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Trimix

Floating Deco Station

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The shipwreck diving platform is a combination of two elements: the down line system and the free floating deco station.

It requires four people to easily deploy these two apparatus. Surface Support, Safety & Expedition Divers will all help deploy these tools.

To setup the down line system, the first thing you need to do is hook the wreck.

  1. To hook the wreck we use a large anchor/hook made from a car axle with 3 prongs of rebar welded to it on 200-350′ of rope.
  2. Once we hook the wreck, we remove as much slack from the line as possible and tie a knot to clip on the floats.
  3. Any extra rope is bunched up and placed in a rope bag which is also attached to the knot
  4. Finally someone attaches the two large floats (buoys).
  5. We back the boat off and make sure the wreck is actually hooked (lesson learned the hard way).

Once you’re sure you’ve hooked the wreck, you start to assemble the floating deco station on board and prepare to hook your floats.

  1. One person prepares the carabiner and weight on the long rope side of the deco station while someone hooks the floats.
  2. Once the floats are pulled up, you hook the carabiner under the rope bag (or else it won’t slide down to 120′ where we want it to be).
  3. Now you have two teams working in unison on the two sides of the deco station to mount the cross beams that make up the 10′ increments for 20 -50′.
  4. Every 10 foot of deco station rope has a ring tied into it; the rings are color coded to match on each side.
  5. The team working the long line of the deco station calls out a color as they clip a cross beam to that ring.
    • Often the first cross piece beam (at 50′) also has a bag of goodies included with it (e.g. water, headphones, etc.) and an additional Oxygen bottle + reg (charged and off)
  6. The short line team repeats the color as they clip the other end of the cross beam to that color coded ring.
    • 50′ red – red
    • 40′ blue – blue
    • 30′ yellow – yellow
    • 20′ green – green
  7. The final step is for each team to attach the orange float balls to the top of the line (before they let it go into the water).
Floating Deco Station

Floating Deco Station

Surface Support Team Member

By | Skills | No Comments

We are always looking for energetic individuals to assist in our dive operations.

Surface support and safety divers are an integral part of our team and their assistance is greatly appreciated. A single individual will often carry out both positions of surface support and safety diver due to limited space on the boat.

Pre Dive

  • Over 18
  • Willingness to work with boat Captain to ensure safety of all team members.
  • Work with Captain to ensure boat is correctly loaded.
  • Ensure all deco-station components are present and in good working order.
  • Assist team in loading gear and dive platform onto boat.
  • Deploy and set grapple on direction of boat Captain.
  • Rigging of deco station.
  • Assist team members in gearing up. This is not as easy as it may seem, each team member may have several tanks that will need to be clipped on.
    • Small details such as orientation of gate clips is crucial.
    • Attention to detail is critical as each diver will have specific requests that the surface support team member will need to address.
  • Assist heavily laden divers to swim step.
  • Help divers with fins as requested/needed.
  • Inform Captain if diver has extra gear that will be handed down after water entry such as cameras or scooters.
  • Communicate between Captain and diver to ensure divers safe entry into water.
  • Ensure no part of divers gear hangs up and inform Captain of ‘diver in the water’.
  • Hand down and assist diver with remaining gear.

Assisting Teams while Surfacing

NOTE: This is a very busy time, while assisting a surfaced team, another team may surface. Communication and organizational skills are very helpful.

  • Inform Captain that divers have surfaced.
  • Liaison between divers and Captain to ensure safe positioning of boat.
  • Inform Captain when divers are on the swim step.
  • Assist divers in removing and lifting stage tanks onto boat.
    • Tanks cannot be left on the deck to roll around and must be properly stored.
  • When divers reach top of platform, help with removal of fins.
  • Assist diver to seated position if requested.
  • Assist diver with rig removal if requested.

After All Team Members are On Board

  • Recover and stow deco platform.
  • Recover and stow grapple and lines.
  • Ensure all gear is safely stored.
  • Enjoy ‘post dive libations’ that will be presented to the surface support crew by the exploration team members.

Safety Diver

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The role of the safety diver is a critical one for deep diving operations. It helps ensure the safety of everyone involved and generally makes the exploration diver’s lives a whole lot easier while doing the deco time on the line. Often the safety diver also plays the role of surface support team member before diving commences.

We’ve divided the procedures below into standard things you’ll do… and things you’ll be prepared for but hopefully won’t ever use in real life.

