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Solo Diving

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.

Wow, this question could take months to be answered comepletely :cool:

Solo diving is being considered by all the major agencies again, and Deeper Blue is going to be covering the discussion closely over the next few months.

There are tons of articles out there about Solo Diving, so here are a few you might be interested in:

PADI's Statement

Buddy Up With Experience

Self Sufficient Diving

Out of Air at 40 Meters

BSAC Safe Diving Practices

Ultimately Solo Diving is not a tremendously safe option. Very much like rock climbing, training and experience is the only way to train properly for Solo Diving...in the majority of cases diving with a buddy is safe and more enjoyable, but if the situation allows for Solo Diving, proper planning and the use of redundancy systems are imperative.
Hi Stephan,

Thanks for posting the articles on independent diving, and your comments. I wonder what the freedive input would be on this topic. It is hard to imagine what redundancy means in that context, other than perhaps a spare knife.


Doug Morgan,
Lantzville, B.C.
Just had a quick look at your thread.....one of my friends went diving ( I'm talking spearfishing ) and had a really bad experience with a shark....I'm now very anti - solo diving.:naughty

freediver 48-

the 'simple answer' to your question is experience, experience, experience. in my opinion there is no training that can compare to having the experience of hundreds of a variety of dives under your belt. that alone isn't even enough. you have to know your limits and be honest with yourself about your comfort zone. you have to really know yourself and the environment that you're in. i think one of the biggest dangers to experienced divers is their own ego. that being said i would never tell someone to dive alone.


As others have said, it's not really extra training needed to dive solo. It all comes down to experience. Once you are VERY familiar with your kit, can do everything without even thinking, and can be calm and relaxed in a bad situation, then maybe. Hesitation isn't something you'll want when diving solo. Also, I wouldn't dive solo if I had a buddy available, I'd only consider it if noone else was available and I really NEEDED to dive, and also only if the water conditions were favourable.

Having said that, I'm going into a job where quite a bit of my diving could be solo diving, with the added problem of having to defuse explosives, should be interesting!
Solo Diving is being fully redundant and being adept at risk/situation management. I've been solo diving for quite sometime and recently gone to indie AL80's for my deeper dives.

A wise instructor once said: "If you have to ask, you're not ready"
Hi Guys,

Interesting article : Out of Air at 40 Meters by Christian Gerzner.
The BCD being an emergency air supply has been done by a few people I personaly know. There is one article, can't remember when or who but it was so interesting, I remember the detail as such :

He was a commercial diver who was organizing of piling up some big steel pipe underwater. Somehow he got into an accident where his leg was trapped under one of the pipe. Simply he can't move, unless he cut his foot. So the story goes that he knew he needed to conserve air because the search and rescue will not take place for sometime untill which he will be out of air by then. So he started breathing from his BCD till the air get sour, dump & fill it up again. Just like a re-breather. He managed to extend his "suffering" for a great deal of time and was about to be out of air and decided to cut his foot and fortunately his team found him. Lucky guy, live to tell the tale.

However the idea of cutting a high pressure hose if the tank still contain decent amount of air ( first stage broke down ) and writer assuming that the air hole size of the HP port in first stage is pin hole and thus we will likely to have less air than more instead of tons of bubble..................is not correct. The pin hole is correct but the amount of air delivered is massive, but breathable. I seen SPG console flew like small rocket when the rotating swivel joint broke and the amount of air released from this "pin-hole" is definitely not small, very much like a second stage full-blown free flow but much worse.

Scuba diving alone is definitely not as safe as when you have a buddy, but on the condition that the buddy is not going to be the person who will introduce any sort of danger to you. Two person doesn't guarantee safety, two person double the risk of whatever danger or bad luck one person could instead have. The best is to have a buddy at least with a similiar skill level as you are or better, this include not being easily panic and so on.

It will be best you equip urself with enough back up, especially rebundant air source like Spare Air, just be prepared and think that you will dive independent even if you have a buddy.

