Articles for 2010 member newsletters

CCR Discovery Training Feb 19 – 20

Join tackle shack for Discovery CCR training



904-994-6586 for details

Joining SDI-TDI-ERDi At Shows Around the USA

There are REAL benefits of Membership
1.  Discount for YOUR booth space—— For a second consecutive year, SDI-TDI-ERDI will be all over the United States supporting their members and dive centers at consumer shows.  It is a great reward to support the industry at the local level, but this year, we also want to extend this great business opportunity to our members to not only attend the show, but to exhibit at these shows as well.  We will be able to offer our members UP TO 50% OFF the cost for a booth space at the following CONSUMER Dive Shows*:  Texas Dive Show (Feb. 12 – 13), Bay Area Dive Show (April 30 – May 1), Colorado Dive Show (September 24 -25), and Florida Dive Show (Dec. 4-5). Display your business at these shows and meet new potential customers with this chance to find a new market for you center.   Hurry as space is limited.
(*Example, Both space at Texas show is $899 our dealers save $400 and pay only $499.)
 2. Referral = Free Product——Recommend a dive center to us and if they complete a full crossover – you get free product for 1 month.  That’s right, whatever you purchase during that one month period, we will replace.  How does it work?  Buy JUST TEN Open Water kits and when we certify those ten students, we will send you TEN MORE kits at NO CHARGE, in other words, it is free.  So tell your friends about us and enjoy our referral incentive program to its maximum capacity.
 3.  Crossovers for instructors offered in Dallas & Chicago ——The Dallas Show, Our World Underwater in Chicago, BTS in New Jersey, and at DEMA we will have crossovers available for instructors looking at teaching SDI’s recreational programs, TDI’s world renown technical courses or public safety with ERDI, the largest agency dedicated to the safety of our departments – or, if all requirements are met, join ALL THREE AGENCIES for one price of $399.00. Contact SDI HQ now to get started with your online familiarization code or go to and get started NOW.  Once completed, be sure to bring all necessary documentation with you such as copies of you certification cards, applications, and form of payment to the enjoy a “questions and answers” session at the show to complete the familiarization with SDI-TDI and ERDI. If you would like to do the online crossover but cannot attend any of the above listed shows please contact one of the individuals list on page two and they will be happy to assist you in completing the crossover.
 4. No facility dues – ever——We do not believe in charging our facilities extra participate in SDI-TDI or ERDI programs.  Keep you members active and affiliated with your dive center and your facility remains active, no matter what type of facility designation you may carry.  Save money and reinvest those facility dues back into your center.  We will not charge you extra for giving us the opportunity to do business with you and your facility.
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact one of the following individuals.
Cris Merz National Sales Manager
Toll Free (888) 778-9073
Main Line (207) 729-4201 ext. 202
Cell (207) 449-8858
Dennis Pulley Product Development / Training
Cell (207) 449-2621 ext. 218
Shawn Harrison Regional Manager
Office (207) 729-4201 ext. 215
Cell (207) 751-9090
Ed Christini Board of Directors
Office (970) 686-5438
Cell (970) 227-0631
Nestor Palmero Board of Directors
Office (207) 729-4201 ext .213
Cell (207)449-8377

CCR Bailout Philosophy for Cave Diving


By Lamar Hires, co-founder/CEO Dive Rite

There are minimum standards for CCR bailout set by training agencies, and there is the comfort zone. I think people confuse the two.  Training should teach you to evaluate the risk and draw conclusions based on your personal physical ability and personal perception of risk. Sometimes I think divers take the easy way of doing the math. There are many variables for determining bailout needs and reality is never as simple as classroom practice. The experienced cave diver can rationalize anything and practice it to get a memorized response based on repetition. What he can’t control is his breathing rate or the catalyst that triggers the bailout procedure.

To truly determine bailout needs one should consider the circumstances and the factors which lead up to getting off the loop and going to bailout. I understand this from experimenting and building a rebreather.  You never truly know how you will respond when you take your last breath or can’t take one at all. This is sure to elevate your breathing rate and response to the problem.

All this leads to the question “how much bailout is enough?”  The open circuit cave community believes that CCR cave divers don’t take enough bailout because they cannot relate. I try to relate closed circuit needs to open circuit disciplines learned from years of cave diving. I guess after years of starting a dive with about 270 cubic feet of compressed gas I can’t get past the need to have at least 80 cubic feet of bailout gas.  Even if practice gets you out on 30 cubic feet of gas, having at least 80 cubic feet gives you the extra gas to deal with the catalyst that got you off the loop. I think this is the one point training cannot emulate. During training you always know it’s a drill. You wait for the queue and respond. There aren’t any flashing lights or taste of a caustic cocktail. In the real world there are no “abort the drill” signals.

