Wednesday 1 October 2008

Pearls of wisdom

Scuba diving is NOT like skiing or riding a bike

It is like moon walking because both moon walking and scuba diving require life support equipment and proper training to handle the equipment. It also often involves travelling to exotic destinations in order to better appreciate the sport.

On diving 'medicals'

While there is nothing wrong with seeking opinions of training agencies, dive shops, instructors or fellow divers (either in person or on the internet), there is no substitute for a medical exam/consult with a physician knowledgeable in diving medicine.

On selecting a dive store

The single most important selection criteria in choosing to return to a particular dive shop is "confidence" ... a belief in the shop's staff, education, travel packages, and equipment. No single dive shop can provide the absolute best possible solution for every diver in every mode of diving done in a variety of environments. So, visit as many as possible stores to get a sense of their inventory and areas of expertise. Then, choose the one that best matches your individual needs as your primary diving resource.

On choosing dive gear

With diving gear, there is no such thing as one-size fits all or one piece of gear that is perfect for all divers in all diving situations. When you decide to purchase dive gear, what is most important is your fit and comfort, not anyone else's. So, go to as many dive shops as you can find, try many different options, and then acquire the product that best fits your needs.

On diving equipment

No one can know everything, about dive equipment, diving, or anything else for that matter. Any new-to-you dive gear will have some unknown features, when in doubt, ask (or read the manual, if available). The ability to ask about the unknown is a positive character trait and a hallmark of a good diver.

On equipment service

Every time life support equipment (BCD and/or regulator) is serviced, it should be tested in safe, confined water before it is used for travel or extreme situations.

On being a role model

Students may listen to what we, as instructors, say, but they will do as we do. As scuba instructors, our best method of teaching is by example.

On evaluating students and divers

The only way to evaluate a student or diver is to listen to them, observe their ease and comfort during dive preparation and in-water diving. In other words, an evaluation of diving skills is simply not possible without doing the dive. It is the individual skills of the diver, not the plastic they carry, that determines their individual levels of expertise. We have all heard that you cannot judge a book by its cover. In diving instruction this means that, while certainly a necessity, there is no guarantee that any C-card, decal, patch or sticker can be assumed to be an accurate and reliable measure of the claimed level of knowledge, skill and experience.

My name on a C-card

My signature on a C card means that the recipient is not only certified but also qualified at the level to which he/she has been trained.