• Welcome to ScubaBoard


  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Change the Stamina Tests

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by TMHeimer, May 3, 2010.

  1. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,021
    2,550
    113
    This is a long one. Bear with me. Just passed the PADI DM stamina (re)tests (finally doing the 400, getting a 3) after 6 1/2 months' training (could've done it in 2-3 months but classes shut down for winter). So I've had way too much time to think about them. I'm assuming the tests have been what they are for a long time. My reason for suggesting changes is that they should be more relevant to what a DM does. Safety and rescue skills are the most important aspects of divemastering, in my "newbie" opinion. Some have said that the tests have nothing to do with that, but are simply to judge how comfortable one is in water. That makes sense if someone just sat sown one day and thought up some neat tests to do. I've been comfortable in water since maybe 1962 and a high school swim team member in 1970. Here we go:

    400 meter Swim:
    Change: Eliminate it.
    Reasons: Some people actually sign up for the OW course and literally can't swim. Thus, an OW swim test. But often there is a choice of 200 meters or 300 with MFS. For the OW course, the instructor should ensure that all students can, in fact swim! Maybe have them do one lap if they're doing the 300 MSF instead. An instructor should not actually have to even see them swim at all, as anyone taking SCUBA or any water activity who actually can't swim is nuts. The ability to swim should be a given. But you have to check. On to DM: The chances a DM would ever have to swim at all without fins (let alone 400m) is negligible. Rescue course says to have MFS ready at all times. Several have posted that they've fallen off boats themselves or had to jump in to rescue someone with no time to don the fins. I don't know--floating? boat picking you up? the whole boat with all PFDs sank? If a DM ever had to swim 400m or much less and then tow a diver (panicked?) back it's time to prey. Yes, I guess if one thought long enough one may eventually come up with a one in a million scenario. You can get hit by lightning too, but you're not going to train to avoid that.
    If someone falls off a boat a DM would try the other assists first and may then jump in without fins, but there's no long distance swimming here. You have to be in swimming shape to do well on a timed long distance swim. It can, but doesn't have to have anything to do with you're overall shape or comfort level in the water. I say that as a former swimmer. We don't need a test for DM--we know they can swim from OW.

    15 minute Float:
    Changes: 1. Make it an hour in the deep end without drowning (another poster's suggestion). Of course, this would take a lot more pool/class time. Salt water is easy for most. Fresh is hard for me as my feet sink, and "egg beater" kicking doesn't work for me. Drown proofing does. I got a 5 on that one after figuring that out. Floating is important mostly if you have to be doing it a long time prior to rescue.
    2. Eliminate the 2 minutes "hands out" thing. Whoever thought of that? For me, the drown proofing also made this a walk in the park, but I don't get it. I'm in the middle of the Pacific floating for 9 hours and decide to hold my hands out as a challenge? One poster asked: what if your floating or rescuing someone and don't have use of your hands? Well I guess you'd prey (oops, can't- no use of hands...).

    800 meter Mask, Fins and Snorkel Swim:
    Changes: 1. Make it longer, maybe twice as long and adjust the times accordingly, as doing 1600 meters means you'd probably slow a lot more toward the end. This is something DMs likely will have to do. I got a 3 yesterday and a 2 originally with no training at all. Maybe because my legs were in decent shape because I dive a lot. Whereas with the 400, which involves a combination of skills I could barely do 50 meters and conked out the first try.
    2. Allow the use of arms. Not to make it easier, but because this is what you'd do to go out and rescue someone. You wouldn't keep you're arms at your side or in front of you (but still) thinking "Gee, I want to reach the guy quickly but I'm not allowed to use my arms"! Maybe the original thinking was that we don't use arms while diving and rarely while snorkelling. But what about divemastering?

    100 meter Tired Diver Tow:
    Change: Make it longer, maybe twice as long, and adjust times accordingly, as you'd slow down toward the end. This test is very practical. It's a rescue technique. Distance in this test is more important than time, because it is a "tired diver tow", not a "diver in cardiac arrest tow". Maybe that's a good idea for a different test? I only got a 2, but lost time (doing the "push", as most do) on the turns. My tests were all in one day in an 11.6 meter pool, thus 7 turns on the tow. With this test especially (but the others too), it would be nice if everyone everywhere used the same length pool, or lake, salt water, etc. The variations can askew comparisons in times, of course. But that's life.

