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dive-log

How Logging Your Dives Can Make You a Better Diver

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.

The Most Efficient Path to Becoming an IT

Individuals work and prepare for years to have the opportunity to take the Instructor Trainer course that allows them to directly impact the next generation of professionals and divers entering into our sport.

55 Things Divers Born After 1980 Will Understand

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.

Don’t Be Intimidated By Tech Diving

by Bob Meadows:
tech diverBack when diving was perceived as dangerous and intimidating, a small group of divemasters (DM) and instructors asked me to go diving in some springs and caverns in what was considered my back yard at the time. That place was Ginnie Springs in High Springs, Florida. This weekend adventure is still fixed in my mind, like that first car you owned! These early “tech” divers invited me into their world, when I was only just a kid with some good buoyancy skills.

They were fantastic mentors, providing me advice and training on how to use a reel, lights, communicate through light signals, air sharing, the importance of buoyancy in a cave (to not disrupt the bottom), and how to calculate air consumption. Three days came and went, leaving me hooked and excited to dive in places where few could, or even wanted to. All because a few of the DMs and instructors I was with at that time thought I had good buoyancy skills.

Those early mentors of mine contributed to the great passion in my love of diving; not just to dive pretty reefs, but they encouraged me to ask questions such as, where did that ship sink and why? Where does all the beautiful spring water come from? They enabled me to have a lifelong passion for diving and it all started at a far away time in Florida, and has literally taken me around the world since.

Diving has it cast of characters for sure. The better divers and mentors are not judgmental or arrogant in any way. They are genuine, they inspire, and they instill a sense of passion for learning, even when one does not know it. Yours truly, might not have become a technical diver without the early invite from mentors guiding me through their non-intimidating instruction.

Most divers today have the ability to efficiently technical dive once they receive the training and have the requisite experience under their belts. There are plenty of instructors and divers from all backgrounds to teach and mentor technical divers, while the truly good ones do not beat their chest over their accomplishments to the world. These divers instill and inspire the next generation of divers to be the best diver they can be; whether it’s on is a 10 metre/30 foot reef dive or a wreck in 60 metres/200 feet.

As a community of divers we should always be learning and evolving. We should represent our community, whether sport or technical endeavors, with the same understanding and empathy needed for one learning how to dive. There are plenty of instructors with varying degrees of experience that do a great job of that – taking a student and instilling confidence and passion for diving in their life.

On the other hand, the elitist attitudes of some have pushed away potentially great divers over the years. On several occasions I have witnessed divers stating they cannot start a technical dive course because their instructor requires 500+ dives, perfect buoyancy skills, and jet fins for training. These are great opportunities for mentors out there to guide divers in the right direction, foster the basics, and allow the diver to learn, grow, and gain more experience along the way – not just the right amount of dives or fins. Arrogance is the last thing our dive community needs, everyone should be working together towards promoting our sport and all that it encompasses whether it is shallow dives, long cave dives, deep dives on a wreck, or an exploration on a virgin reef.

Sport and technical diving have differences, such as going deeper and staying longer. Most people who are curious or want to technical dive shouldn’t be discouraged by bad attitudes. There are a lot of dive facilities and instructors that will help turn their desires into realities. Technical diving isn’t for everyone, but everyone should have an equal chance at exploring options and not be discouraged by chest beating scuba super heroes. Every mentor in the dive community should inspire confidence, passion, and a willingness to learn and do better in every diver they encounter. Technical diving takes commitment, training and an open mind to new ideas that emerge.

The moral of the story is, there are a** holes everywhere, but there are also plenty of empathetic, caring, encouraging divers out there to help the new aspiring divers along the way. Whatever level we’re at in diving, we should always be mindful of our attitudes and encourage a mentoring type relationship to bring up divers to come.

– Bob Meadows
Instructor Trainer
Owner – World of Scuba, Boca Raton, Florida

Think Like a Divemaster

divemasterThe Divemaster (DM) is the individual primarily responsible for supervising the activities of certified divers, both above and below the water. People often wonder how DMs lead divers around the reefs and wrecks without getting lost or worse, leaving someone behind. After surveying a group of Divemasters, we found the top five points DMs agreed that need to be in place in order to think like a Divemaster. Even if you are not a DM, you can use these strategies to enhance your underwater awareness, manage your dives, and increase overall safety in the water. For the purpose of this text, we are going to focus on in water supervision.

