New Freediving Rules Coming in January 2015

AIDA International, the governing body of the sport of competitive freediving, recently announced the vote results on a number of new rules – votes from all the countries that comprise the AIDA Assembly. The rules are slated to go into effect on January 1, 2015. These changes were precipitated by the first fatal accident in AIDA’s history – an incident which occurred at Vertical Blue 2013.

AIDA Vice President, Rob King, had this to say about the changes, “We join together in AIDA International because we love freediving. The fatal accident of Nick Mevoli last November—the first in an AIDA competition—has led us to reexamine our sport. We don’t want freediving to become like alpinism, where death is accepted as an inherent risk. Your efforts make freediving safer. The proposals you approved are one of many steps AIDA is taking on safety; others include changes to the AIDA education system, an online AIDA Incident Reporting System to gather data for analysis, and funding for medical research relating to freediving. This Safety Proposal is a first step, not the last. Next year, we’ll review how these changes are working, review incident data, and return to you with items that may benefit from change: to update items that need improvement; to delete any that aren’t working; and to recommend items to address new issues that may be identified. To that end, please continue to provide input on the Safety Proposal, and safety related matters generally (send to Board_AIDA@yahoogroups.com); we’ll collect your input, and the Safety Workgroup will review it in 2015. Our goal is to present you with a Safety Proposal v2.0 mid to late next year—safety is a continuous process.

NEW RULES – RESULTING VOTES

1. Limitation on Announcements

Item 1 on limitation of announcements received 10 votes for, and 10 votes against: a tie. In accordance with AIDA’s Statutes, this item will go back for a re-vote.

2. Sonar

All three items were approved, by large margins.

Item 2A requires organizers to train with and use Sonar at AIDA World Championships and World Record events (18 for, 2 against).

Item 2B requires organizers to train with and use Sonar at AIDA competitions with world record status (18 for, 2 against).

Item 2C recommends (but does not require) organizers to train with and use Sonar at other AIDA competitions for depth disciplines, unless the maximum competition depth is within sight of safety divers (16 for, 4 against).

3. Prohibition on Recommencing Descent; Feet First Descents

Item 3A was approved (11 for, 9 against), prohibiting athletes from turning back down once they have started to ascend. As previously noted, the competition gauge and bottom camera can be used to apply this rule—both to verify information from Sonar, and to inform judges of infractions.

Item 3B was not approved (8 for, 12 against), so the proposal to prohibit feet first descents (recommended by AIDA Germany) will not go into effect. AIDA Nationals with an interest in this rule are requested to provide AIDA with any additional information they may obtain on feet-first descents.

4. Consequences of Squeezes

Item 4 was approved (11 for, 9 against). The Executive Board and Safety workgroup recognize that this rule is a significant change for AIDA, but also an important one to protect athletes. Squeezes appear to be worsening in recent years, as athletes get to greater depths faster; it once took a decade to reach 100m, but divers now have reached that depth in a year. Lung squeeze was a large factor in last year’s fatal accident, and AIDA International believes that this new rule is important in helping protect athletes from thoracic barotrauma.

AIDA Finland noted the importance of applying this rule objectively and uniformly, and requested that AIDA International provide guidance on how to apply this rule. Those points are well taken. Safety is critical, but this rule must be applied fairly. To that end, we will request that the AIDA Medical Officer (with support as needed) provide guidance to the Assembly on different types and degrees of squeezes, prior to 1 January 2015.

5. Consequences of Blackouts

Item 5 was not approved (2 for option 1; 1 for option 2; 5 for option 3, and 11 for no change). Accordingly, no change will be made regarding blackouts. AIDA International will continue to monitor data regarding blackouts, and watch for trends that could indicate increased risk. Interested Nationals are requested to provide input on this matter.

6. Training & Equipment

All four items were approved, by large margins.

Item 6A requires minimum training for doctors at AIDA World Championships and World Record events (17 for, 3 against).

Item 6B requires minimum training for doctors at competitions with world record status (16 for, 4 against).

Item 6C requires minimum equipment at AIDA World Championships and World Record events, and at competitions with world record status (18 for, 1 against). In particular, AIDA believes that training with and availability of pocket masks will protect safety divers from the risk of blood borne pathogens, and allow them to provide rescue breaths without risk of disease.

