Who’s Tracking Your Air? – The Role of a Dive Tender

As new divers we are taught that the person responsible for the air you have left is YOU and under no circumstances is it anybody else. Well, this rationale does not stop at the sport level. When a diver progresses into the technical level that responsibility of monitoring his own air is drilled even deeper into his subconscious. So what happens when you become a public safety diver and you can’t see your pressure gauge?

Public safety divers often dive in waters where the best thing to do is close your eyes because you’re not going to see anything anyway. Even if they kept their eyes open, they still may not be able to read their gauge. The person that should be monitoring the diver’s air is their tender, but this does not come without a lot of practice together in varying conditions and depths.

Tenders are often overlooked in their role and importance in the diving operation. Most tenders are used to gearing up their diver, hanging on to the line tied to their diver, and providing line signals when not using Comms. While all these tasks are critical to the success of the operation and safety of the diver, tenders also play the important role of tracking their divers dive profile and air consumption. Tenders can signal to the diver when it is time to turn the search and head back to shore because they are low on air.

As stated earlier, this ability does not come easy. Divers and tenders must commit to working as a team and tenders must keep detailed notes on the depths, water conditions, water temperature and diver workload, as well as other varying factors. After several dives have been monitored, the tender will be able to establish a baseline air consumption of the diver. With the tender controlling the dive, the diver is free to focus on his tasks and work more efficiently.

Routine training sessions are important for the success and safety of all team members but the team building that needs to happen between a tender and their diver is perhaps the most important element. Their ability to communicate and think as one will produce great results.

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