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GUE Policy

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by WreckWriter, Nov 22, 2002.

  1. WreckWriter

    WreckWriter Instructor, Scuba

    Hi All,

    First, for those who don't know me, let me tell you a little bit about myself and my diving experience.

    I was taught to dive by my father around 1970. I got certified in 1973 by NASDS (my certification number is below 2000). I learned to dive without BCs, SPGs, safe-seconds, and many of the other things which are considered required equipment now.

    Following this I dived regularly up to 1977 when I joined the Marine Corps. During my enlistment I did not dive but did keep up with advancements in the sport.

    When I got out, in 82, I decided to get back into diving. I found a buddy and together we took a Wreck Specialty course and started diving the wrecks off Ft. Lauderdale. Soon we were diving wrecks to the level of the Trio Bravo, Renegade, Lowrance, etc. Yes, on air as there was nothing else available at the time. Within several years I had worked my way up to PADI DM and accepted a job on Andros Bahamas as a resort divemaster.

    During this time I conducted many deep dives on the Andros wall and in the Blue Holes. The other DM at the resort I worked at was a well known, at the time, caver named Brad Pecel. He taught me a bit about cave diving and a tremendous amount about safety in deep diving.

    After a season in the islands I got married and moved back to Florida. I worked as a boat based DM for a year or so and then took my IDC.

    Very soon after that my wife and I moved to Key Largo where I taught recreational diving for several years. Eventually I found that my niche was in teaching rescue courses. Many of my rescue students went on to become successful instructors and I know of many lives saved by these folks. I'm very proud of every rescue diver that I trained.

    After a few years teaching I got my master's license and started running dive boats. I worked for Ocean Divers for about 4 years and for the Dive Shop at Ocean Reef for another four.

    I also spent several years as a competition free diver, spearfishing. I qualified for the U.S. Nationals twice and collected a shelf full of trophies.

    During this time I also wrote 2 two dive related books, "Snorkeling and Free Diving", and "Histories & Mysteries: The Shipwrecks of Key Largo". During the research for the wreck book I lead an archaeological expedition called "The Northern Light Project". Under the first artifact recovery permit ever issued to private citizens in the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary my teams conducted around 100 dives, during a two year period, on a wreck in 190 FSW without major incident and without diver injury. We utilized current state of the art technologies including EANX and Oxygen decompression. Mix was just starting, only Capt. Billy in Key West was training for it.

    Following a divorce I again took a couple years off from diving. When I made up my mind to return to diving I read about this new thing called DIR, and about the new agency which was pushing it, GUE. It was an interesting way of thinking. Cave techniques used in open-water.

    I liked what I found and as I bought new equipment I followed the Hogarthian way of gear configuration.

    One thing that I found was that with my current certification I could no longer get rides to the wrecks I was used to doing. Mix had finally arrived in a big way and was now a very accepted thing. It was time to upgrade my training.

    I took IANTD Trimix training and TDI Advanced Trimix. My instructor was very much DIR oriented and taught us along these lines. I now regularly dive deep wrecks off Ft. Lauderdale and the Keys, on mix, not air :)

    OK, now that I've got my introduction out of the way, if anyone hasn't gotten bored and is still reading, I'll get to my orginal point.

    All of GUE's standards and procedures make sense to me except one. Why MUST one be a non-smoker?

    As you likely just guessed, I smoke. I know its not smart but I've got the habit, had it for years. Why does this one problem, out of all the potentially dangerous problems I could have (such as obiesty, alcoholism, drug abuse, diabetes, leprousy, cancer, missing limbs, brain tumors, etc) SPECIFICALLY keep me from getting a GUE certification?

    My SAC rate at rest is .4, swimming .5, working like a dog .8. All of my current dive buddies are GUE certified. Some are wonderful physical specimens, better divers than I could ever hope to be, others are considerably less. Some can outbreath me, some can't come close.

