Three Strikes and You Are Out

By: Michael Thomas

Remember your training along with the three strike rule and your out ! What do I actually mean ? It’s no use just attending a TDI technical diving course and then never practicing the skills your instructor taught you. You will never know when something outside of your planning happens or equipment failure strikes to make life interesting and if your skills are rusty then problems can escalate. The three strike rule is not exactly a rule but if you have three equipment or logistics failures before the dive I would advise giving up diving for the day and doing something else ! Today I was diving a classic British cave called Hurtle Pot, the current period of hot dry weather in the UK has given us some superb diving conditions. Really don’t want to waste the opportunity do we ? Diving with young TDI full cave diver Robert Thomas to keep working on his experience and cave skills, it was a hot day and both keen to get in the cool waters.
During kitting up I had a ‘O’ ring blow someplace inside the 1st stage regulator, so replace regulator and continue, strike one, during TDI pre dive team check my primary light showed signs of failure ! Light replaced. Strike two ! Finally we get to dive and a very enjoyable dive as well, until Robert switches to his stage cylinder on the way out and finds he has a 2nd stage failure in the form of a extremely wet breath ! ( regulator was found to have debris under the diaphragm causing a flooding 2nd stage ) Training kicks in, signals we have a problem and we swim calmly back to the deco cylinders to complete the dive safely with slightly less gas in the primary cylinders than planned. That was our Strike 3 no more diving today no matter how good the conditions. Dive safe and plan to fail well.