by Joshua Norris:
At any given point throughout the day, there is a dive shop employee hearing a story that is repeated time and time again. An individual will walk in or call and start a conversation by explaining “I used to dive all the time but then ______________ happened and now…” The reasons usually revolve around some sort of life change. It could be a divorce, prolonged sickness or injury, or a new addition to the family. No matter what the reason is, the fact remains that the diver has been dry too long and now wants to return to the sport they love. How can this be done safely? Divers should know that leaving their gear and knowledge hanging in the closet or garage for ten years equates to needing some sort of an update. Sadly, this is not the case in many instances. Needing to update or at least service your equipment is arguably the least of your worries. Having the ability to dive with confidence is something that perhaps has been lost during a diver’s time off. With the SDI Inactive Diver Course, an individual has the opportunity to ask all of those “embarrassing” questions that they may not otherwise get to once on a boat.
What is the SDI Inactive Diver Course?
This course is designed for individuals who feel the need to reinforce their skills and knowledge prior to scheduling a dive. Spending time with an instructor in a contained and monitored environment allows a diver to slowly remind themselves of what diving is like instead of jumping right back into the water and realizing their comfort level has diminished. The course begins with a reintroduction to the knowledge side of diving. The instructor will take time to bring the student up to speed with current standards and practices. From there, the student will conduct a dive under the supervision of the instructor in a controlled environment. During this dive, the student will perform the open water skills. The goal of the course is to make the diver who may question themselves into the diver who knows the answers.
So how long is too long out of the water?
There is no magic switch that will force a diver to become uncomfortable in the water after “X” amount of time. How long someone is out of diving does not dictate when the Inactive Diver Course should be completed. The comfort level of the individual in the water does. It is ultimately the responsibility of the diver to inform a dive professional if they are not 100% confident in their skills and knowledge prior to diving again. Without this information, the dive professional cannot and should not assume that someone will have issues in the water while others will not. To minimize the chance of having an incident, the diver should go through the course if they feel the slightest need. In essence, if you are questioning yourself then you need to entertain the idea of participating in the Inactive Diver Program. It is an easy way to regain confidence.
When a diver stays out of the water too long, skills begin to deteriorate and comfort levels start to fade. Going through the SDI Inactive Diver Course is the best way to refresh those skills. This is especially true if the diver is coming back from an injury of some sort. While the body may feel better, the way in which one dives could be impacted. Once the diver is comfortable and confident, the anxiety and hesitation should fade away. At that point, the diver can begin to remind his or herself why he or she got into this sport to begin with. It is important to remember that meeting people from all walks of life is one of the diving industry’s unique offerings, on a single dive boat there may be a range of individuals – from heart surgeons to cash-strapped college students. The SDI Inactive Diver Course leaves you no excuse for missing diving.
Air Hogs SCUBA