I dive in groups but since we all spearfish, no one wants to be with no one. We descent together but when u hit the bottom, everyone go on their own way to the "secret spot". If bottom time is 45 minutes, I see them only like the first 3 minutes, sometime more if we deco together at 5 meters, if there is a decent line used. Since visibility is normaly bad in my area, you hardly can "see" them in the hunt area at the bottom. Technicaly I been solo diving for so long. However, there was a case that I blessed the presence of a buddy next to me. I was at 120 feet and out of air. This is purely my dumb fault that I did not realize that the boat crew forgot to change a new tank for me, unlike for the other 5 divers who got new tanks. First case and last case. In the excitement of the hunt I too simply forgot to check my air pressure (first time ever ) before jumping in the water and my regular second check half-way down. The desire to be the first diver down the small FAD was simply too overwhelming. Two mistakes all heading my way...........what a bad luck !!

I think the danger is about diving either solo or buddy is that when you think you dove so often you take everything for granted. You either forgot this and that or start thingking ...well I have a buddy, if anything happens I can rely on him/her.

Don't ever be as dumb as me...remember that. :D :D


I have some Dehydrated water around here someplace I'll sell you real cheap!!!

Those things are retarded. Spair air is a poor option for redundant air - what a JOKE!

Sorry - I get such a kick when I see people with those. absoutly useless!

Yep, Spare Air is a joke. Take a few breaths and it's empty. Use a PROPER redundant air supply, such as a decent sized pony cylinder that at least gives you a chance. Hell, why not just dive with twin 12 litres, and only aim to use one of em, that way you have LOADS of air if you need it :p
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Whaa hah haha:D
Reliability wise spare air is a real joke, that I agree, mild free flow always occur somehow, eventualy. Anyway if u are talking of a bail out air supply, this is the smallest ( also the smallest air capacity ). It is not design to extend ur dive people, that's where many mistakenly made assumption. The 2.7 cF is good enough to bail out from 140 feet if you do 40-60ft/minute ascend and real slow ascend for the last 15 feet.

Being out of air (not mechanical problem related ) or not enough air for deco is already a mistake in the first place, no matter how much air supply u carry, because it is the product of your miscalculation or dumb mistake......like mine ? Ha ha ha

If you are not doing any commercial work and wants to keep a non-deco state with an 80 Cf tank, in fact this tank size is more than enough to give you a deco-state if you do anything between
100-140 feet even in a fresh zero nitrogen body level. If you can't do enough bottom time to enter a deco mode at 100-140 feet from this 80 tank, you DO need a 30 Cf pony bottle because that rate of breathing is sure sounds like a gas guzzler V-12. In this case I personaly do not reccomend a Spare Air.

I gues in cold water diving breathing rate might be higher cause u carry so much weight to compensate ur thick neo and most of you are probably big size, thus big lungs. Most of us Asian at averagely 70kg, and thus smaller lungs, we need less air. And being in the tropics ,at 28 *celcius water, we can do 170 feet dive till we need to deco for 25 minutes/15 feet and still have 100-200 psi left at the end, while doing exertion of getting a fish or two at the bottom, all from an 80Cf tank. So we found Spare Air more than adequate to bail out from our usual diving depth.

Everytime we have a European or American divers with us who do not have enough experience with tropical waters, they tend to consume a lot of air for the first few dives because they were also often very much over leaded.

Only if we fly to Manado where the visibility is awesome at the right time of the year and 200 feet wall dive look & feel like an 80 foot dive, we then hook a 30Cf Pony as insurance.

Dive Safe Boys,
Pony cylinders aren't intended for extending dive time under BSAC teaching either, they are purely a backup supply to get you to the surface safely incase of emergency. Also, we are taught under the BSAC courses to leave a 50bar reserve in our main cylinder(s), so that in normal conditions, with the dive going as planned, we would get out of the water with 50bar left in the cylinder.

In my eyes the Spare Air is useless as an emergency air supply for any sort of decent diving, you have to get up to the surface so much faster than with a decent sized pony cylinder, it could be the difference between getting to the surface fine with a pony, or getting a severe case of DCI if you use the Spare Air and have incurred decompression stops.

