7 New Wonders of Underwater World Contest
PADI has just launched an exciting contest on the PADI Facebook Page to name the ’7 New Wonders of the Underwater World’.
This is your opportunity to nominate your favorite underwater wonder!
There are also some cool prizes on offer thanks to our friends at Aqua Lung including the all new Soul i3 BC.
You can nominate your favorite underwater wonder until the 29th May 2013.
On the 31st May, finalists will be chosen and voting will then begin to select the 7 New Wonders of the Underwater World. Voting will close on the 24th June 2013 and the 7 New Wonders of the Underwater World will be announced on the 3rd July 2013.
You can see all the details & nominate your favorite underwater wonder on the PADI Facebook Page
Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to live in a place where palm trees sway gently overhead, the sun shines almost every day of the year and where spectacular dive sites are always waiting just off shore? Moving to a place that’s considered a paradise is a dream for many, but it might be easier than you think to make it a reality.
Whether you’re thinking of moving to a tropical location to pursue a diving career or just to be closer to the dive sites you love most, consider these perks that come along with living in paradise.
Cost of living
While it’s not universally true, in many cases, the expenses associated with everyday living are much more affordable – even in a place that’s considered a paradise. In places where fresh food is readily available, it often costs less to stock the pantry – so long as you don’t splash out on imported goods. Rent in major dive destinations like Thailand, Egypt or Mexico can be dramatically less than you are used to, depending on the type of residence you choose.
A more laid-back lifestyle
If you’re a city dweller used to the fast-paced rat race, moving more slowly might be a bit of a challenge at first. However, in “paradise” places, the slowed-down way of living that is so common could mean less stress over the long term. This may help with your overall wellbeing.
Getting a more in-depth view of a place
When you visit a destination on holiday, your time there is limited, preventing you from really being able to get to know a place. By making the move to a place that you loved on a short-term visit, you’ll be able to gain a deeper understanding of the culture, as well as make local friends who can provide even more insight into your new home. This is especially true if you work as a PADI Divemaster or Instructor. You will be diving and working with local PADI Pros and staff, as well as PADI Pros from the four corners of the globe!
Finding your own favorite spots
You might assume that living in paradise means sharing it with crowds of other people. However, when you have enough time to explore the hidden nooks and crannies of a place, you might find a favorite place – or a few of them – far from any crowd. For PADI Pros who live in paradise, there’s plenty of time and opportunity to find and dive underwater gems that few people know about.
Since 2008, PADI Course Director Szilvia Gogh has appeared in movies, TV series, commercials, music videos and even video games, using her diving skills to help tell stories on screen. And it seems that her actor colleagues think that she’s got a job to be jealous of. “Most everybody is envious, as we often get to do the coolest things on the movie set,” Gogh says. “At the end of the day, we get to play in the water all day AND get paid to do that.”
For Gogh, the drive to dive has always been strong. She started diving as soon as she was old enough to get certified, and by the time she was 21, she’d logged over 1,000 dives. After learning English, she became a PADI Instructor and continued diving until she’d logged more than 5,000 dives and achieved the prestigious PADI Course Director rating. After years of hard work, here’s how Gogh describes her big break:
“One day a talent scout stopped by my old dive centre in search of girls who could swim in the ocean for an upcoming Axe Commercial. Swimming in a bikini is not difficult, but to do it all day long in 10ºC water proved more challenging.
The day began with 50 girls. By noon most of them were either seasick from waiting on the boat for hours between shoots or had severe hypothermia. By the end of the day, only a teenage lifeguard and I remained, and thanks to her connections, we became part of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) pool of stunt-women.”
on the set of Piranha 3D
Here are some of Szilvia Gogh’s recent gigs:
Gogh passes on some words of wisdom for divers hoping to make a career segue like hers. “I have been fortunate to work with Alex Daniels, one of the most respected and busiest stunt coordinators in the business. When I asked him what it takes to be a good stunt diver, he said, ‘Develop every possible skill. A good stunt man is specialized, yet has complete skills.’” She advises that anyone who wants to work on movie sets should be trained as PADI Rescue Divers with Enriched Air Nitrox certification, and that for water safety, divers should be a PADI Divemaster or Instructor.
Gogh is also passionate about helping and inspiring others. She volunteers with the Chance for Children Camp, which gives at-risk kids creative and productive ways to discover and develop their dreams, and founded Miss-Scuba.com, a website designed to bring women together from all over the world who share enthusiasm about diving, travel and adventure.
“Luck comes to those staying busy while waiting” is Gogh’s favorite mantra. For divers who want to follow her path, staying busy with training and logging dives will surely help.
Does your day to day grind have you wondering: what if I walked away from my job to become a scuba instructor? What would it be like to do something I love for a living?
If you’ve ever considered trading in fluorescent lights for bio-flourescence, read on! Today we meet two divers who quit their conventional jobs and chose a life of diving instead. One moved to the Caribbean, and the other stayed closer to home.
For Ash McKnight, the frustration of working 16-hour days in the restaurant trade left him longing for more. After reading an ad in the local paper offering free dive classes, his life changed forever.
