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Guidelines for Technical Diving Equipment Configurations
- Carry only enough gas to safely complete the operation while staying within acceptable gas management parameters. (Rule of Thirds, etc.) Carrying extra cylinders results in a decrease in hydrodynamics and an increase in work load.
- Where applicable, use a single cylinder with dual outlet valve. Carry decompression gas, if required, in a pony bottle.
- Limit back mounted tanks to a maximum of two, properly manifolded cylinders. If more gas is needed, use side mounted stages. This allows for better streamling, may allow for dropping off stages when not in use and allows boat divers to hand up stages before attempting to climb the boarding ladder.
- Clearly mark the maximum operating depth, (MOD) on all cylinders. Both the user and buddy should be able to see what the depth limit is of the gas in use.
- Each stage bottle is to be equipped with a submersible pressure gage and a method of cliping off the second stage regulator when not in use.
- Avoid permanent attachment of pony bottles and argon suit infaltion systems to back mounted tanks. Use a method that will allow removal, underwater, without help.
- Do not attach reels, back-up lights, etc. to D-rings on tanks. These practices can lead to entanglement problems, loss of equipment and a reduction in hydrodynamics.
- Avoid butt mounting of light battery systems. Butt mounting presents potetial entanglement problems, makes sitting with equipment on difficult, may reduce hydrodynamic efficiency, effects trim and may make the switch difficult to reach.
- All items not in use should be securely clipped and strapped in a manner to allow easy access while eliminating dangling of equipment.
- Redundancy should be limited to life support and essential items. The parctice of carrying excessive redundant gear results in a loss in hydrodynamics, an increased work load and may present entaglement problems.
- DIN first stage regulators are mechanically stronger than yoke style attachments. Make a commitment to convert to DIN systems as economics allow. While yoke systems are acceptable and have a proven track record, they are more suseptable to o-ring failures and dislodging do to accidental bumping.
- Long hose "stuffing" is discouraged due to the possibilities of entanglement and damage to the hose. Additionally, as this is the regulator that would be handed off in a low air/ out of air emergency, it is imperitive that it be working properly. As such, proper use of the long hose reg. as the primary is encouraged.
- The back-up regulator, (short hose), should be attached to the left post. The second stage of the back-up should be held by a piece of surgical tubing, around the neck and permit no hands acquisition in the event of a primary reg. failure.
- Route all regulator hoses in a manner to avoid excessive looping. The addition of 90 degree swivel fittings greatly reduces strength and integraty of the system and, as such, are not reccommended.
- Oxygen cleaning of regulators used with gases with a Fo2 higher than .40, (40%O2), is highly reccommended.
- Non-oxygen cleaned regulators may be used with gases having a Fo2 higher than .40 if o2 cleaned units are not available. This use, however, will result in an increased deterioration of o-rings and seals with in the regulator and, as such, dictate frequent servicing/rebuilding of the unit.
- Backplate, harness and wing BCD units are the most hydrodynamic and are highly reccommended. For divers with back problems or desiring to use the same bouyancy control system for technical and recreational diving applications, "tech" BCDs such as the "Transpac" and "Rig" are exceptable.
- Dive computers should be used to access dive status information only. Computers should not be used to control the dive. The dive should be controled by pre dive planning with the dive plan and contengincies recorded on slates. If dive computers are used to control the dive, use the most conservative computer available.
- Use of large, cumbersome gage consoles are to be avoided. Simple submersible pressure gage and wrist mounted gages are preferable. Compact consoles such as the "Navcon" or "Swivel" are an acceptable compromise.
- Use of large, helmet mounted lights is discouraged. These lighting systems frequently produce less light than a simple, high wattage "cave" light does and results in a significant loss of hydrdynamics. Additionally, users of such sytems may experience excessive neck strain and discomfort.
The goal is to streamline and simplify gear configurations wherever possible. Keep an open mind and be observant of other systems. Be willing to adapt in an eternal quest to improve your gear configuration.
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