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Posted by Chris on September 18, 2000 at 21:49:49:

In Reply to: Benchmark Dives posted by JRM on September 18, 2000 at 17:14:19:

A dive site on a calm day, flat seas, no current, and good visibility can be suitable for a novice.
Later the same day, or another day the same dive site might only be suitable for someone with advanced skills, because the conditions have changed.

Evaluate the conditions of each dive, and only go on dives you believe you are capable of. Do not be embarrassed to sit out a dive if you do not feel up to it!
Classes can only teach you basic skills, there is no substitute for experience.
On most boat dive trips the first dive of the day is the deepest and most advanced dive. Remember that and look at conditions.
You will build your skills by going on more advanced dives each time.

Skills that are important to learn are;
diving in strong current,
diving in low visibility
diving at night
diving in thick kelp
diving in high wind
diving in large swells
diving in heavy surge
diving in deep water
beach entry in large surf
and various combinations of the above.

You will learn all of them with time if you continue diving.

Don't be afraid to ask for hints from a more experienced diver.
Paulette Johnson, who's pictures I feature on this web site, began diving in 1963.
I learned many of my diving & hunting skills from her.
I met her on dive trips and sought out her advice as a novice.
I learned more on those trips with her than in any class.

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