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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
well i did my deepest dive alone, ang generaly i do dive a bit far away from my mates, iv never really though about any danger so i didnt give it much thought to it to be honest.

oh, if someone can spare 90quid or so, you can buy one of those life jackets that will shoot you up in the surface and keep you there i things get bad. they also have a bleeding valve that will prevent it from exploding due to the pressure change...but ok, i dont mind diving with others, its just that nobody from my friends is crazy enough to go as deep and stay there, i mean, they do go deep, but they seem to be doing it in a show off way rather actually enjoying it.
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Those jackets would help you just a bit more than droping your weightbelt.

The permenant most common danger of freediving is a Shallow Water Blackout, (SWB in short). Blacking out unexpectedly on on the way up sometimes with no warning won't be prevented by a jacket, neither blacking out 10 seconds after you've reached the surface already. It can happen.

Search about SWB in these forums, there's a lot on it.
actually i was talking about that with my mates from scuba, they told me that since us divers can go pretty deep, the rapid surfacing from -30 to 0meters can cause that, but i guess i should try finding some answers from the people that have hands on experience, thanks deep thought :D
You GUESS you should try finding some answers???!! Yikes... this is serious business we are talking here. You may not have had an accident yet, but you sound way too comfortable with -30m and wanting to stay down there long, with no understanding of the danger.

PLEASE do find the answers regarding shallow water blackout, diving breathing techniques and their dangers, outlooks on hyperventilating too much and not using hyperventilations when diving alone/seperated, effects of body fatigue, false confidence of feeling good at depth, etc...

It is easy to stay down long and feel good, yet it is what will happen as you reach the surface that is the deadly part. Chances are if you do not understand that dangers, you will one day find yourself pushing to stay down a little longer than normal, or just trying to stay down as long as you normally would but on a day that your body is not normal (ie. have a cold, high metabolism from exertion previous day, end of the day diving, etc.) and then you may easily have a blackout upon surfacing. The dive may have even felt like all other dives.

It is one thing for us to all have different philosophies towards why we dive the way we do and under what conditions, but it seems unlikely that any of us would have a philosophy that entails not letting ourselves become aware of the factors involved, what danger do they pose, and what steps would minimize such dangers. That is not to say we will all take the same steps or believe in the same steps. But at least take the free information available to have awareness and step out of ignorance before everybody else regrets that you didn't.

Take care,

Why not just title this thread "Are you suicidal" or "Do you have a death wish"?

As a shallow water blackout survivor let me warn you: I fully expected to have some warning signal of imminent unconsciousness. I had NONE. NADA. NIL. That is what really pisses me off. I am seriously contemplating getting a diving computer which measures C02 and 02 in blood.
Originally posted by hypoxiajunkie

As a shallow water blackout survivor let me warn you: I fully expected to have some warning signal of imminent unconsciousness. I had NONE. NADA. NIL...

Were you pushing yourself or were you within your normal "comfortable" dive times? How about giving yourself enough recovery time on the surface? It would be interesting to hear what led up to that and how you got out of it.

Originally posted by Adrian
Were you pushing yourself or were you within your normal "comfortable" dive times? How about giving yourself enough recovery time on the surface? It would be interesting to hear what led up to that and how you got out of it.


I think I already said: I had been swimming already for 2 hours rather intensively, and took a 20 minute break on an empty stomach. I did -not- eat any honey before hand. So I presume my anaerobic reserves were expended.

Basically, I can normally do at least 55 meters dynamic no fins. My goal was to do 50 meters. At about 30 I realized I am much lower on 02 than I expected despite a proper breathe up. I tell myself I can make it any way. I start blowing my air, much too quickly - not a gradual stream of bubbles but at least two blows maybe even a third. At this point I'm at least at 35 maybe even 40 meters figuring "damnit, I know i can do 50." So though my air is gone I start swimming as fast as I can. I remember at least two, maybe three strokes at top speed. I do not remember attempting to surface but I did. I do remember the lifeguard touching me. I did not however realize that the lifeguard had to jump in to the water to get me out. I thought that they were just helping me to get out of the water.

One note: Eric Fattah said that his only SWB corresponded to a low sodium diet. I also am on a low sodium diet, ironically because I thought that would lower my blood pressure and heart rate and improve my free diving. As soon as I find out whether sodium is good or bad for free diving I will change my diet appropriately.

I was swimming at 4 meters depth. The depressurization probably sucked the little 02 in my blood back out.

