There is more to scuba diving than breathing underwater, and admiring & experiencing the beauty of what lies beneath our seas.
Your certification means that you have been trained by a qualified instructor, and has successfully demonstrated mastery of the skills, and completed all theoretical knowledge validation required to be a safe, capable and independent diver to dive in depth and environment in which you are trained for. Your certification carries with you your center and instructor’s name to vouch this fact.
As you dive more, application of these scuba skills will become more natural. Overtime, you will be performing these skills without any conscious effort. But before you can safely dive, you must acquire these skills and perfect these 12 drills by way of proper training.
1. Swimming – This is a very basic but important skill to master. You need to swim to get from point A to point B when in the water. However, the kind of swimming in scuba diving is not as tiring and demanding compared to swimming on the surface without the aid of buoyancy compensation devices to keep you afloat and with fins to easily push you.
2. Equipment familiarization – Scuba diving requires specialized equipment. You need to be familiar with its use, operations, assembly, disassembly and care.
- instrument reading & monitoring
- proper cleaning and care
3. Pre-dive checks – Going through your checklist before jumping in the water can save a dive, and may save lives. Unfortunately, this step can easily be taken for granted. Most problems underwater can be safely avoided if pre-dive checks are done thoroughly.
- buddy check
- proper weighing check
4. Dive planning, Communication, situational & environmental awareness – plan the dive, dive the plan, agree in everything unanimously.
- maximum depths, maximum time, turn around time, separated diver protocols, emergency procedures, etc.
- hand signal
- recall procedure
- dangerous marine life to watch out for
- water movement changes, depth changes
5. Regulator drills – these are skills that you need to do when the regulator is out of your mouth for one reason or another. Without knowing how to safely put your regular back in your mouth, you’d be breathing water instead of air.
- regulator clearing
- regulator recovery
- regulator-snorkel exchange
- free flowing regulator breathing
6. Mask drills – masks can flood and fog underwater, they can be knocked off by a fellow diver, or the strap could snap. Knowing how to put them back and clear them is essential to a more enjoyable dive.
- mask clearing
- mask removal
- no mask breathing
- no mask swims
7. BCD drills – your buoyancy compensation device makes your dives fun, easy and effortless. Know how to use it properly, and knowing what to do when it fails is not only important, it can save you or your buddy life.
- Inflate / deflate
- Power inflator use
- Oral inflator use
- low pressure hose disconnection
8. Entry, Ascent & Descent techniques – getting in and out of the water is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. There are established safe procedures for going down and going up. Various deep water entries are also essential and knowing when to use what technique is important.
- Giant Stride
- Controlled seated entry
- 5 point descent
- 5 point ascent
9. Air depletion exercises – what do you do when you run out of air? What you do in this situation will either save you or injure yourself. Master these techniques like your life depended on it!
- Alternate air source use
- Controlled emergency swimming ascents (CESA)
10. Problem solving drills – you can’t talk underwater, you can’t just swim up to the surface everytime you encounter a problem. Although most problems can be avoided during pre-dive checks, equipment failures, cramps and other minor things may happen during the dive. You can safely solve them by practicing these skills.
- weight removal & replacement
- scuba unit removal & replacement
- cramp removal
- tired diver towing
- loose cylinder band fixing
11. Neutral buoyancy & Hovering – by far the most difficult scuba diving skill to master. How you hover is what separates you from a novice diver to an experienced diver. Knowing the principle, understanding the techniques and paying conscious effort can help you hover like a pro.
12. Other Skills – Other skills that, when mastered, make you a better diver and a better buddy.
- Proper kicking
- Skin Diving
- Surface marker buoy (SMB) deployment
Details, procedures, critical steps and the purposes of these skills are discussed to you by your instructor during your in-water training.
Training and getting certified are commonly mistaken as analogous, that they are one and the same. In an ideal world, having a system of checks and balance would be the perfect thing when getting your training and getting certified. The instructor conducting the course should not be the one to audit his training, and certify the students himself or herself. However, in the dive training industry, getting other divers to observe, audit, and certify students training by someone else would be costly and very messy.
To ensure uniformity and consistency of the course, dive instructors had to go a serious of rigid training, and have been subjected to instructor examinations conducted by their respective training agencies before they are certified as instructors. They are expected to adhere to standards, methods, course flows, training sequences, etc to ensure that the certification process will no longer require the presence of an independent professional to audit and assess the students performance and knowledge.
So the choice of a Dive Center and Instructor should be taken more seriously, and should be considered more important than the cost of your course. So asking questions about diving in general, the conduct of your training, and other matters go a long way.
Here are top 3 toughest questions that you should ask your instructor before booking his or her training course.
Are you renewed and authorized to teach now?
While you can discreetly ask for his or her instructor number and verify your instructor’s teaching status, you might want to give your instructors an opportunity to tell you about this status personally. Like any other profession, is subject to round of renewal, re-certification, and in some cases, required to undergo updates, and most certainly need to pay for his or her membership dues. Failure to renew ones status disqualifies that person’s authority to teach courses and conduct programs.
This particular question addresses the professionalism, dedication and commitment of your instructor towards his own training agency.
Have you ever suffered a Decompression Sickness or Illness (DCS / DCI)?
Decompression sickness or DCS, also known as “the bends”, which involves a trip to the hyperbaric or recompression chamber, is every instructor’s nightmare. As a diver, you are expected to engage in safe diving practices and give yourself enough safety margin to avoid DCS from ever happening to you. How do you feel if the person running your course, who is supposed to teach you skills and arm you with knowledge about how to stay a safe and responsible diver, suffered DCS at some point in his diving career? How do you feel if that person had more than one unfortunate incident?
This particular question exposes your instructors personal safety considerations and habits, which can ultimately be passed on to you in one form or another.
Have you ever had an incident where the safety of your students was in jeopardy?
While this question can sometimes throw people off, your instructor’s reaction to this question is as important as his or her answer. Circumstances leading to an unfortunate incident may not entirely be an instructor’s fault, you should at least give give yourself enough opportunity to decide whether to go for it or find another professional whom you are more confident to teach you.
This particular question will give you an idea of your instructor’s adherence to standards, safe practices, foresight, judgement and priority.
Fortunately for Dive Funatics, we proudly state that we have never put any student in jeopardy under our care, nor our instructors have ever suffered from DCS. As a PADI Resort, we are required to only allow our instructors to teach if they are authorized to teach, active and renewed PADI member.
We at Dive Funatics believe in safety among the first consideration when conducting various dive programs. We further believe that a good training and a great dive insurance coverage from a reputable insurance organization is paramount to a diver’s enjoyment and peace of mind.
On October 10, we finalized our partnership with DiveAssure to include dive insurance coverages as part of our core offerings. This means that we highlight the importance of having 6,7250,00 Pesos worth of medical and rescue coverage for practically 372.00 Pesos/Month in every pre-dive briefing that we conduct.
While loss of life is a terrible thing to happen to a bread winner in the family, the expenses involved in the rescue and medical treatment for dive related activities is far more expensive to even imagine. This is why our choice of dive insurance provider plays a major role in solidifying our efforts to keep scuba diving safe, fun and enjoyable.
Dive Assure also offers other insurance coverage for travel and liveaboard riders. If you wish to know more about Dive Insurance and how we can help you, do not hesitate to contact us.