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Think Safety!


During the search pattern information, I did not cover all the safeties (safety measures) that may be incorporated into a search because I wanted you to focus on learning some things about the patterns.  With that behind us, let's talk a little more about safeties before we end this section.

Your first thought in any recovery operation should be the safety of everyone involved. SAFETY is FIRST and FOREMOST and is the responsibility of every member . This also includes the safety of non-dive team personnel.


Many recovery operations are different. The depth, water quality, current, bottom composition, visibility, hazards, personnel, equipment, etc. can change from one location and operation to the next. So, the safeties I use depend on the environment and the conditions I'm dealing with. For example, one operation may require a few safeties incorporated into the plan due to the operations less challenging conditions. While the next operation may require every safety imaginable. So the safeties I use "depend" on the totality of the situation. Some "on-site" safeties that may be incorporated into your recovery operation include, but are not limited to: 

  • Redundant equipment - such as knives, lights, pony bottles - for added safety and for the unexpected

  • PFD's (Personal Floatation Devices) - worn by anyone near the water's edge

  • Safety divers - dressed and ready to get in the water if something should happen to one of the searching divers

  • Mechanically tethering divers - to always have control and communication with those going under

  • Using a safety harness - independently connecting the tether line to the diver

  • Back-up bottles - rigged with regulators and gauges to pass to divers entrapped or entangled

  • Using two locking carabineers - attached at two locations on the safety harness and reversing the carabineers for added safety

  • Time and air limits for divers - requiring them to be on the surface with air to spare for added safety

  • Surface Supplied Air System - giving your divers almost unlimited air as well as tethering them to the surface for increased safety and clear communications through its hardwire communication system.

  • Full-face mask and vulcanized dry suits - to give the divers protection from the seen and unseen hazards

  • Using a bailout system or manifold block - which allows you to switch from one air supply to another without taking off your full face mask or helmet.

  • Established decontamination station and procedures - to control and eliminate possible contamination situations

  • Medical personnel - on site ready to respond to a medical emergency


Remember - The safeties you choose are limited only to team requirements, established policies, rules and regulations, your training, your comfort level, your conditions and environment and to your imagination.  So, think safety!

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