TALK | HSASA Disabled Dive Buddy Course Info

Want to be a buddy and help disabled divers? 
Join us for a talk with the Handicapped Scuba Association of South Africa – they will be joining us on the 12th of September to share with you a little bit more about disabled diving, where it started, how one can support & the benefits of joining as a disabled dive buddy. 

If you are unable to join us for the talk please read the info below on the actual course on becoming a Disable Dive Buddy:

A brief background on this course:
Many of us know someone, a friend or family member, we’d like to involve in scuba diving. Or, we’d welcome the challenge of learning about disabilities, accessibility issues and how to dive with people who have disabilities. The HSA “Dive Buddy Program” offers able-bodied divers (advanced and higher qualified) this opportunity to expand their underwater world to include sharing it with a handicapped person. 
The HSA Open Water Dive Buddy certification teaches any certified divers how to become an effective partner to a disabled diver, and can be an effective complement to any scuba diving course.

During the HSA dive buddy training course, the dive buddies will receive medical information during interactive lectures, on various disabilities and special training on how to handle a disabled diver. When the practical part of the course starts, the dive buddies literally have to ‘act out’ the various disabilities, so that they can experience and have a better understanding of what a disabled person (with a specific medical condition) will experience, when under water.
This is a very enriching and rewarding dive course.

This qualification is internationally recognized-, as well as by other dive associations.

Cost: R4000 per person. It includes: manual, registration fee, certification card and air refills. Gear hire and venue entry fees excluded.
Date: 19-21 October 2018.

This is a 3 day course: 
1 day theory
1 day confined dives
1 day open water dive buddy qualification dives.

This course will take place at the De Jong Diving Centre in Pretoria and your Open water dive buddy qualification dives will take place at Miracle Waters.

Word from the instructor.
“The upcoming HSA dive buddy course will be one of the most challenging, but most rewording courses you will ever do. The buddy course will not only give you the skills to dive with Handicapped and impaired people but make you a better diver yourself. This course will also break the distance we have towards handicapped people in our society and the challenges they face.
Being an HSA Instructor and buddy has changed my life dramatically. After my instructor course with Jim Gatacre in 2010, I was so moved that I started making changes in my life and diving career. After training Lolo, Heather and Otto – I decided to dedicate my diving career to handicapped diving only. I hope that you will also be moved by this course, as I was. And be the best new generation buddy divers out there.”

If you are interested in this course, please let us know ASAP – so that we can have an indication of numbers please, as we need to order the manuals. Also, please send this to anyone you think will be interested. Last date to register and pay is 30th September 2018.

After being qualified as an HSA Dive Buddy, you are welcome to join us on our next dive trip to Ponta Do Ouro, where you will be able to dive with Handicapped People – 5-10th December 2018.

Interesting Article | Don’t let your ears ruin your dives

A great article by DAN South Africa and DiveIN Magazine on the full guide to ear and diving


Don’t let your ears ruin your dives

You’ve just started your first dive of the day. Everything is going great! You pinch your nose and blow to equalize your ears, but nothing happens. You try again, but same issue.

Your ears starts to hurt…you try again but it’s the same.

So what now?

Accent and end the dive or push on?

It’s time to learn how to equalise the right way!

According to a survey* we did, we discovered that:

  • 89% of divers doesn’t equalize the correct way
  • 29% of divers had to stay out of the water for weeks or months due to problems caused by equalizing
  • 6.3% of divers have gotten permanent ear damage due to problems with equalizing

That’s right, you might be Equalising the wrong way!

The real issue is that the way most of us was thought to equalise, and the method that usually works, is the wrong way to do it.

It’s the Valsalva Maneuver: Pinch your nostrils and blow through your nose. The resulting overpressure in your throat usually forces air up your Eustachian tubes.

How come it works if it’s the wrong way? It works perfectly fine as long as you keep the tubes open ahead of the pressure changes. However, if you do not equalize early or often enough, the pressure differential can force the soft tissues together, closing the ends of the tubes. Forcing air against these soft tissues just locks them shut.

5 Better ways to Equalize

Toynbee Maneuver – Pinch Your Nose and Swallow
With your nostrils pinched or blocked against your mask skirt, swallow. Swallowing pulls open your Eustachian tubes while the movement of your tongue, with your nose closed, compresses air against them.

Lowry Technique – Pinch Your Nose, Blow and Swallow
A combination of Valsalva and Toynbee: while closing your nostrils, blow and swallow at the same time.

Edmonds Technique – Pinch Your Nose and Blow and Push Your Jaw Forward
While tensing the soft palate (the soft tissue at the back of the roof of your mouth) and throat muscles and pushing the jaw forward and down, do a Valsalva maneuver.

Frenzel Maneuver – Pinch Your Nose and Make the Sound of the Letter “K”
Close your nostrils, and close the back of your throat as if straining to lift a weight. Then make the sound of the letter “K.” This forces the back of your tongue upward, compressing air against the openings of your Eustachian tubes.

Voluntary Tubal Opening – Tense Your Throat and Push Your Jaw Forward
Tense the muscles of the soft palate and the throat while pushing the jaw forward and down as if starting to yawn. These muscles pull the Eustachian tubes open. This requires a lot of practice, but some divers can learn to control those muscles and hold their tubes open for continuous equalization.

When to Equalize
Sooner, and more often, than you might think. Most recommend equalizing every two feet (.6 meters) of descent, but often that’s too late. At a fairly slow descent rate of 60 ft (18.288 m) per minute, that’s an equalization every two seconds. Many divers descend much faster and should be equalizing constantly.

The good news: as you go deeper, you’ll have to equalize less often!

10 Quick tips to make equalizing easier

Listen for the “pop”
Before you even board the boat, make sure that when you swallow you hear a “pop” or “click” in both ears. This tells you both Eustachian tubes are open.

Start early
Several hours before your dive, begin gently equalizing your ears every few minutes. “This has great value and is said to help reduce the chances of a block early on descent,” says Dr. Ernest S. Campbell, webmaster of “Diving Medicine Online.” “Chewing gum between dives seems to help,” adds Dr. Campbell.

Equalize at the surface
“Pre-pressurizing” at the surface helps get you past the critical first few feet of descent, where you’re often busy with dumping your BCD and clearing your mask. It may also inflate your Eustachian tubes so they are slightly bigger. The guide here is to pre-pressurize only if it seems to help you and to pressurize gently.

Descend feet first
Air tends to rise up your Eustachian tubes, and fluid-like mucus tends to drain downward. Studies have shown a Valsalva maneuver requires 50 percent more force when you’re in a head-down position than head-up.

Look up
Extending your neck tends to open your Eustachian tubes.

Use a descent line
Pulling yourself down an anchor or mooring line helps control your descent rate  more accurately. Without a line, your descent rate will probably accelerate much more than you realize. A line also helps you stop your descent quickly if you feel pressure, before barotrauma has a chance to occur.

Stay ahead
Equalize often, trying to maintain a slight positive pressure in your middle ears.

Stop if it hurts
Don’t try to push through pain. Your Eustachian tubes are probably locked shut by pressure differential, and the only result will be barotrauma. If your ears begin to hurt, ascend a few feet and try equalizing again.

Avoid tobacco and alcohol
Both tobacco smoke and alcohol irritate your mucus membranes, promoting more mucus that can block your Eustachian tubes.

Keep your mask clear
Water up your nose can irritate your mucus membranes, which then produce more of the stuff that clogs.