OZTek 2011 Day 2

OZTek was again kicked off with Michael Menduno continuing his presentation from the opening morning on the adventures in AQUACorps magazine and the origins of the original Tek Show of the mid nineties. Interesting to remember the resistance to nitrox that abounded with its first introduction to the recreational diving market.  I will speak about the origins of technical diving with a future post.  For now, it is worth mentioning that something that most divers consider the norm today, was not always viewed that way.


Michael Menduno explains the initial industry response from Skin Diver magazine to the introduction of nitrox and technical diving.

I was able to sit in on Dr. Simon Mitchell’s presentation today about improving the safety of rebreather diving.  He is an amazing presenter and is always sure to bring a good joke or two during the presentation as well.  The content of his talk centered around the ways that rebreather divers and the industry can look at what they do to help mitigate and minimize incidents.  He presented what data is available to try to shake out what the incident rate might be for rebreather diving as compared to open circuit (regular scuba) diving.

Simon found as best as can be shaked out of the data that rebreather diving carried with it a higher incident rate than open circuit.  The why or skew to the data pool because of the types of diving that many rebreather divers are doing was pointed out, but his point was that the rebreather divers are using rebreathers so they can do these greater exposure dives and ways to make the use safer is a worthy investigation.

Dr. Simon Mitchell explains that what data we have is limited on rebreather diving, so he makes light of this lack of data.

Simon does a very good job balancing what can be gleaned from the data and is scientific and what might be observation and or opinion.  I was reminded that much of what has been discussed today are the same issues we have faced when the new rebreather revolution began in the mid 1990s.  The difference now is that more divers are using them to do bigger and longer dives than back then.  Very interesting discussion.

Dr. Simon Mitchell fielding questions after his talk at OZTek 2011. This talk brought a flurry of questions from the audience. MC Des Paroz joined him on stage to field questions.


Jarrod Jablonski of GUE tenure presented on risk.  His talk was well balanced with references to acceptable risk and assessing the differences from unacceptable risk.  Examples were given related to fatalities that were illustrative of the issues presented spanning twenty years of diving.

Jarrod Jablonski presenting at OZTek 2011 on risk relates that risk and warnings about it are everywhere.

I presented on Precision Diving to a large crowd.  It was a fun time and I was joined by a wide variety of divers from newer to seasoned explorers.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the presentation and had fun with learning how to breathe.  It never ceases to amuse me when I see people light up about the realization in Precision Diving.  I had a lengthy discussion with a local diver after the talk about how he used breathing from his singing training and wished he had been told how to use that knowledge and be more able to control it while diving.  Instead, he had to struggle with buoyancy changes and over weighting to compensate.  He wished it had been explained to him just how much control and impact breathing has on all the other aspects of the foundational skills.

It was a good day.  The OZTek Awards Dinner was good fun and I hear it went way into the night.  I had to duck out early to hit the bed for an early flight the next day to Melbourne.

5 Comments on “OZTek 2011 Day 2”

  1. Laurent says:

    Hi Grant,
    just a quick question if you don’t mind, Jarrod Jablonski from GUE presented about risks and used 20 years of data to illustrate his content. Is there a way to compare this data with the paper Drew Richardson wrote about 20 years of diving fatalities?
    Certainly not to see who’s got the longest but to actually put in correlation the causes of fatalities, and also actually be able to define/quantify the increase of risk a diver has to accept when transitionning from Recreational to Technical diving.
    Obviously it is not only a number’s game, but it does give a proper first picture to Joe Diver who is enquiring about it.

    Best regards from Dubai,

  2. Grant W. Graves says:

    Examples were given, not data. JJ’s talk was not about that. It was about identifying and selecting the risk we accept or do not accept and how we go about making those decisions. Also, what we can do to mitigate the risks we identify as too high or worrisome. I am not trying to speak for JJ here. You misread my post. There were four examples presented from a span of twenty years in time. Not twenty years of data.

    Drew Richardson’s paper is a statistical look at actual data. JJ’s talk was not and never claimed to be.

    I would also point out that in my opinion you cannot study failure to learn about success. Failure is not the opposite of success. It is good to look at why people fail or what mistakes are made, but we should study why those that have a near miss make it or better what are the traits or reasons for those that dive well and avoid issues all the time.

    This I will post on in the future. But, thanks for the question.

    I would suggest you reach out to JJ if you want to know if he has actual data he is working on or with.

    • Laurent says:

      thanks for the clarification, it was just a quick (and obviously not proper) connection since we talked about Drew’s paper last week only… and the “20 years” triggered the reaction.

      Regarding your other comment about success vs failure, I can’t agree more. I was only trying to find a numerical way to describe to a non diver, the difference between Rec and Tec. I normally use number to describe a lot of things (size, time, risk) and was trying to find figures that would help me describe this specifically, but nevermind, I am probably just too twisted.

      Enjoy Melbourne

  3. Grant W. Graves says:

    You are not twisted. I wish I had the numbers to help you out or could point you in the right direction. Just not much out there.

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