Location of Divers – It’s important to know where your divers are at all times to keep the group together and not leave anyone behind. You can manage the location of the divers you are leading by checking in with them often and conducting a mental head count throughout the dive. The divers should be aware of where you will be in the water prior to descending, which can be communicated during a proper predive briefing. A trick from the pros – Stay on task! Focus on your main objective: safely lead a group of divers and keep them together. Searching for critters and things to point out should not be your main goal for the dive. It can cause you to become distracted from the group, allowing for separation. Stay on task and focus on the divers.

Speed – Often overlooked, the Divemasters swimming rate can make or break the dive. Most divers do not want to chase their DM. It’s important for Divemasters to take their time in the water, allowing their divers to relax and enjoy their experience. A trick from the pros – If you think you’re going too slow, go slower! After the dive, ask your divers if that speed was okay. They will let you know to speed it up or slow it down.

Available Breathing Gas – When leading a dive, not only does the Divemaster need to be aware of how much breathing gas he or she may have, they also need to know how much their divers have as well. An essential step in the predive briefing is to cover when the dive will be turned around, whether you are basing your turn around point off the “rule of thirds” or when half of their available gas is consumed. It is crucial that underwater communication is covered during the predive briefing to achieve this goal and get everyone out of the water safely with available reserve gas. A trick from the pros – “spy” on how much breathing gas your divers have! You can do this by looking at their gauges while they are swimming or focused on something else in the water. You can also combine your head counts with asking your divers how much air they have.

Available Bottom Time – Have you been diving all day? Have your divers been diving all day? Is everyone breathing the same gas? It’s crucial to know where everyone stands on available bottom time throughout the dive so no one exceeds their nitrogen absorption limits for that dive. If different groups are going to dive at different levels or if the dive needs to be shallower to increase overall diver safety then brief and lead the dive that way. If you have divers breathing various nitrox mixes, it’s good to know who can stay down longer and who cannot. A trick from the pros – Make sure available bottom time and gas mixtures are discussed prior to entering the water. Establish a plan for the group and stick to it. This is a great example to demonstrate why it is important for every diver to have their own computer.

Exit – It’s a gut wrenching feeling to turn the dive around and not know where the boat is or how to get back to your original entrance point on shore. During the dive, it’s important for DMs to pay close attention to their surroundings and take mental notes on how to get back to where they started. You might find using a compass works or basing your dive on natural navigation. DMs often turn around to take a look at the scenery from the point of view they will see on their return. A trick from the pros – If you’re returning to a boat in a fixed position, make note of the depth and compass heading in the direction back to the boat. If you’re returning to a fixed position on shore, before going on your dive tour, take a compass heading toward shore, make note of the depth and if there is sand in the area simply draw a X in the sand to mark your spot of return. Does that guarantee it will be there upon your return? Of course not, but that little trick might help you somewhere down the line!

If you didn’t notice, the top five points the DMs made have some similarities; proper dive planning and communication prior to entering the water can reduce the event of some confusion during the dive. Always remember to plan your dive, dive your plan! Use these tricks and tips to help you lead better dives.

Contact SDI TDI and ERDI
If you would like more information, please contact our World Headquarters or your Regional Office.
Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201
Email: Worldhq@tdisdi.com
Web: https://www.tdisdi.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TechnicalDivingInt

Divemaster – The Best Job in the World

rescue-diverYou know you made the right career path when “down time” at work consists of snorkeling with dolphins during an hour long surface interval with your customers… There is no doubt that Divemasters (DM) are known to have the ultimate job; they hold the ticket to traveling around the world working at different dive destinations. Part of their job is to socialize and meet new divers every day. Ultimately, they get to share their passion for diving with others by making a career out of it. If you aren’t ready to quit your 9-5 job and become a globetrotting DM, keep reading…

Divemasters work in various locations around the world including dive resorts, training facilities, live aboard operations, private yachts, cruise ships and more. One year you could be showing your divers Manta Rays in Palau and the next year you could be searching for Sea Horses in the Caribbean. Working around the world as a Divemaster allows you to strengthen your personal dive skills and knowledge base. Yes that’s right, you can get paid to gain dive experience and travel the world!