Little did he know, that intro class was a PADI Discover Scuba class. He quickly developed a passion for diving, which eventually lead him to a new life in the tropics. “I had always wanted to move to the Caribbean and open up a restaurant or bar somewhere but all deals kept falling through. By becoming a dive professional this opened up a new opportunity to move,” he says.
But before McKnight packed his bags, he taught scuba diving for a year in Ontario, Canada, before landing his first warm-water job in Grand Cayman. He quickly advanced to training coordinator, and then continued his education to become a PADI Course Director, his position today.
In a typical day McKnight, “spends some time in the office, usually in the morning, organizing and scheduling the training. But looking at the amazing view outside my window, I always take the opportunity to go out for some diving into the crystal blue water. The day normally finishes with a nice cold beer in a local bar where all the divers meet and socialize.”
PADI Instructor Paul Quiggle received his first diving certification on a snowy day in January 2002. He dove regularly at local sites in the Seattle area and also on tropical vacations. Quiggle had worked his way up to Rescue Diver by the time his employer (a financial institution) was bought out, and he decided it was time for a change.
Initially Quiggle moved to California, “I did some citizen scientist work for Reef Check California and was trying to get a job with them as a volunteer coordinator; however, I knew that I needed to further my dive training and become a PADI Pro to make diving a full time gig.”
Quiggle decided to complete his PADI Professional training in Roatan, a place he didn’t know much about. “I always had dreams of living on a Caribbean island and diving full time while I was typing emails at 11PM at night in my previous job.”
His decision turned out to be fortuitous: Roatan is where he met his future wife. “She came to visit a friend from Canada who was working at the resort…I was assisting with her Discover Scuba course. We just looked at each other the first time and the sparks flew.”
After doing “the long distance thing” for awhile, Quiggle packed up and moved to Vancouver, Canada to become Head Instructor The Diving Locker. Now married, Quiggle and his wife are expecting a little boy at the end of May.
When asked if he had any regrets, Quiggle says, “I wish I had gone pro sooner! If you know you have a love and passion for diving, then follow that and see where life takes you. I held back because I was worried about leaving the “security” of my previous career. Yeah…I make less money now, but I’ve never been happier in my life.”
To become a successful scuba instructor, McKnight offers three pieces of advice. First, always exert professionalism. Second, be open and ready to learn new things. Finally, obtaining a boat license and experience working on a boat is a big plus.
Additionally, Paul Quiggle recommends teaching as many classes as possible and getting a variety of specialty instructor ratings to make yourself more marketable. Additionally, he notes, patience and empathy for what new divers are experiencing are important personal characteristics.
“It is really rewarding to see the excitement on students’ faces when they come up from their first dive. Even a simple thing like seeing a sea star or a crab for the first time underwater gets people super fired up. I also like helping people to overcome their fears of being underwater and taking them to a new place they can love and then help protect in the future. The more people that know how many amazing critters are underwater, the more advocates there will be for keeping the oceans healthy and the ecosystems in balance.”
What was your path to working as a public safety diver, underwater criminal investigator?
I became a certified diver right after I got out of the army. A year later I joined the Virginia State Police and my Field Training Officer happened to be a State Police Diver who told me about their dive team.
While going through training, he was called to recover some stolen handguns and asked if I wanted to come along. I could not believe it! There I was… searching in the mud with zero visibility and my hand hit something hard. I felt its shape and realized I had recovered a stolen handgun. On that day, something happened inside me. I discovered what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
What basic diving skills are essential for a public safety diver?
A Public Safety Diver must learn to master all their basic scuba skills. These skills are your foundation and what you bring into the water with you.
Basic scuba skills that are not mastered are weaknesses we have and if allowed to fester can become what I call “monsters.” When it’s deep, cold and dark the monsters tend to show themselves and if you’re not careful, can come out to play.
What are the most important personal characteristics for someone with a job like yours?
Servitude, humbleness and appreciation.
Other things a diver should have on his/her resume (educational background, volunteer work, etc)?
It helps to have a background in a public safety service like fire, rescue or law enforcement. These public safety services open the door.
You do not have to start a new career. You can get connected by volunteering your time with one of these agencies and then join their dive team.
What are career opportunities like for divers interested in working as a public safety diver or underwater criminal investigator?
More and more law enforcement agencies are seeing the need to have highly trained and certified Underwater Criminal Investigators (UCI) to respond when their investigations lead to the water’s edge.
A UCI Diver is trained to recover anything from a bullet, knife, handgun, rifle, body, or vehicle. When they locate their target, they market it, triangulate its location, photograph it, document their involvement, then package it all while using proper evidence handling and chain of custody procedures.
Career opportunities are growing worldwide as more and more departments and agencies recognize the need for divers with UCI capabilities.
Any interesting stories or quotes or bits of advice for divers who aspire to become a Public Safety Diver?
Once I was diving in a farmer’s pond for a murder weapon; there was zero visibility, shallow water and a mucky bottom. I was on a search pattern called a jackstay, which is basically a grid line that lies on the bottom and is held straight and tight by down weights at each end. I was wearing full scuba, including a wetsuit, hood and gloves and holding a second stage regulator in my mouth. The only skin exposed was my lips.