The other major point is that a 3litre pony and reg could cost you less than a Spare Air, and would be much more reliable and safe. To me, the choice is obvious.

Having said this, I know absolutely nothing about warm water diving. Warmest water I've dived in is about 14 degrees celsius, during the middle of summer on a hot (for the UK) sunny day. Most of the time water temperature where I dive is between 4 and 8 degrees, so not warm. The cold I would expect would have an effect on gas consumption, plus all the extra weight and the increased effort needed to move around in a drysuit with an undersuit and layer of clothes beneath that.

In addition to the cold and all the gear being carried, generally visibility can be extremely poor, and so that might have some pyschological effect that could cause your breathing rate to increase. Dunno about this, but it could be a possibility.

But as a rule, in our dive club, a pony cylinder is required for any dive exceeding a depth of 30m, unless you are using a twinset with isolation manifold, in which case the pony becomes optional due to the ability to isolate the two main cylinders, although all the twinset owners in our club generally carry a pony.

I just can't wait to get the money for an Inspiration rebreather, and I will then probably carry at least a 7 litre open circuit bailout cylinder if I'm intending to do any kind of long or deep diving.

Keep safe!
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The only time in (an admittedly short) diving career that I have had to particiapte in an actual rescue was to look for a diver (allegedly an instructor) who had decided to go solo.

The key point for me in solo diving is that you may well be putting others at risk as well if someone has to look for you. At least with a buddy there's an immediate form of assistnace.

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Hi Narked,

I know UK diving is cold but what u mentioned in details make me shiver. If I hit 19* Celcius water, even with a 2mm polartec hood, 2-3 mm polartec full suit plus a 2mm neoprene shorty over it, I still feel like I freeze to death. This is about as cold as you can get in Manado or Bali or all the top destinations in Indonesia.

Bad vis, extreme cold ( thus extreme weight lead for thick neo ) all contribute to extra breathing because you are not actualy comfortable even though u thought you are, because that is how the set of conditions are when you start learning how to dive. with.

Well the more you dive later, the better you can plan ur dive because you know ur air consumption ( in normal situation ) on top of your head. Your diving situation as you described definitely need a 30Cf pony if dives are deeper than 30mtrs. I have the older BSAC book too, they are great stuff.

However after so many dives, I came up with my own simple super save formula that always work for me.......I mean my breathing rate....in decent dive condition. At whatever depth I am in...up to 170 feet only !! All I need is to do is descent (based on a maximum of 3 minute deco info from an Alladin Pro, non wireless ) if my gauge reads air balance "equal" to my current depth. Must be in PSI, I get groggy if I use BAR. This is how my "equal" means. If I am at 170 feet and air balance is at 1,700 psi , I will have to ascend. If I am at 100 feet, I ascend at 1,000 psi and so on. I usually ascend to 30 feet till my deco is zero while looking at corals and do another 3 minute safety at 15 feet.

This formula work well for me and plenty of air left on the surface to blow signal tube or Dive Alert.

If I am not wrong I paid US$270 for my Spare Air and a 30Cf with a good reg is not going to be that cheap, if u have complete SPG less compass. I need to pay here in Indonesia +-US$150 for the 30 pony and +-US$ 500 for a good reg +SPG, this is my set up.

I use the Scubapro UL600 as main and if I use a 30cf pony, I hook it up to my back up US Diver Micra. The idea is since I ony use pony for deeper dive than 140 feet .......both of the regs, back up or main must of the same or similiar high performance so that if I ever need it for the intended depth I won't over breath the reg.

You must try tropical diving, this is the best of leisure sight-seeing dive there is. I only need 2 kg of lead and this is only to compensate my empty aluminum 80 if it is at 500psi or less in 15 feet of water. This lead thing is also the reason I am so against neo which even a 2mm neo add 2kg required lead and all the buoyancy fluctuation in different depth. I am so weight sensitive now that an extra 1 kg feel like hell of a shit load in water. At your cold water temp, a lot of your air goes into your BCD for compensation, especialy at 30 meters. I imagine you need at least 8 kg of lead for 4-8 * Celcius water wet suit. Man, I feel so lucky compared to you.

