Originally published @ 14 February 2014 @ Scuba Scoop
As scuba diving gains popularity, many new products seek to mitigate the inherent risks of the sport. The most important precautions should always be adequate, quality training and sound judgment, but in addition to the basics, many divers already carry items designed to increase their safety both underwater and at the surface, including whistles, DSMBs and strobes — as they should. And more options are added every season. In this blog post, I’ll look at one of the newest, the DiverGuard.
Shallow water death syndrome
Every year there are a number of dive deaths for which there are no real explanations. Many of these deaths occur in fairly shallow water; the divers are experienced, and there seems to have been no panic, outside influences or equipment failures. The divers simply drowned. Typically, these deaths are explained as sudden illnesses or seizures, which paramedics would have treated had they occurred on land. But because the victim is stricken underwater, he drowns before help can arrive. The victim’s buddy should help get the diver to the surface and start first aid, but statistics show that this doesn’t always happen.
Enter the DiverGuard
A new product, called the DiverGuard, seeks to remedy this. This small unit attaches to the low-pressure inflator, substituting for the current inflation and deflation unit. It electronically monitors the diver’s breathing, starting at around 10 feet, and stops again when the diver reaches 3 feet of water. If, at any point in between those depths, the diver stops breathing for 40 seconds or more, an audible and visible alarm sounds and flashes, alerting the diver’s buddy and other divers in the area. The diver, or another diver, has 7 seconds to press a reset button before the DiverGuard starts inflating the BCD, sending the diver to the surface. The alarm continues at the surface, helping divers and surface crew locate the diver in distress. Read more::::