The role of a Divemaster changes with every shop. DM’s meet and greet customers, socialize and entertain, organize and supervise diving activities, assist instructors, fill tanks (every job has its downside), and a lot more. A big part of being a Divemaster is supervising and leading divers while learning the reefs and wrecks. DM’s get to know the area they are diving in just like you got to know your neighborhood. They get familiarized with the resident octopus, eels, crabs, and more then show divers for (possibly) their first time. Seeing the expressions of divers while experiencing the underwater realm is something most Divemasters do not forget.

As with any occupation, having distinguishable skills in the profession will open up more doors of opportunity for you. Divemasters who have a Captain’s license are more marketable in areas of boat diving. Most areas find Divemasters who can repair and service regulators, VIP cylinders, and work on compressors extremely useful. Retail skills are a major asset to have for the days you aren’t working in the water. Photography skills are also a huge benefit, since many divers are willing to pay a separate DM to go out and photograph their dive experience. Since you are dealing with so many people on a day-to-day basis, being multilingual is another major advantage. As you can see, a variety of qualifications are extremely valuable for you as a DM, but you cannot put a price tag on one of the most important attributes: being fun and entertaining while maintaining a professional attitude anddemeanor. The key is to keep your divers safe while ensuring that they are having a great time.

So you’re ready to take the plunge, what’s next? To become a SDI Divemaster you must be a minimum of 18 years old and hold the SDI (or equivalent) Advanced Diver certification, including verifiable experience in navigation, deep, and night or limited visibility diving specialties. You also must be a SDI Rescue Diver (or equivalent) and provide proof of current CPR, first aid and oxygen provider (where local law permits) and provide proof of 40 logged dives. Meet with your local SDI facility to review the steps to making your dream job your real job!

What does the ultimate job pay? We’ll be realistic, not a lot, but it’s made up by the amazing people you can meet from all over the world and the once in a lifetime experiences you get to have. Becoming an instructor is the next step after DM. Teaching gives you even more windows of opportunity in the dive industry and it only goes up from here. Continuing your education through instructional level courses and gaining knowledge in the field might allow you enough experience to work in other areas of the dive industry; whether it is for training organizations, scuba diving equipment manufacturers and more, the sky is the limit when you’re ready to switch gears or settle down.

You can’t put a numerical value on doing what you love. If you’re ready for a lifestyle change and you are passionate about diving , consider immersing yourself in it by becoming an SDI Divemaster. Having the ability to share your love for diving, socializing and traveling is why we consider being a Divemaster one of the best jobs in the world!

Contact SDI TDI and ERDI
If you would like more information, please contact our World Headquarters or your Regional Office.
Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201
Email: Worldhq@tdisdi.com
Web: https://www.tdisdi.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SDITDI

Divemaster – Roll Call and One Diver Short

rescue-diverIt’s every dive professional’s worst nightmare: you come up from a great dive and it’s all smiles until you realize someone is missing. The initial sinking feeling in your gut is almost indescribable, but it’s important to keep a cool head and follow the proper procedures in order to ensure the best possible outcome in this scenario. Be prepared for the worst, stay calm, evaluate the situation and all likely possibilities, and act according to local procedures.

Be prepared for the worst. This means you should have a plan in place for a lost diver before ever getting in the water. Make sure the boat crew or someone on shore is aware of the process that will take place in the event that someone is missing, and be sure all divers are knowledgeable of the diver recall procedures. Practice this scenario on a regular basis and stay fresh on your rescue skills. This is key to ensure a speedy response, saving valuable moments that might make the difference between a rescue and a recovery.

Stay calm and evaluate the situation. Don’t panic and jump right back in the water, swimming in circles looking for the missing diver. They might have come up before you and went straight to the bathroom. It is critical to gather as much information as you can before starting the search and have someone take notes so they can be referenced later on. Where was the diver last seen? How much air did they have left? Is their gear on the boat or shore? Is their vehicle still at the site? Are they bobbing around on the surface drifting away from the boat/shore? Do you have any certified rescue divers that can assist you in the search? These, and more, are all factors to consider when formulating a plan and can help you narrow your search considerably. It’s a bit embarrassing when you have organized a search party and are getting ready to jump back in the water when the “missing” diver comes walking out of the bathroom asking “is our surface interval over already?”

