Avoiding Shallow Water Blackout

by David Hochman
The most common victims of shallow water blackout are highly competitive males.  Most of these individuals are between ages of young teens through early thirties. The main cause of black out is hyperventilation (see details hyperventilation in “extending Bottom Time”).
Here are basic rules to avoid shallow water black out:
  1. Avoid hyperventilation (3 breaths max)
  2. Avoid exercise prior to and during diving
  3. Avoid a focused mind set. Leave 5% of the brain   to monitor surroundings and give warning

    blackout

    Typical Posture After Shallow Water Black out

  4. Weight yourself buoyant at 15 feet
  5. Use reels and/or drag lines
  6. Treat your weight belt and gun as a disposable item. Bring a spare!
  7. Don’t attempt dives longer than 90 seconds
  8. Long and deep dives should only be done with a dive buddy participating
  9.  Use one gun for 2 divers so you can watch each other before, during and after the dive
10. 2 : 1 recovery time when depth is < ~60 feet and 3 : 1 recovery time when depth is > ~60 feet or breath holds are >~90 seconds.  This means if you are diving at a 3:1 recovery time, with a 1 minute breath hold, your surface/recovery time should be 3 minutes. It is critical to have adequate recovery time. This can only be monitored properly with a watch/computer that displays bottom time, depth and surface time.
Watch that displays surface time , bottom time and depth.

Watch that displays surface time , bottom time and depth.

 

11. Avoid having a competitive personality