There's a reason for the boundary line....

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Pinkpadigal
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Post by Pinkpadigal » Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:32 pm

If you go on line and ask in a dive forum about diving Alki, you read and get replies that say from the locals to stay outside the boundary line.

If you go into any dive shop and ask about diving at Alki, the staff will tell you to stay outside the boundary line.

Any instructor who takes a class to Cove 1,2 or 3 tells the students they need to stay outside the boundary line.

All the maps I have seen posted state to stay outside the boundary line.

There are signs, posted at the dive site that say to stay outside the boundary lines.

Everyone can see that there is a working dock, with a ferry so it makes sense to stay away from where it is pulling in and out.

The boundary line is a thick, very, very visible rope that is hard to miss, even for the navigational-challenged people.

Yet, people still swim inside the boundary line. All I can say is, Here is your sign. :toimonster:
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Post by Grateful Diver » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:24 am

Pinkpadigal wrote:Any instructor who takes a class to Cove 1,2 or 3 tells the students they need to stay outside the boundary line.

Unfortunately, this is not true. I have seen class dive flags planted inside the line. On a busy Saturday not too long ago I saw one planted 20 or 30 feet inside the line. I asked the instructor to move it ... he was from out of state and apparently (or so he claimed) was not aware of why the buoys were out there.

I have also seen (commonly) dive flags tied to the boundary line. Some instructors claim they like using the boundary line as an "anchor" for their students to hang onto while doing drills.

I have asked, politely, several times that instructors take their classes away from the line. Most understand, and do. Some basically tell me to mind my own business and continue the practice. You can see it on almost any Saturday or Sunday when the cove is crowded ... there's only so much real-estate, and respecting the boundary isn't a high priority with all instructors.

Pinkpadigal wrote:The boundary line is a thick, very, very visible rope that is hard to miss, even for the navigational-challenged people.

Unfortunately, this time of year the kelp grows over the line rather quickly. Complicate that effect with the fact that this is the time of year when less experienced divers are more likely to be using the cove, and that this is typically the time of year when visibility is at its worst, and you have a recipe for incidents to occur. We tried at one time to put "floats" on the line that would rise up off the bottom high enough to increase the visibility of the boundary. Unfortunately, they proved to be an entanglement hazard for divers with split fins and danglies ... and so they were removed before someone got hurt.

I like the "bubble" idea ... but not sure how one would make it work. You wouldn't really need a lot of power, and a tiny compressor like they use on a standard aquarium would probably be adequate to create the desired effect. Bubbles are very visible ... more reflective than most dive gear, in fact. And you can't get tangled up in them. The implementation drawbacks would be permission, initial expense (not a lot, really), maintenance, and trying to figure out a way to prevent them from getting vandalized or stolen (something that happens even to the buoys that have been placed out there).

This isn't a new problem ... and many solutions have been looked at by the people who put the line out there and regularly maintain it. If there were a straightforward answer to the problem, it would've been implemented long ago.

Unfortunately, every time you come up with something you think is idiot-proof, the idiots just get more creative ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)

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Post by Sounder » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:55 am

There will always be morons who don't play by the rules and/or make stupid decisions. =D> #-o

I'm fine with natural selection so long as it doesn't effect where I want to dive.
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BASSMAN
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Post by BASSMAN » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:58 am

Grateful Diver wrote:.
Unfortunately, every time you come up with something you think is idiot-proof, the idiots just get more creative ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)



I also like the bubble idea! =D>

But I'm sure Bob's quote rings true!

Good one Bob! =D> =D> =D>
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Post by pogiguy05 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:20 am

OK so going with the disrespecful people, people who dont care and the morons selection process. here I an idea......


Place a side by side row of guillotines so that when you pass the line :axe: no more problems and they would RESPECT that :prayer:
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Post by Sounder » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:23 am

The aquarium frowns on baiting the water for sharks...
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Split fins as a hazard?

Post by Huskychemist » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:26 am

Grateful Diver wrote:

We tried at one time to put "floats" on the line that would rise up off the bottom high enough to increase the visibility of the boundary. Unfortunately, they proved to be an entanglement hazard for divers with split fins and danglies ... and so they were removed before someone got hurt.


... Bob (Grateful Diver)



I understand how danglies are a hazard...I've been caught a time or two myself on the edge of a structure I'm swimming over...but how are split fins an entanglement hazard?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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Tom Nic
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Re: Split fins as a hazard?

Post by Tom Nic » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:40 am

Huskychemist wrote:
Grateful Diver wrote:

We tried at one time to put "floats" on the line that would rise up off the bottom high enough to increase the visibility of the boundary. Unfortunately, they proved to be an entanglement hazard for divers with split fins and danglies ... and so they were removed before someone got hurt.


... Bob (Grateful Diver)



I understand how danglies are a hazard...I've been caught a time or two myself on the edge of a structure I'm swimming over...but how are split fins an entanglement hazard?