Act according to local procedures. It’s extremely important that you follow local guidelines for missing divers. Once you know for sure that you are missing someone, contact local authorities and notify them of the situation. Leave at least one person who is knowledgeable of the situation on the surface to communicate to the authorities when they arrive. Continue searching until you have been relieved by the police/fire department/coast guard/ etc.

Most of the time, this situation ends happily. The diver simply got distracted while taking a photo and became separated from the group, or maybe he had to use the restroom or got cold and surfaced not thinking to let the group know. Unfortunately, we do have to be prepared for the worst case scenario. If we are prepared, keep calm, evaluate the situation, and act according to local procedures, we can make our search quick and efficient and hopefully find the missing diver before it is too late.

Contact SDI TDI and ERDI
If you would like more information, please contact our World Headquarters or your Regional Office.
Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201
Email: Worldhq@tdisdi.com
Web: https://www.tdisdi.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SDITDI

Divemaster – Supervising a Recreational Boat Dive

rescue-diverMost dive professionals may have had the privilege of using their Divemaster rating to work on a boat someplace interesting, either a day boat or a live aboard. Managing divers, working the dive deck of a boat and conducting safe and enjoyable dives are all parts of the roles that a Divemaster assumes while running a boat. Though the roles of the Divemaster will vary greatly based on location and the specifics of the destination, at the end of the day, they all share a common goal: provide the divers with a safe and enjoyable experience.

The biggest, and probably most rewarding, role of a divemaster’s job is the supervision of non-training underwater activities with divers… Or better put, diving with your customers and sharing the experiences of the underwater world. This role entails: assessing the hazards of a dive site, dive briefings, checking divers in (and out) of the water, and lastly, leading the group through the dive.

Assessing the dive site. This is the first step to ensuring your divers have a great time with minimal incidents that could have been prevented by making a simple judgment call. How is the weather? What are the conditions in the water? Are there strong currents? The divemaster must ask the question “is it safe to dive?” A lot of this will be based on the level of experience carried by the group of divers. What may be non-challenging conditions to some may be very difficult for others with less experience. Do not be afraid to call off the dive if weather and local conditions make for an unsafe dive.

Once the dive site has been evaluated, the divemaster will give his briefing on the site, including points of interest. This job is extremely important since the divers are receiving the specific instructions on what they should and shouldn’t do. It is critical that the divemaster is able to give a thorough briefing and that the operator’s rules are followed specifically without leaving room for interpretation. Dive briefings should not only cover the underwater world, but more importantly, procedure: how to enter and exit the water and return to the vessel, key hand signals, when and where to surface…where NOT to resurface. It is also important to allow sufficient time for questions at the end of the briefing so that any additional concerns that a diver may have can be answered at that moment.

Before the dive, you must get a proper head count. The concept is a simple one; the same amount of divers that go into the water must return safely to the boat. Many operations have sign-in sheets while others have the divemasters go around the dive deck counting heads and taking additional information like “depth and time.”Though it may seem like an easy task, it is amazing how many divers have been left behind because of a simple miscount. Many Divemasters use this opportunity before the dive to do a quick assessment of the diver and their gear as they go around the dive deck getting the head count. As a divemaster, it becomes easier to read divers by their actions and mannerisms. Some divers may also be too intimidated to ask questions during the briefing.If a diver looks puzzled, this may be the best moment to take the time and ask, “How are things? Do you have any additional questions? Feeling alright?”

Now, let’s go diving! In many locations, the role of the divemaster is now expanded to one of an underwater guide. For many, this is the best part. Not only are you diving, but you are sharing the experiences with people that are there to see what you can offer them. Their eyes light up as you show them a frogfish in one of many nooks and crannies or a school of spotted eagle rays in the background that they may have missed simply because they were looking in another direction. During this time, it is always possible for a divemaster to do an underwater assessment of the divers’ comfort levels and make any adjustments if required.

Working on a dive boat can be extremely rewarding and fun. However, there is a great responsibility that comes along with the level of divemaster. The divemaster is ultimately the one responsible for the underwater activities and he must ensure that they are being conducted safely and properly. In many operators, a divemaster job’s goes beyond the briefings and dives and actually includes work like rinsing the rental gear, filling tanks, mixing or blending nitrox as well as any additional boat duties that the captain may require.

Contact SDI TDI and ERDI
If you would like more information, please contact our World Headquarters or your Regional Office.
Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201
Email: Worldhq@tdisdi.com
Web: https://www.tdisdi.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SDITDI