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How to Deal with Vertical Currents

How to Deal with Vertical Currents


Vertical currents typically occur along the
face of a wall or around an open ocean pinnacle. The safest way to deal with a vertical current
is to avoid it. At the first inclination that you are encountering a
vertical current, reverse course and rapidly swim away. Vertical currents are either downwelling, which force you
deeper, or upwelling which push you toward the surface. When caught in a downwelling, immediately swim away
from or parallel to the wall at a 45 degree upward angle. Add air to your BC to counteract the downward
force, but always be prepared to quickly vent air if you suddenly escape the current’s force. If all else fails, stabilize yourself by grasping
a stationary object and holding on until the downwelling subsides, climbing your way toward
the surface or you are ready to make another attempt at swimming out of the flow. If caught in an upwelling, immediately swim
away from or parallel to the wall at a 45 degree downward angle while venting air to
decrease your buoyancy. From this head-down orientation, it is more
effective to use the rear bottom dump valve on the BC. But be prepared to quickly establish neutral buoyancy
when you break free from the downward flow. Once you have escaped the vertical flow, check
your dive computer to make sure the unintentional elevator ride up or down doesn’t prevent you
from making a normal ascent.

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