he was on the surface when I got there, but what good would I have been to him if he'd SWB'd that day? Or if I'd had a problem on the way up, he was in no position to help out either.

I of course advocate diving with a buddy, same as I advocate wearing a seatbelt in your car, and wearing a life jacket while boating ect. However as Tyler pointed out, diving with a buddy dosn't cover all the bases either. I'm going to do my best to stay safe, and right now for me that means never diving solo. But I'm not going to become so obsessed with perceived safety that I sit at home either.

Although I do seem to spend far too much time at home on DB... :hmm

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Originally posted by flyboy748
...I remember a dive with a buddy here in less than ideal vis. He headed down, and at the appointed time I decended to meet him on his ascent. I waited for a few seconds hanging on the rope, then continued decending as it was past when I should've seen him. I dove all the way to the bottom and he wasn't there either. Of course we had passed in the murk and missed each other, and thankfully he was on the surface when I got there, but what good would I have been to him if he'd SWB'd that day? Or if I'd had a problem on the way up, he was in no position to help out either....

Scuba divers have an expression... "Plan your dive, then dive the plan".

Discuss with your buddy pre-dive all the "what to do if's" and then stick to it! I can see pretty easily how that can be applied to freediving. You would not believe the number of times on scuba when I have found that my reactions to a particular situation differ widely from my buddy's. So, now we always discuss what to do if we get separated, or this happens, or that happens. Sometimes we use my planned reactions, sometimes we use buddy's... but the point is that both buddies know what to expect in any of several common situations.
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Stitch, It is best to experiment with breathe-ups when you have a partner to find what works best for you, but something along the lines of 4 slow, deep breaths consisting of:
Inhale 3"
Hold 6"
Exhale 6"
Then inhale and go.
Bottom times aren't retarded that much as the higher CO2 kicks in MDR sooner which moderates your O2 better.
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I thought that's what you were talking about. It makes sense. I'll gladly trade lesser bottom times for more saftey. Of course I know that there is no garuntee (sp?) but it still sounds like a good precautionary idea.
Yes I am guilty of freediving solo, but it is not a deliberate choice.

FWIW I do have friends who accompany me when I am freediving. While they are good swimmers, most are not divers, and probably would not be able to reach me below about 5-10. For that reason I dive conservatively (positive bouyancy to at least 20 feet) and have certain time and depths limits I stick to no matter what .

I would dive with a partner of one were available. But given the choice between diving solo or nor diving at all, I will not choose the latter. It's just not in my nature. Death is inevitable, so I refuse to live and die while avoiding the things I love in life, just because such things may bring death a bit sooner.

Any freedivers in Central Texas looking for a dive buddy? I am in Bryan/College area, which is convenient to Houston, Austin. San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth and all points along the IH35/IH10/IH45 corridors. Let me know.
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Woke up on the beach on sunday morning all alone. My customers had left the day before from a fishing trip where the wind had been blowing 25+ mph. There was no wind this morning. I walked out on to the point in front of the camp and stood on the rocks. The vis was 25-30ft, dead tide. Then about 20 ft off the rocks breaks the first of 20 dolphin. I almost broke my ankle running back to my camp to get my gear on. By the time I got back out to the point with my gear an in the water the pod was already over 100m south of me and accelerating. Knowing I couldnt catch them I just stuck my head in the clear water and looked around. I saw a lepoard puffer about 1 ft long with red eyes. He slowly hovered and spun away from me and swam down over the ledge.

So I followed him...

2 hours later I got out of the water about 300M south of my camp and walked back to the camp.

I didnt want to dive alone but it wasnt something that I really had controll of....

I think Im sick:duh

Doc says he cant help me.:waterwork

I dove solo for the first time a couple days ago. I could not resist, the currents were dead, the visibility crystal clear, and the surface glassy smooth. I went out in my kayak. The only annoying part was that the wind was blowing the kayak further out. Otherwise, it was fantastic.

I used many of the restrictions people suggested on this thread. Stayed in around 60' of water, minimal purge breaths, no long dives.

Yesterday, I went out again in the kayak, but took a friend with me. She is not an experienced diver, and, even though I explained some of the basics, she knew nothing about rescue techniques. Yet, I felt a sense of security having someone else in the water with me, and pushed for longer dives times. However, that sense of security was likely false. If I had blacked out, I don't think she would have been much help.

IN retrospect, I was probably better off by myself, because then I dove more conservatively. The false sense of security of being in the water with someone else (unless it is someone who has some training in rescue and is being an observant buddy) is probably dangerous.

I would venture a guess (no basis in fact and no way to verify) that on a per capita comparison of solo divers versus divers with buddies, the later are more likely to drown because of the false sense of security provided by the presence of other divers who may not being paying attention and would not know what to do even if they were. Just a guess.
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That arguement sounds a lot like the one I heard a long time ago about helmets. A racer argued that a helmet felt so safe he took more chances and was more likely to have an accident. If you stand back from the trees and look at the forest you will have a different perspective. Bike racing, like diving, has very few deaths in competition and the helmet might be more important during training. Even if your buddy can't dive to the bottom, drag you to the surface and do CPR, a little help (dropping your belt, calling for help, etc) could be a life saver. Hands on practice in shallow water is usually fun.
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