After searching for about 30 minutes, something small came out of the darkness and bit down on my upper lip and started pulling. I could actually hear my skin ripping. I screamed (like a man) and reached out instinctively to defend myself and to stop what I believed to be a small fish from biting me. But with Ninja like reflexes, the invisible assailant would let go long enough to move out of the way of my hand, only to bite down on another part of my lip. This went on for several seconds until I realized I was losing the battle.
Attempting to continue to conduct a thorough search for the weapon, I held the search line with one hand and searched and fought with the other hand moving forward on the line until I finally got out of his (or her) nest or territory. Once at the other end I moved the down weight over and started coming back in the opposite direction.
There I was, alone in the darkness, searching the muck bottom, moving forward and all of a sudden, I start hearing the Jaw’s theme, Dooooo, doo, Dooooo, Doo, Do, Do, Do, Do… I could not get it out of my head as I headed back towards its lair. Sure enough, the pond shark attacked. It took another pass before I was finally clear of his onslaught.
Eventually I recovered the weapon and as I was getting out of the water, the other divers started laughing. I looked in my vehicle’s side mirror and discovered razor thin bite marks all along my upper and lower lips and blood streaming down my chin. They asked me what happened. Looking back at the pond, I told them I was attacked and had my butt kicked by a great white pond shark.
What underwater critter would you like to see that you haven’t already?
I would like to see the snapping turtles before they bite me. They hurt!
What are some of the more unique experiences of public safety diving?
During a murder weapon recovery… everything is hinging on your abilities and dive skills to make the recovery. I’ve had murderers laugh and tell me to my face that I’ll never find it. The look on their face is priceless when I make the recovery.
Body recoveries are also interesting. You are called upon to help bring closure to a horrible situation and you do this by using your diving skills. A family can’t begin to heal until their loved one is recovered. What an honor it is to be asked to help.
A team of professionals work for months, sometimes years, preparing an astronaut to leave mother earth and enter into orbit. Of all the environmental changes the astronaut will experience, perhaps the most significant one is weightlessness. That’s where professional scuba divers like Chris Peterman come in – preparing astronauts for space missions through underwater training.
Peterman works as a Dive Operations Specialist at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) located at the Sonny Carter Training Facility near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, USA. It’s here he works closely with astronauts to prepare them for what it’s like to be in a neutrally buoyant environment (thus the name of the lab), similar to what they will experience in space.
What does neutral buoyancy mean? You may have heard the term a lot, and experienced it while diving.
Neutral Buoyancy is a term used to describe something that has an equal tendency to float as it does sink. Divers know the feeling, as do astronauts. While being underwater isn’t exactly like being in space (astronauts feel the weight of their suits as well as the drag of the water) it’s similar enough to provide important training so astronauts are mentally and physically ready.
How did Peterman end up with such an interesting job? He started his professional career as a technology consultant, but after getting scuba certified in 2002, decided to pursue a career in diving: something many of us dream about. Peterman describes his path to working full time as a diver:
“While continuing my technology career, I worked part time at several dive shops, taught scuba classes, volunteered as a search and recovery diver, and taught at the University of Texas at Austin scuba program. If there was work underwater to be done I would do it,” says Peterman.
“I applied to the NBL twice, once shortly after getting certified and again after building my diving resume and experience. The second time I was hired.”
Peterman now has a job he loves and enjoys many career opportunities. “Once someone has become an NBL diver they have the option of specializing in many areas within the NBL, including operating the communications and video systems, scuba equipment maintenance, robotics, breathing gas mixing, and off-shore survival instruction,” he explains.
If a job like Peterman’s sounds interesting to you, he recommends perfecting a few skills:
“Excellent buoyancy control, being able to dive on instinct, and the ability to multi-task are must have skills for starting at the NBL,” he says. “The NBL is such a unique work environment that many of the other skills needed are gained during extensive training.”
If you dream of making a career shift to professional diving, Peterman says to be tenacious and stay focused. “Keep looking, keep dreaming. Don’t let others tell you that there is no way to make a living doing what you love to do,” he says. Peterman is living proof that this advice is true.
When most people think of diving, their minds go straight to tropical waters, and locations where there are more palm trees than people. But, as many divers know, the sport isn’t confined to just one part of the world. And as PADI Pro Kjetil Astrup can tell you, living in a capital city doesn’t stop him from making a career of diving.
Kjetil calls the bustling Norwegian capital, Oslo, home, and he works as the manager of ProDykk Oslo, located just outside of Fjellstrand. His father first introduced him to diving and while the youngster was intimidated at first, the introduction to the sea sparked his imagination. A few years later, Kjetil was taking his PADI Open Water Diver course during a trip to the Red Sea, which was just the beginning of his career in diving.
Working at a PADI Dive Centre in an urban location provides Kjetil with the opportunity to spread the word about diving to a wide array of people. “Having a PADI Dive Centre close to a big city gives us the chance to reach a lot of different new divers,” he says. “We have a great range of adults, kids, teenagers, retirees, students, tourists, and more. We meet so many people that are happy to come diving and relax after a stressful day at the office or school.”