Standard Procedures

Pre Dive Requirements

  • Over 18.
  • DAN insurance or equivalent.
  • Certified diver with a rating of rescue diver or higher.
  • Good buoyancy control.
  • Ability to react to fluid situations.
  • Willingness to learn about team members specific gear.
    • Rebreathers from different manufacturers, open circuit divers, and flux capacitors.
  • Willingness to work with boat Captain to ensure safety of all team members.
  • List dive teams and deco schedules on wall chart.
  • Verify return times and 70 foot travel times.
  • Safety diver will be responsible for the documentation of all expected team run times and be able to communicate to the Captain any deviances from the projected times.

During the Dive

  • When the last member of a team leaves the surface document the exact dive start time.
    • It is helpful to use a single time piece throughout the dive operations to ensure everyone is on the same schedule.
  • While team members are diving, maintain vigilance for any deployed SMBs.
    • SMB deployment will be covered under non-standard procedures.
  • Enter water to coincide with last teams projected 70 foot stop time. This might be a bounce dive.
  • Count each diver and ensure all team members are on the deco-station.
    • No ok’s or extra communication is required.
    • To ensure promptness of emergent situations, each diver is responsible of informing safety diver of problems.
    • Emergent needs will be covered under non-standard procedures.
  • If safety diver notices anything out of the norm or divers in distress, do not hesitate to notify other team members or render aid as necessary.
  • Ensure deco-platform is free of grapple lines.
  • After completion of diver count, divers may request/hand off unneeded equipment such as cameras, scooters or extra tanks.
  • When a scooter is handed off donating diver is responsible for trigger being locked and prop backed off.
  • Do not, under any circumstances allow divers to encumber you with more equipment than you can safely handle.
    • Make multiple trips if necessary.
  • Return extra equipment to boat and inform Captain of diver count.

 Non Standard Procedures

 SMB (Surface Marker Buoy)

  1. Check to see name on bag, this will tell you which team.
  2. Check slate on bags for needs or problems as listed by the dive team that deployed the smb.
  3. If slate lists gasses or equipment needed, bring them with you on descent.
  4. Descend down smb line no greater than depth required. Do not incur any decompression requirements. Check on divers, deliver any requested equipment/gasses.
  5. Retrieve any unnecessary gear as requested by divers.
  6. Ascend and report to Captain.
  7. Co-ordinate any further assistance as needed.

Bail Out from a Rebreather

  1. Immediately check bailed out diver for an ‘ok’ sign.
  2. It is the bailed out divers responsibility to inform safety diver of any needs. Most likely this will be extra gasses.
  3. Safety diver co-ordinates gas donation.
    • Other members of the team will have extra tanks, but safety diver might be tasked with tank shuffling between divers.
    • Safety diver might also be tasked with returning to the boat for more gasses.

Injured diver

  1. Assist injured diver back onto boat.
  2. Keep written list of all information regarding diver condition and injury.
  3. Keep track of injured divers equipment.
  4. Assist Captain and emergency personnel as requested.
  5. Injured divers are placed on O2.

Decompression Sickness

  1. In a suspect case of dcs, injured diver cannot make non-dcs call.
    • If symptoms or concerns are present, safety diver can call it as a dcs hit and all divers on the boat will treat it as such.
  2. If safety diver calls a dcs hit, this is a final judgment and there will be no argument.
  3. All suspect/confirmed cases of dcs will be evacuated on Captains and safety diver’s direction at the earliest opportunity.

Standard Gases

By | Resources | No Comments

I often get asked how do you know what mixes of bottom gas to take on a dive? There are two schools of thinking here, Best Mix for the dive or Standard Mixes for a variety of dives.

Essentially Best Mix means you calculate the mix based on the planned depth of the dive. So for a dive to 130′ fsw, at a PPO2 of 1.4, not getting into the narcotic gases and deep air arguments you will undoubtedly hear, the best mix is 28%. For 120 fsw, it’s 30%. You use Dalton’s Diamond to figure out the mix for the depth you want and you mix it.

When I started technical diving, I followed the best mix philosophy. While I still think for a given well planned dive, it works very well and can shave off some deco time… logistically it’s not as easy to be prepared to do a variety of dives. You need to plan the dive and get the fill for that specific dive. With standard gases , you can have a few sets of tanks available to do a wide variety of dives. This is even more true when you get into rebreather diving and bailout tanks, but that’s another article.