Nark, don't ever let your weight belt falls off at 20 meters, there is no way in the world you can stop ur ascend to the surface no matter how you remove air from your BCD or do a spiderman flare.
Becareful mate.

Anyway, log more dives, who knows one day u come around my place and we can do diving together.

Have Fun,
Yep, lots of weight needed. Always have some air in my drysuit, otherwise you feel shrinkwrapped and even colder. Doesn't help that my suit has a small hole in it somewhere that I haven't been able to locate yet, so my right hand side gets wet, which makes you even colder! Worst part really is mask clearing, the cold water makes it really tricky at first.
As for the cost of a pony, a 3l cylinder would cost about £100, only a cheap reg needed, so about £100-£150 for that, and all I'd use for a pressure gauge is one of the small coin-sized ones that just screw onto the first stage, really cheap, then I'd carry the pony like a stage cylinder on my side.
And if I'm ever in the area, I'll make an effort to dive with you, need to experience some warm water!
I have used this analogy before, in other forums so here it goes again. I have tried many things in my life, one of them being skied diving. Now there are people who will tell you that there is absolutely no reason in the world to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and there are people that will argue that there is nothing in the world like it. I will tell you as someone who has done this, that when you step from that plane, there is no one there to hold your hand, no buddy there for you. You are completely on your own. To indulge yourself in this type of activity, you train for it, prepare for it, equip for it, pack your own shoot and except all the inherent risks that go along with this type of activity. Solo diving is much the same thing. You should be experienced, confident, comfortable, properly trained & equipped and mature enough to except all the risks you’ll be exposing yourself too. There are those who say they only solo shallow. This statement has no basis in reality. The depth doesn’t matter. Solo is solo. If you step out of a plane at 2000 feet or 10,000 feet and your shoot don’t open, the results are the same.

Going solo has a simple rule: If in doubt DON’T. Those who are against diving solo are right not to do so. For those of use who routinely dive solo, we are doing what’s right for us.
I feel out of place in a scuba discussion but, I've tried a little most years in the last 50. If you want to talk risk, a 'beach ball' rebreather, alone at 60 feet with O2 from a welder's supply is probably pushing the envelope as far as you can.
Funny someone compared solo diving to sky diving. Twenty years ago, I had a good friend, that claimed to be the only person to make 1000 jumps as a true amateur. On one vacation he went to look up buddies from the sixties. He never jumped again. Somewhere around 5-600 was the median life span of a sky diver in the good old days, he figured.
in an ideal day...

the less people around and the less gear or clothes on, the better.

sven- a survivor of homemade rebreathers, modern rebreathers and buddies.
I make solo dives to 100++fsw all the time these are the best dives I have ever had no one to look after just me the fish and MR Grey Suit could it get any better. I know my limits and at 32%
this keeps me from going deeper than I can bail out of. Besides its still safer than driving in my car to get to the boat!

As many of the other members have said it takes experience and a lot of it to get comfortable being alone and secure that you can keep a level head and act in an emergency. Scuba Diving International offers a solo certification. They require a minimum of 100 logged dives to take the class.

Solo diving is certainly not for everyone. I did a lot of diving in the early 80's in dark or black water with almost no visibility for my job with the local police department. I couldn't see my dive buddy or even my gauges and I got hung up in webbing and nets and had to cut myself out.

I shoot a lot of pictures now and as almost any photograher will tell you we don't make good dive buddies.

This past week I was in Destin and dove four different wrecks. My dive buddy whom I met on the boat was also a photographer. We went over the side of the boat together and saw each others bubbles as we made it around the wreck and signaled to each other throughout the dive. Visibility was about 20 feet. I had a 13 cu. ft. backup tank clipped to side in case I had failure.

I do believe in the buddy system and firmly believe that new divers or those who dive only a few times a year can definitely benefit from a buddy. My son and I buddy on all our dives.

I dive a lot. This made 106 dives this year and I plan to dive in December.

Just my two cents.

Jim Baldwin

Originally posted by freediver48
What training needs does a solo diver have that a team or buddy diver does not have?
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