Kjetil notes that even his fellow Norwegians aren’t aware of the great diving opportunities right outside their doors. “There are still people in the fjord of Oslo who do not know that you can dive here!”
Kjetil’s message rings true about many cities and towns around the world that offer great diving closer than you may realize. Kjetil also talks of the friendly dive community, “many divers and other dives shops from all over the region come to the jetty to dive, so we always invite everybody to come in for a warm cup of coffee.”
Robert Soncini – Cirque du Soleil
Do you dream about going pro and making diving a lifelong career? It’s something many of us imagine, but for some, it’s reality. Although becoming a professional dive instructor is one of the most popular career options, there are many other ways divers do what they love while paying the bills. For Robert Soncini, that opportunity presented itself in the live entertainment industry.
After moving to Las Vegas to work as a paramedic, Soncini started taking dive lessons and his enthusiasm for the sport grew every time he hit the water. In 2007, shortly after becoming a PADI Instructor, there was a job opening for an artist handler at the Bellagio’s Cirque du Soleil show “O”. Soncini jumped at the opportunity and got the job.
“During the show, there are 14 divers in the water, including four artist handlers and two divecomms,” says Soncini. “The divecomms are on full face masks with a hardwire communications unit. The divecomms relay information about the show to a platform called the crow’s nest that overlooks the pool, and to stage management which maintains the continuity of the show nightly. The artist handlers are responsible for swimming them either on or off stage underwater or to their next cue.”
photo courtesy Cirque du Soleil
Additionally, Soncini explains, “When the artists enter the water, we are waiting in a predetermined location with regulators in hand. At any given time we can support three artists off of the rig that I wear. Yes, I have three octos on me attached to a single first stage. The other divers are carpenters and riggers who maneuver the set pieces and prep them for the next act. The timing of the show is critical. To keep everything running smooth, everyone has to be in the right place at the right time and ready to move when the stage manager says ‘Go!’”
Two top characteristics to do the job well include being outgoing and personable, says Soncini. “Additionally, we need to be aware of any cultural barriers. Currently, our show has over 20 countries represented and multiple languages are heard daily throughout the theater.”
For other divers who want to work a dive job full time, Soncini suggests plenty of training. “Train, train and train. Do whatever you can to make yourself more marketable and to give yourself that extra edge over the next person. As a PADI Master Instructor, I can attest firsthand to the benefits of continuing education in diving. Take as many classes as you can and create a portfolio that you can give to potential employers.”
If you’ve ever considered a move to Sin City, it might just be where you’ll find the perfect pro dive job, just like Soncini. “When you think of a diving job, you really do not think of Las Vegas. However, surprisingly there are many hotels that hire divers. Not only does the Bellagio have divers who are responsible for the “O” show, they hire a complete team of divers to maintain the fountains in front of the hotel. Additionally, the Golden Nugget, Mandalay Bay, Wynn, Silverton and Mirage hotels all use divers in some capacity.”
Apparently even Lady Luck has a love for scuba.
A day in the life of PADI Divemaster in Bali
Everyone dreams of going on exotic vacations to dive in the crystalline blue waters of tropical island paradises. But what if you could live there, too, and dive on an almost daily basis? It might sound too good to be true, but for James Boulton, it’s reality. As a PADI Divemaster at Bali Scuba, a PADI 5 Star Dive Instructor Development Centre in Sanur, Bali, Indonesia, he gets to do what many only dream about.
Boulton worked for years in the design and advertising business; when his projects began to focus more and more on luxury travel, he found himself daydreaming about dive trips. Eventually, all that musing led to action. “I decided it was time to stop looking at incredible dive destinations and go work at one,” he says.
After his first dive in South Africa in 2008, Boulton was hooked and traveled to Thailand, Egypt and Indonesia for more dive trips. With this new passion for diving, James completed his PADI Divemaster training and started a truly envy-inducing career in Bali, one of the most beautiful places on earth. “I was thrilled by the prospect of being able to find a job doing something I love. A lot of people aren’t that lucky.”
Days start early for Boulton, who works as a Divemaster intern at Bali Scuba. “I have a good idea of what to expect since the days’ schedule is always put up the afternoon before. If it’s a ‘non-course’ day, I help the other Divemasters with equipment and am close at hand to answer questions guests may have and the exciting day ahead.”
After the more practical steps, Boulton relishes what he says is the best part of his day. “The vehicles are loaded and there’s a buzz in the air as each departs for its destination, either Tulamben, Padang Bai or Sanur Beach for the boat trip to Nusa Penida. When we sink beneath the waves, the real fun begins.”
If anything, Boulton’s story shows that a career as a Divemaster in paradise isn’t strictly daydream territory. With the right training and plenty of passion, it’s an option for enthusiastic divers everywhere.
You know the saying, “If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life”? If you adore diving, going pro might seem like a farfetched dream, but it may be more attainable than you think. This month we are featuring PADI Professionals and their stories from all around the world. To kick this off, below is an overview of what it takes to Go Pro.
