Christian Daehler Spearo - Instructor - Freediver
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Down here on the east coast of Florida, we have the Gulf Stream, and it runs right past our coast, so it's not uncommon for us to be diving in currents that are ripping at three knots or faster. And that can cause two major problems. Number one, it makes safetying a whole lot more difficult, and number two, it makes it hard to just dive efficiently. So in this video, we're going to talk about how we can do both of those things better. Let's jump into it.

Make Yourself Visible

First off, safetying in strong currents. What you have to realize once you start diving in strong currents, now you have currents pulling you divers apart. That's because as soon as the diver who's down touches the bottom, the current no longer affects them. Meanwhile, anyone safetying them at the surface is actively being carried away by the current. So, a couple of things that we can do to help prevent that is to make ourselves super visible to our dive buddies. One thing I like to do is throw high-visibility colors on my gear. A couple of these colors are white, green, and yellow. And these colors are going to make it so your dive buddies are able to see you super easily.

Now, here's the thing. You don't have to dress up like a highlighter in order for your dive buddies to see you. In fact, most of my wetsuit is very dark colors that blend in with the water and the reef very well. So to get around that, just a couple of pieces of gear that I like to have is a white snorkel. And what a white snorkel does is it allows your dive buddy to see you as you're on your way up towards the surface because you've got this white thing on your head. I also like running white weights. So I use this white neck weight just like this, so it's very visible on the back of my neck. I also use these white belt weights, and with these on my back, it's very easy for my dive buddy to see me when I'm laying on my stomach on the bottom, actively hunting. And then finally, I like fins with white highlights, and these white highlights are going to be awesome when you're actually kicking yourselves down towards the bottom. So as you're fitting down towards the bottom, these white highlights on your fins will make it so your dive buddy can see you very clearly. So with just weights, a snorkel, and fins that have highlights of these high vis colors, your dive buddy will be able to see you as you're heading towards the surface, when you're at the bottom, and as well when you're actually on your descent, working your way down towards the bottom.

Diving With A Float Line

Now, here's the catch. None of this stuff actually works if you're diving in poor visibility. In order for high-viz colors to work, you have to have top-to-bottom vis. So if you have bad visibility, now you have to come up with a different solution, and the reality is the only option you have now is to dive with a float line. So one thing to keep in mind when you're diving with a float line, if you're using it as a piece of safety equipment, is it's going to do two things. One, it's going to tell you where your diver is location-wise in the water because your float line will be pointing directly to your dive buddy. But your float line will also tell you where in your dive your dive buddy is. As you start your dive, you will begin pulling your float line down, and just by watching the float line at the surface, you can see as the float line gets pulled down, you know your dive buddy is actively descending. As soon as that float line kind of just hovers there, it stops floating, or it stops being pulled down towards the bottom, now you know your dive buddy has hit the bottom or at the very least stopped their descent. And then finally, towards the end of their dive, that float line will start floating back up towards the surface. When you see this, you now know your dive buddy is starting their ascent heading back to the surface, and if you follow the float line, your dive buddy will be at the end of it.

Now, a couple of things to help you dive with float lines more efficiently is, you know, float lines do create a problem of their own, particularly, they can be difficult to manage. I highly recommend trying to cut back on the number of float lines you have in the water. So, if you make sure that every float line you use has a tuna clip or a long line clip, as some of y'all may call them, that's going to ensure that you can quickly and efficiently snap this from one buddy's spear gun to the next. And this is going to allow you to run a lot fewer float lines in the water. When we're doing dives with four people, we usually run only one float line, maybe two, and we just make sure that if you're at the surface, you don't have a float line, so you don't have to worry about managing it, and only the people actually going underwater will have a float line clipped to their belt, and it doesn't take any time at all when you're already arms reach from your dive buddy safetying them at the surface to grab a float line from them and clip it onto your gun and continue.

Another thing you can do to help manage your float line just to make this process a little bit easier is to pay attention to the float you decide to throw on the end of it. Massive floats like those three atmosphere floats are going to be epic when it comes to landing big fish. However, if we're only using our float line as a safety tool, we don't actually need that big of a float, and in fact, sometimes those big floats can actually have drawbacks. The biggest one is that they are going to catch a lot of water and cause a lot of drag. If you have a big float on your float line, you might even find yourself being dragged across the bottom of the reef in really strong currents. So instead of these big float lines, I recommend a smaller float line, maybe something like a flaser float or a crab trap styrofoam ball or you could even find something smaller. And the idea is you want a small float that's neither going to catch the current and have a lot of drag that's going to be pulling you along the bottom, and it's always a plus if you can pull that float underwater as well. If you're about to take a shot and you go to extend your gun out, if your gun extension pulls your float under, that's always better than the float pulling your gun up and pulling your shots off.

And that'll be the extent of you know how we safety, once again, if you forgot, one high visibility colors, whether they're white, green, or yellow, and then if you can't see your dive buddies even with those colors, you really need to get a float line.

Drift With The Current

Now let's talk about the efficiency part, about diving in currents because diving in currents can really take it out of you. So what we want to avoid at all costs is fighting the current. If we're in a current, it's best if we just drift with it. The more we drift with the current and the less we fight it, the better our breathe ups are going to be, and therefore, the better our dives are going to be.

However, it is going to be impossible to drift with the current at all times, particularly when you're safetying because obviously if my dive buddy is down on the bottom, I'm going to have to fight the current to stay on top of him so I can maintain my arms reach distance from them when they finally surface. So something we can do to help our dive buddies in these scenarios is be courteous with our dive buddies as we do our dives. Think about what you do underwater and how that affects your dive buddy safetying you at the surface. So a super easy way to think about this is if I swim down and then I start swimming up current, my dive buddy at the surface now has to work twice as hard just to keep up with me. So never work yourselves up the current. At the very minimum, stay in one spot, at least then your dive buddy doesn't have to fight the current and then some. But it's even better if you can get down, especially in strong currents, and work yourself with the current. In this way, your dive buddy is not going to have to fight the current quite as hard.

Dive Strategy

Another really helpful thing you can do if you're diving in currents is to stagger your dives. So if my diver and safety are right here on top of each other, as soon as I start the dive, you know my safety is going to immediately have to be fighting the current, but if I start my dive from down current of my dive buddy, that allows my dive buddy a little bit of a head start so that they don't have to work quite as hard. And you'd be surprised just how little of a head start you need to make a big difference, and if you are going to be diving with this, you know, head start with the current, I do recommend you stay close enough to your dive buddies where you can still see them start the dive. Because if I don't see you start the dive, how am I going to start timing your dive? At that point, I'm not going to be a very good safety. So we're not crazy far apart, just a little bit of a head start, just enough where you don't have to fight the current quite as hard. And the benefit of diving this way where you're courteous to your dive buddy, especially if all the divers in the water are doing this, is you're going to wear yourselves out collectively a lot slower. And if everyone is diving, being courteous, thinking about their dive buddies at the surface, at the end of the day, you're going to be able to get a lot more dives in and, therefore, you're going to have a lot more opportunities to shoot fish.

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