Hey

With reference to the recent death at Orange Grove where it is speculated that the deceased had one empty side mount cylinder and one cylinder with 2200 psi in it - seemingly (by speculation) that it had a roll of.

Lets for a second assume that the above speculations are factually correct.

From the outset let me state that I do dive side-mount and no-mount (when required) but I also dive a various manifolded twins but, mostly dive with a rebreather.

Not that long ago (about 8 years a ago when I qualified full cave) side-mount diving and any training associated therewith was reserved for the ultra experienced - i.e you hare pushing caves with restrictions that were in fact to small to dive with back-mounts. So side-mount diving was reserved for the experienced. I understand that some people have other valid reasons (Including: I have a bad back and twins are to heavy to carry, etc) to dive side-mounts.

The reason was very simple side-mount diving is a form of independent cylinder diving and (other than balance and trim issues) creates the same risks and task loading as diving independent back mounted cylinders.

Through many years of discussion, errors and deaths - The cave diving community at large accepted that in the great independent (which we all now does have some benefits) vs manifolded back-mount cylinders debate that the manifolded back-mounted cylinders was the correct way to go.

Recently, I arrived at an ocean dive spot in South Africa and to my surprise I found a string op Padi (sports) divers all kitted out with the newest and greatest side-mount rigs all going for a recreational ocean dive. Seemingly the new cool thing to do.

After looking into it a bit more it seems that the sports diving agencies, have almost all jumped onto this band wagon and that in the last couple of years the tek/cave diving agencies have reduced the requirement for doing side-mount diving - i/e you can do an intro to cave course with a side-mount.

I was taught use the best and right equipment for the application, so if I am not going to squeeze trough restrictions I take the back-mounts or the rebreather.

Now I am a big proponent of doing what you want without being restricted by some smart arse hall monitor, but I have to ask why are we, as a community, now regressing to a position that was resolved decades ago. I.e are promoting the wide use of side-mounting were the independent vs twin argument was resolved.

For me use the correct equipment: intro to cave guys should be using twins - it may or may not have changed the outcome of this dive (ignoring that on the speculations a number of other rules may or may not have broken).

Cheers Dries