If you’re new to the sport, you might wonder how someone turns their love of diving into a career. Getting the proper training is crucial. A recreational diver will take diver level PADI dive courses and then move on to PADI professional courses.
The PADI Divemaster course is the first step in going pro and becoming a PADI Professional. The PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor course is where you learn about teaching people how to dive and start to see how you can transform people’s lives through scuba diving. As part of your PADI Instructor training you will also become an Emergency First Response Instructor. Once you become a PADI Specialty Instructor you will be able to provide your students with in-depth information about certain dive disciplines like wreck diving or coral preservation.
The PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating denotes a very high commitment to the PADI System of diver training. As a PADI IDC Staff Instructor you can independently teach and certify PADI Assistant Instructors at PADI Five Star Dive Centers or PADI Five Star Dive Resorts and assist PADI Course Directors with the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC).
Next you’ll pursue the prestigious PADI Master Instructor certification, followed by PADI Course Director, the pinnacle of PADI Professional training which allows you to teach PADI instructor level courses.
Going pro takes dedication, but there are many options to fit your schedule. Some knowledge development sections are available online through PADI eLearning®, before you complete the remainder of your course with your PADI Professional. You can also choose to train full-time or part-time to fit in with your schedule. With more than 6200 PADI facilities worldwide, it’s easy to find a PADI Dive Shop or Resort where you can complete your training – locally or while on vacation.
Once you go pro, you’ll enjoy many career opportunities. Would you prefer working at a resort in a tropical location? Work locally in your own city or town? Do you want to help people in water emergencies? How about working in the entertainment industry? Do you want to dedicate your time to saving our precious underwater environments? No matter what your interest, there are numerous jobs around the world that need well-trained PADI Professionals.
Imagine waking up excited to go to work each day. More divers seek PADI Professional credentials than any other professional scuba training organization. If you’re thinking about going pro, simply contact a PADI Dive Shop who will be able to provide you with all the information you need or just simply answer any questions you may have. You can even ask if they are running a PADI GoPro career seminar. At this casual event you’ll learn more about what it takes to live the dream of being a professional diver.
For more information contact us at the store to get started in your Diving Career!
PADI Instructors, Divemasters and Assistant Instructors are amazing people. Experienced, hard-working and dedicated, these men and woman are in the business of changing lives. This April, we’d like to reward PADI Professionals who’ve gone above and beyond their regular duties. To do that, we need your help:
Was there a PADI Instructor, Divemaster or Assistant Instructor who made a difference in your life? Did he or she help you overcome a fear or difficult situation?
Tell us your story. Visit the contest tab on PADI’s Facebook page and tell us why your PADI Pro is the best (in 250 words or less). We’ll choose three winning entries and both you and the PADI Pro you nominate will win a PADI prize pack. See the contest tab for details and complete rules. Entries must be received on or before 30 April 2013.
Important: you will need the PADI Professional number of the person you nominate in order to submit your entry.
While every PADI Pro is remarkable in his or her own way, sometimes people have the same name. The majority of PADI Pros know their number by heart, so don’t hesitate to ask.
If you prefer to keep the nomination secret, here are some ways to find out someone’s PADI Pro number:
If you love to dive on reefs, take photos, enjoy diving in the sunlight bathed shallows or just want to enjoy easy relaxed diving you may think Tec Diving has nothing to offer you, but just as you don’t need to be a Formula One driver to benefit from the innovations that have filtered down to make normal road cars safer and easy to drive, so you can benefit from what cutting edge divers have learnt and passed on.
Probably the most obvious contribution tec diving has made is the constant innovation and refinement of diving equipment. It takes time to trickle down but we now regularly see single cylinder wing and backplate systems with long hose configurations that keep the diver in a beautiful position while they dive, ensure they are uncluttered and streamlined plus are able to respond to out of gas emergencies with ease and flexibility.
Use of sidemount wing systems is not quite so widespread yet but with mainstream manufacturers bringing out systems designed for the open water diver which are extremely lightweight, streamlined and easy to use I don’t think it will be long before sidemount diving is the second most popular PADI specialty (EANx is the most popular).
Of course there are many accessories that have come from tec diving as well, for example reels. The large, lumpy ratchet reel now looks rather “1980s” compared to the latest free spooling reels and spools that stem from cave diving innovations. Modern reels are small, neat, easy to use and difficult to tangle (note – difficult, not impossible…)
The hottest equipment on the block at the moment is undoubtedly the rebreather. Since Poseidon launched the MkVI a few years ago and PADI launched their range of rebreather courses in 2011, the world has started to see rebreathers as a tool for recreational diving, as well as tec. Rebreathers give divers greater no decompression time because they optimize the gas mix at each depth, they are also quiet because they don’t give off many bubbles so are a great tool for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Recreational rebreathers such as the Poseidon MkVI Ambient Pressure Diving Evolution Rec and Hollis Explorer are much simpler that their tec equivalents. They are designed to be assembled with ease and have sophisticated electronics to help you both pre dive and underwater. Diving within the recreational envelope, the response to all serious problems is to ascend, either still on the rebreather or using open-circuit bailout procedures. Electronics monitor the rebreather and advise you when it is time to ascend due to the most pressing limitation, for example you are close to reaching your no deco time. Of course, there are some things a diver still has to do, such as monitor the system, but that is no more arduous than checking your SPG and if you forget something the rebreather will beep, buzz and flash messages at you until you pay attention. That’s not an excuse to forget to monitor it, of course, but an illustration of how good recreational rebreathers are at supporting our efforts.
