There is a new pocket CO detector now available from Aeromedix. To use it, simply take a ziplock bag with you when you fill your tanks; decant some gas from the full tank into the bag with the unit inside and seal for a couple of minutes. A single press of the button turns it on for 5 minutes - perfect for a single reading.
This is a $130 device that can literlaly save your life, especially if you dive overseas where filter change intervals are more widely observed in the breach than the observance! Nonetheless, do not be complacent in the US - while problems due to contaminated gas are rare, there is not one dive shop in 1,000 in the United States that is monitoring in real-time for carbon monoxide contamination at levels below 100ppm; a 100ppm level at 4 ATA (99') is equivalent to 400ppm at sea level, which is widely recognize as capable of producing unconsciousness within 20-30 minutes! Its your life and you only have one - for $130 in this small of a form-factor, it is my opinion that absolutely every diver should have one of these in their gear bag.
Call to arms! It is time for divers to "Just Say No" to the certification system. There is a better way - that being a Diving Liability Law passed by the states. Equine (horse-related) professionals face the same liability issues as dive shops and dive boats, and they've solved it. Look here for how we can solve it too, then tell your local dive retailer or instructor - no more money from you until they get on board and fix the problem, returning certifications and instruction to what it should be - a voluntary system that divers embrace in their quest to learn.
Ginnie Springs is now apparently enforcing a "no diving in doubles" rule for intro-cave and cavern certified divers.
This is farm-animal stupid, a net reduction of safety, and from our perspective, worthy of calling for a boycott of Ginnie Springs until they formally rescind this bit of stupidity.
The claimed argument is that you "can't penetrate as far" on a single as you can in doubles. This is crap however, for a number of reasons:
- Nobody can force you to dive with a given gas reserve. Once you get in the water, it is entirely beyond their control as to what safety margins you actually use. The standard is "thirds" (at worst) for cave diving, but nothing prevents you from pushing this once in the water - except a respect for your life. On a single, you are more tempted to push these reserves, simply to get a decent dive duration. This is particularly true in a high-flow system such as Ginnie.
- A single with an "H" valve is inherently less-safe than doubles, independant or manifolded. Why? Because you cannot isolate a failure in either valve seat or the tank neck. That's three potential leak points that are all unprotected. With doubles you can isolate any single failure except a failure in the isolator valve itself. In addition, the total volume of gas is higher - thus, you have more reserve in terms of total gas supply to start with.
- You can die just as easily 100' into a cave as you can 3,000 feet in. Indeed, most people who do get killed cave diving do so quite close to the entrance. If anything, additional gas supply helps your odds of survival.
This sort of political crap should be shunned by the community. As such it is the official DIVER'S UNION position that Ginnie should be BOYCOTTED by all until this policy is changed.
There are a number of less-expensive places to go to cave-dive in the area. Peacock State Park requires only a State Park's Annual Pass or a daily fee less than Ginnie's. Little River is entirely free to use, as is Telford.
Or, if you want to dive Ginnie, rent or bring a pontoon boat and anchor it in the run - their rules have no force whatsoever, nor do you have to pay, if you access the cave by water and never set foot on their dry land. The Florida Submerged Lands Law provides you with absolute protection in this instance - and they receive nothing. Bring your food and drinks with you too, so you can consume them and thumb your nose at their overpriced "provisions" while you're at it.
Let's take a stand against REDUCTIONS in safety.
Diver's Union in concert with Cuda Systems LLC is pleased to announce the availability of the DIVE GEAR REGISTRATION web site.
This is an important tool to deter theft of your valuable diving equipment - check it out!
There have been two recent deaths in Mexico from apparent CO-laden
diving gas. DAN has just run an article in "Alert Diver"
which makes the claim that 3-5% - or possibly more - air samples sent
in fail for CO levels, and most of those don't fail "just a bit"
- they are spectacular failures!
The bad news is that when this happens, the SHOP (and not the state,
or you!) is notified and "offered" the ability to fix it.
In the meantime, exactly how many divers has the shop poisoned?
Want the really bad news? A CO hit looks a LOT like a heart attack,
unless the coroner looks for COHb - which they will only do if they
have some reason to suspect CO! So exactly how many divers have had
"heart attacks" that are really undetected CO hits? Good question....
and one that neither I, or anyone else, can answer.
There is an inexpensive, roughly $100, solution to this problem
that every diver can carry. ALL SHOPS can install something very similar
to this to CONTINUALY monitor their compressor output for just a few
IN 2004, WITH TECHNOLOGY READILY AVAILABLE TO PREVENT THIS, WE SHOULD
AS DIVERS ACCEPT NOTHING LESS THAN "ONLINE" VERIFICATION THAT
OUR BREATHING GAS IS NOT BEING POISONED!
Diver's Union hereby calls for the following actions:
- That all dive shops install, within three months (July
31st, 2004), an online CO monitor that is fed from a medical
regulator whenever their compressor system is operating, which is
designed to SOUND AN AUDIBLE ALARM if CO levels exceed 10ppm
(the "Grade E" CGA breathing air limit) at any time.
- That all dive shops read the current and high CO levels DAILY
and present them in a log that is kept conspicuously available
to customers before or when they tender tanks for filling,
and that the "historical" data be cleared after being logged
daily so as to insure that each day's operational log captures the
highest CO level found during that day, along with its duration.
- The divers refuse to purchase breathing gas that has not
been analyzed before leaving the premesis for CO content,
with an "online" system as described in (1) above meeting
- That state legislatures consider legislation making
mandatory the installation of such devices in all compressed
breathing-air delivery systems in the United States, and the posting
of such logs, and that other government entities adopt similar regulations
For dive shops which desire to build such a monitoring system on their
own, the link to the device I have modified will meet these specifications.
It will also insure your customers do not get poisoned, which is the
Diver's Union has no affiliation with CO Experts or Aeromedix. We do,
however, salute both organizations for making available a reasonable-cost
device that will make CO-related diving deaths a thing of the past.
We will post a new button on our top level page that will identify
those shops which are in complience. If your shop is, please email us
with your shop's details; we will call to verify and add you to the
For plans to the CO Analyzer, see
There is now a forum
up for all divers to come discuss various aspects of diving - including
a place for manufacturers and shops on "The Good List" to
make public offers to divers! Come
chat with us!
Genesis (Jay Skop) has asked us to stop faxing signatures. As with
Aquatics, we will, of course oblige.
The Diver's Union stickers are in. See the "Stickers" link
at the left for how you can get as many as you'd like. We have a LOT
Atomic Aquatics (Dean Garassa) has asked us not to fax him any more
signatures. We will, of course, oblige and cease transmissions immediately.
We suggest, however, that a firm that doesn't want to listen to its
customers might be one that you would think long and hard about before
doing business with! There are other choices.
Amer-Sea confirms membership on the "Good List" with 100
Apollo Sports USA confirms their membership on the "Good List"
with 100% compliance.
Our first "Good List" company has confirmed their policies!
Progress! Check it out on the link at left.
The Petition is now online for signatures! Get your dive buddies and
have a petition-signing party!
A logo and sticker format has been completed, and will be sent out
for printing shortly. We expect to have stickers available for your
tank, car, truck or boat before the end of February.
The current list of dive equipment manufacturers contacted in relationship
to this program stands at ten. One contact is pending a response. Most
contacts have been at the level of the President of the Corporation;
a few at the director or VP of sales.
Expected "online" date for the petition is 1/24.