ICE DIVING UPDATES
We focused on the following topics:
-Limitations due to AHS Restrictions
-Mitigations and modifications to the course
-Detailed risk assessments and response processes for diver and surface emergencies
If you were registered for ice diving as a student or a fun diver, we have reached out to you with some news regarding the ice courses.
Upon completing a number of risk assessments centered around our risk tolerances, we are not comfortable that the potential mitigation measures available would allow us to run our ice diving courses within the limitations of the current AHS directives, in particular the requirement to maintain a minimum distance of 2m between all people on the ice.
We will always be transparent about our processes, and encourage your questions and feedback. Our instructional team held a Zoom call to discuss the best approach to teaching the ice diving course this year.
After assessing each aspect of the course, diver safety, surface support requirements, course delivery, and student development, the following areas of high concern were noted:
-2m Distance is not able to be adequately maintained by two divers in the hole while tethered, and face covering while in the hole adjacent to another diver is neither feasible nor effective.
-Breathing from the regulator at the surface prior to descent should not be relied upon for airway control, as it may contribute to regulator freeflow.
-It is frequently difficult for first-time (and experienced) ice divers to exit the hole unassisted, and surface assistance is required. Maintaining 2m distance when doing so safely would be impossible.
-Many first-time (and experienced) ice divers experience loss of dexterity upon exiting the water due to the cold, and require assistance to get out of their gear. Maintaining 2m distance while providing such assistance would be impossible.
-Ice diving always requires assistance in the hole - defrosting regulators, warming hands, clipping tender lines, troubleshooting gear issues - this cannot be completed by surface support staff safely while maintaining adequate distance.
-In the event of a diver or surface emergency, sudden need to surface, or in-water equipment malfunction, distancing would not be possible upon reaching the surface.
-The number of support staff required to effectively run the course, manage instruction, and maintain the high level of safety we expect would exceed what is currently permitted under AHS restrictions.
At this time, both the February sessions are put on hold. We are hopeful that, should the outdoor restrictions be eased at the onset of the next review period, we may be able to host our ice diving course in early March instead. This will be determined after a similar risk assessment, evaluation of restrictions at that time, and the presence of adequate ice cover.
We know this is not the news our divers want to hear, our team is also terribly disappointed (we LOVE ice diving, there were a lot of sad faces).
The Dive Shop is not new at running these courses; we have successfully done so for many, many years. In the past, we have canceled classes due to extreme weather conditions. This, however, is a unique situation. We have made this call as we saw fit for our staff and participants.
As always - if you have any questions, comments, feedback - we would love to hear from you.
-The Dive Shop Instructional Team