Seek and ye shall find – Search and Recovery

search_and_recovery

Today I started the Search and Recovery speciality. This speciality consists of 4 dives, we did the first 3.

The objective of this speciality is fairly obvious. You have to search for objects and then recover them.

PADI states that by the end of Search and Recovery Dive One, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a methodical search of an area approximately 15 metres by 15 metres/50 feet or other dimensions for the same area of search to find a small submerged object.
  • Demonstrate a methodical search of an area approximately 30 metres by 30 metres/100 feet or other dimensions for the same area of search to find a submerged object not more than 10 kilograms/25 pounds negatively buoyant.
  • Tie the following knots correctly while underwater wearing gloves: the bow line, two half hitches and a sheet bend.
  • Demonstrate how to safely rig and bring to the surface an object not more than 25 pounds/11 kilograms negatively buoyant using an appropriate lifting device.

Most of this I have done before, and quite recently on my Rescue Diver course, so it was all familiar to me.

We completed the tasks in order. To complete the small area we used a circular search pattern. Ben was accompanying me and Sarah (my instructor for the day), he held the reel and I swam around him.

Next we used the U search pattern. Ben searched while I followed a compass bearing for 20 fin kicks, turned 90° left and then 3 fin kicks, then turning 90° left and 20 fin kicks, then 90° right and 3 fin kicks, and so on.

The third task was to tie 3 knots. As I can sail I know these knots already and complete them quickly and accurately.

Finally we had to lift and bring back an empty cylinder (the cylinder has several holes in it allowing it to sink).  I was quite excited to do this one as I had never done anything like this before. It was a lot easier to do than I had expected. We attached the lift bag to the cylinder and gentle put air into it using the octopus, this caused the bag to inflate

We had a short surface interval and then went back down for dive 2.

By the end of Search and Recovery Dive Two, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the expanding square search for a submerged object in an area approximately 18 metres by 18 metres/60 feet by 60 feet or other dimensions for the same area of search.
  • Demonstrate how to use an appropriate lifting device to safely rig and bring to the surface an object found using the expanding square search pattern.

Unfortunately as we went to descend, Ben couldn’t equalize the pressure in his left ear so he aborted the dive and Sarah and I continued on.

Sarah and I did the expanding square search and then recovered the sunken cylinder, towing it underwater until we got back to the entry point of the dive.

We had a longer interval this time of an hour before we went in to do dive 3. Sarah and I just went ourselves.

By the end of Search and Recovery Dive Three, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the jackstay search for a submerged object in an area approximately 60 metres by 60 metres/200 feet by 200 feet, or other dimensions for the same area of search.
  • Demonstrate how to use an appropriate lifting device to safely rig and bring to the surface an object found with the jackstay search method.

This time it was the jack stay method. We quickly set up and completed the search, again we lifted the cylinder and towed it back. However, Sarah told me to go on and exit while she hid the cylinder. This is for Dive 4, where I will have to locate it using the methods that I have learnt.

Tomorrow: final dive of the Search and Recovery speciality.

 

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