Incident Report

|Incident Report
Incident Report 2020-05-01T16:26:00+00:00

First cave dive with unfamiliar kit

Incident Date


Incident Description

This was the novice diver\'s first real cave dive, this was made in the company of an experienced diver who knew nothing of the novice\'s background (several years of serious caving and many open water dives under his weightbelt). Using borrowed kit (from someone of completely different height, diameter, experience) the diver descended to -10 m, about 20 m in. The first problem was strong negative buoyancy, requiring the ABLJ to be balloon-like before any lift was felt. The mask was set to \'fill\'. After 7 minutes the diver decided to start his return and bumped along the floor up to -5 m, there was no panic and he was still in the company of the experienced diver. Knowing that valve changes would be a regular occurrence, he then tried to change over demand valves for the practice; this was prolonged by unknown demand valves in unfamiliar positions but this did not feel like a major incident to him. The experienced diver believed the novice was struggling and tried to detach his spare valve ready for the anticipated need for buddy breathing, but this was the first time he had attempted this underwater and he found it difficult. We now have two divers in close proximity, each struggling with their demand valves for different reasons. Eventually the novice completed his valve changeover and both returned to the surface.

Lessons Learned

Probably the best advice is for a mentor to tell the novice not to try anything unusual on his first cave dive, regardless of the novice\'s overconfidence; leave these tricks to a later dive. Just let the novice get used to the environment. These first trips are often undertaken using borrowed kit, so check weights and equipment layout are something near right. The novice should try drills in the shallows first - or even in the car park - before risking the overhead environment. Experienced divers must be prepared to assist a trainee should the need arise, plan for this if you have any intention of carrying this out. The novice acknowledges the dedication of the experienced diver in remaining with the novice and trying to assist.
Line Management Unknown
Gas Management Unknown
Equipment Management Unknown
Equipment Failure Unknown
Training Major
Medical Unknown
Planning Major
Procedural Error Unknown
Cave Environment Unknown
Weather Unknown
Other Factor Unknown