The standard gases philosophy is promoted by some of the largest Doing it Right / Dive it Right (DIR) agencies. While they still have a few practical differences between their standards, and if you search the web historically they’ve had even more changes over time… the basic gases are very similar, if not the same.

Below I’ve listed the UTD Standard gases. You can also check out the WKPP Approved Gases page for another nice view of this data (albeit slightly different as it’s GUE, not UTD).

Bottom Gases (Average PPO2 of 1.2)

Gas     ->  Working Range
32%    ->  0′-100′
25/25 ->  90′ – 130
21/35 ->  100′ – 160′
18/45 ->  160′ – 200′
15/55 ->  200′ – 250′
12/60 ->  250′ – 300′
10/70 ->  300′ – 400′

Deco Gases (PPO2 = 1.6)

Gas     ->  Working Range
100%  ->  20′ – 0′
50%    ->  70′ – 30′
35/25 ->  120′ – 80′
21/35 ->  190′ – 130′
18/45 ->  240′ – 200′

Oxygen Breaks

  • UTD: 10 Minutes On / 5 Minutes Off
  • GUE: 12 Minutes On / 6 Minutes Off

Interesting Rationale on selecting these mixes as Standard Gases from a thread with AndrewG (head of UTD, previous training head of GUE):

Look at the original criteria for standard mixes in order of importance:

  1. Must be able to partial pressure blend by adding helium and then topping with Nitrox 32% at a local dive shop
  2. Must have a low PPO2 at it’s max operational depth. 1.2 or less
  3. Must have a buffer zone for safety. If you need to rescue someone or go deeper then there is a buffer.
  4. Must have a narcotic equivalent depth of 100′ or shallower based on the conservative formula of (1-he)*ata”

Required Tec Diving Equipment

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Intro to Tech Diving / Discover Tec Diving

1 Back Plate & Harness (Stainless Steel or Aluminium)
1 Back Inflation Style Wing

1 Set Double Steel Cylinders with Isolation Manifold (100+ cu ft recommended)
2 DIN Regulators (Double Cylinder Configuration)

  • Hose Config:
  • 7 ft. Primary Regulator Hose
  • 22 or 24″ Necklace Regulator Hose
  • 24 or 26″ SPG hose

OR
1 Single Single Steel Cylinder (100+ cu ft recommended)
1 DIN Regulators (Single Cylinder Configuration)

  • Hose Config:
  • 7 ft. Primary Regulator Hose
  • 22 or 24″ Necklace Regulator Hose
  • 24 or 26″ SPG hose

1 Primary Mask
1 Back Up Mask

1 Pair Non Split Fins (Spring Straps Recommended)
1 Drysuit (with 2 Pockets, 1 Per Leg, Recommended)

1 Compass
1 Dive Computer (Depth & Timing Device)
1 Set Wet Notes or Slate

1 Surface Marker Buoy (SMB)
1 Finger Spool or Side Handled Reel (100′ minimum)

1 Cutting Device
1 Primary Light (Canister Style Recommended)
1 Backup Light (2 Recommended)

TDI – Advanced Nitrox & Deco Procedures | PADI – Tec 40, 45, 50

Intro to Tech Required Elements PLUS:

1 Aluminium 40 (AL40) or 80 (AL80) deco bottle (O2 Clean)
1 DIN Deco O2 Clean Regulator with 40″ reg hose and 6″ spg hose

1 Canister Light
2 Backup Lights

1 Additional Depth & Timing Device (e.g. Dive Computer)
1 Additional Cutting Device (1 Accessible from Both Hands)
1 Side Handle Reel (200′ minimum)

Trimix Courses

Tech Required Materials PLUS:

1 Aluminium 40 (AL40) or 80 (AL80) deco bottle (O2 Clean)
1 DIN Deco O2 Clean Regulator with 40″ reg hose and 6″ spg hose
1 Lift Bag (80lbs minimum lift, Closed Circuit Recommended)
1 Side Handle Reel (400′ minimum)
1 Drysuit Inflation System (Argon Bottle + Reg)

Stage Bottle Diver

Advanced Trimix Diver

By | Training | No Comments

The TDI Advanced Trimix Diver course is the top level of training for open circuit divers wishing to dive to depths as deep as 100 m / 330 feet utilizing hypoxic levels of oxygen (below 17 percent).  This course is perhaps one of the most informative and challenging and upon completion you are among some of the most elite divers. Your TDI Instructor will teach you

  • Equipment management
  • Multiple stage cylinder labeling and placement
  • Complex decompression planning and contingency planning
  • Dive team awareness and communication
  • Gas monitoring and management
  • Use of travel gasses

The TDI Advanced Trimix manual is one of the most up to date manuals and includes all the latest of technology and practices being used.

