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The Dangers of Ascending Too Rapidly During an Open-Water Dive

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The Dangers of Ascending Too Rapidly During an Open-Water Dive

  1. 1. The Dangers of Ascending Too Rapidly During an Open-Water Dive By Michael Schamis
  2. 2. Introduction • Michael Schamis spent four years as an open-water scuba instructor with Empire Divers in New York City. Michael Schamis has held his Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) instructor certification since age 18, the youngest age at which a person can do so. One of the major steps candidates must take toward gaining certification from the PADI is making their first open-water dive. As the name implies, an open-water dive takes place in the middle of the ocean rather than a pool or a sheltered cove next to the shore. All of the dangers associated with scuba diving become amplified during an open-water dive, requiring all divers to practice extreme caution.
  3. 3. Open-Water Dive • One of the leading causes of injury and fatality among divers is ascending from a dive too rapidly. Divers are trained to ascend no faster than their air bubbles and to stop at certain levels for a period of time in order for nitrogen to be cleared from their bloodstreams. Anxiety due to mask flooding or rough water conditions can influence a diver to head for the surface quicker than normal, potentially resulting in a serious injury or illness from nitrogen bubbles expanding in their tissues and joints, a condition known as “the bends.”
  4. 4. Conclusion • Fortunately, divers can easily train to avoid panicking. They can repeatedly practice flooding and clearing their masks in a pool or shallow water so that dealing with the issue becomes routine. As for rough-water conditions, divers should check weather and water forecasts frequently both in preparation for and during an open-water dive, and they should avoid getting into the water if conditions are unsafe. Should violent water conditions begin suddenly, all members of the dive party should immediately get out of the water.

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