One can argue minimum bailout needs and justify it. On expeditions, bailout needs for closed circuit are rationalized just like the open circuit one-third rule.  Anyone can rationalize their needs verses what’s available. I see it all the time. A dive at home utilizes oxygen for decompression, but on expedition oxygen is not available. Away from a well-equipped fill station  it is ok to do a deep dive on air because it’s a remote area.  I am more concerned about what people rationalize when they have all the resources needed available.

Now the cave diver comes out in me. Redundancy is the key to safety and returning home. For cave diving closed circuit bailout needs should be treated like sidemount, two cylinders for balance, safety and buddy team.  Closed circuit minimum bailout should start with 80 cubic feet just like open circuit and this should be two aluminum 40 cubic feet cylinders for redundancy.  Two cylinders provide multiple advantages:

1)   If you have to go off the loop two cylinders provide the peace of mind that you still have full cave redundancy for the exit. Worn sidemount, these bottles tuck in under the arms for streamlining.  A friend of mine wore a single 80 bailout on a dive and at 3000-foot penetration, 25 minutes away from the entrance his electronics signaled he needed to get off the loop. The diver turned on the bailout bottle to have a HP hose blow. Now he is faced with the dilemma of going back on the loop with indicated failures or to breathe his bailout in single breaths by opening and closing the valve. Not much of a choice. He was able to get back on the loop, but had a major scare.

2)  It is much easier to go from two small cylinders for shallow dives to two large cylinders for deeper dives.  No extra rigging is needed when making this transition so the transition is much easier.

3)  The buddy element is the biggest argument: that is whether to be self-sufficient systems verses the buddy system. I don’t like the idea of single bottle sharing for bailout. I personally will not give up my only full bailout bottle in exchange for a half empty bottle (yes, now the glass is half empty) in hopes that the diver in stress, (yes, he is in stress since he had to get off the loop) has only breathed the bottle down 50 percent before passing it off.

There are three bailout configurations for CCR cave divers: buddy system, self-sufficient, and staged.  I find myself using at least two of them on any given dive. I agree every diver should be self-sufficient, but you should always be ready to help your buddy. CCR divers have more options to them for bailout since their dive is determined by scrubber duration and how much time he wishes to spend based on more physical aspects of the dive. How much decompression are you willing to do? Are you dressed to do the decompression and stay hydrated? Gas supply is usually not a consideration, but bailout is.

Since I subscribe to at least 80 cubic feet of gas for bailout let me share with you several dive scenarios that called for different approaches.

1)  Devil’s Ear – 4000 foot penetration at 100 feet in depth. Since my buddy and I were going to explore some of the side passages beyond the 3000 foot restriction called the Henkel , we opted for a single 80 cubic feet stage each and two aluminum 40 cubic feet sidemount bottles.  My buddy dropped his 80 stage at 1500 feet, while I dropped mine at 3000 feet where we dropped our DPVs.  We went on to explore the smaller side passages with 80 cubic feet of bailout apiece configured in two aluminum 40 cubic feet cylinders.  So the bailout plan was buddy combined with staggered, staged bailouts for the swimming portion of the dive in the smaller, remote passages where we went to self sufficient mode with small sidemount cylinders. This allowed us to explore with less drag and maximize our exploration.

2)  Devil’s Ear – 4200 foot penetration at 100 feet in depth. This dive we had the same penetration as above, yet this was a working dive; a body recovery of a solo cave diver at 4200 feet. The passage was small in places and we knew we would be in zero visibility. Even though my team mate and I were together, we were very busy so we opted to go with two aluminum 80’s each so that if either of us had a problem we could deal with our own bailout needs and still complete the task.  Same dive, but different approach due to conditions of the dive.

3)  Rose Sink – 4500 foot exploration at 140 feet in depth. This dive required the use of all three bailout methods. The dive is a multi-level siphon and the flow increases the farther back you get as feeders add to the total water volume and flow. We staged one 80 each. My buddy dropped his bottle at 1300 feet with a richer mix for the final exit leg and I dropped a bottom-mix bottle at 2500 feet. We dropped DPVs at 3000 feet, keeping two aluminum 40s each for self-sufficient bailout, and then continued the final portion of the dive in a low crawl trying to stay ahead of our silt while we picked up the last of the survey on the last 900 feet of passage.

Based on my experience and the lessons learned from hard knocks received over decades of technical diving, one must evaluate every dive mission based on its needs for bailout planning. If you have the opportunity, talk to local divers to see what kind of planning the open circuit divers use for the site to be sure you use the proper bailout for the dive. Look at the mission, and the team, and then plan according to ability, experience and familiarity with the system.  You cannot make every dive fit the same bailout planning unless you use this as a tool to limit your penetration.  Proper planning of bailout is just as important as planning your decompression or mission. Make sure all team members are up to it and do their part in any team effort of staging gas. Practice various methods and see what works for you.

