Dealing With An Uncontrolled Ascent

Today’s lesson, when dealing with a diving emergency, it’s OK not to help. The last thing you want is to make yourself a second victim. When trying to help a diver in an uncontrolled ascent, sometimes the best you can do is just LET GO! And provide whatever help may be needed, once you get to the surface.

divers ascending

The Scenario

I did a dive today with 2 other divers, one who had the buoyancy control of a helium balloon tied to a cinder block. The entire dive she was up and down with very little control. When at the end of our dive, she started flying towards the surface…AGAIN, I tried to help.

After grabbing on to her, and dumping as much air as I could from her BC, we were still ascending, so I quickly dumped all of the air from my wing. It was too late! I got taken along for the ride, all the way to the surface. It was a relatively shallow dive, but we were down for a while, and I was just diving on air, not Nitrox, so I could have done without the excitement.


I’m all for trying to help another diver if I can, but the idea of potentially getting bent because of someone else is a little unappealing. I have a whole new level of respect for instructors after today, and as much as I’m not a fan of it, I can actually understand why some of them like to overweight new divers.

It’s better have them a little heavy so they stay on the bottom, then so light that they’re flying uncontrollably to the surface. When approaching someone in an uncontrolled ascent you need to be aware that there is a real risk that they could pull you to the surface with them.

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