5 Tips for Scuba Diving in a Silt Out | Scuba Diving

Tips for Scuba Diving in Low-Visibility or Silt-Out Situations

Scuba Diver Underwater Safely Exiting a Wreck

FIVE TIPS FOR SURVIVING SILT-OUTS

Few situations underwater are more terrifying or dangerous than being in the overhead environment of a wreck and suddenly losing visibility in a silt-out. Wrecks tend to collect fine sediment inside holds, cabins and hallways, and a single misplaced fin kick can be enough to plunge a diver into blindness. Here are five tips for surviving this zero-viz scenario.

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1 GET THE TRAINING

Exploring the interior of a shipwreck requires specialized, advanced training that covers everything from proper fin kicks to laying a guide line that acts as a pathway back to the entrance.

2 STOP AND ASSESS

As soon as the silt rises, stop moving and hover near the bottom, or hold onto something to stay stationary. Take long, deep breaths and assess the situation: Does the silt seem to be settling? Can you see anything beyond the cloud? Where is your dive buddy?

3 LOOK FOR THE CLOUD’S EDGE

Once you’ve composed yourself, try to find the edge of the silt cloud. Start by looking all around to see if the cloud thins in any direction. Then adjust your buoyancy to rise off the floor, and cautiously continue the dive.

4 CALL THE DIVE

If the silt-out doesn’t improve, you might need to call the dive and turn around.

5 MAINTAIN CONTACT WITH LINE

The guide line is literally your lifeline to the exit, so it’s vital to maintain physical contact with it until visibility returns. The best technique is to swim either slightly above or to one side of the line, with your thumb and forefinger encircling the line like an OK sign. Point your dive light along the line so you can spot any obstacles.


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