There is nothing more terrifying for divers than losing control of their dry suit. A runaway ascent not only strips from a diver their ability to control a dry suit, it also causes feelings of helplessness. A runaway ascent happens when you add too much air to the dry suit. And, opposed to many divers beliefs, it can occur even if neutrally weighted at depth.
Runaway ascents are a real possibility in deep or shallow water, and should be avoided at all costs — no matter how experienced you are!
There are several considerations to bear in mind when inflating a drysuit. Read the following tips and implement them in your next dive. I think you’ll see a marked improvement in your dry suit management.
How to prevent a runaway ascent
- Slow down
- Use your breathing for buoyancy
- Inflate with precision and control
- Don’t inflate close to the surface
- Avoid diving head down
How to recover from a runaway ascent
- Take evasive action
- Tuck, roll and crunch
- Deflate everything from the dry suit
- Regain neutral buoyancy IMMEDIATELY
- Take a minute to calm down and relax
Remember that runaway ascents can put you in danger before you realize what is going on!
Every diver should take measures to prevent their dry suit from over-inflating. If your dry suit starts misbehaving itself, follow the steps above. Safe diving!