Petrel EXT

Shearwater Petrel External

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Rugged Technical Dive Computer

  • 2.4” Full Colour HD Display
  • Air, Nitrox, Trimix
  • External Fischer Connector
  • Monitors PPO2 from 1 or 3 O2 sensors
  • Single AA Battery (Any Type)

Multiple Decompression Algorithms

  • Bühlmann ZHL-16C with Gradient Factors
  • User Adjustable Conservatism
  • Open Circuit, 5 Gases
  • Closed Circuit, 5 Gases
  • Optional VPM-B
  • Gauge Mode

Simple Yet Advanced User Interface

  • 2 Button Push OC Bailout
  • Colour Coded Warnings
  • Simple to Use Adaptive Menus
  • Automatic Screen Brightness

Now with Recreational Nitrox Mode Too

Customizable

  • Metric and Imperial
  • Flip Screen
  • Firmware Updates Via Bluetooth

Dive Logging

  • 1000 Hour Dive Log
  • Free Shearwater Desktop Software
  • Dive Log Downloads via Bluetooth
  • Third-Party Dive Log Software Compatiblity
  • Download software

More Information

Shearwater Petrel 2

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Rugged Technical Dive Computer

  • 2.4” Full Colour HD Display
  • Air, Nitrox, Trimix
  • User Replaceable AA Battery
  • Digital Compass
  • Bluetooth Integration

Multiple Decompression Algorithms

  • Bühlmann ZHL-16C with Gradient Factors
  • User Adjustable Conservatism
  • Open Circuit, 5 Gases
  • Closed Circuit, 5 Gases
  • Optional VPM-B
  • Gauge Mode

Simple Yet Advanced User Interface

  • 2 Button Push OC Bailout
  • Colour Coded Warnings
  • Simple to Use Adaptive Menus
  • Automatic Screen Brightness

Customizable

  • Metric and Imperial
  • Flip Screen
  • Firmware Updates Via Bluetooth

Dive Logging

  • 1000 Hour Dive Log
  • Free Shearwater Desktop Software
  • Dive Log Downloads via Bluetooth
  • Third-Party Dive Log Software Compatiblity
  • Download software

More Information

Shearwater NERD

Shearwater NERD

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The Shearwater NERD (Near Eye Remote Display) is the first technical dive computer with a display mounted on the diver’s rebreather mouthpiece.
This revolutionary device keeps crucial information in your line-of-sight for the entire dive. Thanks to the Micro LCD display and magnifying lens, the data appears as if displayed on a 32” TV screen 12’ away, with no need to focus.

The display is unobtrusive as it virtually disappears when you look straight ahead. The numbers are there when you need them at any point during the dive, and out of the way when you don’t.

The NERD displays the same information as the Petrel technical diving computer, and features the same rugged design, built to withstand the most extreme diving conditions. The device also connects to your desktop computer through Bluetooth, enabling you to keep a detailed dive log and easily download firmware upgrades as they become available.

  • Air, nitrox and trimix decompression computer
  • Open circuit/closed circuit with fixed PO2 and 1 or 3 cell monitoring
  • With fischer connector

Rugged Technical Dive Computer

  • 320×240 QVGA Full Colour Micro LCD Display
  • Air, Nitrox, Trimix
  • Single AA Battery (Any Type)

Multiple Decompression Algorithms

  • Bühlmann ZHL-16C with Gradient Factors
  • User Adjustable Conservatism
  • Open Circuit, 5 Gases
  • Closed Circuit, 5 Gases
  • Optional VPM-B
  • Gauge Mode

Simple Yet Advanced User Interface

  • 2 Button Push OC Bailout
  • Colour Coded Warnings
  • Simple to Use Adaptive Menus
  • Automatic Screen Brightness

Customizable

  • Metric and Imperial
  • Flip Screen
  • Firmware Updates Via Bluetooth

Dive Logging

  • 1000 Hour Dive Log
  • Free Shearwater Desktop Software
  • Dive Log Downloads via Bluetooth
  • Third-Party Dive Log Software Compatibility

NERD Mounting Video