Choosing a good mentor and trainer is one of the most important decisions when becoming a dive professional.
Here are a few items you can include in your logbook to help you stay organized and honest, track progress, and work on self-improvement as a diver.
With any sport or hobby, there are certain unwritten rules of etiquette we should all consider.
Well you have accomplished the first step by getting certified as an Open Water Scuba Diver. What you will need now is experience, training and time.
by David Houser:
Sea Hunt, a TV series originating in the late 50’s and running until the early 60’s, captivated the audience and may have motivated many young viewers to become future divers. I always wanted to go on underwater crime – fighting scuba adventures like former U.S. Navy Frogman, Mike Nelson. Fully equipped, he always wore a VOIT green label double hose regulator.
In the early 1970’s, as an airman stationed in Austin, TX, talk would sometimes lead to scuba diving. Sears carried scuba equipment, including Navy VOIT double hose regulators (right hose for inhalation and left for exhalation), VOIT 72 cubic ft tanks, masks and fins. It didn’t take long to make a decision that would affect a lifetime. With new equipment and full tanks, our destination was Austin’s own Lake Travis. I was hooked on the first dive.
Transferring to Florida in 1972, and ready to dive, the first hurdle was learning tanks could not be filled without a certification card. Hal Watts’ store offered classes. The certification was NASDS and…WOW… did I learn a lot! My instructor quickly became a good friend and I continued diving, getting my advanced certification and experiencing Florida’s springs.
Nearly every Friday evening we would go diving. Because most of the springs (Peacock, Orange Grove, Troy, Ginnie, Blue Springs, Ichetucknee, Little River and 40 Fathom Grotto, to name a few) were privately owned, we had to hike through cow pastures and woods to reach our destination.
While diving these springs I became fascinated with the underwater cave systems, and subsequently bought single hose regulators with an alternate air source (octopus), double 72 cubic ft tanks with manifold, Atpack (to replace the horse collar buoyancy compensator), and a new SCUBAPRO dive computer. The regulator was put on the manifold in the center of the tanks. The octopus, an idea Hal Watts came up with, was put on a swivel so if a buddy needed air, he could use it.
Switching from a double hose regulator to the single hose reduced the work of breathing, which was not affected by the diver’s position in the water. Another notable improvement included, bubbles being released from under the chin instead of behind the head.
Cave divers needed three independent lights, a primary and two backups. Ikelite and Scuba Pro made several lights, most requiring “C” or “D” batteries. Other divers were making their own lights using motorcycle batteries, so I decided to design my own using plexiglass and an aircraft landing light. The burn time was around 45 minutes to an hour, which was great for the time. However, due to its large size, the light had to be carefully balanced around the neck when entering caves to avoid damaging it.
We trained with several instructors in Peacock Springs, doing appropriate skills and practicing silt out drills. The phrase “plan your dive and dive your plan” was used by Hal Watts, and holds true even today. We planned and executed dives in Peacock 1, 2 and 3, Orange Grove, Olsen, Challenge, Cisteen sinks (all part of the Peacock Springs system); as well as Little River and Ginnie Springs. During some of the dives we would post signs warning divers that cave diving is dangerous without proper training, and attempted to connect tunnels different tunnels.
It was a pleasure to dive and spend time with some of the true pioneers of cave diving, especially Henry Nicholson. As a member of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Dive team, I hold the highest respect and admiration for Capt. Henry Nicholson. *
The training was great back then, but it’s been amazing to watch how instruction and equipment has, and continues to, improve over the years.
My training and education continues today as an Instructor Trainer with SDI/TDI/ERDI and PADI Master Instructor.
Please remember, get the training you need for the type of diving you want to do.