Inquiring minds want to know.


Yes! Don't be hatin' on me because I dive split fins! :rr:
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Post by Grateful Diver » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:02 am

No attempt whatsoever to start a split fin debate here ... but one of the complaints we heard (more than once) was that the line the floats were attached to would get "caught" inside the split and then wrap around the fin ... causing the diver to become entrapped and needing his buddy's help to untangle.

Honestly, I'm not making it up ... I heard it directly from a diver who claimed it happened to him.

Since the #1 priority is diver safety, the decision was made to remove all the floats that had been installed. That's when we went with the "zip tie bottles to the line" approach that's still being used ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)

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Post by Tom Nic » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:22 am

Grateful Diver wrote: but one of the complaints we heard (more than once) was that the line the floats were attached to would get "caught" inside the split and then wrap around the fin ... causing the diver to become entrapped and needing his buddy's help to untangle.

Honestly, I'm not making it up ... I heard it directly from a diver who claimed it happened to him.

... Bob (Grateful Diver)


Wow... #-o
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Post by ArcticDiver » Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:43 am

[quote="Grateful Diver]...

Unfortunately, every time you come up with something you think is idiot-proof, the idiots just get more creative ...
[/quote]

A sage comment on human behaviour in general.

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Post by TCWestby » Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:45 am

Unfortunately its the 1% of morons who ruin it for the 99% who do it right...
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Post by BDub » Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:49 am

lamont wrote:So, how did this incident occur? What mistakes were made that led them to coming up right under the ferry prop? What did the divers self-report as mistakes that were made?

Without knowing why divers are crossing the boundary cable its difficult to figure out what to do about fixing the problem...


That's a very good point Lamont...a perpective that, in all honesty, I hadn't thought of.

IMO, they didn't necessarily need to be berated for their actions, but finding out why this occurred (in this case, I'm pretty sure I know what happened....they appeared to be very new divers, with poor navigation skills, poor buddy skills, poor buoyancy skills, etc. But, without asking, we'll never know) is very important in fixing the problem.
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Post by runamonk » Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:43 pm

Very scary, I'm sure they felt like a real tool by the time they got back up onto shore, but still maybe someone hadn't previously spoken to them about the boundary line, it is quite easy to miss the line if you're scooting along the bottom silting as you. ;)

In all seriousness though I know I've seen people in the off limits area several times and it scares me every time. I think some people might not fully understand the meaning of that huge cable around the docks and possibly don't bother looking at their surroundings enough before getting into the water to even notice the signs posted everywhere.

Scary stuff.

How's it going B?? :D
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Post by lamont » Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:52 pm

runamonk wrote:Very scary, I'm sure they felt like a real tool by the time they got back up onto shore, but still maybe someone hadn't previously spoken to them about the boundary line, it is quite easy to miss the line if you're scooting along the bottom silting as you. ;)

In all seriousness though I know I've seen people in the off limits area several times and it scares me every time. I think some people might not fully understand the meaning of that huge cable around the docks and possibly don't bother looking at their surroundings enough before getting into the water to even notice the signs posted everywhere.

Scary stuff.

How's it going B?? :D


I have accidentally violated the boundary cable twice. Once we swam from the monolith up to shallow and then from cove 1 to cove 2 to cove 3 and on a high tide managed to swim over the cable without seeing it where our first indication that there was trouble was that we started seeing pilings (although we should have known from time elapsed on the swim back that we needed to check where we were, chalk up a lesson learned there). Another time it was just a navigational error at night/dusk when the boundary cable was not clear and again we figured out the problem and changed course and got the heck out of there.

It seems like the really huge issue here is that a diver ascended directly up the stern of the ferry... Really if you're not ascending up one of the buoys or know where you are, you shouldn't be doing direct ascents or doing ascents up pilings in cove 2 and should be swimming upslope into shallow water where even if you've violated the boundary cable you won't run into ferry props. Violating the boundary cable is still a bad thing due to the heartburn that it causes everyone, but treating cove 2 like it has a soft overhead in water deeper than ~15 fsw would prevent the ferry from chumming the water with chopped diver...

The problem is that there are lots of divers diving there who don't understand what 'soft overhead' means and I can just see that if really tried to teach only ascending in 15 fsw of water or less in cove 2 that someone would run OOA swimming upslope rather than do a direct ascent...

I don't know if there's any way to win...

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Post by CaptnJack » Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:58 pm

I have to admit, despite both cave and wreck training, I'm having a hard time understanding what a "soft overhead" is, where the limits of the "overhead" are, and how all of this would be communicated.

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Post by runamonk » Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:11 pm

Doing a direct ascent is fine but it's a good idea to look up once in a while, especially if you're hearing the whirring of a boat. It's a little hard to miss the ferry as it's not like it's a small skiff or anything. ;)
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Post by gcbryan » Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:03 pm

I would have to agree with Lamont on this one...I don't know if there is anyway to win.

