Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PADI Rescue Diver Course

We were lounging around the dive boat during a surface interval when a diver surfaced about 20 meters from the boat, panicked that his buddy had gone missing. Luke and Meagan strapped on their fins and swam out to bring the panicked diver back to the boat. I stayed on the boat and started to the gear ready for our search. With the panicked diver back on shore, the three of us grabbed on to a reel line and started to conduct a methodological search of the area where the diver was last seen. Luke spotted the missing diver first and tugged three times on our rope to get our attention. We found the diver unresponsive in about 6 meters of water trapped under a fallen log. I lifted the log off the diver while Luke and Meagan brought the diver to the surface. Luke started rescue breathing while Meagan set to work loosening the diver’s weight belt and I positioned myself at the diver’s feet and helped push him back to the boat. Once we were near the boat, I took over giving rescue breaths while the others scrambled to organize lifting the unresponsive diver onto the boat by strapping two empty weight belts around his torso. On the boat, Meagan initiated CPR while Luke started hooking up the oxygen. After I few minutes, I took over CPR and then our instructor ended the exercise.

This exercise was the final scenario for my PADI Rescue Diver course. Meagan, from South Africa and Luke, from California, were also staying at Two Fish Divers Bunaken and were doing the Rescue Diver course as a prerequisite for their PADI Divemaster course. We had spent the previous few days learning and practicing different rescue techniques with our instructor and had also completed a full day Emergency Responder course, which certified us in first aid and CPR. The above exercise combined all of our new skills into one elaborate scenario. The course reminded me very much of my lifeguard training in high school – except that it really emphasized working together as a team, whereas my lifeguard training gave us high stress individual scenarios. I still shudder to think of those days quaking with fear while waiting to be summoned to the pool deck from the locker room. This course was much better and I do think it helped make me a more confident diver.

Meagan and Luke are continuing on with their divemaster course and hope to find jobs as divemasters afterward, maybe in Malaysia. The victim in our rescue scenario, Ben, and his girlfriend, Tash, are also at Bunaken to complete their divemaster course. In fact, I was the only one out of the five of us NOT doing the full divemaster course, but it got me thinking. Becoming a divemaster would help me refine my diving skills even more and give me the option of perhaps staying on in South East Asia after my fellowship for a while to lead trips and get a lot of diving in. It’s a fun possibility to think about, but I still think of myself as too much of a novice diver to even consider leading trips at the moment.  Now that I’ve reached my goals of becoming a Rescue Diver AND logging 100 dives, my next immediate goals are to log 200 dives and become a PADI Master Diver by completing five specialty courses by summer 2011. 

My 100th dive!!


  1. A very dramatic first paragraph! I really wasn't sure if it was part of your training or a true-life emergency.

    And you've already done 100 dives. Amazing!

  2. I love Scuba Diving in Indonesia and I really want to take up a course like this.