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Old 06-23-2014, 10:18 AM   #16
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

OP: Proud of my son's first-ever spearfishing experience on Sunday at BV. He even remembered to do his recovery breaths before saying "I got a fish!!!"... his first ever.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:37 PM   #17
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

Quote:
Originally Posted by quattroluvr View Post
OP: Proud of my son's first-ever spearfishing experience on Sunday at BV. He even remembered to do his recovery breaths before saying "I got a fish!!!"... his first ever.
Somebody trained him well (thanks dad) and he learned his lesson well - safety comes before celebration. Great to see a safety conscious attitude passed from father to son.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:23 PM   #18
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

OP: Regards snorkel visibility. Had a chance to try my and my son's snorkel visibility with dayglo orange tape on the top 5" or so. Wow, what a difference in quickly spotting your buddy! (vs a little patch of faded tape, or all-black). (And don't worry, reds are the first to fade to gray underwater, so our dumb rockfish won't get spooked by a little tape :-)
Leigh
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:22 AM   #19
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

Spotted on Seattle BottomSounders free diving/spearo club thread on Yahoo groups:

Chris Bustad of Phase3Freediving is having a Freediver course on September
6 in Tacoma, check it out on Performance Freediving International website
http://www.performancefreediving.com...fi_upcoming.py, or contact
him directly http://phase3freediving.com/ He is a great guy and a very
competent instructor!

Awesome Cindy Gonzalez of SCUBA Shoppe in Auburn is also offering
freediving courses via her SSI instructor. Check it out with her about the
dates.
http://www.girldiver.com/
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:28 AM   #20
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

Quote:
Originally Posted by quattroluvr View Post
Spotted on Seattle BottomSounders free diving/spearo club thread on Yahoo groups:

Chris Bustad of Phase3Freediving is having a Freediver course on September
6 in Tacoma, check it out on Performance Freediving International website
http://www.performancefreediving.com...fi_upcoming.py, or contact
him directly http://phase3freediving.com/ He is a great guy and a very
competent instructor!

Awesome Cindy Gonzalez of SCUBA Shoppe in Auburn is also offering
freediving courses via her SSI instructor. Check it out with her about the
dates.
http://www.girldiver.com/
I can vouch for Chris, he's who I took my course with. Great instructor.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:41 PM   #21
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

I'll be sure to give it a look. I've tried setting something up with Ian, but I imagine he is too busy with the monday through friday grind to get in the water for a class. Thanks and good eye on spotting it!
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:49 AM   #22
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving << MY FRV in transit!

Finally ordered my FRV !! (with the spearboard discount). Should have it this week in time for the tuna expedition.

Leigh

P.S. This is the email I received on ordering. good causes supported.

Hi Leigh,

Congratulations on the purchase of your FRV. I know you will see the benefits of the FRV, I have been diving with it for the last couple years in kelp and in the open blue and it always makes me feel a little safer. I am a graduate of the PFI Freediver courses as well, but the FRV is definitely something I will never dive without. One more tool to hopefully insure I get home safely to my family. It does not impede with my ability to secure fish, I have harvested White Sea Bass in the kelp and Tuna and Yellowtail in the blue.
One of the most important things to remember, read the manual, review and re read again. There are always new updates Terry adds that is essential for the FRV user to acknowledge.
I am the founder of a spearfishing non profit, Diving For A Cause. It is with Tony Grogan and Terry Maas support and direction that $50 from the sale of the FRV you just purchased, supports the donations Diving For A Cause brings on its journeys.
Thank you Leigh for your DFAC support with this purchase!
Special Thank You to Tony and Terry for your ongoing support of DFAC!

Feel free to take a look at our website
www.divingforacause.org

Safe diving
Colleen Gallagher
On Sep 7, 2014, at 5:15 PM, Terry Maas <tmaas@west.net> wrote:

> Leigh,
> Thank you for your recent Spearboard Special Freedivers Recovery Vest purchase
> Tony Grogan, the owner of Spearboard has generously provided his forum to promote this offer. In addition, he has directed me to send $100 of the proceeds to two worthy freediving non-profits. Dive Wise (Divewise.org) and Diving for a Cause (divingforacause.org) will each receive $50 to promote their missions.
> Thank you,
> Terry Maas, Oceanic Safety Systems
>

Colleen Gallagher
colleendfac@gmail.com
www.divingforacause.org
650 464-1583
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:04 AM   #23
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

Good for you Leigh. Glad you have a FRV now, let us know what you think.
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Old 01-03-2015, 01:30 PM   #24
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

OP: I've got a lot more experience now than when I started this thread, so I wanted to reinforce the level of conviction on a couple thoughts above.

