ALTERNATE AIR SOURCE- RUNNING OUT OF AIR UNDERWATER
Alternate Air Source is a scuba divers first option in a response to an out of air emergency. Find out how to maser this skill with this simple step by step tutorial.
What is Alternate Air Source Ascent?
Alternate Air Source is the best practice when running low or out of air. There are other alternatives, but non as simple and safe as the alternate air source ascent. On the alternate air source you’ll grab your buddies alternate air source, known as the Octopus, inhale from it, and ascent safely to the surface.
Alternate Air Source Skill Objectives
Where to practice Alternate Air Source Ascent?
As this skill takes a bit of practice and coordination, and involves 2 divers, one dropping his regulator out, its recommended to practice first in a confined body of water, shallow enough to stand in.
When in real life would I use this skill?
On the very unlikely event we run out of air, it’s important to know we have some alternatives for bolting to the surface. As rapid ascent is dangerous and can lead to Decompression Sickness, we should seek help from our buddy, use his alternate air source and slowly and safely ascend to the surface.
Find out about the other ascent alternatives here.
How to perform an alternate air source ascent?
1. As mentioned previously, the skill is first practiced in shallow water. Kneel on the bottom, facing your buddy close enough to be able to reach his Octopus.
The diver out of air is called a Receiver while his buddy is called a Donor.
2. Give a big and clear “OUT OF AIR” sign- moving your hand across the throat.
3. Donor: receiving the sign, you’ll protect your own regulator by placing your hand on it, preventing your buddy from accidentally grabbing it from your mouth.
– Its also recommended to elevate your right elbow, exposing the AAS and making it as available as possible.
Receiver: Locate the AAS, marked bright and placed on the triangle formed by your buddies chin and rib cage, and pull it out.
4. Only when AAS is secured, remove your regulator from your mouth and replace it with the AAS. Doing so is a good practice when locating the AAS takes longer time. When the regulators still in your mouth there’s no way you inhale water, even if there’s no air left in the system. If you cannot help but trying to take another breath you wont inhale water.
-Remember, never hold your breath! When replacing regulators, continuously exhale, blowing tiny bubbles to prevent Lung Over expansion Injury.
5: Once breathing from the AAS, both divers secure each others by grabbing each others right elbow. This technique keeps you close to each other, while freeing your left hand to handle communication and inflater hose.
Donor: Give your buddy a clear ARE YOU OK? Sign and wait for a return.
6. Signal to each other it’s time to ascend to the surface.
On 1st practice you simply stand up. Later in training, or in real life event, remember the maximum ascent rate is 18m/60ft per minute.
7. Elevate both deflater hoses, allowing expanding air to vent out when necessary upon ascent.
8. at the surface the Donor hold his buddy and power inflates his own BCD, while the Receiver has to inflate the BCD orally, forcing air through the deflater hose- mouth piece while pressing the deflater button.
Alternate Air Source Tips:
1. Practice and coordinate movement on land. Make sure you understand the steps, and that you can easily locate and remove your buddy’s alternate air source.
2. Always keep the regulator in you mouth, until you’re holding an alternate air source and ready to replace it.
3. When holding a regulator, always keep the regulators mouth peace facing down, preventing it from free flowing.
4. Rotate as you ascend to the surface allowing clear view of what’s around you.
5. This skill is best practiced after the Air Depletion Open Water Skill, where you get to know what if feels like running out of air.