Diving Safety Tips

Shallow-water Blackout

Probably the most common cause of loss of life in our sport is shallow-water blackout (SWB). Ironically, it is typically the more experienced freedivers who succumb to this tragic condition.Prevalent factors that contribute to SWB are exercise, aggressiveness and hyperventilation.

In his book titled Bluewater Hunting and Freediving, Terry Maas thoroughly describes the conditions that increase the chances of blacking out. His chapter on "Physiology" is by far the most important chapter in this book, and Terry goes into great detail about the actual physiological mechanisms that trigger SWB. This book, and especially this chapter, is a must read for any freediver or anyone considering freediving.

My suggestion to you is simple. When you're on your way up after a long dive, and suddenly see that big gamefish coming into range, instead of thinking about that picture of yourself holding that great fish, think about that picture of you next to your wife and kids (or girlfriend, parents, etc.) Remember, it's only a fish.

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