Many divers feel the need to get a certification card for every course they take. That’s ok. Some divers love their card collection. I’ll admit it, I like mine too! There has been much time, study, money, and effort to get to where I am. So again, there is nothing wrong with having your cards. However, there are many divers who have a bunch of cert cards but their diving is a testament of how little they know and practice. Don’t be that diver!
I have always considered myself to be a SCUBA “personal trainer”. I don’t like large classes. I prefer teaching small to private courses. People tend to enjoy the course more and are more attentive in small group settings. Plus, I like getting to know people and making dive buddies.
This season we are adding a non-certification personal training course for divers who are looking to hone their skills and not necessarily receive a certification card from it. Well, Why would you do something like that? We want to be able to offer a training experience that helps you identify your weak points of diving and hone them into shape. It takes the focus off of just getting a cert card and finishing the course. The focus is how you preform diving above and below.
This course is designed to personally evaluate the individual diver. The course will cover dive planning, gear set-up and streamlining, in-water skill honing (such as buoyancy control and gas management), reel and smb deployment, situational awareness, post-dive considerations, and much more.
Every course is individualized and taught as a 1-one 1 course. The course will last 2 days and will cost $199. The end product is that the diver will be much more comfortable and competent in their diving skills in and out of the water.
If this is something that you are interested in, contact us and we will discuss where you are and where you want to be in your diving.
Do you look like an underwater yard sale while diving? Are you losing pieces of gear during your dives? Have you ever had a piece of dangling dive gear entangled? If so, this article will help you get your gear all cleaned up and streamlined.
The more streamlined you keep your gear and body in the water column, the more efficient and safe you will be. Also, if you keep your gear from dragging around and dangling all over the place you are less likely to damage aquatic life!
Here are some ways to stow your gear that will keep it in the same place each time you dive. This helps develop muscle memory which in turn results in faster response times to deploying gear when needed.
When divers add flashlights to their kit it is usually tied off to their wrist or dangling around somewhere. With the use of a bolt snap, line, and bungee you can get it out of the way when not in use. Check out the pics below and see how you can adapt these modifications to your own gear.
Attaching Line Cutters
Unless your spearfishing, pumpkin carving, or a few other random activities that I can think of, you probably don't need a dive knife. If you decide to use a knife for your diving activities you can do a lot with some cable ties and your bcd to keep it nice and tidy. Also, the inside of your calf is a pretty good place to stow it with knife straps. Line cutters are a much more efficient tool to use to cut yourself free of entanglement. They are much easier to stow and keep streamlined to your body. Try attaching them to your dive computer to keep them out of the way and easy to get to. Check out the pics below
Attaching Slates and other accessories.
Many divers employ the use of underwater slates for more complex communication underwater. They are normally bulky pieces of gear that dangle all over the place. Instead of buying a big slate, consider a wrist slate. My personal favorite is wet notes that I can stick in my thigh pocket. My drysuit has a thigh pocket on each side. If you don't own a drysuit that is no big deal. We sell glue-on thigh pockets that work nicely on wetsuits. We also sell a pair of shorts that go over your wetsuit that have thigh pockets on it. Thigh pockets are a great addition on how Check out the pics below.
Snaps VS Retractors
I believe that bolt snaps are a much better option than retractors and lanyards in most cases. Bolt snaps are much less bulky and keep gear more streamline. Some divers are intimidated with using a bolt snap and fear dropping gear and losing it. However, just some above water practice deploying and stowing equipment will prove that it is not a problem. Buy good quality stainless steel snaps. Zinc snaps will corrode and the gate will jam or you will be unable to open them just in a few dives in salt water. Even in fresh water the cheaper snaps gate spring will begin to rust and you will have trouble using them. We sell SS snaps that are always available at the dive shop.
Octo and Boat Snaps
Try using a small bolt snap with some bungee or large o-ring to clip off your octo to avoid dangling. This works better than most manufactured octo holders. All you have to do it pull the octo off and it will pop away from the bungee with ease.
Learn a Hand Signal
Below is the hand signal to say, "You good sir, have a dangley". You should use this hand signal to help your dive buddy police their dive gear
What do you look like underwater? Some divers walk across the bottom, some use their hands and fins to swim, and some kick like they are riding a bicycle(don’t do any of that). I have heard some instructors tell students that a divers underwater orientation does not matter as long as you are breathing. However, I want to share with you today a few things that will help you become more stable underwater and look great while doing it.
Check out these pictures below. Which diver looks like they are more streamlined, stable, and will have the least amount of resistance while moving underwater.
If you chose the horizontal diver, your right. This is called being trimmed out. This divers orientation creates the least amount of drag underwater. On the surface of Earth, we walk upright because it is the most efficient method of travel. However, this is not efficient underwater. When we dive underwater we are in a totally different environment like an astronaut in space. Like astronauts, divers have to practice how to position themselves and move in a foreign environment. Underwater, the most effect way to move is in the horizontal trim position.
Being properly weighted is the first step to getting in trim. Where you place weight on your bcd has a direct effect on how your body will be positioned while diving. Placing all the of the weight toward the divers waist or butt can cause a head up - butt down position. Placing all the weight towards your shoulders can cause a head down - butt up position. Because everyone's body is different, weight positioning will vary to each diver.
The first thing to do is to get the right amount of weight on you. You want to check for proper weighting with a tank at 500psi. This is because your tank loses weight and becomes more positively buoyant as you breathe it down. Checking your weighting with 500psi left in the tank will ensure that your are neutrally buoyant at the end of your dive. Doing this with a full tank on will make you positively buoyant at the end of your dive and you will have difficulties staying down during your safety stop.
Here is how to find the right amount of weight.
With a dive buddy helping, (keep regulator in your mouth during this incase you sink)
1. Take your tank down to 500psi
2. At the surface, deflate your BCD and hold a normal breath of air in your lungs.
3. If you are weighted properly, you will float at or near eye level. If you release the air from you lungs you should begin to sink.
4. If you are overweighted, your will sink. Remove some weight and repeat step 2.
5. If you are underweighted, you will float above eye level. Add weight and repeat step 2.
If you have been diving over/under weighted, you will immediately feel the difference and the freedom of diving neutrally buoyant. Its easier to control yourself, you will consume less air, you will slip through the water with much less effort, and tons of other benefits will come by diving neutral.
Now, being weighted properly does not necessarily mean that your diving in the horizontal trim position. This has to do with weight placement, practice and discipline. Placing all the of the weight toward the divers waist or butt can cause a head up - butt down position. Placing all the weight towards your shoulders can cause a head down - butt up position. Use your dive buddy to help move weight around to help you achieve the horizontal position. You shouldn’t have to contort your back to achieve this position. You do want to arch your back a bit, but it shouldn't be tiresome or painful. If your having to twist your body to stay horizontal, you need to work on weight placement. Stay still while hovering and see if you lean to one side or the other. If so, make adjustment to weight placement. Take pictures and judge yourself against the pictures above. Keep your legs bent up at a 90 degree angle like in the picture above. Make a conscious effort to not kick up the bottom. Kicking up the bottom is a great way to show other divers your skill level. They will probably not be happy that you trashed the visibility. Another thing to consider is that kicking up the bottom does damage and can kill coral and other delicate marine life.
Keep practicing. Practice makes progress! Also, consider taking an advanced buoyancy course. I can help you get trimmed out and diving like a pro.
The Dive Blog
Diving tips, techniques, and disciplines for safe diving.