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An objective way to eyeball someone's skill level

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by cold_water, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. cold_water

    cold_water Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
    I find this discussion informative. I must say, I agree with everyone here that the real way to judge someone's diving abilities is to dive with them and see. What I'm after is not really something that would replace that, but something that could sort of complement it. I'm particularly interested because every time I travel somewhere close to water (I'm stuck in New Mexico right now, so really anywhere is closer to water than home), I'm tempted to put a message on this board saying "I'll be in the area and I'm looking for people to dive with." I always chicken out (with no good reason really) partly because I'm a bit too shy and also because I don't know how to effectively convey what my skill level is. I wouldn't want to plan a whole dive, get there, and realize that we have to cancel because the dive is beyond my level.

    Now short of being able to dive with everyone on here (although that could be a new challenge), how do you quickly convey that information?

    Without going through all the responses, this thread has reminded me of several important details. I think it's true that there's a connection between the attitude outside of the water and the performance below the water. I think diving requires, definitely, an attention to detail. You have to monitor at least three important thing (tank pressure, depth, time), remember how they've been evolving and if they differ from what you'd planned and how it's going to affect the rest of the dive. I'd say that requires a certain basic attitude. I'd definitely not feel comfortable with buddying with someone whose attitude is cavalier.

    I particularly liked the comment by nannymouse (there's at least another one on that same subject, but I can't remember really, I'm sorry to all the ones I've forgotten) about how skills transfer from one sport to another. Definitely, having local experience helps you evaluate the conditions, realize when conditions are good/bad, when they could change, what currents are like, etc, etc. I wouldn't think that, say, surfing, would help with, say, flottability, (although I could be wrong) but definitely, it help with a whole lot of important things. So, if I were to devise an imaginary scale from 0-10, someone could be a 10 in Monterey and a 3 in the north of scotland. That makes perfect sense.

    If I were to devise such a "skill level scale", maybe there should be two different scales. One is your "global skills" and the other one is your "local skills". So how good I can expect you to be as a diver and how good/useful I can expect you to be as a diver in a certain place.

    so I guess what I'm saying is it seems to me like there's two variables. There's

    -general scuba diving skills: how good yoru trim is, how familiar are you with certain techniques, someone may have more specialized skillset(s) (cavern, wreck, ...)

    -preparedness for a particular dive at a particular location: have you ever been diving in the area, do you know the typical conditions of the area, do you know the topgraphy around the dive site, etc...

    One would expect that general scuba diving skills would improve with the number of dives, although I agree, there are some who never seem to learn...
  2. cold_water

    cold_water Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
    Dannobee, I agree with you. I learned to scuba dive in northern quebec, where pretty much everywhere, if you go deep enough (which is often not very deep), the water is always at 4C and merely being too close to the bottom would automatically kick up a cloud of sediments that wouldn't come down before the next ice age. Developing good trim and buoyancy wasn't really for style points but more a necessity so you wouldn't get beat up by the divers going in after you. (Well, I'm exagerating, but people weren't happy that's for sure, although they'd understand if you were new.)

    I'm in Monterey now and am planning a few dives with instructors/DM from the monterey bay dive company. I'm following their advice on dive sites, but any suggestions on places I shouldn't miss? I could suggest it when I meet them the first time. Wish I had started this thread earlier, maybe you konw people whom I could have gone out with. (Just realized your profile says solo diver.) Maybe PM so we keep the rest of the thread on topic.
  3. Bspurr13

    Bspurr13 Nassau Grouper

    To respond to your fist paraghraph... If you ever find yourself in San Diego - look me up. We'll sit down and figure out a place, time and profile that is right for both of us and go from there.
  4. texdiveguy

    texdiveguy Orca Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: DFW,Texas
    If you are visiting with a new person you have just met and maybe going to dive with.....always be casual and honest. I have probably been luckier than some.....most folks I talk with will be quite honest regarding their diving background and experiences. I do find lots of small pieces of information can and do help form a general picture... amount of time in diving,,interests they have in diving,,training,,gear selection. Simple observation plays an important role...do they seem to have their act together. And of course the best way of sizing up a fellow diver is to do a dive with them, this will give you first hand input.
  5. NancyLynn

    NancyLynn Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ohio
    Either that, or they started out as a swimmer, perhaps even a synchronized swimmer. Sculling is a fine skill - and I don't know of any reason using it inherently makes someone a poor diver.
  6. MauiScubaSteve

    MauiScubaSteve Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Olowalu, Maui
    I remember my first paid gig in diving, a guided dive 6-pack out of Key Largo. I was told NOT to set up the guests gear for the first dive, so we could see how well they set it up themselves. For the second dive we switched the gear over for them, but unless the captain included some instructional conversation I was not to change the divers personal set-up, so they couldn't blame us for setting it up wrong.

    Opposite end of the spectrum here in Hawaii. Most operators are taking lots of newb's on dives they don't have the skills or experience for, and we really need big tips to afford rent. So here the minute the guests gear is handed on board the guide is slapping it on the tank and asking how they want their weights set up (most tell us to best guess). Then the captain and guide(s) need to make investigative small talk to try and figure who needs the most hand holding, and how large or small the figure 8's need to be to get the hoovers back to the mooring line.
  7. gregorio

    gregorio Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: The Netherlands
  8. Sas

    Sas Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Hmm yea I was looking at that the other day when I was setting up my Dive Record account. Currently with 16 dives it ranks me as more experienced than nearly 60% of divers... hmm... I really doubt that is the case seeing as I have only been diving for two months! :D

    It only looks at bottom time, maximum depth, lowest temperature, visibility, and location familiarity, and deducts points for how long ago the dive was or how familiar you are with the site. While I am sure those things contribute to how experienced a diver one is, it doesn't account for someone's attitude or whether they have encountered other difficulties when diving that have made them a better diver. So I don't think it is a great thing for measuring a diver's ability or how good they would be to dive with.
  9. rrrru4ril

    rrrru4ril Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pennsylvania
    I try to be honest with my dive history. I am still a beginning diver with OW cert and will discuss my dives if asked. I do not go on and on about it though. I do have all my equipment and know to keep my mask on until you are fully on the boat in case you fall off the ladder. You should probably keep your 2nd stage regulator on too, just in case or at least your snorkel. I accidentally dropped my 2nd stage regulator coming up the ladder on a recent dive and noted it in my mind. I usually hand up the fins first as it can be hard to stand securely on the ladder with fins, then the camera and I don't take off my mask until I am fully on the boat.
  10. DwayneJ

    DwayneJ Manta Ray

    I care much less about the number of dives and more about an individuals situational awareness skills. Ultimately its how well a diver responds to normal and abnormal situations and their overall total awareness while diving.

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