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Landau

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If you haven't experienced it yet, I would suggest to take one fin off while underwater, and see how much slower you swim and how much more gas you are breathing.

As a Divemaster in training, one of the students I was following undersized fine straps broke on descent and his fin wouldn't stay on without it. I traded with him and spent the rest of the dive following behind the instructor and students swimming with one fin and carrying his. It was hard slugging. Lucky I had a 120 cf tank as I used way more air than normal. Got to practice several one finned kicks, none were that great.

On a fun dive if I ever lose a fin I'll be either heading back up or examining a very small section of Reef/Wall for a long time.
 

TMHeimer

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As a Divemaster in training, one of the students I was following undersized fine straps broke on descent and his fin wouldn't stay on without it. I traded with him and spent the rest of the dive following behind the instructor and students swimming with one fin and carrying his. It was hard slugging. Lucky I had a 120 cf tank as I used way more air than normal. Got to practice several one finned kicks, none were that great.

On a fun dive if I ever lose a fin I'll be either heading back up or examining a very small section of Reef/Wall for a long time.
Though in shallow water, I've done this twice. Once in current, once with very low viz. Amazingly I went 2 for 2 finding the fin (both times I had dropped the fin, not had the strap break). Except the 2nd time when I went ashore someone had taken my dive flag I left there. I recovered THAT too.
 

MiloR

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As a Divemaster in training, one of the students I was following undersized fine straps broke on descent and his fin wouldn't stay on without it. I traded with him and spent the rest of the dive following behind the instructor and students swimming with one fin and carrying his. It was hard slugging. Lucky I had a 120 cf tank as I used way more air than normal. Got to practice several one finned kicks, none were that great.

On a fun dive if I ever lose a fin I'll be either heading back up or examining a very small section of Reef/Wall for a long time.

Keep a 20" piece of paracord somewhere and you should be able to fashion up enough of a strap to keep the fin secure in an emergency.
 

Centrals

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3- Comfortably diving to 39 meters and mastering all the what if emergency situations.

4- Shore entries with rough surf.

5- Water entry and exit when sea is rough.
3. First part is easy. Tricky or uncomfortable situation yes but never ever in emergency.
4. No experience.
5. When the sea is rough :- NO dive. When the sea turned rough on exit:- yet to fail to get back to the boat but only came across a handful few occasions.
 

BLACKCRUSADER

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I'm a Fish!
YES I consider myself an experienced recreational diver, and absolutely NOT a technical diver. However, I do not hold ANY specialty card. NONE. .

I did PADI OW then moved to Brunei in 1986 where I joined the BSAC club there. So then did BSAC Sports diving which is air diving but includes DECO multilevel diving to 50m on air. I did not use twin tanks we dived on 120 steel tanks with 230 bar. We had extra tanks on the anchor line which we used for deco stops. I've done to Rescue which is as far as I want to go certificate wise. I have also done nitrox. The only other course I want to do is the Solo course not because I plan to go solo diving but to learn from the course. My BSAC instructor really put in the effort to make sure that in any situation we could self rescue first before we tried to rescue anyone else.

I also do night dives wreck dives cave dives fast drift dives and have never needed any of those specialty courses. Diving back in the 80's was diving and included all these types of dives. I've done dives in my first few years where I did not feel comfortable due to difficult conditions but never became more than anxious and never panicked. I lot of people I dive with now tell me they see me as being a very calm diver they feel very relaxed diving with. I am not interested in the technical diving or rebreather diving. I never intend on becoming a DM or instructor certified diver. That would only change if I decided to get into investing into a dive center. Not to be a working DM or Instructor but to understand what they do better.
 

Searcaigh

Chromodoris gordonii
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Is it a matter of expertise, an absolute value of dives, your specialty certifications or the different situations you faced? A bit of all but I believe the latter matters the most. So I would like to ask my AOW instructor (that I really trust) to elaborate a training plan and dive me through the below predicaments so that I am prepared the day I go on diving trips with people I don’t know. I like challenges and I love diving but I am very cautious and (uncontrolled) risk averse. What do you think I should add the list?:

Well, first of all know your limitations and stay within them unless taking a course that puts you into situations where you are learning.

I consider myself a reasonably competent recreational diver after 1800+ dives with technical training.

1- Diving in strong currents (if possible vertical in addition to horizontal and washing machines) and getting out of it. - Sometimes you don't know until you're in the water. Being reasonably fit helps as well as being very familiar with your gear. Knowing beforehand what the conditions will be like is very helpful. Only once did I have to drop a weight belt in a down current, one of my few scary dives.

2- Drift diving and surfacing at the agreed place at the end (orientation). - Knowing the site and good navigation are required as well as use of DSMB. Most drift dives that I've done had boat cover, not all boat "captains" are proficient at following bubbles.

3- Comfortably diving to 39 meters and mastering all the what if emergency situations. - Again training is important, if I don't have the right gas for a 39m dive I wouldn't do it. If diving air then I'd be carrying a deco bottle but then that is no longer a recreational dive!

4- Shore entries with rough surf. - Know your limitations. If it's too rough don't dive, you don't want the dive to turn into a rescue scenario. I've thumbed a few shore dives because of the weather conditions.

5- Water entry and exit when sea is rough. Assuming this is from a boat, I've seen a guy lose the end of a finger whilst climbing a boat ladder that was banging against the hull of the dive boat in rough weather. Weather can change while you're down, but a decent boat operator should be checking that before you even load your gear on the boat.

6- Negative entries (I tried several times and got minor barotrauma. Until I can equalize faster, I will pass on that one). I agree on that, I have good days when I can get to 30m in less than a minute and other days it can take me much longer.

