One thing they don’t tell you before taking a Stress & Rescue course is that many exercises take place on the surface.
As you can see, I was wearing a sleaveless shirt under my Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD). Expect all of your exposed skin to sunburn, and prepare accordingly. If you are going to use sunscreen, however, choose an coral-friendly brand.
I have now completed 3 pool sessions and 2 ocean dives. During the 1st session, you largely practice rescuing yourself. You rehash a lot of what you already know, but you know you don’t practice enough. Every following session includes at least 1 “victim.”
For the best training, choose a “victim” who is bigger and heavier than you. This will give you the confidence to respond in a broader ramge of real world incidents. For me, my “victim” was a 95-kilogram (210-pound) male, significantly outsizing my 70-kilogram (155-pound) frame.
You will find that being buoyant does not prevent a larger victim from being significantly more difficult to transport, even in water, than a smaller victim. It’s exhausting, quite frankly.
I attempted 5 different methods of removing my “victim” from the water. The side of the pool and the back carry were manageable. Two other carries up the pool steps were impossible, so I learned to stick with the back carry, which I can manage alone. I also attemped to get him out of the ocean, up a ladder, and onto the pier, but that required assistance from someone already on the pier.
So, a big lesson is not only to practice techniques, but to maintain the muscular strength, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular endurance to perform these techniques.
The course is a real wake up call, because I have dived with some very large (unfit) divers. Their lack of fitness puts them in unnecessary danger should a rescue ever be necessary. But, at least I now know techniques to give potential victims a fighting chance.
One more dive to go to complete this scuba diving specialty….