The complete Diver's Handbook to Mastering the Skills needed to deal with the hazards of Shipwreck Diving




   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   


By Capt. Dan Berg

While wreck diving is known to have some hazards, most are easily avoidable. All divers should know how to react if and when they do encounter one of these situations.

Monofilament lines used by anglers cover many shipwrecks. Fishermen constantly return to wrecks because of the amount of aquatic life they attract. Unfortunately for them and us, the wreck also snags many of their rigs, leaving the long strands of nearly invisible mono draped across the site. Although many Caribbean shipwrecks do not have this problem, when diving on the East coast, California or in many inland waterways, divers have to be aware of this hazard. When a diver does get snagged, he has two options depending on what part of his body or equipment is tangled. Usually when dealing in light weight mono, a small tug will snap the line; otherwise, simply take out one of the two knives (always kept sharp) and cut the line. Either way this type of snag should cause no stress at all since divers should break or cut the mono almost as routinely as one ties a shoe lace in the morning. By the way, even better than becoming good at cutting mono is developing a good eye for these thin strands and avoiding them.

Fish nets are less common and usually much easier to avoid. These nets are often easily observed. However, in dark or murky waters, these nets can be very hazardous. This is just one more reason to carry not only one but two razor sharp dive knives. Although I've never been tangled in a fish net, the rule is the same; Stop; Think then Act. Stopping all motion will prevent further entanglement, and if the snag is small, you may try to simply undo it. If you can't, then again cut yourself free with a good sharp knife. Could you imagine how entangled you would become if you tried this with a dull knife.

Entrapment inside a wreck is also a hazard. This can happen when a diver tries to wiggle through a hole that is not large enough for him or he somehow gets lost inside the wreckage. To me this is the worst of the hazards listed so far and requires absolute control, both physically and mentally. Again, Stop; Think then Act. Struggling usually only results in quicker air consumption. If you are stuck, calmly, try to free yourself or signal your buddy to assist you. If you're lost, which should not occur if you are trained properly, use a tether line and do progressive penetration. Try turning off all lights and then look for any ambient light which may lead to an opening large enough to fit through. If your predicament is caused by kicked up sediment and you're at the beginning or middle of your dive, try staying motionless for about one minute. The silt may settle enough to see your way out, but be forewarned that one minute may seem like an eternity.

In 1985, while diving on the wreck of the Germane submarine U-853, my dive partner Billy Campbell and I penetrated through a hole just forward of the conning tower. We started to swim forward, room by room, carefully finger walking so as not to kick up any silt.  While moving through a hatch between the 2nd and 3rd room, I found myself stuck. I tried moving forward but was restrained, and when I tried to back out, I was still caught. Now this was a little strange because the hatch was big enough for one diver wearing doubles and a pony bottle, but nevertheless I was stuck. I was in 130 feet of water and three rooms deep into a German submarine. I took a quick glance down, and there in front of me were two shoes and two leg bones, one of the sad fatalities of World War II. At that particular point in time, I thought I was about to panic. Then I caught hold of myself and thought out the situation. First, I checked my air supply; it was fine; next I started to feel for what had me snagged. Bill, who was behind me, saw that I was caught, but couldn't get close enough to help. I could feel that the snag was on my left side and high by my tanks. With one hand, I felt around and found that one of my pressure gauge hoses had caught onto a small pipe. By trying to move forward or backward it would not come free, but by simply leaning to my right it came loose. This whole scenario had occurred and was resolved in less than one minute. It had caused no panic, and my air consumption was still normal. Bill and I turned around and explored more of the wreck as we exited. If, however, this or any number of other situations occurred and the diver in trouble panicked, that diver would be in real trouble. Calm, collective thought is the key to dealing with any hazardous situation.

The Shipwreck Diving E-Book  Instant Downloadable E-Book 

Shipwreck Diving, by Capt. Dan Berg is a complete how to book about the sport of wreck diving. This book is packed with information and heavily illustrated with over 80 sensational color photographs.


Shipwreck Diving ebook
The complete diver's guide to mastering the skills of shipwreck diving.

Buy Now   only $9.95
6 MB instant download, printable  PDF file

Shipwreck Diving is a complete how to ebook about the sport of wreck diving. This downloadable PDF e-book is packed with information and heavily illustrated with over 80 sensational color photographs. Daniel Berg, a noted wreck diver, instructor and author of ten shipwrecks related books, describes all the basics of wreck diving. Topics include everything from equipment modifications, communication, and wreck penetration to artifact preservation. Dan also tells how to navigate on a wreck and be able to return to the anchor line after the dive. Why some divers find more artifacts and explains how to catch lobsters. Shipwreck Diving also covers such diverse topics as shipwreck research, photography, spear fishing and how to use an underwater metal detector. This exciting book tells all the tricks of the trade that until now have only been learned through years of experience. Shipwreck divers of all caliber will find Shipwreck Diving informative, rewarding and entertaining

Check out Capt. Dan's other shipwreck and Diving eBooks



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Baldwin NY 11510


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