7- Preparing gear and diving with two cylinders. - At least get some training, it's not rocket science but you have to be aware of how to deal with valve drills and getting your trim sorted because of the additional weight of valves and an extra regulator.

Although I've done tech training and do tech and deco diving fairly regularly Rebreathers are not for me, I can't justify the cost for what I do and what I plan to do in the future (although I'd love to dive to see and photograph a coelacanth :D ).

The beauty of some caves I've seen in photos I'd also love to see some day. It will just require some additional training.

Night diving is awesome, you are allowed to bring a torch :wink:

Drysuit diving is also awesome, nice to be warm when in a wetsuit it would be cold :D and that's not limited to the colder waters of Europe or elsewhere. Many divers in the area I dive are now turning to using drysuits in the "winter" months, it's a matter of using the right gear for the elements and the exposure time. I frequently see wet suit clad divers shivering on the boat ride back to the marina after our second dive while those in drysuits remain comfortably warm.

Above all else, enjoy your dives.
 

ofg-1

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Why yes, I am very experienced. I even have a windbreaker with a Scubapro and PADI patch on it, along with all my specialty patches, my NACD patch, a old Red Cross first aid patch, a dive flag patch, and on the shoulder, a YMCA instructor patch.
 

loosenit2

si respiratio sub aqua amet
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I'm a Fish!
There seems to be a group think that to be an experienced diver you have to have experience in a multitude of environments and conditions, or that you have to be a pentathlete rather than a one event athlete or even a triathlete. I'm not sure this is correct thinking despite its pervasiveness. It might be true for a good instructor, in order to allow flexibilty.

Another way of thinking is that you can call yourself experienced under certain conditions and inexperienced in others, and that is ok. I dive lakes and quarries extensively, I am very comfortable in low viz, cold water, and deeper depths. I am less experienced in strong ocean currents, shore entries in strong surge or waves, or caves. Is the area I am less experienced in and important gap in my knowledge that I have to fix to call myself "experienced", I don't think so unless it is related to conditions I may reasonably find myself in. If I have no intention of diving in those environments or under those conditions there is limited payoff to spending time to get good at them.

What is important to me is that you don't over or under sell your capabilities. Someone showing up with an AOW, Rescue, Deep, or bluetooth fin qualified card should not be treated as more experienced. A conversation needs to happen between buddies, or operators and divers about relative experience with no shaming or boasting involved.
 

Dody

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Well, first of all know your limitations and stay within them unless taking a course that puts you into situations where you are learning.

I consider myself a reasonably competent recreational diver after 1800+ dives with technical training.

1- Diving in strong currents (if possible vertical in addition to horizontal and washing machines) and getting out of it. - Sometimes you don't know until you're in the water. Being reasonably fit helps as well as being very familiar with your gear. Knowing beforehand what the conditions will be like is very helpful. Only once did I have to drop a weight belt in a down current, one of my few scary dives.

2- Drift diving and surfacing at the agreed place at the end (orientation). - Knowing the site and good navigation are required as well as use of DSMB. Most drift dives that I've done had boat cover, not all boat "captains" are proficient at following bubbles.

3- Comfortably diving to 39 meters and mastering all the what if emergency situations. - Again training is important, if I don't have the right gas for a 39m dive I wouldn't do it. If diving air then I'd be carrying a deco bottle but then that is no longer a recreational dive!

4- Shore entries with rough surf. - Know your limitations. If it's too rough don't dive, you don't want the dive to turn into a rescue scenario. I've thumbed a few shore dives because of the weather conditions.

5- Water entry and exit when sea is rough. Assuming this is from a boat, I've seen a guy lose the end of a finger whilst climbing a boat ladder that was banging against the hull of the dive boat in rough weather. Weather can change while you're down, but a decent boat operator should be checking that before you even load your gear on the boat.

6- Negative entries (I tried several times and got minor barotrauma. Until I can equalize faster, I will pass on that one). I agree on that, I have good days when I can get to 30m in less than a minute and other days it can take me much longer.

7- Preparing gear and diving with two cylinders. - At least get some training, it's not rocket science but you have to be aware of how to deal with valve drills and getting your trim sorted because of the additional weight of valves and an extra regulator.

Although I've done tech training and do tech and deco diving fairly regularly Rebreathers are not for me, I can't justify the cost for what I do and what I plan to do in the future (although I'd love to dive to see and photograph a coelacanth :D ).

The beauty of some caves I've seen in photos I'd also love to see some day. It will just require some additional training.

Night diving is awesome, you are allowed to bring a torch :wink:

Drysuit diving is also awesome, nice to be warm when in a wetsuit it would be cold :D and that's not limited to the colder waters of Europe or elsewhere. Many divers in the area I dive are now turning to using drysuits in the "winter" months, it's a matter of using the right gear for the elements and the exposure time. I frequently see wet suit clad divers shivering on the boat ride back to the marina after our second dive while those in drysuits remain comfortably warm.

Above all else, enjoy your dives.
I just cracked open my skull diving through a small arch (like cave diving) where my cylinder got stuck. I was following a guy who did not tell me beforehand. It is only at the surface that I realized that I was seriously bleeding.
 

Searcaigh

Chromodoris gordonii
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I just cracked open my skull diving through a small arch

Ouch

What is important to me is that you don't over or under sell your capabilities. Someone showing up with an AOW, Rescue, Deep, or bluetooth fin qualified card should not be treated as more experienced. A conversation needs to happen between buddies, or operators and divers about relative experience with no shaming or boasting involved.

Totally agree with this :thumb:
 
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