1. Putting dayglo orange tape on the top half of your snorkel is one of the best possible things you can do for PacNW buddy visibility (complementary to a floatline/buoy). The typical black snorkel, dark camo hood and black mask is quite fricking hard to spot by comparison, especially with any wave action and/or even modest distance.

2. If you dive gun with reel style, and no floatline, IMO you are effectively invisible and you are solo diving. Assume your buddy WILL lose track of where you are. Especially important for reel-only divers to wear an FRV. Diving with a floatline and bright colored buoy makes you easy to spot and check on, even at some distance, even with wave action.
For my life, my risk choices, I'm ALWAYS rock'in a float line and at least a bright color crab buoy or better. Another advantage of a line/buoy is using a speed stringer and quickly rack your fish on the line, they float back to the buoy and you can dive unencumbered by bulky fish on your waist.
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Old 01-04-2015, 02:36 AM   #25
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

I'll attest to the utility of orange tape on the snorkel. I was definitely surprised how much easier it made spotting your dive buddy.
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Old 05-22-2015, 01:52 PM   #26
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

FRV update news:
1. more streamlined vest for $250 upgrade cost.
2. De-salting procedure for spring cylinder. Fresh water rinse NOT good enough.

From email from Terry Maas:

You all are among the first to purchase the FRV MK-II. We now are proud to offer the newest streamlined version. For early purchasers such as you, we will upgrade your current vest to the streamlined vest at our cost--$250, which includes new code upgrades, testing and return shipping.

One serious item we have become aware of is possible corrosion build up within the spring chamber of the actuator. PLEASE READ PAGES 27 AND 28 OF THE MANUAL, which addresses this issue. Basically, you need to soak the FRV actuator is a special anti-salt solution--plain water is not good enough. You need to then release the spring by dry firing (pulling the manual activation cord with no cylinders) and then lubricate the spring chamber.

Also, users of the earlier version have charge plugs without cords, and some of you have forgotten them and ruined your units. Please tape the plug to the charger so you don't forget to use it. Remember to recharge the battery every 3 months during the off seasons.

Return your FRV with a check to:
OSS
552 N. Victoria Ave
Ventura, Ca, 93003
805-650-3014
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Old 05-23-2015, 02:05 AM   #27
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

Spend couple hundred bucks for taking a class and do it right. It is very worth it better than risky your life out there
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Old 11-29-2015, 03:16 PM   #28
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

The Fall 2015 Neah bay tragedy (from kelp entanglement) prompted me to put together in one place the safety suggestions from 3 Spearboard threads plus a bit from BottomSounders yahoo group thread. The theme being u/w safety, especially kelp/line entanglement hazards (as opposed to say boat safety which has been covered in another thread.)
---------------------
Marcus [the deceased Neah Bay diver] had his stringer attached to his belt, as well as his only cutting device. He ended up getting tangled up, ditched his belt (and in turn his only cutting tool), and got tangled again. His buddy had zero experience. This is the info I got from the person that recovered him.

Can we all agree that there is no good reason on earth to freedive with fish stringer attached to your body?

Instead… Use a float line and speed stringer, http://www.neptonicsystems.com/speed-stringer-kit.php or take fish back to your float or yak as needed.

If a crab float on your float line is too bulky for slipping through the kelp, don’t be tempted to ditch the float line, or switch to a reel (aka invisibility cloak), try the carrot float at http://www.neptonicsystems.com/kelp-carrot.php It can reduce drag without going float-less. in Pac NW reels are only for very experienced divers, and even then they are riskier than float lining it.

carrying two knives is vital for safety. But also where and how you carry them is important. Knives should be within reach of either hand. Also should be placed where they do not create a snag hazard.

Two knives, people, one on the arm, the other on the leg. Never on the weight belt, because when you ditch the belt you ditch the knife too.

If kelp is thick:
1. before entering a thick patch u/w spot your surfacing route, or better yet don't even enter that thick a spot, dive the edges, go in not too far, come back out same path or a pre-spotted path. A float line kind of enforces that discipline. With a reel, temptation is greater.
2. don't use a stringer on your belt in these conditions, that's asking for a tangle. If he had a bunch of fish that could have caused the entanglement. Whether or not it was a factor for Marcus, it's risky to carry fish that way in thick kelp. Clip your fish to your floatline buoy or yak or use a speed stringer.