Item 6D recommends (but does not require) additional equipment at AIDA World Championships and World Record events, and at competitions with world record status (17 for, 2 against).

7. Incident Reporting System; Rest Days

Item 7A was approved (19 for, 1 opposed), so beginning 1 January 2015, AIDA will require organizers (with input from head judge and doctor) to report safety related incidents at AIDA competitions on the online AIDA Incident Reporting System. We plan to have a pilot version of this system available for use and comment at September’s AIDA Team World Championship in Sardinia. If you are in Sardinia, please join us to learn more about this important addition to AIDA’s safety services.

Item 7B was approved (17 for, 3 against), so AIDA will recommend that organizers add rest days to competitions where possible.

DeeperBlue readers can see more on the AIDA website.

photo © Daan Verhoeven

Vote Results

1. Limitation on Announcements

Item 1 on limitation of announcements received 10 votes for, and 10 votes against: a tie. In accordance with AIDA’s Statutes, this item will go back to you for vote (along with the Rules proposal to be presented to you in about another week—see below).

2. Sonar

All three items were approved, by large margins.

Item 2A requires organizers to train with and use Sonar at AIDA World Championships and World Record events (18 for, 2 against).

Item 2B requires organizers to train with and use Sonar at AIDA competitions with world record status (18 for, 2 against).

Item 2C recommends (but does not require) organizers to train with and use Sonar at other AIDA competitions for depth disciplines, unless the maximum competition depth is within sight of safety divers (16 for, 4 against).

3. Prohibition on Recommencing Descent; Feet First Descents

Item 3A was approved (11 for, 9 against), prohibiting athletes from turning back down once they have started to ascend.  As previously noted, the competition gauge and bottom camera can be used to apply this rule—both to verify information from Sonar, and to inform judges of infractions.

Item 3B was not approved (8 for, 12 against), so the proposal to prohibit feet first descents (recommended by AIDA Germany) will not go into effect.  AIDA Nationals with an interest in this rule are requested to provide AIDA with any additional information they may obtain on feet-first descents.

4. Consequences of Squeezes

Item 4 was approved (11 for, 9 against).  The Executive Board and Safety workgroup recognize that this rule is a significant change for AIDA, but also an important one to protect athletes.  Squeezes appear to be worsening in recent years, as athletes get to greater depths faster; it once took a decade to reach 100m, but divers now have reached that depth in a year.  Lung squeeze was a large factor in last year’s fatal accident, and AIDA International believes that this new rule is important in helping protect athletes from thoracic barotrauma.

AIDA Finland noted the importance of applying this rule objectively and uniformly, and requested that AIDA International provide guidance on how to apply this rule.  Those points are well taken.  Safety is critical, but this rule must be applied fairly. To that end, we will request that the AIDA Medical Officer (with support as needed) provide guidance to the Assembly on different types and degrees of squeezes, prior to 1 January 2015.

5. Consequences of Blackouts

Item 5 was not approved (2 for option 1; 1 for option 2; 5 for option 3, and 11 for no change).  Accordingly, no change will be made regarding blackouts.  AIDA International will continue to monitor data regarding blackouts, and watch for trends that could indicate increased risk.  Interested Nationals are requested to provide input on this matter.

6. Training & Equipment

All four items were approved, by large margins.

Item 6A requires minimum training for doctors at AIDA World Championships and World Record events (17 for, 3 against).

Item 6B requires minimum training for doctors at competitions with world record status (16 for, 4 against).

Item 6C requires minimum equipment at AIDA World Championships and World Record events, and at competitions with world record status (18 for, 1 against).  In particular, AIDA believes that training with and availability of pocket masks will protect safety divers from the risk of blood borne pathogens, and allow them to provide rescue breaths without risk of disease.

Item 6D recommends (but does not require) additional equipment at AIDA World Championships and World Record events, and at competitions with world record status (17 for, 2 against).

7. Incident Reporting System; Rest Days

Item 7A was approved (19 for, 1 opposed), so beginning 1 January 2015, AIDA will require organizers (with input from head judge and doctor) to report safety related incidents at AIDA competitions on the online AIDA Incident Reporting System.  We plan to have a pilot version of this system available for use and comment at September’s AIDA Team World Championship in Sardinia.  If you are in Sardinia, please join us to learn more about this important addition to AIDA’s safety services.

