I decided to make a change to my dive gear setup. Today I installed the Oceanic Air Xs 2 Alternate Inflator onto my Oceanic Excursion 2 BCD.
The Air Xs 2 combines both the low pressure inflator for the BCD and the alternate air source regulator into one streamlined unit.
When using the Air Xs 2 in an Out of Air (OOA) emergency instead of donating my octopus regulator to the out of air diver I would instead donate my primary second stage regulator which I now have on a 7 foot hose going across the front of my body and wrapped around my neck “tech-style”. I would then switch over to the Air Xs 2 as my regulator to surface with.
I am also considering the possibility of leaving the octopus installed along with the Air Xs 2, which would give me a total of 3 second stage regulators. If I were in a situation where two divers were out of air, I would donate my primary and my octopus to them, and use my Air Xs 2 to surface with.
I know the chances of running into this extreme situation where two divers would be out of air at the same time would be rare, but there is always the remote chance. I have seen a couple times where a pair of dive buddies had just enough air to make it back up to the surface. If something were to happen which delayed their ascent by just a few minutes, they would not have had enough reserve air to make it back up to the surface.
I know that we are all trained to not dive like that, and to always ascend leaving plenty of air left in your tank for the ascent, safety stops, and emergencies, but let’s face it, it doesn’t always happen like that.
Especially here in Hawaii with all of the tourists that we have diving here. Sometimes it seems like they think that since they paid for the tank of air, and they are going to get their moneys worth out of it. They seem to push the limits more than local divers do, I suppose because they are trying to cram as much as they can of their vacations into the few days that they are on the islands.
On shallow dives I already carry a 3 cf Spare Air system strapped to my BCD under my arm, and on deep dives I switch it out to a 40 cf Pony Tank system, both of which give me a completely separate air source if something were to happen to my primary. On my 40 cf system, I also have 2 second stage regulators installed on it instead of just one. So in all, on deep dives I would have a total of 5 regulators and two separate air sources in an emergency. I would rather have too much equipment in an emergency than not have enough when it is needed.
I haven’t yet decided on keeping the octopus regulator attached to my rig or removing it. I guess I will try keeping it there for a while and see how it goes, and if I don’t like it I can always take it off later.