It’s not just equipment though. Dive technique is an important tool for any diver. Tec training emphasizes good body position, efficient fining techniques and above all excellent buoyancy control. In conjunction with the right equipment improved dive technique can massively reduce a diver’s gas consumption as well as make them more comfortable in the water. Increased comfort leads to better awareness and divers who are relaxed and open avoid problems because they see them before they develop into a full blown nightmare.
Tec diving also focuses on skill practice. Skills are practiced in realistic scenarios and fine tuned until they can be performed with ease. Tec divers practice at least one skill on every dive so that they remain familiar and comfortable with problem management. If problems do occur, a relaxed, neutrally buoyancy diver who is confident in their skills responds calmly but quickly to solve the problem, help another diver or abort the dive if necessary.
The Tec 40 Diver course can be completed on a single cylinder and pony set up, sidemount or backmount doubles and is an ideal introduction to the equipment and training concepts of tec diving. The course can be used as a way to increase your skills and knowledge without needing to dive any deeper or longer than a PADI Deep Diver does or it can be a stepping stone into further TecRec training if you get bitten by the tec bug.
Vikki Batten works at PADI and is Director, Rebreather Technologies, Technical Diving Division.
By Petar Denoble, M.D., D.Sc.
According to the results of the recent National Health Interview Survey conducted by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12 percent of adults 18 years and older had been told by a health professional they had heart disease; 6 percent had been told they had coronary heart disease; 24 percent had been told on two or more visits that they had hypertension; and 3 percent had been told they had experienced a stroke.2 These individuals are obviously at an increased risk of dying prematurely, and they must be treated for their conditions. Said individuals may benefit from physical activities, but the type and the vigor of activities must be discussed with their personal physicians.
People who do not have any symptoms may still have silent CVD, which can cause sudden death, or they may develop clinical manifestations of CVD later in their life. Scientists have identified risk factors as well as measured their individual and combined impacts. Testing for these risk factors is simple and affordable. Individual risk factor measurements may be combined into a single quantitative estimate of risk, known as a “global risk score” that can be used to guide preventive interventions. You can obtain your global risk score using one of the published global risk score calculators (Table 2). Before visiting the sites to take a test, you should obtain the requested information specified in the table.
These steps may help you reduce your weight and help control blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
Smoking is one of the most damaging abuses; it diminishes functions of lungs, causes hardening and narrowing of blood vessels, and increases risk of cancer. It is considered the largest preventable cause of death in the world. Health and functional integrity of the lungs and the circulation are main determinants of physical fitness. For divers, both organs are additionally important because of their role in the transfer of gasses in the body and response to gas bubbles.
Alcohol consumption affects many organs and functions in the body. Small amounts of alcohol may have some favorable effects, but overindulgence damages the brain, liver, heart and other organs. Alcohol is very rich with calories and, in excessive consumption, contributes to metabolic syndrome and obesity. Acute effects of alcohol are not compatible with diving.
Imbalance in food consumption and energy combustion is the main cause of obesity. Even physically active individuals may be overweight if they have an insatiable appetite. On the other hand, for people living a sedentary lifestyle, it is hard to shed weight despite limiting their food intake.
Certain ingredients may contribute to specific diseases. Three culprits include salt, sugar and flour. Salt may contribute to increased blood pressure, while too much sugar and flour can cause an individual to be overweight or increase risk for diabetes. People who have elevated cholesterol should limit red meats and bad fats in their diet.
The simplest solution for the average person to achieve a reasonable diet is to limit portion sizes and eat a variety of foods.
Exercise is the main factor in the health of modern people. Advances in our socio-economic environment eliminated the need for physical activities in everyday life; as a result most people should exercise purposefully. Both bursts of near-maximum exercise and periods of prolonged vigorous exercise are necessary to maintain body structures, physical working capacity, integrity of the cardiovascular system, the body’s natural defense systems and its self-repair processes.
Participation in recreational diving may not provide sufficient exercise. Indeed, limiting exercise in diving is one of the strategies to control risk of decompression illness, but divers must be physically fit to respond to emergencies that may arise. There is no formal consensus about what the required minimum sustained exercise capacity for divers is or how to measure it. Currents of 1 knot (33 yards per minute) are not uncommon, and divers at the surface should be able to swim faster than that in case the need arises to swim against it. Dedicating some of your own exercise time to achieving this goal is worthwhile for divers.
Annual physical exams
For risk factors like smoking, alcoholism, excessive weight and inactivity, divers should not need a physician’s warning; these are not contributors to good health. However, risk factors like blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol can be measured by simple and inexpensive tests, and all adults should be tested periodically. Most healthcare insurance companies provide incentives to their clients to visit primary physicians for annual evaluations.