Another type of hazard is at jetties, which often have lost fishing line. I've had to cut fishing line at Barview. I like at least one of the knives to be on upper non-dominant arm with handle facing down. Easy to look at and grab/re-sheathe. Mako wetsuit has a nice built in backup knife pocket on the right thigh, very streamlined. For bluewater a big old scuba knife on the calf works good and blade is long enough for putting down big fish, but is somewhat of a tangle hazard for kelp/reef diving. Better if knife is on inside of leg, but even better is the Mako pocket, which cannot entangle at all.
Another good tip for a commonly used freedive/spearing site. Recon by scuba and clean fishing line out first. One story of getting entangled twice badly on such a recon, incuding wire cable fishing line. With scuba plenty of time to cut the lines. I’ve cut and removed fishing line on scuba at Barview several times.

... and yes Neah, like Oregon coast is a wild place, not like gentle parts of Puget Sound. Get experienced and go with savvy divers. His buddy was in a tough spot being a new diver.
Bull kelp is where the fish are, but kelp is also dangerous. Scattered kelp is seldom a problem, but when it gets really dense, (lots of vertical stalks close together) I stay out of it, and just dive the edges.

My rule of thumb is this: If I cannot swim between the vertical stalks at the bottom without having to push them aside to get through, it is a no-go for me.That means vertical stalks should be no closer than about 2 feet apart. This does not guarantee a tangle free dive, but at least there is a reasonable probability of avoiding entanglement.

Move slowly through the kelp, and avoid a lot of twisting and turning while in it. Be streamlined, without gear sticking out that can get snagged. For example, put your knife on the inside of your leg. Don't use fins with buckles.

If you feel a snag, back up, don't try to surge forward to get away. Backing up will often release the tension and allow the kelp to come free.

If you have to surface through a mat of kelp on the surface, look up for a hole in the mat, or at least a thin spot, and angle toward it. If there is no such spot, hold your hands together over your head to make a wedge (like you would do if you were diving into a pool head first) and it will make a hole for you to come up through, pushing the kelp to either side.

But it is best, if the mat on the surface is thick, to plan your dive so as to surface outside the mat.

The mat of kelp on the surface will not be so thick if you dive at high tide instead of low tide.

Look the kelp patch over and make an assessment of it's size and density and shape before you go under it. Plan for your exit before you make your decent. If the patch is long and narrow, dive perpendicular to it, exiting the other side, and work your way back and forth across it's narrow dimension.

When you are diving in kelp, practice an extra conservative dive profile, so you have some time to cut yourself free if you get tangled on the way up. That saved my bacon once.

You cannot break a stalk of kelp by pulling on it. But you can snap it by bending it sharply. Serrated blade works faster than smooth blade.

Finally, if it is too thick, just stay out of it all together. Dive the edges and the clear patches.
_______________
IF you’re using scuba fins instead of free dive foot pocket finds set up your fin straps so the loose ends are on the inside versus outside and/or duct tape over the buckles.

Use dog chain style clips (requiring your thumb to open the clip) not the "D style" with the spring loaded clip. Those can snap onto a kelp stalk all by themselves. We used to call them suicide clips.
Don't hesitate to ditch your gun if it gets hung up, mine did multiple times with the Gopro mount on it.
Now I almost always go out with floatline and float, even in very thick kelp. It does impact dive mobility, but I think about it as a brake/reminder to limit the amount of diving I do under/through large overhead obstructions. If I really want to ditch my float I can tie it off to kelp with a tuna clip and a ~4ft section of light rope/cord. I always keep at least a floatline on my gun, I ditch it all the time. Or try the Neptonics carrot float.

Diving deep is fun and a great way to challenge ourselves. However I always say that the most important aspects to hunting Neah Bay are not being stupid with your gun and being comfortable in current and kelp. I bet I've had a couple trips with multiple days of ling and rockfish limits without ever firing my gun deeper than 15 feet.

I think this is a great place to advocate for using a float line on your gun rather than a reel.
A bright colored line makes it possible for a buddy/search crew to locate you if there were an emergency. And your buddy, or a live boat, can easily keep track of your location. With a reel you are nearly invisible.

2. PAY ATTENTION to current and surge when around holes/structure. You can get blown into a hole and stuck there permanently. Not good. Think and assess first, and approach holes carefully.

3. Always wear two knives in different locations on your body. PNW fishing line is no joke, and you need a way to cut free even if you blow it and drop one knife. I carry a fish killer on my left arm and a larger knife on the inside of my calf. Only ever had to use one - yet.
When introducing someone to spearing up here, be sure they are comfortable in the water. The ocean is no place to break in a new diver. I started my sons out in the pool, then we went to lakes, then to the river. It was after all of that, learning about gear, technique, current, and complete comfort in the water, that I introduced them to the ocean. All three of them told me they were really glad the ocean was not their first experience at diving. It might be OK in Florida or some other warm water, calm seas, and high visibility location, but not up here. Assess your new buddies skill level carefully. He can kill both you and himself. I have always told my boys: you have to be able to self rescue, you cannot depend on others to save you, and if you don't think you can do so, then stay out of the water. Don't look to another diver to keep you safe.

