Over the weekend of March 7-8th, I was saddened to hear of two separate reported incidents involving a freediver in QLD and two spear fishermen in VIC.

Reports of loss of life or people missing whilst undertaking freediving related activities always hits the community hard. Freediving and spearfishing attract enthusiastic and passionate participants to a well connected community, whether that’s a bunch of friends or members of a club.

It is a waste of life whenever practices of breath-hold result in an accident, because it can be avoided. Education and awareness of safe practices, knowledge of the risks and how to reduce the risks is the best way to prevent incidents.

Whilst the community senses and responds to the sad loss, the impact to the freedivers’ family and friends will unfortunately go on.

Freediving and spearfishing in Australian conditions is not to be treated lightly, particularly the ocean beaches, though our bays and swimming pools are to be treated with the same levels of respect.

As some of the more experienced divers and spearos will know, you often have to make the call to not enter the water or often change plans as the environment is unpredictable. This is something you know from local experience, and something you either learned or taught someone else by sharing advice and guidance amongst fellow divers.

This a sensitive time for those involved. I implore you to look after your fellow buddies, friends and club members and help avoid more people facing these types of incidents in future. 

Remember to:

  • Always dive well within your limits
  • Practice safety rules and rescues without question
  • If freediving with less experienced divers, always dive to their limits, not yours
  • Work to develop understanding of local conditions, and please,
  • Never Freedive Alone and Always Freedive with a Buddy.

Take the time to learn with professionals, join a freediving club and ask plenty of questions and seek advice if in doubt.

Enjoy safely a discipline that has been practiced by pearl and shellfish freedivers, like the Japanese Ama, for centuries.

My condolences and thoughts go out to the families and friends of those Freedivers involved in the incidents.

Please, stay safe.

Marlon Quinn


[Update 17-3-2015]

In unfortunate developments, it appears the men missing off Cape Schanck are unlikely to return.


Victorian Web Links:
Melbourne Freedivers Club

Southern Freedivers Spearfishing Club

 

Other Facebook Freediving Groups:

Melbourne Freedivers Club, (Melbourne and Geelong) VIC

Hobart Freedivers, TAS

Adelaide Freedivers, SA

Perth Freediving, WA

Sydney Freedivers, NSW

Brisbane Freedivers, QLD