Ice diving is a type of penetration diving where the diver goes under water with only a single entry or exit point. The ice above places the divers in an overhead environment as the diver can only surface on reaching the exit position. It therefore requires a lot of training and expertise. A numbers of security and safety measures are put in place to secure divers. Divers are tethered are advised they put on special harness with a line secured to it. The other end of the line is then secured above the surface. The entry and exit point are usually holes that have been cut on the ice to reach the water beneath. An ice saw or even chain saw is used to cut the ice. A diver who is tethered and has been deployed to work independently is supposed to be fully equipped with voice communications to the surface, face mask and most essentially, adequate air supply. Critical skill is therefore required to successfully dive under the ice while wearing the whole suit.
There are several precautions and procedures that must be observed before ice diving. To begin with, ensure that the proper gears and suits are set and working properly, check the line that harnesses you the surface. In case of an emergency, these lines are used to haul the unconscious diver back to surface. It is essential to also make use of voice communication and also rope signals. There are those equipments that one should not fail to have while ice diving. This consists of, wrist watch, knife and scabbard, depth gauge, weight belts and weights, swim fins, lifeless and lifelines besides suits and face masks. The regulators you are using should be well equipped with an anti-freezing cap. It is also essential to check lubrications at all the appropriate points. Also fill your gas tanks to the required pressures.(image by dolphinscubaclub)
Physical and Mental Fitness
Before undertaking ice diving, the physical fitness as well as health conditions of the divers should be keenly checked. As a diver you are supposed to check that you are free of any kind of illnesses or condition that may negatively affect your working when under water. In case of an emergency, ensure that you have the proper kits and knowledge of how to identify and treat any condition. Some of the conditions that are restricted in ice diving includes disorders that alters consciousness such as drugs, fainting seizure activities and even heart problems. For advanced safety and precaution, most divers especially professional ones choose to have a medical practitioner accompanying them during ice diving activities.
Learn the Basic Ethics
While diving in an area that is heavily packed with ice, consider having a surface team that monitors the ice movements and ensure that the exit does not close up. It is important to also have another diver on standby, fully equipped and ready to dive in case the first diver experiences complications. Whereas ice diving is just as similar as other penetration diving, hazards are more likely to occurs in ice diving. Some of the most common hazards are frostbite, non-freezing cold injury and entrapment by moving ice, regulator freezing and even hypothermia.(image by dolphinscubaclub)
When all the precautions are observed, ice diving is a very adventurous sport for many and most countries offering it receives a large number of visitors each year. Some of the best ice diving spots in the world are the Antarctica and also 1000 islands in Canada.
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