Lamar Hires is an active diver, equipment manufacturer, designer and instructor. He is well-known for his work to improve general diver safety and specifically for the promotion of common-sense protocols to help manage diver safety in overhead environments, closed-circuit rebreathers and Open-Circuit sidemount kit configurations.

The articles, positions and statements contained in this publication are not necessarily those of SD™ TDI™ or ERDI™ its BOD, officers or
employees.  Opinions, conclusions, and other information in this publication are solely those of the authors and are neither given nor endorsed by the agencies mentioned. Total editorial freedom and expression is solely retained and the responsibility of the editors/writers.

 At left, Dive Rite founder Lamar Hires at the ‘Stop Sign’ in Little River, circa 1980s. Photo: © Wes Skiles


The Year of the Rebreather

Poseidon Discovery – now available för 10,000 diving instructors all over the world

TDI™ (Technical Diving International™), the largest technical certification agency in the world, is now offering training in the sports diver Rebreather, also known as Poseidon Discovery. TDI is seen as an innovator always bringing  new, exciting and functional diving techniques and programs to the general diving public.

All of the 10, 000 TDI-certificated diving instructors around the world now have the opportunity to get educated in the Rebreather system. This means that the possibility för scuba divers to be taught by an Rebreather-educated instructor has increased considerably.

“I would call this the crucial step för the Rebreather to reach the great amount of recreational divers all over the world,” says Kurt Sjöblom, CEO of  Poseidon Diving Group AB. “My prediction is is that 2010 will really be the year of the Rebreather!”



The world’s first closed breathing system for recreational divers


Unlike traditional breathing systems for recreational divers, Poseidon Discovery reuses the exhaled breath. This extends the diving time from 40 minutes to several hours. In November 2008, Poseidon Discovery was awarded the international award “Best of What’s New Award” by Popular Science, one of the largest popular science magazines.


For further information, please contact:  

Kurt Sjöblom, CEO, +46706340552,

Mats Lennartson, Press Contact, +46707902468, 



For further information about diver education from TDI, please contact




About Poseidon Diving Systems AB


Poseidon was founded by divers, for divers. When Ingvar Elfström launched the world’s first single hose regulator in 1958 it became an immediate sensation. The company currently has 30 employees and over 2000 agents worldwide. Headquarters and manufacturing is located in Gothenburg, Sweden.






SDI -TDI Announces another Major Facility in Ambergris Caye, Belize

A Major 5 Star Resort Dive Center in San Pedro, Belize joins the SDI & TDI ranks!
amigos "All SDI and TDI divers and Instructors heading for the great diving off Belize, now have yet another home away from home right there in Ambergris Cay at Amigos Del Mar,” says Cris Merz, National Sales Manager for International Training.

Announcing the news on Monday, Merz added, “It is great to have Amigos del Mar come on board.  As a dive operation, they are a top facility and know how to do things right; and how to do them safe.  We are extremely happy to have them as a strong dive partner, a friendly host for SDI Centers and Divers looking to complete their programs on referral, and to proudly wave the SDI-TDI Flags in Belize.”
Established in 1991, Amigos Del Mar is a resort facility which specializes in full-service diving, instruction, snorkeling, and fishing expeditions and is ideally situated in the heart of San Pedro Town right on the beach. 

Changa Paz, owner of Amigos del Mar, has a long and outstanding reputation in San Pedro as one of the leaders in scuba training, tours, adventure trips and safety. 
“Going with SDI – TDI was a very easy decision to make.  I know the reputation of the agency, and I have seen it grow.  I know the people there and their customer service cannot be beat.  I like that.  When they released the In Store C Card Printer at DEMA a year ago, it made the choice that much easier to move my business in that direction.  I love the idea of being able to give our divers their C cards before they leave the island.  It is those little things that will once again, set us apart from the rest as far as to the service we can provide for our divers.  Everyone loves immediate gratification.  Their eLearning programs are also a great benefit and they have been doing this from the start.”
Changa adds, “We, at Amigos del Mar, like to be the innovators here in San Pedro so it makes sense choosing the leading innovators among the training agencies to work with in providing the best as far as our customer service goes in creating quality divers.”
Amigos Del Mar currently dives off the coast of Ambergris Caye but have daily trips to Belize’s renowned offshore atolls including Turneffe- “The Elbow”, Turneffe North, and The Great Blue Hole situated at Lighthouse Reef.  All packages are full day excursions which consist of three dives and include continental breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks, all to be enjoyed from the largest and most comfortable boats for these all-day trips.  Their boats provide a convenient complimentary pick-up service at most of the island’s major hotel docking establishments.

Contact Scuba Travel International to make plans to take your Divers to discover the beautiful waters of Belize by calling 207.729.4201 or e-mail or
Contact Amigos del Mar today at 011-501-226-2706 and ask for Shiana or email them at  For more information, visit their website at