Why does my finger get cut on bolt snaps?

Almost everyone who’s had any experience doing a course where drills and bolt snaps are involved ends up with fingers and thumbs cut up like in the photo above.

Why does this happen, and how can we prevent it?

 

Rushing is never a good thing

Bolt snaps, while great for attaching to dive gear, is terrible on fingers when used incorrectly.

The skin on our fingers gets softer when diving for a while.

This delicate skin is easily scratched and torn when rubbed on a sharp surface.

A badly torn up thumb from using a bolt snap incorrectly.

A badly torn up thumb from using a bolt snap incorrectly.

 

Be careful where you put those fingers!

Gloves aren’t really the answer, as always, I’m more in favor of dealing with the cause of the problem, rather than fixing a symptom.

The proper method for managing bolt snaps then is to place the side of your finger on the trigger, and not press your flesh into the sharp edges of the slot.

The proper way to hold a bolt snap open.

The proper way to hold a bolt snap open.

The sharp bit of a bolt snap is the slot that holds the spring of the trigger, not the trigger itself.

By placing your finger further out, you’ll reduce the risk of the two sharp edges slicing your skin.

 

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

Get a good finger position on the trigger, then position the gate next to the D-ring before applying pressure. The bolt snap should slip right into the D-ring at this point.

Too often, I see divers trying to ‘catch’ the D-ring with the gate while holding it open.

Or they would apply too much pressure on the trigger because they are stressed out and trying to get the drill done quickly.

As with anything in life, rushing is never a good thing.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast!

Leon Boey is a GUE, HSA and PADI instructor based in Singapore and Bali. He runs the dive education centre Livingseas in Singapore, Bali and Jakarta. Diving since 2005, he first fell in love with wrecks. He enjoys all sorts of diving, and loves being surrounded by fish.

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