Scuba divers can prevent dive tank problems through regular and proper maintenance. Dive tanks should be inspected annually and hydrotested by professionals to ensure there are no leaks. Divers should also completely check all their equipment before everydive to ensure safety.
Full Text :COPYRIGHT 1995 EMAP-USA
For those of us living north of the equator it is now midsummer. Far to the south it is midwinter. In between are the tropical destination dive areas where there is no significant difference between summer and winter. For many, diving is as seasonal as the climate in which they live but this need not be the case. Diving can be enjoyed anytime throughout the world, primarily because of well designed and readily available equipment needed to cope with local environmental extremes.
Regardless of location, divers will only enjoy diving to the extent of their individual qualifications. This is particularly influenced by their experience with conditions at each area. Divers should always recognize their capabilities and limitations. Accordingly, the dive plan should not exceed these factors. Knowledge of the environment can be gained by study of articles in SKIN DIVER Magazine dealing with the many areas of the world. Also, advertisers list publications that are guides to many diving areas. Write to the advertisers outlining your planned expedition and request their recommendations for study material. Constructive use of SDM articles and ads will prove helpful in planning and developing a successful trip to an area equal to your expertise.
Experience is only gained by diving a particular area and dive leaders will usually offer dives that require no greater skills than an individuals' experience level. Local training programs are available in many areas that will lead to qualification for many new environments. Check SKIN DIVER ads for your training needs. Each month read SDM for announcements of new equipment, training programs,equipment recalls and new publications. Finally, haunt your local dive store for the latest information on available equipment, destinations and training.
DIVE TANK SAFETY
During the past several months there has been considerable discussion about dive tank problems. Of the tens of thousands of tanks in use, reports indicate the matter consisted of three or four catastrophic failures; all which occurred while the tanks were being filled. Two additional dive tanks had small leaks. The reports indicated several non-related things may have contributed to the failures. There were underlying and contributing causes which are not known with certainty.
From the standpoint of dive safety, it seems the key fact is dive tanks do not get the maintenance they need for long term and safe use. Bill High, in his manual Inspecting Cylinders, stated, "Because cylinders appear to be hardy (enduring), which they are, owners tend to view them as indestructible, which they are not." Every person involved with tanks, from manufacturers to dealers and eventually the divers (the ultimate users) should remember that phrase. The ultimate durability and safety of a tank rests with the user. The care or lack of care will dictate its long life or early death.
Two new manuals were introduced this year. Both should become an important part of the working library of every diver. Inspecting Cylinders: A Guide for Visual Inspection of SCUBA and SCBA Cylinders by William (Bill) High will help individual divers care for their cylinders. The manual is based on the experiences of the author who has inspected thousands of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) cylinders, including those used for diving (SCUBA). The manual is also part of the training program for scuba cylinder inspectors at Professional Scuba Inspectors, Inc. (PSI). For information on becoming a certified tank inspector write to PSI. Your local dive shop will probably have a copy of this important manual. If it is not available at your local dive shop, write direct to Professional Scuba Inspectors, Inc., 6531 N.E. 198th Street, Seattle, WA 98155.
The second important manual for tank care and safety is Luxfer's Guide to Scuba Cylinder Inspection. It is by Luxfer's engineering group, with contributions from scuba industry leaders. The 102 page guide provides detailed and illustrated step by step inspection procedures and standards. It also provides a wealth of other resources, such as sample forms and scuba inspection supplies.
Luxfer recommends that all tanks receive at least an annual inspection. This should be made by a professional visual inspector. All others in the dive industry concerned with dive tank safety concur. Another step in the direction of scuba tank safety is routine inspections by the diver during use of the equipment.
The Luxfer guide is available from PADI. The guide can also be ordered direct from Luxfer for $29.95, plus a small shipping charge, by calling (800) 559-4844. The purchase price of the guide includes a lifetime subscription to Luxfer's Technical Bulletin service. The mailing address is Luxfer U.S.A. Limited, P.O. Box 5300, Riverside, CA 92517.
To further improve dive tank safety, Luxfer is developing a video version of the guide. I suspect the wall posters outlining visual inspection procedures and standards Luxfer is developing will also be important. Periodically Luxfer announces the availability of these resources through dive dealers.
In the February 1995 Diving Medicine, Fred Bove, M.D., Ph.D., provided readers with an excellent summary of the threat and problems of exposure to carbon monoxide (CO). The effects of CO are cumulative. They increase with depth and with an increase in the raised partial pressure of gas in tissues. As Dr. Bove pointed out, there is less likelihood of CO poisoning occurring today than there was a few years ago. Primarily this is owing to fewer gasoline powered air compressors. However, the threat is still there. There are one to two deaths per year where divers breathe CO accidentally pumped into dive cylinders. With the increased use of hookah systems, where the diver receives air through a hose from a surface operated gasoline driven compressor, there is more of a risk of CO poisoning. There is also the threat from gasoline powered compressors being used to fill tanks in poorly ventilated areas.
There are now many hookah systems in use. Hookah divers should make every effort to ensure the engine exhaust and compressor intake are well separated. Owing to several factors, it will probably be advisable to keep the engine exhaust as high as possible and the compressor intake as low as possible consistent with the size and weight of the system. The compressor intake should be up-wind of any exhausts, whether from the boat or the compressor engine.
Source Citation:Cross, E.R. "Technifacts." Skin Diver 44.n7 (July 1995): 36(2). General OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 26 Oct. 2009
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