Posted by MHK on November 16, 2000 at 17:00:17:
In Reply to: Minimum threshold to begin "technical" training posted by JRM on November 16, 2000 at 16:10:23:
This is a very slippery slope that I'm reluctant to engage for the following reasons:
1) Many cyberdiver's get information from lists of this nature;
2) Technical diving is a very exacting and demanding form of diving and as Seahunt has been pointing out in another thread, the margin for error is much less and the consequences are much less forgiving;
3) Agenccies, of course, need to set minumums and since I'm not in the dive business it's a little easier for me to say they are too low.. If I had it my way you would need atleast 500 dives before you began technical diving;
which leads to point 4
4) We have tried many times, almost unanimously unsuccessfully, to define technical diving. For purposes of this thread I offer up the following, any planned dive deeper than 130', using a breathing gas of 40% or higher or rebreather. I use that language because it mirrors the exclusions on the standard DM's insurance policies and for me to supervise a technical dive I needed to get an additional technical dive supervisor rating and acquire an additional insurance policy that excludes the exclusions..
5) Skills that need to be mastered should be much more difficult than open water skills. The reason behind that is that in deco diving you do NOT have the option of a direct ascent to the surface should a problem happen, so fixing it at depth is of tantamount importance, computing tables on the fly should be required, shutting down valves and isolating needs to be perfected, removing the mask and completing a 500 yard swim should be a minumum, deploying lift bags and finding b/u lights with mask off. Needless to say this is all above the basic mastering of bouyancy control, basic physiological understanding of decompression algorithms, MOD's, END's and team concepts.
You may very well guess that I would recommend GUE as the training agency. I do so for a varity of reasons, including but not limited to, the fact that I have trained with them after having completed approx. 2000 dives and I learned thing that I had never thought of. Of course, a good/bad instructor can make all the difference in the world but the agency needs to bear some responsibilty for setting the tone and in that regard I believe JJ has set a very impressive tone. Moreover, GUE concentrates on physical fitness and will not just simply let anyone pass. I can't remember the paramaters of the swim test but I seem to remember having to work pretty hard in my class to pass the test.. Also, the line work while having the mask removed was pretty challenging...
It seems to me the biggest adjustment that many diver's MUST undergo when they make the jump from recreational to technical diving is that they must understand that it is a different medium of diving and mindset's, attitudes and old habit's need to be broken.. Simply strapping on a set of doubles and going deeper is not tech diving..
When I started tech diving I had about 1,000 or so dives under my belt and thought I knew it all and had seen it all.. Wings Stocks and Billy Deans quickly adjusted my thinking and then GUE has notched it up even further, but I think tech agencies have an added burden of demanding much more from there students and insrtuctors, most of whom are generally already experienced diver's set in there ways who have gone rather quickly up the recreational scholastic chain.. I wanted to go from one class to another when I was training and Wings made it very clear that he would NOT allow that, he wanted us to gain experience after each class before he would let us sign up for the next class.. This is counter to the PADI mentality and should stay that way.. It took us 3 1/2 years to go from Nitrox through Trimix and while I was frustrated that I couldn't go quicker when I was doing it, I'm glad today that I didn't...
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