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Decompression Stops

Submitted by admin on 2009-09-28 | Last Modified on 2010-04-07

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Decompression stops are a very necessary and vital part of the diving process. Decompression stops involves the necessary pauses or time periods that a diver stops his or her ascent from waters in order to permit his or her body to naturally dissolve various gases in his or her bloodstream. If decompression stops are not implemented during a diver’s ascent, there is a tremendous risk that he or she will develop what is commonly identified as decompression sickness.

Decompression sickness is basically the human body’s natural response to sudden changes in the water pressure around the body during a dive. During a diver’s ascent out of waters, the amounts of gases in his or her blood stream can actually convert into dangerous gas bubbles if they are decreased in an ultra-rapid fashion during a diver’s ascent. With too many gas bubbles inside a diver’s blood stream, the bubbles fail to dissolve correctly and to dissipate via the diver’s lungs; these dangerous bubbles contain large quantities of nitrogen which can cause serious and very dangerous health complications.

When involved in deep dives, decompression stops are part of the ascent process that cannot be overlooked. Each periodic pause upon ascent gives the diver’s body the opportunity to allow the dangerous gas bubbles caused from rapid changes in pressure to dissolve naturally. Decompression stops basically involve a pause in the diver’s ascent, and periodic pauses occur along the path to the water’s surface.

Decompression sickness has a whole host of negative symptoms associated with the condition; the diver might experience unexplained itchiness, pains in the chest, bodily cramping, irritation of the skin, significant pain in the joints and neurological effects also accompany the onset of the condition. A diver that does not use decompression stops can suffer paralysis, mental confusion, incontinence, and in some severe cases, the dive can prove fatal when decompression sickness occurs.

The process of using decompression stops to avoid decompression sickness involves a periodic pause in a diver’s ascent and the stops are generally based on the recommendations supplied in a variety of different decompression tables supplied by different organizations. Decompression tables are offered by the United States Navy, the PADI organization, and there are also Bühlmann tables, BASC tables, DCIEM tables and French Navy decompression tables as well. Diving decompression tables are also supplied by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some divers prefer to rely on state of the art computer applications which can determine the number of decompression stops that the diver has to make and the period of time for each decompression pause during the diver’s ascent.

A diver’s ascent must be adequately planned as well as perfectly timed. Decompression stops are incorporated into such planning; an ascent should occur at a pace of roughly nine meters every sixty seconds or less. If the diver is relying on special equipment for diving, like that involving the use of nitrox air, then specific dive tables are used to calculate one’s decompression stops. During training classes for use in special equipment, the use of specialized decompression tables is covered.


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