Solo Diving Manual

The Evolution of Solo Diving

An Interview With Brian Carney

EvolutionThere has been quite some buzz, on and off, about the concept of having a Solo Diving course available to divers. In 2001, Scuba Diving International (SDI) led the way on this initiative and produced training course materials that stress independent diver skills and its practice, becoming the first and only agency to offer a Solo Diving course in over a decade.

We found this interview from way back in 2001 when Brian Carney was still the Training Manager for TDI and its newly formed sister agency, Scuba Diving International (SDI). The focus of the interview was on the newly created certification called “Solo Diving.”

Why is SDI offering a Solo Diver C-card? Aren’t you a little ahead of the curve on this one?
Carney: Maybe, but it is not an unfamiliar position to be in. We were the first to certify 10-year-olds and require open-water students to have computers. But our instructors think we’re a little behind the curve.

How So?
Carney: They have been asking for it for some time. Since most of our instructors are also TDI instructors, they deal with experienced divers who want to walk on a boat, show a Solo Diver certification and not be bound to another diver they don’t know and who may be a danger to them.

Speaking of danger, you’re going to get accused of getting people killed, ruining the sport’s popular image, and returning us to the bad old days of macho daredevils. How will you respond?
Carney: By saying that there are pros and cons to buddy diving and to solo diving. The key is to be rigorously trained, confident and experienced, whether it’s the buddy system or as an independent diver. Properly trained and executed, both systems can be safe. Our main concern is that there are literally thousands of divers going solo right now who lack the requisite training to do it safely. They’re accidents waiting to happen. If they’re going to do it, we want to make sure they do it safely. We think it’s time some agency stepped up to the plate and made a commitment for everyone’s sake.

This sounds familiar. I remember some concern about nitrox.
Carney: And deep diving, and dive computers before that, and BCD before that. It’s been a constant theme: certification agencies resist change, fail to provide updated training and divers pay the price. That’s one of the reasons SDI/TDI was founded; to provide the training other agencies refuse to.

Now, 11 years later, we asked Brian to give us his input about Solo Diver and what he has seen it do to the sport of diving.
Carney: Wow, thinking back to the day we launched that program, Sean (Sean Harrison, VP) and I had no idea just how big it would become. Today it is one of the more popular specialties divers strive to achieve, like becoming a Dive Master. But I think the thing that is most gratifying is now divers are taking advantage of a course to properly train them how to solo dive, as opposed to just doing it on their own. In addition, dive operators around the world are accepting and requiring the Solo Diver certification in order for divers to dive on their own.

So what are YOU waiting for? Get on over to a local Dive Center today or contact WorldHQ for more information. Take a look at the course description here:

Look for new developments in Solo Diving planned for 2013…you’re going to love it!

Contact SDI TDI and ERDI

If you would like more information, please contact:

Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201

Self Sufficient: “Taking Care of Number One”

Self-SufficientRecently in a discussion about solo diving and how it fits or doesn’t fit into recreational diving, a colleague mentioned that public safety divers were far removed from solo diving, given that PSD divers have the support of a team, a backup diver, communications and a whole host of support systems. Well, that is a fair statement. However, that is not to say that divers should not have to worry about self-sufficiency.

While ERDI divers depend on tethers, communications either via hard-wire or wireless, and even possibly surface supplied air, developing self sufficient skills is an enormous additional tool that can be available to the public safety diver. Let’s take a quick look at some of the various components that add up to increasing self sufficient skills.

  • Redundant Air. We’ll start with one of the most obvious pieces of equipment and that is a bailout bottle or pony bottle. Any dive team SOP should include this as a mandatory item for any diver that enters the water. Regardless of depth…3 feet/1 meter or 33 feet/10 meters, a properly mounted and easily available redundant air source must be on the diver. Certainly how this is deployed is dependent on your team’s protocols and training. This would also include surface supply air utilizing a switch block.
  • Equipment. This surely is a consideration and a topic that could easily go on for several pages. It is worth briefly mentioning that in addition to a redundant air source of at least 18 cf/3 liters, deploying with two cutting devices that are mounted in appropriate places should be part of your dive kit. What is an appropriate place? A knife/rescue shears/line cutter should be within arm’s reach. Leave the “twelve inch shark killer” in the dive locker, and not on the outside of your leg. If you are using brighter and more powerful primary lights, deploy with a smaller, easily mounted backup light. Like a cutting device, it should be within arm’s reach.
  • Awareness. Insure that your situational awareness skills are good and pay attention. Of course at times, it will be impossible to ever see your SPG; still, you can get a sense of where you are in terms of remaining air by knowing the depth of the operation and an estimate of the time at depth. Now, I realize this is a very broad statement, and at times, impossible to know. However with training and practice, it can become an acquired skill. If the diver is using electronic communication with their tender, then it becomes much easier to havethe tender monitor both depth (with knowledge of the dive site) and time.
  • SAC Rate. Both the diver and the tender should become proficient at calculating the diver’s surface air consumption rate. While I won’t go into the actual methods to calculate this as there are plenty of resources available to do so, learning how to calculate your SAC rate will not only give yet another tool, it will also go a long way in boosting your air consumption “awareness”. Knowing how we, as divers, consume air gives a greater understanding and appreciation of the dive plan needed for a given mission at a given location.
  • Training. There is no substitution for a well-oiled machine…a well-trained team…to keep everyone safe so that everyone gets to go home. Training for and in the conditions your team will encounter is necessary to insure favorable outcomes, whether the dive is rescue or recovery. Repeated actions, realistic scenarios and post critiques of previous operations provide the foundation of training. And oft-repeated actions lead to muscle memory which is part of being self sufficient.
  • State of Mind. Without a doubt, your state of mind plays a big role in self-sufficiency. You can have the tools i.e. redundant air source/spare mask/multiple cutting devices and a secret decoder ring, it won’t make a difference if your head is in the wrong place. Focus on the job at hand, rely on your training and be the professional that you are. If you aren’t focused, perhaps it is not your day to dive.

For more information on ERDI training, check us out at

Contact SDI TDI and ERDI

If you would like more information about SDI/TDI/ERDI, please contact:

Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201