Should You Take the Rescue Class?

Posted: Apr 1, 2014

The answer is a resounding yes!  Ask any instructor and many will tell you that the most important class you can take as a diver is the Rescue Diver Class, and here are some of the reasons why. 

First of all, and answer honestly, if you were diving with a buddy and suddenly they weren’t moving, would you know what to do? 

Rescue Diver CourseI’m guessing the answer is no.  Of course you want to get them to the surface, but do you know the proper technique to do that safely for both you and the victim?  What’s the next step once you get them to the surface?  How about you surface from a dive and you witness another diver on the surface struggling to stay afloat?  Could you help them without endangering yourself? What if you were walking on the beach and someone were to collapse in front of you?  Maybe you are driving down the road and you witness a car accident with injuries?

Taking the Rescue Class will give you the confidence to help out in these and many other situations. 

You see, we don’t just focus on dive problems.  One of the requirements of
becoming a Rescue Diver is that you have your CPR/First Aid Certification.  That alone will give you the knowledge to be able to help a person in need as opposed 

to just being a bystander.  What if the victim is a loved one, friend or co-worker?  Wouldn’t you want to have the knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to provide assistance in a rescue situation? 

As this is a dive blog, I am going to tell you about a dive related issue that happened to me. 

None of us think that we will be the one to be in a position to need to perform a rescue, but believe me, it can happen to anyone at any time.  While 20 minutes into a fun dive at Molokini (which means I was not actually working), I witnessed two divers below me (I was at 80 feet) that had been separated from their group.  It seemed as if they were very focused on something.  When it became obvious that they didn’t know the group was leaving and the Divemaster didn’t notice that they were not following, it was time to do something. 

Upon reaching them at about 110 feet, it was clear they were both suffering from Nitrogen Narcosis.  I grabbed their BCs and began to take them to a shallower depth.  Back at 80 feet, I got the "OK" sign from both of them, so I began to lead them back to their group. A minute later I felt a tug on my fin and turned around to a diver rapidly approaching me while giving the out of air sign.  My rescue training kicked in and I immediately grabbed my alternate and held it out for the diver.  As soon as it was in his mouth he tried to bolt to the surface.  I was able to stop his ascent, calm him down and slowly begin to ascend to safety stop depth. 

underwater searchUpon completing the safety stop, we got to the surface and the diver told me he couldn’t understand why he ran out of air so quickly.  I asked him how many dives he had done and he said this was his third after certification.  I then asked if he understood that the deeper you go the faster you go through air.  He stated he did not. Scary, but true.  

Situations like this could happen to you.  Would you have the confidence to deal with it ?  If not, then the Rescue Class is for you.  You will learn how to assess a situation, form a plan and act on it.  You will learn how to handle a multitude of different scenarios including assisting a panicked diver at the surface or underwater, searching for a missing diver, surfacing an unresponsive diver and giving rescue breaths while towing a victim to the boat or shore. 

We will make sure you are confident with alternate air skills and some basics like cramp removal and tired diver tows.  An intangible benefit will be the confidence you will gain as a diver, knowing that should something go wrong you will be prepared to assist.  If you’ve never thought about taking the Rescue Diver Class, or have thought about taking it and have just been putting it off, there's no time like the presen !!  Give us a call and we will give you all the details.  (You need to have your Advanced certification before you can participate in the Rescue Diver class.  We can take care of that for you as well).

Have you taken the Rescue Diver course already?  If so, we'd love to hear about your experiences. 

Aloha, Jay

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Neil Sorensen
April 9, 2014 @ 9:41 am

Thanks for a great article Jay! I feel my rescue diver training (with you as my instructor) was some of the most valuable I have yet received as a diver. As you repeatedly told me would happen, I am more aware of what is going on around me with regard to other divers. I find myself constantly checking to make sure they are acting normally and rationally. You gave me spider sense. Mahalo!!

Bryan (Bcrashin) Sizemore
April 9, 2014 @ 7:39 am

Yes great post Jay, Miss ya buddy! You are totally right, but then again you are one of the most amazing divers i've ever had the pleasure to dive with and a bonus to call a friend. But that is how it is when your friends are the best on Maui… Keep up the great work buddy. Lets get everyone together for a dive like old times, it has been awhile for me, I live on the west side now. Aloha!

Teri White
April 8, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

Excellent blog Jay! I completely agree with you about the importance of the valuable knowledge, skills, and the well-earned sense of confidence that divers gain by taking the PADI Rescue Diver Course. An additional benefit that I have found, is that I have a much higher level of awareness of everything around me (In spite of what my husband says:)). This result of my training pervades every part of my life, not just while diving. By being more aware of my surroundings, I am usually able to prevent problems from occurring. For instance, one day when I was waiting in line at the pharmacy, I noticed the woman in front of me was leaning on a post and seemed to be a bit out of breath. I told her that if she would like to sit down, I would save her place in line. She gave a big sigh, and thanked me as she took her seat. When it was her turn to walk up to the counter I could see that she had a definite limp. As she left the pharmacy she thanked me again:) Teri

April 1, 2014 @ 3:32 pm

Nice one, Jay. From rescues as simple as helping exhausted snorkelers at Ulua to administering oxygen to someone who had aspirated water in a near-drowning incident, I believe in the value of this class. Neither of the incidents mentioned above even involved scuba divers! Also, for people who have already taken the rescue class, there's nothing like a good refresher. You should let the shop know if you're even interested in coming along as a "victim" during one of our classes - it's a good way to brush up on your skills while helping someone else learn!