    My feeling on this is that this particular rule is a "pet peeve" of someone, likely JJ. Why not simply make everyone take a complete physical? I guarantee I would pass a stress test where many of your certified Tech 1 folks probably would not due to body weight and general physical conditioning.

    I'd love to heear your thinking on this. Thanks.

  2. lucid

    lucid Barracuda

    Hey Tom,

    I quit smoking about 10 months ago but still think the policy stinks. There are some hardcore anti-smokers out there though. Maybe JJ is one of them. Does this mean you will not be attending the DIRF class?
  3. MHK

    MHK SoCal DIR


    It has nothing to do with any pet peeve as much as it has to do with the increased potential for DSC.. Nothwithstanding all of the wide ranging adverse issues associated with smoking, smoking causes increased blood pressure and coronary vasoconstriction plus increased mucus poroduction and increased pulmonary infection..

    More importantly the Carboxyhaemoglobin levels in smokers range from 5% - 9% and 15% of a smoker's hemoglobin binds to carbon monoxide whcih will reduce circulaatory and will reduce the transport of 02 & C02 reducing the oxygenation and increasing C02 levels.. Obvioulsy C02 plays a significant role in Oxygen toxicity, narcosis and panic..

    Bear in mind, the classes that you cite are normally classes that involve decompression so the chances of a DCS already exist, so we don't want to take any increased risk..

    We have discussed the smoking issue as it relates to the DIR-F class and future OW classes and no decision has been made on the issue at this point..

    Hope that helps..

  4. WreckWriter

    WreckWriter Instructor, Scuba

    No, it means that, if neccesary, I'll be quitting prior to the class.

  5. WreckWriter

    WreckWriter Instructor, Scuba

  6. jonnythan

    jonnythan Knight Scublar ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    I've been wondering about the issue myself. Thanks for the clear [and non-confrontational :wink:] answer, MHK.

    BTW, Tom, Thanks for the abridged autobiography. Very interesting.. it's always pretty cool to hear the histories of such esteemed divers as yourself. I hope to have accomplished half as much as you have by the time I'm an old fart like you :wink:
  7. Uncle Pug

    Uncle Pug Swims with Orca ScubaBoard Supporter

    No kidding.... I know a GUE Tech 1 diver (also GUE rebreather certified) who smokes.

    Disgusting habit Tom... quite.

    But why does it preclude you from taking GUE training?
  8. WreckWriter

    WreckWriter Instructor, Scuba

    I'll look for a more clear answer from Mike as his answer leaves me thinking that my original theory is not so far off base.

    As for the other, Thanks Jonny, I think ??? :)

    Tom (43 year old fart)
  9. WreckWriter

    WreckWriter Instructor, Scuba

    Well he's hereby busted and should mail in any GUE cards he holds :)

    It's in the standards for all GUE courses "Must be a non-smoker".

    Requires no proof of course but its there.

  10. Spectre

    Spectre Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wicked farther south of familiar
    If the concern has to do with the increased potential for DCS, why is only smoking singled out? You don't require PFO tests as a prereq do you?

    I'm wondering if this thread may be better served in Diving Medicine or Ask Dr. Deco...

    What is the time frames involved with that risk [if known]. You always hear about the instant benefits from not smoking... even within 24 hours of your last cigarette. I would imagine CO bonding would fall into the category of immediate benefit.
    Anyone have a 'benefit timeline' from the last smoke? Likewise, the separation between the smoking, and the effect of nicotine...

    It's a curious topic to me, as I do smoke. One of the rules I made when I first started diving was 'no smoking on dive boats, no smoking close to getting in or out of the water'. When I first started that, I used nicotine gum to fight the cravings... so there wouldn't have been any benefit for things that are a result of nicotine effects.

    That's actually interesting to hear, as I had heard the 'DCS risk' reasoning, and I couldn't buy that excuse for the dive profiles I hear about in the DIR-F course.

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