DARING JOBS EPISODE 5: TIME UNDER PRESSURE
Inside the dangerous role of a Safety Diver, when being safe means facing danger.
Freediving is an inherently dangerous sport—there’s nothing safe about diving to depths upwards of 100m on a single breath. Disaster can strike at any instant. A diver’s lungs could give out, or even worse, shallow water black out could occur. Since there’s no available oxygen other than what’s in the diver’s lungs, the options for underwater recovery are limited.
That’s where the Safety Diver comes into play.
Safety Divers are a group of highly-trained free divers that are specialists in supporting other free divers when they dive deep. Safety Divers don’t utilize SCUBA equipment because in their role, they’ll ascend to the surface at the same rate as the free diver and doing so with air would force the diver to experience a potentially dangerous rapid decrease in pressure, so instead the safety diver uses the same technique as the free diver and is able to complete the last 30m of the ascent alongside them. Why only the last 30m? Because that’s when the diver is exposed to the highest level of risk.
But the role of a Safety Diver extends far beyond those last 30m underwater. Prior to the dive, the Safety Diver manages every aspect of the dive, including scouting the location, surveying the dive site for potential dangers, loading up the support vessel with proper gear, and placing the shot line.
The gear the Safety Diver sets has to be reliable—the free diver’s life depends on it, after all. The piece of gear on the Safety Diver’s wrist has to meet the same standard of reliability. The TUDOR Pelagos is the perfect tool for the job. Before it even leaves the factory, it’s put through extreme testing to ensure it performs flawlessly on duty. In the water, the 70-hour power reserve and titanium case water resistant to 500m mean one less thing the Safety Diver has to worry about. He knows his watch will work, time and time again.
That leaves him the space to concentrate on what’s most important: Making sure the free diver comes up safely.
Scroll through to see what it takes to keep free divers safe as they make a bid for the deepest depths.