As I am doing my IDC shortly I am reviewing the 24 skills that must be demonstrated on an Open Water Course. This is so that I have them clearly defined in my head and I know how to do them flawlessly. Here are the skills from Session 3
11. Free Flow Regulator Breathing
Regulators are designed to fail open. That means if there is a problem with the regulator it will free flow. So as a diver you need to be ready to handle that situation. This skill is performed at the bottom of the confined area, so remember to deflate your BCD fully. Check your SPG. Tilt your head to the right, position the regulator so it is halfway in your mouth – so the left hand side of the mouth piece is out of your mouth. To simulate free-flow you have to press and hold the purge-button. This skill needs to be done for 30 seconds. The air will rush out of the regulator so you need to carefully sip the air from the regulator. Once 30 seconds have passed put the regulator back in your mouth, clear it if you need to, and then check your SPG. You should have lost quite a lot of air.
12. Neutral Buoyancy – Oral and Low Pressure Inflation methods
This skill is otherwise known as the Fin Pivot. Deflate the BCD fully. Lie down on the bottom of the confined area making sure your legs are fully straight. While breathing normally add a small amount of air to the BCD. There are two ways of adding into your BCD either using the LPI or by orally inflating. If orally inflating you must make sure that you keep hold of the regulator when it is not in your mouth. Keep adding air (SLOWLY) until you start to lift of off the bottom. One you are starting to pivot off of the bottom stop adding air. Use your breathing to rise and fall in a controlled manner.
To ascend from a dive you perform a 5-point ascent. In the PADI world we use the mnemonic STELA
S = Signal – Signal your buddy that you wish to ascend. Give them a big thumbs up.
T = Time – Note time
E = Elevate – Lift your LPI over your head with your left hand, raise the right hand to protect your head.
L = Look Up – Looking up and around as you ascend, also listen if you can hear engine noises it is best to postpone your ascent.
A = Ascend – Swim Slowly to the Surface, no faster than 18m per minute, removing air from your BCD as you ascend.
14. CESA – Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent
We hope that will never happen but we need to be prepared for the eventually that you might be out of air, your buddy is too far away for you to share air, and that you are 9m or less from the surface.
The practice for this in a confined area is to swim horizontally underwater for 9 metres while continuously exhaling by emitting a continuous sound. Start by kneeling on the bottom of the confined area with your BCD completely deflated. Add air to your BCD in small increments until you become neutrally buoyant. Once neutrally buoyant take 3 deep breaths. On the first breath raise your left arm, on the second raise your right, and on the third swim forward (horizontally) exhaling by emitting a “ahhhh” sound. Swim for 9m.
15. Neutral Buoyancy – Hovering
This skill is performed at the bottom of the confined area. Make sure your BCD is fully deflated and start in a kneeling position. While breathing normally add a little air to your BCD. Continue to add a little air to BCD until you slowly start to lift off the bottom. Once you have started to rise bring your legs forward and start to hover. You should make sure that you are not touching the bottom (you can achieve this by adding more air to your BCD, but remember to only add a small amount at a time). You should move up and down slightly as you breath. Once you have begun your hover you must make sure that you hover for 30 seconds without finning or sculling.
16. No Mask Swim
This skill adds on to the Mask Removal exercise. Flood and remove the mask like you did in the mask removal exercise. Hold the mask securely in your hands and then swim for 15 metres. Your instructor should tap you on the shoulder once you have completed the distance. Replace the mask, and then clear it as you would normally.