"Line Dance"


Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

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I have been unable to document this story as a real event. It may be hearsay. However, I believe, if not an actual occurrence, that such a scenario is well within the realm of possibility.

A diver was diving on a sunken U-boat at a depth of approximately 110 fsw. A few minutes into the dive, he felt a "buzz" and remembered his scuba class lectures about effects of nitrogen narcosis. He became more anxious with time. He remembered his instructor telling him that ascent would relieve the beginning-to-be-scary feelings within him. So, he swam over to the anchor line and proceeded to move hand-over-hand with the sole focused mission of ascent to relieve the mental numbness he was experiencing. After a  brief time, he did NOT feel relieved and was beginning to experience a head ache. This only increased his efforts to ascend.

Meanwhile, his buddy was observing what seemed to be strange behavior, but just assumed it was a playful underwater joke as his buddy, in an inverted position,  again-and-again rammed his head into the deck of the sub. It was only when the dark cloud of blood emerged that the buddy realized a there was a serious underwater problem.

The affected diver was assisted to the surface by his buddy and his head wound bandaged.

The points to this story are:

1. Repetitive behavior is a strong indication of being stressed.
2. The person under stress may NOT perceive their dysfunction.
3. The effects of nitrogen narcosis will vary with individuals, specific to their body chemistry on the day of the dive.
4. Historically, the buddy system is a safety asset.


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About The Author: 

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D. is a biochemist and Diving Safety Coordinator at the University of Michigan. He has authored more than 200 scuba related articles. His personal dive library (See Alert Diver, Mar/Apr, 1997, p. 54) is considered one of the best recreational sources of information In North America.

  Copyright 2001-2024   by Larry "Harris" Taylor

All rights reserved.

Use of these articles for personal or organizational profit is specifically denied.

These articles may be used for not-for-profit diving education