Unfortunately, other than knowing that I had breathed out my very last reserves of 02 I cannot say that I had any warning signs such as: tingling, everything turning red or blue. Nor any feeling of panic or urgency. I simply fell unconscious without any warning. Believe me I wish I could. I now have a personal rule which I would like to recommend which is: upon blowing last C02 prepare to surface immediately. What got me was a combination of blowing all C02/02 and exhausted anaerobic reserves and possibly low sodium and possibly low glucose. As soon as my partner gets back I will compare notes with his swb. However I am simply never going to try to do 50 meters again without a spotter even if I am perfectly rested. I did not get myself out of this - i.e. i did not regain consciousness upon sinking - the lifeguard (who I told before hand what I was doing) rescued me.

Once my partner gets back I will of course continue training to try to reach my goals which now seem further away than ever. As soon as I know for certain whether sodium is good or bad for free diving I may change my diet appropriately.

If I had been well rested I was within my comfortable range. If I had more sodium or glucose I might not have been caught out. But I am capable of 55+ meters (actually I did 60 once - no fins, my pb with fins is 100m). I had plenty of rest between dives (20 minutes). So it seems either
a) anerobic exhaustion (most likely)
b) low sodium (probably)
c) low glucose (probably)
were the cause.

Anyway, I now have a personal rule. When I blow my last C02/02 I'm done, its time to surface unless I have a partner who I would literally trust with my life.

On the upside. My trachea closed on its own so I inhaled no water. Which is very good to know. I don't know if that instinct is true of all humans but I know I have it which is a big relief. I started breathing on my own. That is also a big relief. I was underwater unconscious at most only five seconds. So as long as I have a partner watching me even if I do BO again its not a problem (other than the splitting one day headache and two days of sore muscles). I don't think the BO makes me more likely to have another: I'm actually hoping it conditions me to use 02 more efficiently.

So yeah, I personally recommend. If you've blown your 02 surface. The extra 5-10 meters are not worth risking your life.

I'm looking into finding diving computers to measure 02 / C02.
Originally posted by DeepThought
Does such a contraption exists?

I think so; I know I have read postes by Eric Fattah talking about a thing I beleive called an oximeter (off to search threads and start one in beginning freediving).
Thanks for your comprehensive reply hypoxiajunkie,

I guess you were pushing it. The funny thing (or not so funny),
is the no warning symptoms. Scary. Just goes to show how careful we must be. I don't know if there are dive computers that somehow incorporate oximeters. That would be pretty sophisticated!

Hey People

Very incisive discussion into the mysteries of solitary diving.

I am afraid that for many of us this is a "necessary evil". As a spearo there are only 3-4 people that I have dived with and that dont interfere in some way with my hunting technique. On the other hand if your buddy is to act as a safety precaution he has to sacrifice time from his/her own session to keep an eye on you and this is quite a burden. You have to spear with someone for a long time before you learn how to not interfere with eachothers technique and keep an eye out for safety at the same time, and buddys like that are not made or met very often.

On the SWB what can I say having experienced my own share of sambas on the surface in the past I no longer venture past 13-15m for "waiting" technique when alone and am always paranoid if I feel too good at that depth and am staying longer than usual.

My opinion is that the primary precautionary measure is adhering with discipline to recovery times. For example I know I can physically and psychologically perform 6-8 dives under 20m whilst spearing 1 hour. This can give me up to 10 min recovery time where I can lay still at the surface and "take stock" of what is going on with my body. I know I can keep going at this rate for 1.5-2hrs before I have to move shallower. Sure champs can do 1min recovery and 2.5 mins dive for 4-5 hours during competitions but check out the number of sambas and hypoxias in tournaments. They also dive in pairs. So for me the best safety measure is sticking to your recovery routines regardless of how many WR amberjcks or tunas are dancing underneath you.

Just my 2 kopecks :D
Sadly yes I always dive alone. I have had the privilege of diving with Pekka a couple of times in Devon (if you want to meet in Bristol for some dives sometime then send me a message), but sadly I have moved away from there now and rarely get to the sea. The way I see it, I either dive alone or I give up freediving. I never venture below about 15m and usually I stick to <6m or so.
Dive safe...
Hi HipoxiaJunky,

I had sort of the same, but then in a competition.

This was because I was so much focussed in doing the second turn that I did not feel and see the subtule things, giving one the warnings of the red zone.