For healthy divers, annual physicals are a great opportunity to review their general health and lifestyle as well as to obtain an advanced warning if anything changes in their blood chemistry. In cases of divers with known risks, the annual exams are an opportunity for physicians to check for early signs of possible organ damage and to adjust control measures if needed. Diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension may benefit from lifestyle changes, but most patients need prescription medications for proper control of these risk factors and their possible consequences.
DAN Continues Its Leadership Role
In Providing Key
Training Programs for Professionals
Diver safety and education have always been at the forefront of Diver Alert Network’s mission. The four featured courses cover the management and assessment tools divers need to address key injuries they may encounter: Scuba diving professionals and retailers can become a DAN Instructor, further advancing DAN’s mission of dive safety by educating divers on the proper first aid care for diving injures.
Developed by dive industry experts, each program features comprehensive content updates and includes the most recent guidelines for resuscitation and emergency cardiac care and CPR administration. These programs each include enhanced educational materials with full-color, high-resolution images and illustrations perfect for interactive learning situations.
According to William Ziefle, President and CEO of DAN, the courses are part of DAN’s on-going mission to encourage and promote scuba diver safety and continuing education. “It’s been said that a good diver is always learning, and we couldn’t agree more. These programs help teach every diver the important skills necessary to respond to diving, as well as non-diving medical emergencies, including basic life support and first aid. We are excited to offer these four core programs as we continue to develop ways to provide effective tools for dive professionals to educate their customers.”
Ziefle outlined the four courses:
The DAN Emergency Oxygen for Scuba Diving Injuries course is designed to train and educate interested individuals in the techniques of administering emergency oxygen for a suspected diving injury. This course introduces participants to the fundamentals of dive-injury recognition and proper first-responder care with a variety of oxygen delivery systems.
Serious hazardous marine life injuries are rare, but most divers experience minor discomfort from unintentional encounters with fire coral, jellyfish or other marine creatures. This course teaches divers to minimize these injuries and reduce discomfort and pain.
The Neurological Assessment Course teaches participants how to conduct a layman’s neurological assessment on a potentially injured diver. The information gained in this assessment can help convince a diver of the need for oxygen first aid and help a dive physician determine the proper treatment.
The DAN Basic Life Support: CPR and First Aid (BLS: CPR&FA) course offers entry-level training in providing basic life support (BLS) to adults with life-threatening injuries while activating emergency medical services.
For information about how to become a DAN Provider or a DAN Instructor for these newly revised training programs, contact Gene at Dive N Trips at 925-462-7234 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Brian Harper, EMT, DMT
One of the most frequently asked questions DAN medics receive is whether it’s safe to dive while taking a particular medication. The answer to this question is rarely straightforward.
Many divers assume DAN has a repository of data on how various medications are affected by the diving environment. Unfortunately, such data do not exist. Ethical concerns preclude formal research trials that would evaluate the influence of drugs on human divers in an underwater environment. Anecdotal reports of dive accidents are of limited value in determining whether it is safe to dive while taking a particular drug; there are too many physical and physiological factors involved to allow isolation of a single variable.
This is not to say it is impossible to provide sound advice when the question is asked. By considering the medical condition being treated, the physical demands on humans in the diving environment and known facts about a drug from clinical trials conducted on land, recommendations can be made about the suitability of diving on medication.
When divers ask DAN about using medications while diving, they are often most concerned about the likelihood of new side effects occurring at depth. It is theoretically possible that certain drugs might potentiate (enhance) or be potentiated by the narcotic effect of nitrogen. This possibility should be considered if a diver plans to dive deeper than 80 feet while taking a drug that warns against drinking alcohol or operating heavy machinery. Aside from this theoretical concern, most drugs are not suspected to incur specific biological hazards due to immersion, pressure or breathing gas mixture. It is understandable for divers to be apprehensive about new side effects occurring during a dive, but the more important issue to medical professionals is whether the underlying medical condition might make diving less safe. The injury or illness being treated is much more likely to exclude someone from diving than the medication.
Diminished physical fitness is not uncommon among people who are being treated for medical conditions. Although diving itself is a relaxing activity for most recreational divers, lifting and wearing heavy equipment as well as entering and exiting the water can be strenuous. Divers should always have sufficient physical capability to fight a current, perform a long surface swim or help a buddy in the event of an emergency. They should not be at increased risk of barotrauma due to congestion, and they should not have symptoms like numbness, tingling or pain that might be confused with decompression sickness (DCS) after a dive.
In addition to the implications of the underlying condition, it is important to consider whether a diver has experienced any side effects from a medication, how long he or she has been taking it and what other drugs are taken. Before diving with a particular drug, a diver should have experience taking it on land. For most prescription medications, 30 days is recommended in order to ensure the dosage is correct and reveal any side effects the diver is likely to experience. At least one doctor should be aware of all medications an individual is taking to minimize the risk of drug interactions. A diver should not dive if he experiences any side effects that could cause distraction or decreased awareness if they occur underwater.
In addition to these general considerations, there are some specific questions and points for discussion relevant to particular types of medications. The following are questions that should be addressed during the physician’s evaluation of the diver as well as in the diver’s self-assessment.
