From Rec to Tech – where to start in Tech Diving?


Photo credit Juergen Hitzler

So you’ve been diving for a while and are looking to advance your training beyond “recreational limits”.  Maybe it’s deep diving, wrecks, or caves that pique your interest, or maybe you just like to challenge yourself.  Whatever your reasons for wanting to move towards technical diving, it can be difficult to make sense out of all the different courses to take.  Where do you start?  What training is really necessary?  How long will it take?  Are you ready for tech diving?  Here we will lay out a basic road map to give you some direction for your initial technical dive training.

Are you ready for technical diving?  If so, what’s the first step?  Often times, the first step is the hardest, and this is certainly relevant when it comes to technical diving.  You may have heard others say you need “x” number of dives and “x” number of years experience before you can think about technical training, that technical diving is only for the most experienced and most proficient divers.  While it’s true that tech divers should be the most experienced and proficient divers in the water, it doesn’t mean they started that way.  And that’s what the Intro to Tech Course is all about.  Intro to Tech will familiarize you with the basic skills and equipment required for more complex technical dives, it is this basic foundation that further training will build upon.  Depending on your level of comfort in the water, you may go straight from Intro to Tech into Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures.  You may also want to take some time and dive on your own practicing the skills you learned in Intro to Tech before moving on with your training.  This is a personal decision, and can only be made by you and your instructor.  Unfortunately, there is no magic number of dives that will tell you “yes you are ready for tech training”, but your instructor can help you make an educated decision about what you are ready for and what specific areas you may need to work on.

Once both you and your instructor are confident in your abilities, overall comfort in the water and proficiency using technical diving equipment, it’s time to move on to Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures.  Advanced Nitrox will teach you the benefits and hazards of using nitrox mixes containing more than 40% oxygen.  This course is often taught in conjunction with Decompression Procedures, in which you will be introduced to planning and executing dives requiring staged decompression.  You will learn techniques for handling emergencies when immediate access to the surface is not available (due to either the soft overhead of decompression obligations or a hard overhead such as a wreck or cave).  From this point, you can move into more specific areas of interest, such as deep mixed gas (Trimix) diving, cavern/cave diving, or advanced wreck diving.

While this may not be the exact path you end up following, we hope it gives you a starting point.  The most important step now is finding an instructor that matches your personality and goals.  Click here for more information on how to choose a technical instructor or training facility.

For more information on TDI courses offered, visit

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

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