Item 7B was approved (17 for, 3 against), so AIDA will recommend that organizers add rest days to competitions where possible.

– See more at: http://www.aidainternational.org/news/?p=1729#sthash.pg7fnRjn.dpuf

Vote Results

1. Limitation on Announcements

Item 1 on limitation of announcements received 10 votes for, and 10 votes against: a tie. In accordance with AIDA’s Statutes, this item will go back to you for vote (along with the Rules proposal to be presented to you in about another week—see below).

2. Sonar

All three items were approved, by large margins.

Item 2A requires organizers to train with and use Sonar at AIDA World Championships and World Record events (18 for, 2 against).

Item 2B requires organizers to train with and use Sonar at AIDA competitions with world record status (18 for, 2 against).

Item 2C recommends (but does not require) organizers to train with and use Sonar at other AIDA competitions for depth disciplines, unless the maximum competition depth is within sight of safety divers (16 for, 4 against).

3. Prohibition on Recommencing Descent; Feet First Descents

Item 3A was approved (11 for, 9 against), prohibiting athletes from turning back down once they have started to ascend.  As previously noted, the competition gauge and bottom camera can be used to apply this rule—both to verify information from Sonar, and to inform judges of infractions.

Item 3B was not approved (8 for, 12 against), so the proposal to prohibit feet first descents (recommended by AIDA Germany) will not go into effect.  AIDA Nationals with an interest in this rule are requested to provide AIDA with any additional information they may obtain on feet-first descents.

4. Consequences of Squeezes

Item 4 was approved (11 for, 9 against).  The Executive Board and Safety workgroup recognize that this rule is a significant change for AIDA, but also an important one to protect athletes.  Squeezes appear to be worsening in recent years, as athletes get to greater depths faster; it once took a decade to reach 100m, but divers now have reached that depth in a year.  Lung squeeze was a large factor in last year’s fatal accident, and AIDA International believes that this new rule is important in helping protect athletes from thoracic barotrauma.

AIDA Finland noted the importance of applying this rule objectively and uniformly, and requested that AIDA International provide guidance on how to apply this rule.  Those points are well taken.  Safety is critical, but this rule must be applied fairly. To that end, we will request that the AIDA Medical Officer (with support as needed) provide guidance to the Assembly on different types and degrees of squeezes, prior to 1 January 2015.

5. Consequences of Blackouts

Item 5 was not approved (2 for option 1; 1 for option 2; 5 for option 3, and 11 for no change).  Accordingly, no change will be made regarding blackouts.  AIDA International will continue to monitor data regarding blackouts, and watch for trends that could indicate increased risk.  Interested Nationals are requested to provide input on this matter.

6. Training & Equipment

All four items were approved, by large margins.

Item 6A requires minimum training for doctors at AIDA World Championships and World Record events (17 for, 3 against).

Item 6B requires minimum training for doctors at competitions with world record status (16 for, 4 against).

Item 6C requires minimum equipment at AIDA World Championships and World Record events, and at competitions with world record status (18 for, 1 against).  In particular, AIDA believes that training with and availability of pocket masks will protect safety divers from the risk of blood borne pathogens, and allow them to provide rescue breaths without risk of disease.

Item 6D recommends (but does not require) additional equipment at AIDA World Championships and World Record events, and at competitions with world record status (17 for, 2 against).

7. Incident Reporting System; Rest Days

Item 7A was approved (19 for, 1 opposed), so beginning 1 January 2015, AIDA will require organizers (with input from head judge and doctor) to report safety related incidents at AIDA competitions on the online AIDA Incident Reporting System.  We plan to have a pilot version of this system available for use and comment at September’s AIDA Team World Championship in Sardinia.  If you are in Sardinia, please join us to learn more about this important addition to AIDA’s safety services.

Item 7B was approved (17 for, 3 against), so AIDA will recommend that organizers add rest days to competitions where possible.

– See more at: http://www.aidainternational.org/news/?p=1729#sthash.pg7fnRjn.dpuf