* Henry Nicholson was Captain of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Dept. Dive Team. He founded IUCRR (International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery) along with Robert Laird, in 1999. The Nicholson Tunnel in Peacock was named after him, as was the Henry
by Lauren Kieren:
Being prepared for your next TDI diver course is critical to your learning during your progression in dive training. Whether you signed up for the TDI Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures course or CCR Advanced Mixed Gas; learning at this level requires that you connect with the training and fully comprehend the theory development presented in the academic sessions, as well as actively participate in the in-water sessions.
A great deal of learning will happen after you successfully complete the TDI Diver course; however, you should expect to spend an equal amount of time learning outside of class as you spend working in class with your instructor. With that said, class preparation is a vital part to your overall learning experience throughout this process.
In the event you do not prepare for your next series in technical dive training, you can place yourself and others in your class at a major disadvantage. You will put yourself in the position of playing “catch up,” versus being actively involved and thinking ahead during training.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your course by showing up prepared and ready to learn:
- ORGANIZE YOUR EQUIPMENT – If your instructor sends you an equipment list and you are expected to show up to class with the items, do yourself and your instructor a favor by getting it organized prior to commencement of training. Lay everything out and double check your list to ensure you have the required items. This is a good time to verify the equipment actually works before you pack it in your gear bag for class. This is also the perfect time to make sure all your equipment, new or old, is labeled with your name.
- GET IN THE WATER – Before you start your next course, take some time to work on skills from previous courses. If all you can do is get in the pool and work on your buoyancy and trim, do it! Showing up with your basic skills fine tuned will help your technical training tremendously, especially if it’s been more than a couple of weeks since your last dive. It is common for TDI Instructors to require an assessment dive where students demonstrate they can perform skills from previous courses. If this dive does not go well, the instructor may require some remedial training that could delay or prevent the start of your course. If you are trained to dive in the equipment you will be using during your next progression in training, get in the water to make sure your equipment is dialed in; verify your harness is adjusted correctly and your hose lengths and routing are where you want them to be.
- COMPLETE YOUR HOMEWORK – Your instructor will most likely require you to complete some pre-course studies, such as reading the required TDI manual and completing the Knowledge Reviews. It’s possible your instructor might suggest additional text or materials outside of the TDI resources… read in advance and try to absorb as much information as possible before you start your course. A thorough pre-course review can help refresh your memory on previous course information, give you more confidence in class, and help you prepare to ask relevant questions, or make a significant contribution to the overall class by offering timely/appropriate comments. After reviewing the TDI manual and materials required by your instructor, make notes if you have any questions on the content, and hone in on the important points.
- HAVE AN OPEN MIND – Your next progression in technical dive training (regardless of the level) is critical to the overall safety and success of your future dives. If you already knew the information and had experience at this level, it’s very unlikely you would be participating in the course. With that said, pay attention and have an open mind. It’s important to be open and willing to receive the information your instructor is providing. If you are unsure of the information provided, ask your instructor for clarification or wait until after class to talk one-on-one.
- GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST AND COME TO CLASS PREPARED – Finally, get a good night’s rest before you start training, come to class prepared, and show up on time. Arriving for your first day of class disorganized, late, and unprepared sets the tone for the rest of the day, if not the class, and could diminish the overall objective you are trying to accomplish. Being prepared means you’re on time or early, you have all of the required pre-course studies complete, and you have all the necessary equipment (in working order) to start training.
Good class preparation will help you better understand the academic and in-water sessions, keep you confident in class and allow you to make the most of your time during your next series of technical dive training.
For more information on courses offered by Technical Diving International, TDI – Click Here! OR to find a TDI Instructor near you, go to the Find a TDI Instructor Search on the website. We are always open for questions so feel free to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There really is never a bad question but always think about the question before you ask it; put yourself in the instructor’s fins. Questions are an important tool for instructors when teaching, they let the instructor know what the diver is thinking and chances are good that if one person has a question, others have may have the same but are hesitant to ask.
