Tuesday, 18 April 2017


This year’s Joint Service Diving Safety Conference was attended by approximately 80 people and, once again, it was held at the Roebuck Theatre at HMS Raleigh, Plymouth.

As usual JSSADC ran a number of skills development courses pre and post conference which included Diver Coxswain Assessment, Marine Radio Operator, SADS Refresher and Collective First Aid Training course.  There was also an opportunity to visit DDRC.

And in addition to the conference, the RNLI had one of their Wellpoint Kiosks, and Underworld Tulum were advertising, both of who had a number of freebies which is a bonus for any diver, particularly squaddie divers.

Below is a bullet point summary of the conference.  It only needs to be as such, as most of the presentations are hyperlinked. 

Diving Standards Team: Level 2 Regulations & Level 3 Guidance Briefing – Cdr Mark Atkinson, Superintendent of Diving

· Handout containing JSATFA and AT completion notes from ATG(A).

· The history of the Diving Standards Team and their organisation.
· Duty Holder Organisation.
oBranch level.  CO, DO, SADS.
oExpeds.  OIC exped could represent client (CO), DO could be exped OIC, or could be the SADS.

· Current v proposed publications.  The new document shouldn’t change anything. 
oChapter starts with the law, then lists the guidance.
oStakeholder meetings; 25-26 Apr and 10-11 May 17.
oDCOP 22 published 31 May 17.
oDCOP 22 come into effect on 1 Sep 17.
oIt is also anticipated that there will be a minor revision to BRd 2806(5) to be published in the interim.
oProject plan no change. Admin instr, risk assessment, slate.
oUse of words must, should & shall.

BSAC Safety Update – Jim Watson, BSAC
Extracts from DOC last year

· Covered the 2016 incident report.  There were 271 incidents reported to BSAC.  These incidents included BSAC members, ie a rescurer.  228 of which were in the UK, 48 were overseas.
· Trend suggests currently leveling out.
· Different methods/approaches:
1. Report everything (aviation/operating theatres, likely consequences, high regulated).
2. Representative (classification-BSAC report).
3. Ongoing analysis (whole database).
· Coastguard and RNLI following similar pattern, in terms of incidents at time of year, and year by year trends.
· Jim finished off with a slide listing all the names of those who had lost their lives in the last 20 years and gave a moments silence.  A very poignant gesture.
· Further incidents covered included DCI and boat/surface incidents.  Overall the conclusions are that there’s a slight downhill trend.
· Jim also covered IPO in depth which was fascinating.  It is definitely worth knowing as the knowledge has saved at least one persons life. 

Anatomy of an incident – Dominic Robinson & John Potten, JSSADC
· This was a very interesting presentation, especially as I’ve had to manage a few incidents myself.
· The incident happened on a SADS assessment at Hand Deeps, Plymouth.
· Profile was max 40m, max 40 mins, max live deco 10 mins.
· As well as Dom, the live SADS and the casualty were present and included their thoughts as part of the presentation.
· From SADS POV:
oIncident occurred when divers were about to be dropped in.
oSymptoms not clear cut as others were seasick.
oCasualty wasn’t himself, but was in denial. 
oNo abnormal symptoms.  Only had a headache. 
oConundrum. Mayday or Panpan?  DDMO unsure but headache is a symptom.
oLifeboat was out practicing so by using radio they were able to hear.
oCoastguard didn't understand DDMO.  They were told to ring DDRC. 
oLifeboat confusion as to which boat had casualty as it was good weather with lots of other boats out.
oThere were issues with size difference between lifeboat and RHIB.
oBuddy and dive computer went with casualty.
oAt the end of the day, it worked.
· From casualty’s POV:
oHe only had a headache.  He was drinking water but it was getting worse.  It was his mates who noticed the difference in him.
oDenial.  Despite getting worse headaches.
oHis buddy was fine.  They both had a normal profile.
oTurns out later he has a PFO, and has subsequently passed his SADS course.
oInstrumental, EAP was phenomenal.
oO2 didn't seem to have an initial impact. Later on, however on lifeboat he was in and out of conciseness.  His symptoms quickly got worse from simple a headache.
oMore simple tests on lifeboat.
oChamber treatment.
oSpinal & neuro bend.
oPraise for DDRC and JSSADC staff.
oJSSADC staff had to follow up later with a care package such as clothes, phone, etc… as he only had his drysuit.

