What to Expect from a Stress and Rescue Course at Manta Dive
Posted on 01/12/2019
By Ran/ ranrambles, our latest Stress and Rescue Student
Finished your Advance Adventurer and thinking of furthering your education and diving skills? Perhaps you want to go PRO and become a divemaster? The next step up in the progression ladder is to become a certified Stress and Rescue diver. The Stress and Rescue course is often said to be the most challenging, yet most rewarding course. The course is designed to increase your own personal safety, awareness of the safety of others around you and how to deal with an emergency situation.
So, what should you expect from this rescue course? For most people, the course will start with a React Right Course which is basic first aid and CPR. Overall, the full course with React Right is expected to take 3 or 4 days, divided into three parts: theory, pool sessions, and ocean dives. Though the duration and order of the course can vary from instructor to instructor and from group to group.
In my case, I took my course with Dive Instructor Dillon, who is also a paramedic. It took my group four days to complete the rescue course. It involved a classroom theory, two pool sessions, and four dives.
So, how was it?
React Right Theory
On the first day, we met in the classroom to go over some basic first aid and CPR. The class started with a short video about diving safety. From there you will start the React Right theory. Starting with Surveying the Scene then Primary Assessment and finally Secondary Assessment. Each one with their own set of the “Three Rs” Recognize, Respond, React. The goal is to learn how to survey a scene to ensure the safety of yourself and the victim, how to summon emergency medical services. Lastly, how to record vital signs and handling of the victims.
From here we learned about CPR on adults and children. First-aid techniques for various ailments, different forms of shock and how to evaluate them, and how to use an oxygen provider. Once these were all covered we practised a scenario of an unconscious person in the classroom and ran through all the procedures. At the very end, we talked a little about defibrillators. Since usage varies depending on the manufacturer, we didn’t spend too much time discussing them. They typically have verbal cues or written instructions on their usage.
Review Pool Session
After lunch, we started the pool sessions. The first pool session is essentially a skill review. We went over the same exact material as you would during a Skill Refresher. Equipment set up, mask clearing, buoyancy, air sharing etc. Straight forward session, if you are a frequent diver.
Stress and Rescue Pool Session
The second pool session was a long and exhausting. We first started personal stress skills, such as BCD removal and replacing on the surface and underwater. Followed by an emergency ascent by weight removal and in-water weight replacing. From here we started the actual rescue skills. These include:
- Uncooperative Diver on the Surface
- Struggling or Panicked Diver Underwater
- Bringing an Unconscious Diver to the Surface
- Unconscious Diver on the Surface
- In-Water Rescue Breathing
- Diver Tows
- Removing an Unconscious Diver from the Water/Lifts and Carries
We first worked on each skill individually before combining them into a complete scenario; finding a diver unconscious underwater to bringing them on land and performing CPR.
I personally found raising an unconscious diver to the surface the most difficult. This involved holding on to the unconscious diver and slowing inflating and deflating their BCD to control the ascent. It was difficult, in that too much air, you ascend too rapidly, too little air and you don’t move at all. Assisting a panicked diver on the surface or underwater can be a little stressful as well. (Depending on who your troubled buddy is and how much enjoyment they get from making your life difficult!)
For our rescue dives, they were structured more or less like a “fun” dive. However, they target certain skills the instructor wanted to practise. Don’t expect to do much exploring or looking around! These dives are based on repetitive reinforcement. Be prepared to be always on your toes! Before each of our rescue dive, we reviewed our buddy safety checks. Looking for mistakes on ourselves and on our troubled dive buddy.
Rescue Dive 1
This particular dive we dove deep and practised scenarios, such as:
- Diver showing symptoms of nitrogen narcosis
- Diver out of air situation
Rescue Dive 2
For our second dive we practised:
- Man overboard situation
- Diver out of air situation
- Underwater panicked diver
- Unconscious diver underwater and surfacing
Overall, I found this day not too difficult. Probably the most stressful part is dealing with a panicking diver. Especially if your troubled dive buddy is trying to rip off your mask, regulator, or use you as a flotation device!
Rescue Dive 3
This dive was mostly a recap dive for more practise which included scenarios, such as:
- Panicked diver at the surface
- Diver out of air situation
- Panicked diver underwater.
- Towing unconscious diver back to boat and retrieval
Rescue Dive 4
The final dive brought everything together in an entire scenario, starting with a missing diver and included:
- Underwater search patterns
- Finding unconscious diver underwater
- Surfacing an unconscious diver
- In-water rescue breathing and towing to boat
- Boat retrieval and CPR
After these last exhausting dives, we took a break for the rest of the afternoon. We met up before dinner to debrief and to take an exam for both React Right and Stress and Rescue courses.
Overall, I would have to agree that it was the most challenging of the courses I have taken so far. It required a lot of focus to remember all the correct steps and responses. For that, I am happy that the rescue course is over. I do feel more confident as a diver knowing how to deal with emergency situations, whereas before I would be at a loss of what to do. I would recommend anyone who is looking to become a more confident diver to look into taking a diving stress and rescue course.
If this sounds like something that interests you feel free to message Manta Dive Gili Air with any questions.