Whether you dive once a year while on vacation or are on your way to becoming a dive professional, the Rescue Diver course is most likely the most beneficial course you will ever take. It will change the way you look at diving as you begin to not only accept responsibility for yourself, but those around you as well. You will learn how to assess situations that have potential to becoming emergencies and how to avoid them, how to respond to emergency scenarios, and also how to employ effective rescue techniques in case an emergency cannot be avoided. The course can be a bit intimidating, but the reward cannot be matched if the day comes where you need to call upon these skills.
The best way to handle an emergency is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Noticing a problem isn’t always enough, sometimes it takes understanding how that small problem can escalate and cause a true emergency in order to eliminate the risk. Rescue Diver training will teach you how to identify many potential problems and how to stop them from turning into an emergency.
When an emergency arises, the way the rescuer responds can mean the difference between life and death. The fastest response isn’t always the most effective. Proper training will help prepare you to respond appropriately to a variety of issues including: missing diver, injured diver, panicked diver, and unconscious diver on the surface and at depth. Being prepared for these events will help you make a quick, and most important, effective rescue.
While the Rescue Diver Course can sound like a lot of work and not much fun, the end result is certainly worth it. Chances are, you will find the training to be much more enjoyable than you expected, and everything you practice you will be able to practically apply to your everyday dives. You will emerge a better, safer, more responsible diver, able to handle diving related emergencies and assist divers in need. Your abilities may even save a life some day, and it’s impossible to put a value on that; making the Rescue Diver Course the most rewarding training in SCUBA diving.
Contact SDI TDI and ERDI
If you would like more information, please contact our World Headquarters or your Regional Office.
It’s often said, “The best Rescue Divers never have to make any rescues.” True Rescue Divers have the ability to recognize potential problems and get involved before they evolve into actual problems. What allows a Rescue Diver to think this way? Here are a few key elements that form the Rescue Diver state of mind…
Self Reliance – Rescue Divers are Self Reliant; they rely on their own judgment, capabilities, resources and independence while diving. Self Reliant divers take a proactive approach to their own safety in the water by continuously practicing and refining their dive skills. This no nonsense approach allows Self Reliant divers to gain confidence in the water and enhance their dive experience by not relying on anyone around them for a rewarding dive. Tricks from the Pros – Be honest with yourself and take responsibility of your dives, learn to handle your own emergencies and plan for contingencies.
Dive Planning – Rescue Divers make a plan, stick to it, and have back up plans for unforeseen circumstances. A dive plan typically consists of a clear explanation of entry / exits, the dive profile, who is leading and the route of the dive, buddy separation solutions, and a hand signal review. Tricks from the Pros – Let’s face it, we can’t talk under water. If the dive plan wasn’t clear enough, confusion can be easily resolved if each diver in the group carries an underwater slate.
Awareness – We’re going to focus on two aspects of awareness – Self and Global. The Self Aware diver is in tune with their feelings. Yes, we said it. You have to get in touch with your inner self! You need to ask yourself: Are you up for the dive? Is the dive within your experience level? Is your equipment functioning properly? If you have any hesitation answering any of these questions you might be putting yourself and the divers around you at risk. The Global Aware diver is in tune with their surroundings. They know their location in the water throughout the entire dive. They are conscious of their surroundings and know where their buddies are at all times. Tricks from the Pros – Pay attention to detail (self and global). Keep in mind, a diver outside of their comfort zone is more likely to be involved in an accident. Dive within your comfort zone and pay attention to your surroundings.
As you broaden your dive experiences and expand on the skills you developed in your initial scuba diving training your overall comfort in the water increases. Through this process you have learned new tricks and tips from diving with others, expanded your awareness and most importantly you’ve gained the experience to enhance your overall judgment in diving. Don’t get complacent; this is the time to expand your skills. If you haven’t taken the SDI Rescue Diver course already, it’s the next step for you. You’ve already learned how to take care of yourself, now it’s time to learn how to recognize potential problems in others and how to increase your own personal dive safety. Click here to start Rescue online.
Contact SDI TDI and ERDI
If you would like more information, please contact our World Headquarters or your Regional Office.