If you dive at Cove 2 enough you will make a mistake sometime. I have a few times under similar circumstances to those Lamont describes. I bet most people responding to this post have. I wouldn't come up at ferry depth unless I knew where I was but it's very possible to miss the rope when it's grown over. This is especially true if the dive plan isn't simply to go from one known landmark to the next.

Regarding newer divers, they will always make more mistakes than more experienced divers. With the expanded no-dive zone due to the water taxi it's even more likely for newer divers to make mistakes.

The last category may be those who simply do not care but I don't really believe that this is a very large category.

Since it doesn't appear that it's the same person/people making this mistake over and over I don't know that a lot can be done that hasn't already been done. I don't think jumping on someone who makes a mistake is the way to go unless you are sure that you will never make a mistake.

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Post by TCWestby » Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:00 am

My mistake, This should be a big time learning experience.

I'd just hate to see the priviledge of this dive site taken away because some folks aren't aware of their surroundings.

I guess I've been lucky enough to be taught by and dive with giys that push being aware of your surroundings. Plus being green I'm still extra aware to try to not screw up and put myself and possibly someone else in harms way.
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Post by peo » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:03 am

gcbryan wrote:If you dive at Cove 2 enough you will make a mistake sometime. I have a few times under similar circumstances to those Lamont describes. I bet most people responding to this post have. I wouldn't come up at ferry depth unless I knew where I was but it's very possible to miss the rope when it's grown over. This is especially true if the dive plan isn't simply to go from one known landmark to the next.



I'll get in line here, and say that I've also missed the boundary line and violated the no-diving zone once. It's actually not that hard to do. I feel bad about it because I made a mistake that I shouldn't have done.

As gcbryan put it, if you do enough dives there, it's not unlikely that you'll "trespass" by accident sometime. I see that as a separate problem than the people who cross the line out of ignorance or by not knowing about the boundary line.

Perhaps classes should simply move over to Cove 3, to make sure that students by default keep away from the place, and to also set an example.

For the old-timers who stumble into the boundary zone by accident, I hope those have the sense to get out of there in a safe way. No matter what, these really are two distinct problems and they need to be addressed in different ways.

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Post by LCF » Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:31 pm

I've been over the line once by accident -- It was last year after the big rains, when there had been so much crud in the water, and the line was basically silted out. I didn't realize where I was until I saw the pilings, but we hightailed it out of there well underwater, and it wasn't while the ferry was running.

I don't know what the solution is, except that I think it would be reasonable to talk to any divers one sees over the line (because if you saw them, they were on the surface, which is where the problem REALLY is) and find out how it happened, and stress the dangers and the potential fallout for other divers. Hopefully, most people would take that well. My guess is that when people find the pilings and realize they're lost, they think about surfacing to regroup, and don't think about the idea of a great big boat being up there.
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Post by CaptnJack » Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:33 pm

Sign on the pilings?

"Go back, Mordor Above"

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Post by RSdancey » Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:30 pm

CaptnJack wrote:I have to admit, despite both cave and wreck training, I'm having a hard time understanding what a "soft overhead" is, where the limits of the "overhead" are, and how all of this would be communicated.


Soft overhead: Don't ascend unless you absolutely must (i.e. life or death)

Hard overhead: Rock & Metal, you get no option

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Post by CaptnJack » Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:22 pm

RSdancey wrote:
CaptnJack wrote:I have to admit, despite both cave and wreck training, I'm having a hard time understanding what a "soft overhead" is, where the limits of the "overhead" are, and how all of this would be communicated.


Soft overhead: Don't ascend unless you absolutely must (i.e. life or death)

Hard overhead: Rock & Metal, you get no option

Ryan


Good luck communicating "absolutely must", I imagine lots of low on air divers swimming upslope rather than ascending. Kinda like what happened ~3 years ago in Mukilteo when the guy went OOA on his backgas, then OOA again while swimming upslope on his pony.

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Post by RSdancey » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:07 pm

CaptnJack wrote:Good luck communicating "absolutely must", I imagine lots of low on air divers swimming upslope rather than ascending. Kinda like what happened ~3 years ago in Mukilteo when the guy went OOA on his backgas, then OOA again while swimming upslope on his pony.


If "surface before you die from lack of gas" can't be explained to a diver, then that diver should not be ... diving.

I think this is stretching a point past any reasonable test. People do dumb, ignorant things. The concept of a "soft ceiling" applies in lots of dives, although a lot of divers don't recognize it (which I think was the OP's point). Teaching divers what a "soft ceiling" means, and how it should affect their dive plan & in water behavior is a reasonable condition for certification, in my opinion.

Oh wait -- that presupposes that the certifying agencies teach divers how to plan a dive in the first place. My bad.

:)

Ryan

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