For me it was the frigging cold pool temperture that killed my performance, as I was shaking like a leaf while preparing. People said, "look, he is already having a samba!"
So just say to yourself, I see where end, I'll try for my best technique possible.

Be honoust to yourself when you estimate the expected performance. I think that just saying to your buddy, I 'm trying for a max now, and I'm not in great shape and then go without any minium distance in mind. Just try to perform a flawless technique.

I only do a max when I feel good, and before beginning a training. I useually have a 45 min bicycleride in the legs, so this "warmup" enough ;)

Freediving is to me much about feeling, and I'm learning my body better and better which helps me to stay on the safe side. I've only samba'ed and BO'd because my will was to strong.

The one thing that occured to me a day or to I bo'ed last year was that the next training was really a nice one, I was so much more free under water. I hardly feld the need to surfice. Instead of the useuall 2x25m monofin uw, I swam 25, stayed under relaxing lingering arround the bottom for about 20-30 seconds en than slowly I swam back the 25m uw and came up very easy. Very nice feeling.

Ciao and dive safe.

Are there any people out there who have had SWB after just a short shallow dive (i.e. less than a minute at less than 10m)? You see, when I am diving alone I don't usually venture below 10m (partly because the shore around the South of England is generally pretty shallow within swimming range) and I rarely stay down more than a minute. If I am with a buddy I will dive up to a max of about 30m, but would never do this alone.
Am I putting myself at any danger of blacking out? Of course there are millions of people around the world who go snorkelling alone (with no pretences of being a 'freediver') and do exactly the same dives as the ones I am doing when I dive alone. So do you think that you should never do any breath-hold dives if you are unaccompanied?
Interesting question and one that is applicable to me aswell. I've been out solo recently as various buddies have been unavailable (for various reasons).

I split my time 3 ways : snorkelling (surface viewing only - relatively safe solo, but I am always with a buddy or two anyway); spearfishing (similar dives to you Tom - around or less than 10m and not more than a minute) and freediving (dives to improve depth - never solo ! Hard to find people interested in this locally, so haven't been progressing really).

Mainly on the spearfishing front - I have one or two buddies for spearfishing but they are away so I have been going out solo. Really 'listening' to how the session is going and not pushing it at all. However, from reading around there is a strong case for NEVER going into the sea solo. I grapple with this each time I go.

I'm sure no-one can say "if you do this then you'll be fine" as each day is different. You do really need a buddy in the sea whatever you are doing. And preferably one who knows the signs of trouble and knows what to do.

It seems to me that it gives us a distorted view of reality if we conduct our survey of solo diving practices exclusively among living divers.

We should also solicit the views of the population of dead divers. They may have some illuminating opinions on the subject of solo freediving.
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Well you would be correct that the poll might be a little skewed there!

I was not going to share with the community all the people that I know that have died from soloing, but now that you mention it, a new kind of awareness struck me!:hmm So, all of you out there in the same position should stop holding back and voice up... I saw this seal on the beach yesterday, drying up, washed up, being digested by flies. It was sad, but I am rather certain it was soloing.

I've been thinking about this issue long and hard, as I do a lot of solo diving. I do a lot of surfing on my own and have always trusted myself not to do anything stupid. I have always cycled on my own and often venture to places where nobody passes by all day. I windsurf alone and I do most of my powerkiting alone. This is all due to not always having people around to come with me. I don't believe that I should give up the sports I love just because I have to do them alone and there is an element of risk. I drive to work every day and I believe this is significantly more risky than doing a few 5m snorkelling dives every now and then on my own.
Still, this will always be a sensitive issue and there will always be people out there to disagree with each other. Some people are willing to accept the risks of diving solo and some people are not. That is up to the individual.
The most important thing is to do what you do as safely as you possibly can and to enjoy it.
It would be interesting to hear from people who know of circumstances where people they know have died soloing. I believe that we can learn a lot from other people. Of course I also understand that it is a difficult subject to talk about.
My dad's favourite passtime was to go out spearfishing alone. He went very regularly over the course of about 40 years. He died of cancer when he was 55. I wouldn't have thought he regretted any one of those solo dives...
Also, I'd still be really interested to see if anybody out there has had a samba or swb after a short shallow dive (e.g. less than 10m for about a minute)...

Originally posted by Paul Kotik
We should also solicit the views of the population of dead divers. They may have some illuminating opinions on the subject of solo freediving.

The problem with dead divers is that they don't have much to say. Maybe they are keeping quiet to see if we live and learn from their mistakes.

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