by: Lauren Kieren

By the time divers born in the 1980’s started to dive, the sport had evolved rapidly from its earlier days.  Divers in this generation have access to equipment and training the generation before would not have dreamt of when they started diving.  Online academics, a wide variety of equipment lines, online forums, nitrox on tap at many dive centers around the world, etc.   It is a very different world, which divers are taking full advantage of today.

As a follow up to Brian Carney’s article, “55 Things Divers Born After 1985 Won’t Understand,” we thought it would be fun to show the evolution in dive training, equipment, and practices by outlining the things divers born after 1980 can relate to that probably would not make sense to the generation before us during their initial dive training.

I have to admit, I had to count on the help of a few of my fellow dive buddies to complete this list, and I am very grateful for their input.  As you go through this list, think about how far we’ve come as an industry and what the divers learning 20-30 years from now will have access to.

  1. We want to protect sharks and do not view them as dangerous “man-eating” predators. We look up to people in diving like Cristina Zenato or Julie Anderson who promote shark conservation and awareness.
  2. We do not introduce ourselves with our dive professional number. “Hi, I am Joe Diver, YMCA instructor number 86!”
  3. Are you a small diver? Are you a large diver?  Not to worry, there is a wide variety of cylinder sizes available in steel or aluminum.
  4. We train divers to open their tank valves all the way.
  5. There is a wide variety of equipment brands to choose from ranging in price structure.
  6. We learned to dive with SPG’s and we cannot imagine diving without one!
  7. A manifold with an isolation valve is standard for back mounted doubles.
  8. Redundancy; enough said.
  9. Women have a wide variety of equipment options available, which is not just small and pink, but actually designed for a female body.
  10. We can learn to do open circuit technical dives solely on sidemount, if we prefer.
  11. Speaking of sidemount, we have the option of purchasing a variety of professionally built sidemount systems! We do not have to Frankenstein camel packs with harness webbing to create a sidemount system.
  12. Thanks to the divers before us, we are learning to technical dive with detailed planning and strict procedures to follow.
  13. Dive computers are no longer the size of a brick and they are considered a standard piece of dive equipment.
  14. We have PO2 monitoring systems for rebreathers.
  15. We use rebreather checklists.
  16. We do not cook our rebreather sorb or wait for the colors to change to dive it again.
  17. We can view the weather and wave forecasts at the click of a button. Not only that, there is an app for that!
  18. If something interests you today, there is most likely a course available to learn more on the subject.
  19. We research dive centers and instructors online to learn more about them before stepping foot in the door or signing up for a class.
  20. We communicate with previous students of a dive center or instructor to find out what to expect during training and how to prepare ahead of time.
  21. Underwater cameras turned 180 degrees… Literally, we take “selfies” of our dive adventures to share with our friends, encouraging them to join us or share their experiences too.
  22. We do not have to worry about running out of film on a dive.
  23. You can do drift dives with the comfort of having a VHF marine rescue radio with GPS.
  24. We have the ability to find small canister lights, or ditch the canister and cord altogether without compromising power.
  25. There is a world of options when it comes to size, color, and patterns for equipment. Do you want blue flames on your dry suit?  Just let the dive center know what size!  What about hot pink camo on a BCD?  Yep, it is out there.
  26. Trimix is available to do clear headed deep dives.
  27. We have computers that can go into all of the following modes: open circuit, closed circuit, apnea, gauge, and CCR.
  28. When we are done with a day of diving, it is extremely likely we are going to post photos from the day or write a quick recap of the dive(s) on social media.
  29. We are community based and want to build a large social network of divers from all around the world to share experiences, training tips, equipment suggestions, and more.  We do this through social media, forums, social media “groups” specific to diving, and more.
  30. You can buy an alternate air source combined with your inflator hose (for example, SCUBAPRO Air2).
  31. Heated vests for DIVING are on the market, in addition to heated gloves and socks.
  32. Dive computers can have over 10+ programmable gases integrated into them.
  33. You can do the academics online for most core level scuba diving courses offered by a wide variety of dive training organizations.
  34. The SCUBA POLICE are out there and they will post about all the mistakes you made on online forums, or better yet – take pictures of you and blast it on social media.
  35. There are heart rate monitors available that transfer the data to your dive computer, which can be viewed during and after the dive.
  36. Some rebreathers have CO2 monitoring systems.
  37. If we are doing a wreck dive, we believe in taking nothing but photos.
  38. This generation of divers is a little more “gender blind” than the generations before us and they recognize women role models in the industry who are motivating and inspiring the next generation of divers.
  39. We can opt for ocean safe sunscreen or skincare products like Stream2Sea.
  40. We have instant gratification in underwater photography; we do not have to surface and wait for film to develop to see what we captured.
  41. You can find dive computers with a digital compass integrated into them.
  42. There is a wide variety of multicolor OLED dive computers on the market today.
  43. There is scuba diving equipment available in children’s sizes (and kids can now learn to dive!).
  44. Dry bags are available – big and small to store not only clothes, but also electronics like cell phones.
  45. We can download our dive logs to our desktop computer and analyze every second of the dive including (but not limited to) depth, temperature, nitrogen loading, descent/ascent rate, and more.
  46. We place a high importance on training divers to be streamlined and neutrally buoyant.
  47. We care about proper body position (trim) and finning techniques to avoid environmental damage caused by our movements in the water.
  48. We are concerned about the health and future of our oceans.
  49. Dive planning went from tables to desktop computers and now there is an app for that!
  50. We can stay in touch with other people from the boat, before and after the dive as long as there is cell coverage. If we are a few hours late, our families do not have to worry about us, so long as we can call or text them updates.
  51. If we forgot a c-card right before the dive, we can usually access it from our phone.
  52. We have access to digital logbooks.
  53. Dive travel is no longer “un-realistic” for many. There are more options, more operators, and better pricing.
  54. We are sold by consumers that had a blast diving, not by the travel agent.
  55. We do not measure your diving ability based off the size of the knife you carry on your calf.

The dive industry has come a long way due to innovation and passion from the people within it; the list above would not be possible without these people paving the way.  With time, teaching techniques, equipment, and standard practices drastically evolved. These evolutions have created a shift in the mindset of this generation’s divers and instructors.  Diving is not viewed as a competitive chest-pounding match to this generation, it’s an inclusive activity where a thirst for knowledge, adventure, and conservation drives us to explore, and better ourselves and the environment.  As divers and dive professionals, we have to keep our minds open and be willing to adapt in a rapidly changing world in order to stay ahead.

As with any list, we are sure to hear of the items we missed and encourage our readers to add to it. Given the changes made in the industry, what do you think divers 20-30 years from now will have access to?

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