· Included the history of the RNLI including a short excellent video.
· Trying to do more prevention work.
· Out of 230 stations, the busiest is in London!
· 2 real life scenarios of diver safety.
· Finished off with the RNLI Diver Sea Survival course/workshop which has now been adopted into specialties/SDCs by PADI and BSAC. 

Learning from Cave Diving – Cdr (Retd) Lanny Vogel, Underworld Tulum
· Lanny and his wife Claire are both certainly living the dream.  Both ex-RN Officers now full time in Mexico.
· Lanny discussed them and their past, including their passion for cave diving.
· How to get the most diving from resettlement.
· Introduction to cave diving.
· Why? Location, planning, exclusively.
· Cave v cavern.
· 7 lessons:
1. Stability.
2. Propulsion.
3. Teamwork.
4. Awareness.
5. Planning.
6. Equipment.
7. Accident analysis.

BSAC Update – Chairman, Alex ‘Woz’ Warzynski and National Diving Officer, Sophie Heptonstall, BSAC
Extracts from DOC last year
· About BSAC.  Roles of NGB.
· Important update on proposed new cylinder testing standards.
· Looking at the current website.  Possible overhaul.  13000+ PDFs currently on it.
· BSAC’s new vision.
· BSAC’s rebranding.
· Proposed new logo (look on the hyperlink.  I’ve already been burnt ref posting it online).
· Beeesac not B S A C.
· Proposed changes to DTP.
· Proposed changes to SDC (including my primary donate demo video which was a nice touch).
· Proposed changes to Technical Group.
· Proposed new layout of training materials.
· New rescue skills:
oCBL.  Different techniques for different conditions. Standard, overhead etc...
oAS.  Primary donate, secondary donate, secondary take.
oSecondary take remains the default however primary donate in technical as an option.
· RNLI Sea Survival, DFA, Scapa 100.
· New wreck courses.
· “Boot camps”.

MOD Diving Safety – Cdr Mark Atkinson, Superintendent of Diving & Nick Harrington, Diving Standards Officer (Adventurous Training)

· SoD:
oHOTO end of May.
oSnorkelling abused so removed. To/from site entry only.
oNo technical training in branch.  WTF!!!
oPeople not doing gas checks for JSATFA.
· Nick
oTry dive medicals.
oCylinder testing legislation.
oBluff of someone trying to dive with someone's qualifications.
oBranch audits.
oIntroduction of Mark in role.

· HSE medical valid for military personnel?  No. Lower standard. Diabetes & asthma.
· Technical courses in branch (me).  Possible chat between all parties.
· Training within centres.
· Training within branches.  Why stick to military regulations.  Civvies club diving. People put effort in to make mil diving work. Less funding. Especially tech diving. Civvies, 50/60/70 is normal.
· Possibility of Castlemartin giving free training packs to ASADA branches.  DIN to follow.
· List of all centralised single service branches to go on JSSADC website along with POC (me).
· Bicester getting extra computers/d-timers ref new regulations for 2 devices?  No

Following the JSSADPAC Q&A Dom took the opportunity to bid farewell to Cdr Mark Atkinson, Superintendent of Diving, who will be posted in late May 17.

The next conference is due to be on 7 March 2018.

Finally, JSSADC's summary can be found here.

Safe diving.

The boring bit!
All opinions expressed in my articles are my own and may differ to other instructor’s and agency guidelines; by no means are they wrong and I would not wish to disrepute any of them.  This article is for information only and should not replace proper training.

Safe diving!

Timothy Gort
BSAC, PADI & SDI/TDI diver training
l Mob: 07968148261 l Email: tim@rectotec.co.uk l

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