Blue Water Hunting and Freediving - Digital Version 1 - Page 72
Bluewater Hunting and Freediving
result of static-apnea blackout . Most occur in male adolescents and young adults attempting competitive endurance breath-holding , frequently “ on a dare .” Drowning victims , especially children , have been resuscitated from long periods of immersion in cold water — 30 minutes or more . The same is not true for victims blacking out in warm-water swimming pools . Warm water hastens death by allowing tissues , especially brain tissues , to continue metabolizing rapidly . Without oxygen , irreversible cell damage occurs in minutes .
James Warnock , the 31-year-old son of champion Ted Warnock , drowned in a warm swimming pool , chest deep . The Warnock family , hoping to prevent such deaths in other young athletes , has graciously allowed me to discuss the events surrounding their son ’ s death . No strangers to shallow-water blackout , the Warnocks discussed this danger many times , especially after James had a near blackout years before .
While studying mariculture in Florida , James was excited to hear that the National Spearfishing Championships would be held in an area he knew well . A three-time North Atlantic Spearfishing Champion , James was eager to start training . He purchased a new stop watch and was practicing breath-hold diving in a medical-therapy pool . A concerned paraplegic patient spotted James ’ inanimate body and summoned help . Rescuers saw James ’ new watch fall from his hand as they pulled him from the water . Sadly , attempts at CPR were unsuccessful .
Again , the key to rescuing those suffering blackout and near-drowning is immediate and aggressive resuscitation . If you ’ re in the water , establish buoyancy for the victim and yourself . Yell for attention , and immediately begin mouthto-mouth or mouth-to-snorkel rescue breathing . Don ’ t worry about swimming to the shore or to a boat . The quality of your resuscitation effort is far more important than the speed of transport . Remove the victim from the water as soon as is practical .
Once on the shore or in the boat , check for a pulse . If you don ’ t find one , start the cardiacresuscitation phase of CPR . Do not worry about
water in the lungs . Do not perform abdominal thrusts in an effort to expel water as is typically shown on television . This procedure may force dangerous , acidic stomach contents into the lungs . Concentrate on rescue breathing . If oxygen is available , use it immediately , even if the victim regains consciousness . Seek immediate medical attention . Remember , don ’ t be fooled by an apparent complete recovery . Lung damage may take hours to develop .
PREVENTION OF FREEDIVER BLACKOUT
Shallow-water blackout was a hot research topic for diving physicians in the 1960s , when they worked out the basic physiology described above . They also studied the case histories of shallowwater blackout victims , identifying several factors that can contribute to this condition . These include hyperventilation , exercise prior to and during the dive , a competitive personality , a focused mindset , and youth .
I recommend the first step every freediver take in their quest to avoid becoming a victim of shallow-water blackout is to take a professional freediving course where the subject of shallowwater blackout will be a central topic of study .
FREEDIVERS RECOVERY VEST : I also recommend you consider the purchase of the freedivers recovery vest ( FRV ). Even with good training and while diving with a buddy , there are many circumstances when it may save your life , or that of your buddy . If you see your buddy in distress , you can swim down , grab him , and inflate your vest . In many popular blue water destinations , such things as poor water clarity , thick kelp , and the elusive nature of our prey prevents adequate buddy supervision . Even a good buddy may not be able to help if you are unobserved or have distress in deep water or heavy currents . Becoming tangled in your line or over exerting yourself while fighting a fish can quickly lead to disaster and your death . The FRV has undergone ten years of rigorous development and achieved two patents . The result is a streamlined , weightless ( in the water ) FRV that will deliver you to the surface in the face-up , rescue-ready position from depths of