Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rescue Diver

For any scuba diver who plans to dive frequently or attempt challenging dives, the Rescue Diver course is a must. Like all PADI classes, this course consists of classroom, pool, and ocean components.

The most difficult and important skill in the course is rescuing an unconscious diver from the bottom of the ocean. Getting the diver to the surface is fairly easy, but at the surface it gets more complicated. Three things must be done simultaneously - rescue breaths, ditching equipment, and towing the diver back to the boat. I had the most trouble towing the victim back to the boat - I could not swim 10 feet in about 10 minutes of trying (luckily I still passed despite this obvious failing). Finally, the victim must be dragged out of the water and onto the boat. On the boat, CPR is administered until professional help arrives or the diver regains consciousness.

I'm glad I took the course in Cancun because I didn't need a wetsuit or heavy weights. With all the physical exertion that the rescue diver course requires, carrying less equipment makes a big difference. Panicked divers may try to pull your regulator out of your mouth and rip your mask off. My instructor, though a little guy, put up a good fight when playing the role of a panicked diver.

After this course, my instructor congratulated me on passing but told me to improve my swimming. I'm lucky he let me stay in the course as I was very rusty on my first day. I hope to dive a few times each year to keep my skills up.
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