The year was 2007 and competitive freediving was something I had never thought I would be a part of. I became a freediver because I loved the ocean and what she provided through spearfishing. However, safety freediving became a part of my life in 2008 when I took my first freediving course with Performance Freediving International. That same year my wife Ashley and I traveled to Sharm El Sheik, Egypt for the team world championships. One of the things I remembered most was an incident that happened with Ashley in the pool. She was performing a dynamic swim and had a below surface blackout. The safety was, let’s just say, below par. It was that moment I realized that maybe formal training should be employed to these important positions. Ashley and I married and she continued to compete. As a result I had found my position in the freediving world as a safety diver. I began with Kirk Krack, founder and owner of Performance Freediving International, assisting with his annual competition in the Cayman Islands. Let me go ahead and give credit where credit is due, most of the techniques presented in this document originated from Krack and have been supplemented with my own personal experiences over the past 10 years.
Below is short timeline of events beginning my career in freediving and culminating in this document:
- In 2007 I took my first Performance Freediving course in Miami, Florida.
- 2008 I attended my first world championships in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt and recognized for the first time inadequate safety.
- 2009-2012 I became a full time PFI instructor and safety diver for annual Deja Blue competition in Grand Cayman.
- 2012-2013 I was safety diver at Vertical Blue in the Bahamas and in 2013 I was the Chief of Safety at Vertical Blue. That is the same year I lost my friend Nic Mevoli to freediving.
- 2015 I was the Chief of Safety for the Big Blue competition in La Paz, Mexico
- 2012-2017 Chief of Safety for the Caribbean Cup in Roatan
- 2016 I was the Chief of Safety for Deepsea Challenge in Bonaire.
- 2017 I was the Chief of Safety and Logistics for the AIDA World Championships in Roatan, Honduras.
This document, “Version 1.0”, is meant to be an ever evolving guide for organizers and safety personnel and is open to comments and suggestions. There are many things that can be kept secret in the freediving world but proper safety during competition or at any time during freediving should not. It should not be used for monetary purposes and should be freely distributed to everyone. I am introducing techniques I believe to be best but these techniques may not be the best. I accept that when it can be proven otherwise, other methodologies may be better. So please read through and take what you can take from it. If it prevents a single death then all the time it took me to create it is well worth my time.
I want to thank those of you who have helped me with the document and to those who will continue to contribute and perfect it.
Sincerely, Ren Chapman
Safety guidelines for freediving competition Version 1.1
Click HERE to download file
Minimum safety requirements list per competition line
Click HERE to download fileMinimum Safety Per Line
Example safety team equipment and setup responsibilities:
Click HERE to download fileExample Responsibilities List
Example evacuation plan which should be posted in all transport vehicles as well as distributed to all athletes and personel:
Click Here to download fileSample Evac Plan