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By Andrew Whitehead

Published in Dive Log Australasia September 2000

Divers who complete the Advanced Diving Techniques course at Absolute Scuba usually enrol in the Diver Lifesaver course soon afterwards. I certainly did, and now it was my son’s turn. The six students on the June course completed their self-study requirements and the evening theory session at the shop in Capalaba, Brisbane. The pool training was conducted on the following Saturday morning in the heated pool at the Logan Aquatic Centre. This big outdoor pool was steaming in the crisp, early morning air as the divers geared up for a day of serious fun.

Pool Work

Neil Harris introduced the students to the feeling of stress underwater, in this safe environment, by conducting skill tests and games including "Musical Scuba Tanks". There were surprised looks on some faces as they surfaced rather abruptly during these demanding sessions! However, they were a highly motivated group and went straight back down to complete the tests successfully.

Neil Harris observes a rescue exercise in the pool.

The scenarios went on with buddy pairs towing, retrieving, and rescuing each other. Other visitors to the pool looked quite concerned at the apparently panicking divers, thrashing and yelling with masks on their foreheads, until they realised that there was a fair amount of ham acting going on.

Rescue Skills

The saltwater training was conducted the next day in a quiet backwater on the Gold Coast. The search for the lost diver, "Barry Brick", proved to be very difficult in the low visibility conditions. A lesson on planning and strategy on the beach resulted in an efficient search and rescue of the partly buried house brick. 

Rescue practice on the Gold Coast.

The towing, retrieving and rescuing exercises also proved to be a little more difficult in the cold seawater, with the team providing endless entertainment for the local beach goers!

After lunch came the full scenario. First Aid Instructor, Robbie emerged from a dive in great distress, yelling that he had lost his brother! The team questioned the realistically distraught diver and quickly made a plan to search for the missing buddy. A combination of snorkelors and scuba divers soon located and rescued Paul. However, the self-satisfied rescue team had a nasty surprise in store for them as they neared the beach.

Unknown to the rescue team, Robbie had re-entered the water to help in the search, and now he had disappeared! Neil and I played the innocent bystanders and gave them useless advice and conflicting directions. 

CPR exercise on the Gold Coast.

Another search was conducted and the inert diver was located, retrieved, towed, EAR’d, stripped of gear, and carried up the beach for CPR and oxygen administration.

Both Paul and Robbie survived the experience and the team received a "Well done" from Neil during the final briefing.  

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