    So, what do you pros think? I'm sure many of you will disagree with me on a lot, especially on the 400 meter. As I said, I had a lot of time to think about this. Had I been in swim (team) shape, I probably would've gotten my 12 or more points the first try and not thought about it at all. I feel great having gotten the monkey off my back, and look at it as just a requirement that must be met to graduate. One may also say that a considerable amount of the physics and dive/decompression theory is stuff you'll probably never use. But, it's interesting stuff and must be done. I studied 7 1/2 months for those tests and missed 10 out of 160 questions. As a Band Instructor 19 years with a Masters, I found that in teaching I probably used about 20% of everything I learned in college, and many teachers agreed. Maybe a little more time spent on what a DM does would be more helpful, though we did get plenty of that with a really good instructor. All of the DM stuff was expremely interesting, both academics and practical. I have to polish my demo skills more and do one charter-hope to join you pros very soon. But I do think it's time PADI sat down and modified the stamina tests.

    Thanks for your patience.
     
  2. vjanelle

    vjanelle Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    558
    3
    0
    From everyone I've talked to, the only issue anyone ever had was with the 400m test. Also, these don't exist in the IDC.
     
  3. knotical

    knotical perpetual student

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ka'u
    5,748
    824
    113
    The tide's going out and a kid falls off the pier, or someone hits their head and stumbles off a moving boat, or . . . etc.
    If you turn away to find your mask / snorkel / fins, you might lose sight of them.

    Since DMs are likely to be around water, and people are likely to fall in, I'd support the addition of basic lifeguard skills such as approaches, assists, and rescues, all without equipment.
    And I'd keep the swim test as the most relevant measure of stamina for the sorts of rescues mentioned above.
     
  4. iztok

    iztok PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Charlotte, NC
    4,601
    393
    0
    Preying on other divers is not really good thing :wink:
     
    Tfast78, mrmagoo560 and James R like this.
  5. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,021
    2,550
    113
    Interesting point. Kind of like everyone should know CPR. But I don't know if lifeguard skills should be part of a scuba course. Maybe. But I guess fishermen and other water sports people should learn these too?
     
  6. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,021
    2,550
    113
    Yeah, I can believe that. It's really the only one I've had issue with also. The other 3 I feel are all somewhat relevant, just need some tweeking.
     
  7. Quero

    Quero Will be missed Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
    9,494
    2,243
    0
    In respect to lifeguarding skills... I've never been trained as a lifeguard, but one of my current Rescue students is a lifeguard trainer from Switzerland. We both feel we're gaining a lot of insight from one another in comparing training and skills required of professionals.

    He says he asks his trainees not only to tread water with their hands out of the water, but to hold a heavy ball at the same time--in addition, they have to have the whole lower arm, up to the elbows, out of the water. This is to enable them to maintain an unconscious victim's head above waves during a rescue.
     
  8. MauiScubaSteve

    MauiScubaSteve Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Olowalu, Maui
    4,766
    191
    0
    Perhaps your own personal definition of "comfortable in the water" is just the "comfortable in the water definition for an OW diver" (300 meter m,s,f?).

    I think all the ripped, in-shape, sinkers in the world should consider wearing a 1-3 mm shorty and then getting weighted for neutral buoyancy before they swim by the way; fair is fair.

    Perhaps the definition of "comfortable in the water" for a DM is not the same as the definition of "comfortable in the water" for an OW diver.

    If the 400 meters is the only portion being complained about the other portions should be harder; for it to be a working with the public dive certification level there should be some number of candidates complaining about every part.

    The requirements for some DM/OWSI programs are pretty weak already. I'd be interested in certain parts needing semi-annual renewal, like first aid, cpr and stamina, for everyone with in-water teaching status.
     
  9. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,021
    2,550
    113
     
  10. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,021
    2,550
    113
    Excellent and responsible idea for pros to learn each other's activity's techniques. In your scenario proper buoyancy with BCD and pocket mask to protect airway would probably be the rescue diver's choice.
     

Share This Page