UCBC's Dropped Weight Replacement Program
Scuba divers partaking in cold water diving utilize more diving equipment allowing them to enjoy the more extreme diving conditions that we have here in British Columbia. The use of equipment such as a drysuit and other pieces of gear such as hoods, gloves, more weight, etc. can task load a diver.
Gaining experience and establishing comfort while using this gear is paramount in dealing with rare but sometimes fatal dive accidents.
Emergency procedures involving alternate air sources, buoyancy control and quick release weight mechanisms on your scuba system can be more difficult and cumbersome with cold water exposure protection.
Skills need to be repeatedly practiced to ensure a confident and proper reflex action when faced with a potentially stressful emergency situation. Opportunities for training and gaining experience for cold water diving can easily be facilitated in almost all parts of BC where diving can be found.
Confined water provides an easier and more controlled environment in which divers can be introduced to and practice using cold water equipment. Whenever possible, diving with a dive professional while learning and gaining experience in this environment can greatly improve an individual diver’s safety and enjoyment in the beautiful waters of British Columbia.
Diver Fatalities in BC, although rare, can be attributed to several common problems:
Divers diving outside the scope of their training and comfort zone and failure to access emergency equipment, particularly failure to establish positive buoyancy at the surface by dropping weight are common contributors to diving fatalities.
All divers and the dive community are encouraged to continue to educate and promote safe diving practices to set a good example for new and upcoming divers.
Wishing everyone here in BC safe and enjoyable diving!
- Brendan Andresen UCBC Dive Safety Officer 2010 - 2013 / PADI Master Instructor
• The Program
The Underwater Council of British Columbia will replace the lost weights of any diver (membership not required) who drops their weight in a diving emergency situation.
• The Rationale
We want to stress the importance of education and awareness of dropping weights to establish positive buoyancy on the surface. In many fatalities the diver made it to the surface after the initial emergency but was unable to establish positive buoyancy and sank underwater. Diver’s weights are all designed with a quick release mechanism in mind but it is each divers own responsibility to familiarize with it. Although potentially hazardous at depth, a diver should not hesitate to ditch his/her weights during a dive emergency once at the surface. On the surface, ensuring a diver has positive buoyancy is the first priority in all emergencies and dropping a diver’s weight system is generally the most effective and easiest way to do so.
• The Fine Print
Requests to The Underwater Council of British Columbia to replace lost weights can only be accepted from certified divers who are current residents of British Columbia (proof required). Weight will be replaced at no cost to the individual but we request consent to publish for educational purposes, a report detailing events and conditions that led to the emergency situation.