September 18, 2014

APPENDIX 12 Safe Ascent Recommendations


It has long been the position of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences that the ultimate responsibility for safety rests with the individual diver.

The time has come to encourage divers to slow their ascents.

1. Buoyancy compensation is a significant problem in the control of ascents.

2. Training in, and understanding of, proper ascent techniques is fundamental to safe diving practice.

3. Before certification, the diver is to demonstrate proper buoyancy, weighting and a controlled ascent, including a “hovering” stop.

4. Diver shall periodically review proper ascent techniques to maintain proficiency.

5. Ascent rates shall not exceed 60 fsw per minute.

6. A stop in the 10-30 fsw zone for 3-5 min is recommended on every dive.

7. When using a dive computer or tables, non-emergency ascents are to be at the rate specified for the system being used.

8. Each diver shall have instrumentation to monitor ascent rates.

9. Divers using dry suits shall have training in their use.

10. Dry suits shall have a hands-free exhaust valve.

11. BCs shall have a reliable rapid exhaust valve which can be operated in a horizontal swimming position.

12. A buoyancy compensator is required with dry suit use for ascent control and emergency flotation.

13. Breathing 100% oxygen above water is preferred to in-water air procedures for omitted decompression.