self reliant scuba diversOn a Thursday afternoon the boat headed into the National park for some dives.  I had the whole PADI Divemaster class onboard for their self reliant dive course. This is a course that I decided to incorporate into the program a couple of seasons ago. Why? Because as a scuba diving professional you are very often on your own, no back up. So, you need to start thinking about looking out for yourself.

With a prerequisite of 100 dives, a lot of divemasters in training aren’t there yet. Doesn’t mean they still can’t run the drills and practice the theory and thought behind it.

As a dive professional you will come across many situations when you are working with students or clients, that if something arose, they may not be able to respond. That is where this training will help you out.

So, on this glorious Thursday afternoon, what exactly did we do? After rigging up pony bottles and with dive gear ready to go, we briefed and plunged into the water.

First part is polishing up the buoyancy of our avid professionals. Practicing good body positioning is key and a good horizontal position is where you want to be.  Easily moving through the water in a streamlined position, being able to turn any direction with minimal movement of the fins.

A big focus is SAC rates. As a self reliant diver you need to be completely aware of how much air you are breathing. You also carry a back up redundant air supply so that in case of emergency you can switch to it. For some people carrying an additional tank comes easy. For others, it takes a bit of practice.

In addition to those skills, we look at depth and time awareness, dealing with emergencies and one of my favorites, releasing the surface signaling device. chiling at a safety stopThis always provides me with a lot of smiles as it is the bane of many professional and technical diving students class. The sausages get tangled, the reels get dropped, the reels get tangled…..the list goes on. All the while I am grinning.

After some good practice everyone got it down but I still got my laughs in. Even though I am training, working with divemasters and instructor candidates always has an added fun element because in general, everyone is pretty relaxed in the water and it always makes for a good time in class.

Thank you for those of you that provided me with amusement last Thursday!