In an out of gas (OOG) situation, it is critical that divers are able to reach the surface using their buddy’s alternative supply (AS). The preferred method is AS Take which is taught throughout the BSAC Diver Training Programme. This requires the OOG diver to remove the donor’s alternate source regulator from its quick release stowage and then breathe from it. We should continue to teach this process as part of the core dive programme and it should always be discussed and demonstrated as part of a pre-dive buddy check. It should be regularly practiced. AS Take has been taught since September 2002.
Another alternative supply method is for a diver to donate a regulator to the OOG diver. The regulator donated can either be the main (Primary Donate), or another (Secondary Donate). These methods are becoming more widely used by more experienced and technical divers across all agencies and a recent change to BSAC policy has been made.
Divers who wish to use Primary Donate (PD) or Secondary Donate (SD) should have received formal training in this method. The first session in the north-west took place last weekend (18/12/2021) at a ‘tropical’ Capenwray and had attendees from all over the North West including representative’s most local clubs including our own. This event is a half day event comprising on the day of Two dry practical lessons, one confined water lesson and a tutorial about Duty of Care. The minimum requirements for the course are – a twinset with at least one second stage fitted with a long hose of approximately 2 metres in length. Divers should at least be sports divers and have undertaken a twin set course.
It is important to ensure that divers planning on using PD or SD techniques must discharge their duty of care to their buddy. For divers who have only previously used AS Take, it will be necessary for them to conduct appropriate dry runs and surface drills to familiarise them with the technique. This should also be done during pre-dive buddy checks. Briefing the recipient just before water entry that you will give them a regulator if they are OOG is not adequate to discharge a diver’s duty of care.
When diving with a buddy who is not comfortable using the PD or SD techniques, then the diver should be ready to adapt their configuration so that the AS Take system is used or be paired with an alternative buddy. This is readily achieved by bugeeing the long hose to the cylinder and attaching the now AS regulator to a quick release fastener in the chest area.
Both divers must be comfortable that they can effectively obtain an AS in an emergency. The final decision to permit BSAC divers to use PD or SD lies with individual Dive Managers and the Diving Officer.
The minimum permitted level of qualification required to use this technique is BSAC Sports Diver or equivalent.