These points should be considered in the context of both the symptoms of the medical condition and the side effects of any drugs used to treat it. The focus should be on whether any of these factors might lead to impairment of a diver’s physical capabilities, awareness, reaction time or judgment. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it highlights some of the concerns that accompany certain medical conditions and the drugs used to treat them. Any medical condition or medication should prompt a diver to seek a physician’s approval prior to diving. As always, DAN is available to discuss the relevant concerns of injuries, illnesses and the medications used to treat them. If you have any questions, call the DAN Medical Information Line at +1-919-684-2948 or contact DAN via email.
Posted by Aja Clarke
Get ready to explore the underwater world with a new Windows PC and MacOS simulation game geared towards all water enthusiasts. The PADI organization, along with DEMA (The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, Mission Blue (the Sylvia Earle Alliance) and 20 scuba equipment manufacturers, including SCUBAPRO, Body Glove, Oceanic and BARE, have patterned with Cascade Game Foundry (CGF®) to help create an incredibly immersive experience that delivers the real adventure of scuba diving.
Launching today, 13 March 2013, Infinite Scuba™ helps players of all ages experience the beauty, mystery and serenity of scuba diving in breathtakingly recreated dive sites from around the world. In the initial release of the downloadable game, players explore a shipwreck in Chuuk Lagoon, the site of a pivotal World War II battle that is now a renowned South Pacific dive destination. In the years since that battle, the Chuuk shipwrecks have transformed into thriving reefs.
Players search for fish and coral, as well as artifacts from the war, each of which unlocks a page of local history or dive science. Players exploring the wrecks can take photos to share with friends and earn dive certifications which unlock additional content. Players can also purchase and download new equipment, challenges, and dive sites from inside the game. So when you’re not able to go diving, this is another great way to explore the underwater world from the comfort of your own home (or even while you’re at work!).
CGF® is hard at work creating additional dive sites and adventures for Infinite Scuba to be released in the next few months. To download and play Infinite Scuba today, visit InfiniteScuba.com.
PADI Recreational Sidemount
Posted by TrevorPADI
With sidemount diving gaining in popularity and gaining more mainstream exposure, I decided it was time to check it out myself.
Having the opportunity to attend a PADI Tec Explorer event at Team Blue Immersion, Dahab, Egypt. I jumped at the chance to take the recreational PADI Sidemount Diver course (PADI offers two courses – Recreational andTec). For those of you looking to step into Tec or just to try something different, I can’t recommend an event like Tec Explorer enough.
First maybe I should address the question – I don’t cave dive, so why sidemount?
Sidemount has a number of benefits for the recreational diver far beyond merely cave diving:
More then one tank
Coming from a recreational background, the first session of the course brought the biggest learning opportunity – equipment configuration. Obviously going from one tank to two brings with it equipment considerations beyond where the tank is mounted. Split into small groups, we were given all the items needed and given the task of setting up a sidemount configuration from scratch. After some initial floundering and with guidance we soon all had a perfect set up.
By the end of the session, I had gone from never having so much as changed a hose to understanding which ports best fit the different items and which were the best ports to use for the best and most streamlined configuration. In fact, I believe I learnt more about scuba equipment in that single session then I had during all my previous diving. I’m a firm believer in more knowledge makes for a safer, confident and more relaxed diver.
Give us a call about our next PADI Recreational Sidemount Class!
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council was established by Federal law to assure continued public participation in the management of the Sanctuary. Since its establishment in March 1994, the Advisory Council has played a vital role in the decisions affecting the Sanctuary along the central California Coast.
The Advisory Council’s twenty voting members represent the following user groups: Agriculture, At-Large, Business/Industry, Commercial Fishing, Conservation, Diving, Education, Recreation, Recreational Fishing, Research and Tourism, plus seven local and state governmental jurisdictions.
In addition, the respective managers for the four California National Marine Sanctuaries (Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, and Monterey Bay), the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and the U.S. Coast Guard sit as non-voting members. Members are appointed competitively by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and serve three-year terms. The Advisory Council meets bi-monthly in open sessions located throughout the almost 300-mile boundary of the Sanctuary.
Dedicated Advisory Council members have laid a strong foundation for the Sanctuary’s structure, policies, and procedures. Sanctuary goals to promote research, education and resource protection are a major focus for the Advisory Council, and members work diligently to promote public stewardship. The Advisory Council has proven to be a powerful voice for the general public, responding to citizen concerns, ideas and needs.
The Advisory Council provides a public forum for its constituents, working to enhance communications and provide a conduit for bringing the concerns of user groups and stakeholders to the attention of Sanctuary Superintendents and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Advisory Council maintains a firm commitment to the goals and objectives of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Advisory Council appreciates the efforts of volunteers, non-profit organizations, businesses, and citizens, without whose support the mission of the Sanctuary would be difficult to realize.
Brian Nelson and Phil Sammet are our representatives on the council for diving. If you would like to have some input into the MB Sanctuary, you can contact Phil at 831-915-6600 or email@example.com or you can reach Brian at 408-483-8721 or firstname.lastname@example.org