And as you said, don't be afraid to bag a dive if conditions are bad, or if you yourself are doing bad or it doesn't feel right. Live to dive another day, and don't let anybody talk you into going in if you don't feel that your skill level matches the conditions. And in addition - don't pressure or mock another diver who bags a dive at any point. Affirm every diver when he backs off, and respect his safety decisions. He will dive with you again in the future if you do.__________________

nec timor nec temeritas (neither fear nor foolhardiness.)

a new diver just take them out on really nice days to begin with (few and far between up here I know). It is the only place they will learn the conditions they'll be facing. I'm talking surf and surge mainly, which just can't be simulated in other bodies of water. Some will freak out, which I agree is dangerous. But good conditions will minimize that danger and aid you in calming them and exiting safely if need be. Always dive to the skills of the lowest common denominator! And remember, not all your friends are cut out to dive here, and that's ok! Just don't sell it as such. To sum it all up, I live by what my father (who taught me how to dive) told me about our play ground: "It's all about respect, never turn your back on the ocean."
I find that jetty dives between the two jetties a good place to introduce new divers to the conditions up here. Pick a calm day, and the water between the two jetties can be really calm. They are not far from land, and don't have to enter and exit through a shore break, which is where a lot of new guys get into trouble. But you have to dive at hi tide for the best vis, and current can really rip once it the tide changes. PAY ATTENTION to the time as to when the tide changes, and don't put a newbie in ripping current. Start the dive an hour before hi tide and end it an hour after. There is a reason for the old adage: "you can't swim against the tide." Smaller tidal changes produce less current; don't start them when there is a 9 foot change between low and high tide. A good first experience in the ocean hooks them for life, and that's the goal.

following all these points that have been mentioned will allow you to very safely navigate the awesome kelp beds we can have here, BUT, once you pull the trigger you enter a whole new world of potential problems. Personally, by far the biggest messes I have gotten into involved still alive fish and the unbelievable snarl they can get you into in moments. There are shots that are instant tangles, so it takes experience and judgement to hold off on those. The kelp here is mostly much sparser than the Straits area. When it is super dense, great hunting is often along the outside edges of the beds. And if you find yourself with your rig all entwined, and you are not, take time and come up with a safe solution.

a bad float line is better than the best reel as far as safety is concerned. It's not hard at all to picture about a thousand different life-endangering situations with shooting line and reel line.

One of the things I like most about having float line is that I can drop my gun at any time with no repercussions. No worry about the reel fowling. No worry about getting fouled in the reel line. No worry that current or kelp will drag down my gun from the surface. No worry about even dragging the gun against the reel on the way up. Just drop it and go. I haven't hunted in particularly heavy kelp, but I have hunted through some thick cattails and lilies and weeds. No sweat. Just detach the float, tie it off, and pull the float line through the nasty stuff.

I would raise cautious argument here about a couple points: good float lines do not tangle on the kelp for the most part, that rarely happens; floats and stringers do. A tiny dog float [or Neptonics carrot float] at the end to keep the float line high should not complicate things to any significance. We dove around here for a few years with floats and lines before Pablo Pizarro and I started working with reels. We were inconvenienced somewhat but for the most part just fine. We also always recommended inexperienced divers do not use reels until absolutely familiar and experienced with our local conditions.

Reflective tape around the tip of the snorkel, the underside of the fins, and a white speargun handle or some white tape around the grip or along the barrel are essential around here for those who care to put protective factors around themselves and their gear.

I agree we all make our own decisions in life and the sports we practice. I also believe our cultural and individual sense of self-reliance and independence do not exempt any of us from being accountable for how our choices and actions impact others who may have to risk themselves to save you or will have to deal with survivor's guilt and trauma. We owe it to ourselves, loved ones, and water brethren to be as safe as good council allows for. That includes saying no to diving with folks who do not have compatible practices in the water. Only when we are willing to take a deep and honest look at the psychology of the sport will we be able to clearly define what level of safety we are willing to deal with.

Last edited by quattroluvr; 11-29-2015 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 11-29-2015, 11:33 PM   #29
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

Good synthesis Leigh.
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Old 02-06-2016, 01:10 AM   #30
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Re: Safety thoughts & observations, Oregon free diving

Bump. I've asked the moderator for sticky status for this thread, but hasn't happened.
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