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Divemaster Stress Test!

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba' started by aprivetera, May 27, 2013.

  1. aprivetera

    aprivetera Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New Jersey
    73
    12
    Hi there fellow members,

    Almost finished with the divemaster course (yay!). Completed the other four endurance tests well but yesterday I got stuck on the stress test! I feel quite comfortable with my dive skills (good technique, buoyancy control, etc) but something about the multitasking while sharing a regulator makes me lose control of my breathing pattern. So a few questions for those of you who have passed this:

    1) Does anyone have a similar experience on this test and can give me a few pointers on how to not lose my calm and keep focused on the tasks?

    2) How many times did it take you?
     
  2. wukong

    wukong Instructor, Scuba

    20
    4
    Question, did you have to do the whole exercise while maintaining depth in a deep pool?
     
  3. Ste Wart

    Ste Wart Contributor

    # of Dives:
    Location: England
    1,613
    573
    I didn't have a 'stress test' in my DM course.

    Neither did any of my DMC's
     
  4. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    17,253
    9,404
    Practice buddy breathing. It amazes me that DM's are asked to do this after the skill has been removed from the OW class so they have never been exposed to it. By the time you reach DM this skill should be no more difficult than any other. I teach it in my OW classes and it's also a required AOW skill. If you are not ready to multitask to this degree I suggest you rethink the DM class altogether. Since the DM class as I guess you are taking it doesn't seem to teach you new skills you should have those skills down before you start it. Tell the instructor you want him to stop talking about marketing, selling con ed, and any other extraneous BS and that he needs to do some remedial work on skills and diving with you. Specifically task loading exercises as this seems to have not been part of your training to this point.
     
  5. DCBC

    DCBC Banned

    4,443
    932
    I subject all diving Students to progressive task loading (anxiety). Anxiety will grow if it's not directed into some positive action, so the trick is to relax. Stop, think, understand what has to be done and do it... relax... Progressively increasing the difficulty of a task helps tremendously in dealing with stress caused by anxiety.

    For example, after my OW Students have learned to share-air and buddy-breath, one exercise I use is station breathing. You start with a number of divers taking off their SCUBA and laying it on the bottom of the pool in the deep-end. When indicated, they swim to the next unit and take a couple of breaths. This is repeated at their own speed until they are relatively comfortable. Then one SCUBA unit is removed. Further units are removed slowly causing them to swim across the pool share-air/buddy-breath until very few units are left. If they have difficulty, they come to the surface (exhaling). Actually it's a lot of fun and Students normally enjoy the exercise.

    Other exercises including black-out drills, harassment (mask/reg removal, loosen weight belt, etc.) and other exercises help the Diver increase confidence. To avoid panic having confidence in your ability (and those of your Buddy) will go a long way to believing that 'I can do this.' Similar training is used to train military and commercial divers (and has been for over 50 years). This was also typical of many recreational diver training programs prior to 1990.

    Good luck with your next test!
     
    Wolfie_47, Firefyter and Overshoot like this.
  6. aprivetera

    aprivetera Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New Jersey
    73
    12
    Thanks for the replies.

    Wukong, I finished the exercise (changed gear completely while sharing a reg) at depth on the side of a lake, but I did not perform it as smoothly as the instructor expected (but more important for me, how I expected).

    Jim, I feel comfortable with buddy breathing, have shared a reg before in an emergency situation, but never had to do something like that. Perhaps because it has never been emphasized specifically in the training exercises. I will definately ask to work specifically on task loading and continue to practice buddy breathing with my instructor.

    It just seems weird to me that I could do the other four tests well and get hung up on this one...
     
  7. wukong

    wukong Instructor, Scuba

    20
    4

    I'm not sure I agree with your approach. PADI IM states the following:

    Exercise 5 — Equipment Exchange
    In confined water, demonstrate the ability to effectively respond to an unusual circumstance underwater by exchanging all scuba equipment (except exposure suits and weights) with a buddy while sharing a single regulator second stage.


    It seems to me that the intent of such an exercise is for the candidate to experience an unusual situation and deal with it. This helps the candidate build up confidence in his own capability in responding to an unusual situation that might crop up during the dive.

    To me the exercise loses its valve after performing it a few times. If one were to practice this exercises over and over again such that it becomes just like any other skill, the intent of letting the candidate experience high task loading in an unfamiliar situation is lost.

    ---------- Post added May 28th, 2013 at 12:28 AM ----------

    Agreed! Remember to "Stop, Breath, Think, Act"!


    Awesome drills! haha! My favourite drill is the one whereby we leave all the equipment (mask, fin, snorkel, everything) at the bottom, and we have to free dive down to the equipment, rig up underwater, and ascend safely.
     
  8. aprivetera

    aprivetera Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New Jersey
    73
    12
    DCBC, thanks for the tips. Maybe reinforcing skills like that would be the best manner to improve my response and performance. For me, it was like: OK, I did it, but I want to do it better. For me, if you are divemaster you should be expected to be able to handle these situations. So I feel I want to polish up on these skills.
     
  9. wukong

    wukong Instructor, Scuba

    20
    4
    Aprivetera, personally i think the best skill a DM can learn is to learn how to react to sudden and unforeseen situations. That involves more than repetitive skills practice. It requires more on exposing yourself to situations which you are unfamiliar with, eg. black-out drills, and letting you deal with it yourself. Of course, not to the extend of being unsafe as well.
     
  10. aprivetera

    aprivetera Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New Jersey
    73
    12
    Thanks for the advice, Wukong! I think from what I have heard I will sit down with my instructor and focus on working on new scenarios, something like the rescue diver scenarios. But I do want to brush up on my skills like DCBC suggested.
     

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